Register for the next meeting

John TracyDec. 3, 2014: The new life of KTVA 11

John Tracy became a partner at Bradley Reid + Associates in the summer of 2008 after 23 years as an anchor and News Director at KTUU-TV. John won numerous Emmy and Edward R. Murrow Awards as a reporter and producer at KTUU. A member of the
Alaska Broadcasters Hall of Fame, John has covered stories for NBC Nightly News and CNN. At Bradley Reid, he's produced campaigns for clients such as ConocoPhillips, Alaska Tourism and Providence. In 2012 he was commissioned to spearhead a team to re-build KTVA 11 for GCI, as Alaska's first high-definition television station. John's domestic focus group includes his wife Donna, their three children and two grandkids.


Jill Shepherd

Nov. 6, 2014: Early Life in Alaska 

Jill Shepherd will highlight events from her family's early history in Alaska.  She also will tell how it came to be that, at age 47, she realized a 30-year-old dream when she landed a job at Alaska magazine.  Shepherd worked at the magazine for the next 23 years, retiring in 2004.






Bill SherwonitOct. 2, 2014: Animal Stories: Encounters with Alaska's Wildlife 

Born in Bridgeport, Conn., nature writer Bill Sherwonit has called Alaska home since 1982. He has contributed essays and articles to a wide variety of newspapers, magazines, journals, and anthologies and is the author of more than a dozen books. His newest book is a collection of essays, Animal Stories: Encounters with Alaska’s Wildlife, published in September 2014 by Alaska Northwest Books. His website is





Dog with Cat by David JensenDavid Jensen

 Sept. 11, 2014: It's Important to Paws

A third-generation Alaskan, David was born in Fairbanks before statehood. His family moved to Anchorage in 1963 just prior to the Great Alaska Earthquake.

David graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage with a degree in Journalism and Public Communications in 1989. That same year, he created Alaska Pet-ography as a home-based business.

Realizing that the portrait studio had outgrown the house, he and his wife, Carol decided to lease a storefront in 1997. Soon after, they purchased their current studio located in South Anchorage and called it David Jensen Photography. The studio has grown to include two properties with private park settings designed for portraits of people and their animal companions.

In 2013, David published his first book called It's Important to Paws, Lessons learned from Animal Companions.  A coffee table book, it focuses on animal companions in Alaska - a collection of writings and hundreds of portraits featuring dogs, cats, horses and many other beautiful companions. It's Important to Paws received the 2014 Independent Publisher's National Gold Medal award in the category of animals and pets. The book is available for purchase in retail locations around town. Copies of the book have been sold nationally and internationally. His second book, When Age has no Leash, Lessons Learned from Senior Dogs will be published in the next few months.

David is a member of the Anchorage Lion's Club, Antique Auto Mushers of Alaska, Midnight Sun Street Rod Association and Anchorage Nordic Ski Club. He also plays the trumpet and directs the Front Row Seats Band. His images of rescued cats and dogs have appeared in the Anchorage Daily News for nearly 25 years through a collaborative program with Friends of Pets.

When not relaxing at home with the senior dogs that rule the house, you might spot David exploring one of Alaska's beautiful trails or mountain sides via hiking boots, skis or snowshoes. Layla is nearly always at his side with dog booties on, a tennis ball in her mouth and a twinkle in her adventurous. golden retriever eyes.

 Fran UlmerJune 5, 2014: US Arctic Research Commission

Fran Ulmer is currently the chair of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission, where she has served since being appointed by President Obama in March 2011. In June 2010, President Obama appointed her to the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. From 2007 to 2011, Ms. Ulmer was chancellor of Alaska’s largest public university, the University of Alaska Anchorage. Before that, she was a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Public Policy and Director of the Institute of Social and Economic Research at UAA. She is a member of the Global Board of the Nature Conservancy and on the Board of the National Parks Conservation Association.

Ms. Ulmer served as an elected official for 18 years as the mayor of Juneau, a state representative, and as Lieutenant Governor of Alaska. She previously worked as legal counsel to the Alaska Legislature, legislative assistant to Governor Jay Hammond, and Director of Policy Development for the state. In addition, she was the first Chair of the Alaska Coastal Policy Council and served more than 10 years on the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission. She earned a J.D. cum laude from the University of Wisconsin Law School, and has been a Fellow at the Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School of Government. 

Mark TrahantMay 1, 2014: Are you a journalist .. or do you work for a living? Journalism in the age of social media.

Journalist Mark Trahant  serves as the 20th Atwood Chair of Journalism at the University of Alaska Anchorage. The position brings nationally known journalists to teach courses and speak to students, journalists and the public in Alaska.Trahant was recently awarded a fellowship to the Rockefeller Bellagio Center in Italy and for the past three years, he was an editor in residence at the University of Idaho, School of Journalism and Mass Media. In 2009, he was awarded a Kaiser Media Fellowship and wrote about health care reform, focusing on its impact in Indian Country. He also reported for PBS’ Frontline series, featuring a program titled “The Silence,” a piece about sexual abuse committed by priests in an Alaska native village.

Trahant is the former editor of the editorial page for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, where he chaired the daily editorial board, directed a staff of writers, editors and a cartoonist. He has been chairman and chief executive officer at the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education and a former columnist at The Seattle Times. He has been publisher of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News in Moscow, Idaho; executive news editor of The Salt Lake Tribune; a reporter at the Arizona Republic in Phoenix; and has worked at several tribal newspapers.

“This is an exciting time for a young person to begin a career in journalism today,” Trahant said. “I look forward to working with the students at the University of Alaska Anchorage to help shape that future.”

Trahant will teach Information Gathering and Global Media and Communications Systems this fall and Multimedia Journalism and Enterprise Reporting in the spring.

The Atwood Chair of Journalism is among the nation’s most prestigious endowed journalism chairs. Anchorage Times publisher Robert B. Atwood established the Atwood Chair at the University of Alaska Anchorage in 1979. Among the many positive contributions Bob and Evangeline Atwood made to Alaska’s civic life, the Atwood Chair of Journalism has helped educate the state’s next generation of journalists.

Learn more about the 2014 Atwood Chair at

Trahant is an editor, reporter, columnist, television correspondent and the author of several books. A member of Idaho’s Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and former president of the Native American Journalists Association, he has been reporting on Native American issues since the 1970s. Trahant’s most recent book “The Last Great Battle of the Indian Wars,” is about Sen. Henry M. Jackson. He also publishes a daily poem about the news to Twitter @newsrimes4lines. 

Rick Goodfellow and Jan Ingram

April 3, 2014: KLEF's 25th Anniversary; Ghost Tours of Anchorage; The Ghost Show on KFQD

Rick GoodfellowPresident / Programming Director / Grand Puh-bah 
Rick is the heart and soul of KLEF. He hand selects all the music, manages the station, and is one of the voice talents on the station. He is also the newest inductee into the ABA Hall of Fame as well as the Guide for the Ghost Tours of Anchorage.

Jan Ingram – Children’s Programming Director / Voice Talent (KLEF Notes)
Jan is one of the voice talents on KLEF. She is the Children's Programming Director. She is co-owner with her husband, Rick.

Rick and Jan will talk about their radio station, KLEF (which just has its 25th anniversary), the Ghost Tours of Anchorage, and a new talk show - the Ghost Show - on KFQD. 


 Lynne Curry

March 6, 2014: Lynne Curry, Ph.D., SPHR: Remembering Names

President of The Growth Company, Inc., a management consulting, training, human resources and organizational strategy firm, Lynne Curry brings her clients a track record in management consulting; Board, manager and employee training; human resources and organizational strategy consulting.

Training and facilitation

Curry provides dynamic, professional, results-oriented training sessions in more than 200 areas including: leadership; management and supervision; Board of Directors’ work; training, presentations, facilitation and mediation; coaching; marketing, sales and customer service; personal and professional development; memory; time and stress management; team-building; diversity; GenX/Y; media; ethics; communications, conflict management and negotiation; motivation and change management. Curry has been awarded the Trainer of the Year award multiple times by the Anchorage chapter of the American Society of Training and Development.
Curry teaches facilitators and also provides facilitation, meeting management and team-building for a large variety of organizations.



Feb. 6, 2014: Alaska Literacy ProgramPolly Smith

Polly Smith’s interest and passion for adult literacy began many years ago as a volunteer tutor and teacher, and she has never looked back.  She has worked with learners of all ages, from preschool in family-literacy programs to adults in college and the workforce. Polly has been awarded the Alaska Adult Education Association Administrator's Award and the Alaska Adult Educations Association’s  John L. Hulbert Award for outstanding long-term contributions to adult learning in the state of Alaska.

Polly is a teacher, trainer and administrator for the Alaska Literacy Program, a volunteer-based nonprofit providing literacy instruction to adults and families with young children. She has a Master’s degree in Education, Learning Disabilities. She serves on the board of the Commission of Adult Basic Education and as secretary for the ProLiteracy Council of State Organizations. She is an ardent admirer of all things Alaskan, realizing her childhood dream of becoming an Alaskan in 1987.

Michael Carey

Jan. 9, 2014: Everyone You Meet is Your Teacher; What the Buddha Taught an Alaska Newspaperman

Michael Carey was born and raised in Fairbanks. He graduated from Lathrop High School in 1963 and attended Ithaca College (BA 1967) and Duke University where he took graduate courses without completing his degree. For most of the late Sixties and into the Seventies he lived around New York City before returning to Alaska and entering the newspaper business. He was a member of the Anchorage Daily News editorial page stuff before becoming a columnist. For the last decade, he has been the host of public broadcasting's "Alaska Edition," a political analysis show. He lives in Anchorage.



Sandy HarperDec. 2013: Behind the Scenes at Cyrano's Theatre Company

Harper is the Producing Artistic Director of the award-winning Cyrano’s Theatre Company.  In this capacity, Harper is responsible for programming, marketing, fundraising, and project management for each production.  Sandy and her husband, Jerry, founding members of Cyrano’s Theatre Company, spent their earlier years under the mentorship of Obie award-winner Rachel Rosenthal.  Both were core members in Rosenthal’s innovative new theatre form, called “Instant Theatre” and “Instant Fairy Tales”, in Los Angeles.  While in LA, Sandy earned her Master’s Degree in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena. 

In Alaska, Sandy has served on the national board of the Last Frontier Theatre Conference, the Anchorage Downtown Partnership, the Rasmuson Foundation, and the Anchorage Downtown Association.  She also served as President of the Anchorage Cultural Council.  Sandy continues to co-host a monthly radio program about the arts on KSKA public broadcasting in Anchorage. 

Sandy’s awards include: the “Contribution to Literacy in Alaska” award, as the founding member of the Alaska Center for the book; the YWCA “Notable Woman of the Year”; and was inducted into the ATHENA Society in 2009.  In 2010, Sandy was recognized by the Soroptimist society for her encouragement of women in the arts.  In 2011, Sandy received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from UAA and the Lorene Harrison Lifetime Achievement Award.  Sandy has been featured in the national magazine American Theatre for producing a series of plays honoring the indigenous peoples of Alaska.

 Nov. 2013: World SchoolMary Katzke World School

In 2010 Mary Katzke and her 10-year-old son, Corin, sold all their worldly possession and bought one-way tickets to Ireland. It was just the beginning of a world-class adventure. Twenty-eight countries and a world education later, Katzke and her son share their adventures in the documentary “World School.” Cruise ships, bicycles, airplanes and almost every form of transportation available carried them around the globe. Corin says his favorite places were Dubai and China, “’s like being in school, and being teleported to the places in your textbook.”

Kids grow up so quickly and there is no getting that time back,” said Mary Katzke. “Family travel allows both education, and the chance to savor this precious time.”







Flip Todd

Oct. 2013: The World of Alaska Publishing

Philip “Flip” Todd is a native of Washington DC, a graduate of the Sidwell Friends School and Boston University with a degree in government. He began work at Lappi’s Chevron in Gulkana, Alaska in 1969 where he was a proficient tire changer before joining the Anchorage Times that year as an obituary writer. He progressed to covering the Anchorage School board before being drafted into the U.S. Army. 
Stationed at Ft. Bragg, N.C. attached to the Special Forces before being transferred to Ft. Richardson, AK, he worked as a general assignment and sports reporter at the Anchorage Daily News at night and on weekends while in the Army.
A fourth generation journalist, he returned to the Anchorage Times after discharge from the Army in 1972 and spent several years as a business writer and editor.

In 1976 he became a full time free-lance writer and photographer for the AP and both local and national publications such as Alaska Industry Magazine, Business Week and the Washington Post. He is a fourth generation journalist.

In 1978 he began publishing the Alaska Directory of Attorneys, a semi-annual publication still produced by his publishing company, Todd Communications. The directory which lists all active members of the Alaska bar along with information ranging from members’ year of admission, undergraduate school, year of graduation and major, to law school and e-mail address, has become the bible of the Alaska legal community.  

He brought the first color scanner to the state in 1982 when he founded Alaska Color Scan. He is president of Todd Communications which publishes many books, calendars and maps. The company is also the state’s primary wholesale distributor of these products to more than 700 stores, as well as providing international print brokering services to other publishers. 

He is a past president of the Alaska World Affairs Council and has served on its board for more than 20 years.

He has led Todd Communications for more than 35 years and developed it into a fully integrated publishing and publishing services company serving publishers ranging from the largest New York houses to regional and local concerns.

Increasingly its services are focused on assisting Alaska and Pacific Northwest authors and photographers to self-publish their own works.  It accomplishes this by offering editing, book design, printing and wholesale distribution of books about Alaska and by Alaska authors. The company has 20 employees and offices in Ketchikan, Juneau, Fairbanks and Juneau serving the entire state with publishing services and wholesale book, calendar and map distribution.


Kaylene Johnson

Sept. 5, 2013: Canyons and Ice: The Wilderness Travels Of Dick Griffith                

Kaylene Johnson is a professional writer and long-time Alaskan who lives in Eagle River, Alaska.

Her books include A Tender Distance: Adventures Raising My Sons in Alaska; Sarah: How a Hockey Mom Turned the Political Establishment Upside Down, Portrait of the Alaska Railroad and Trails Across Time: History of an Alaska Mountain Corridor. Her award-winning articles have appeared in Alaska magazine, the Los Angeles Times, Spirit magazine, Parish Teacher and other publications. She holds a BA from Vermont College and an MFA in Writing from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky.



Vic FischerJune 6, 2013: To Russia With Love, An Alaskan's Journey

Born in Berlin, Germany, Victor Fischer was a delegate to the Alaska Constitutional Convention, served in the territorial House of Representatives and the Alaska State Senate, and worked in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. A member of the faculty of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks and Alaska, he was director for the Institute for Social and Economic Research. He continues to work in state policy, local government, and Alaska-Russia issues.


From the book: Son of the famous American journalist Louis Fischer, who corresponded from Berlin and Moscow, and the Russian writer Markoosha Fischer, Victor Fischer grew up in the shadow of Hitler and Stalin and watched his friends' parents disappear after political arrests. Eleanor Roosevelt personally engineered the Fischer family's escape from Russia, and soon after, Victor was serving in the United States Army in World War II, while his childhood friends fought in the Soviet and German armies.


As a young adult, Fischer went on to help shape Alaska's map by planning towns throughout the state. This unique autobiography recounts his earliest days in Germany, Russia, and Alaska, where he soon entered civic affairs and was elected as a delegate to the Alaska Constitutional Convention - the body responsible for establishing statehood in the territory. A move to Washington, DC, and further government appointments allowed him to witness key historic events of his era, which he also recounts here. Finally, Fischer brings his memoir up to the present, describing how he has returned to Russia many times to bring the lessons of Alaska freedom and prosperity to the newly democratic states.


For a brief time in history, when the world was in turmoil and the end was in doubt, the noblest of human motives shown through the night, and prevailed. Vic Fischer was a part of those times. He still carries the banner, a rebuke to cynicism and dishonesty and self-focus. Through this gripping autobiography, that is his gift to us. --Steve Cowper, former Governor of Alaska


For those of us who know Vic Fischer as a savvy, progressive Alaska state senator, this terrific book is a revelation. Stories of his roots in Russia, his time in Germany - where some still know him as one of the fabled Troika - and much more besides, make this a wonderful introduction to a fascinating life. --Peter Kenyon Foreign Correspondent, NPR

Student Scholarship and Annual Communications Contest Awards Luncheon: Thurs., May 2, 2013:

Scholarships and Contest awards announced, along with historical overview of Alaska Professional Communicators by members Pat Richardson and Carolyn Rinehart

Pat Richardson recently retired from a 46-year career in communications. She started in private industry on the production side of the publishing business, eventually transferring to the editorial side. In 1977, she moved to Anchorage as associate editor of Alaska Construction & Oil magazine and also wrote a weekly business management newsletter. She worked 31 and a half  years as a public affairs specialist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska District, where she handled media inquiries and edited the district newsletter. She joined Alaska Press Women (the predecessor to Alaska Professional Communicators) in 1978 as a way to network with women since she worked in a field dominated by men. Her passion is preserving the history of the organization as historian and archivist.

Carolyn Rinehart reported and edited for newspapers in Texas and Montana. In 1977 she and her husband, Bob, moved to Anchorage, where she got a reporting job with the then-dominant Anchorage Times. She joined APC (then Alaska Press Women)
in 1978 mainly to enter the Communications Contest, which she felt offered her a better chance of winning than the Press Club competition. Press Women became her favorite organization and the source of many of her friends. She spent 15 years as a writer-editor with the Army Corps of Engineers, while remaining an active member of APC. Carolyn was president  in 1985-86 and 1986-87 and has won numerous local and national (NFPW) awards. She was contest coordinator for many years and has held other APW/APC offices.

Don Rearden

April 4, 2013: The Circuitous Route of a Raven: the story of publishing The Raven's Gift 

Don Rearden is the author of the award winning novel The Raven's Gift and a produced screenwriter. His films have aired on Showtime, and TMC. He is the board president of 49 Writers and an Associate Professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage. His website is






Rhonda McBrideMarch 7, 2013: The Future of Rural Journalism in Alaska, and Why the Best is Yet to Come.

After many years at KTUU-Channel 2, Rhonda McBride is moving across town to KTVA-Channel 11. Currently she’s employed by GCI, which is in the process of buying KTVA. Until the sale goes through, Rhonda will be working with her old boss at KTUU, former news director John Tracy, who has been hired by GCI as a consultant to take KTVA’s newsroom to the next level. Rhonda’s focus at KTVA will be on rural Alaska, one of her passions. From dental health to education to politics, Rhonda has won several national awards for her coverage of rural issues.

She gained her experience reporting in the Bush at KYUK, a public radio and television station in Bethel, which broadcasts in both Yup’ik and English. Rhonda has also been a producer at the Alaska Public Radio Network -- and hosted political debates and public affairs programs at KAKM-TV, Channel 7. In 2008, Rhonda took a break from broadcasting and worked for Governor Sarah Palin as her Rural Advisor.    

Shirley Mae Springer StatenFebruary 7, 2013: Author of a children's book hot off the press, The Oh-ee-O Story, illustrated by Dianne Barske

Shirley Mae Springer Staten, international keynoter, singer and workshop facilitator, moves people forward beyond their limiting ideas. A born storyteller and dynamic a capella vocalist, she brings an unrivaled blend of vision, passion and sheer virtuosity to her work.

From the age of five, Shirley Mae picked cotton in the fields of Georgia. Her transformation came with many challenges. A daydreamer and dyslexic, she graduated from high school not knowing how to read. By the early 1990s she had managed to work her way through college and earn her bachelor's and master's degrees.

Shirley Mae, like no one else, can weave words and music to empower her audience. She is a multitalented performing artist who motivates people to recognize and break through their self-imposed limitations. She can hold a group spellbound with stories of her struggles against the obstacles of the world. Her message will show you how to "keep movin' forward."
In her latest project, The Oh-ee-O childrens’ books, she recreates the characters and events that influenced her early years. Vividly illustrated by artist Dianne Barske, The Oh-ee-O Story reminds us that life is filled with choices – for both children and adults.

Dianne BarskeDianne Barske says ahe has never decided whether she is an artist, writer or teacher, so she has been delighted that doing children's books let her be all three. She has written and illustrated three children's books, all related to animals at the Alaska Zoo and has taken them to classrooms to share with the children. This career path led her to many happy adventures, with short-term assignments to teach art in several Bush schools and some unusual art contracts.

She recently finished two big contracts for Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, which featured paintings of bed-bug prevention and the proper dumping of honey buckets. She was thrilled to teach both writing and art for three years to children in Shirley Mae Springer Staten's Home Based After School Program in Fairview.

Currently, Dianne has a contract for a new children's book for Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, about their employees' rescue of a baby musk ox along the Haul Road. Once done, she has the prospect of writing and illustrating books on lemurs in Madagascar, which she is sure will necessitate some exotic travel! Life is full of surprises!

Elise PatkotakJan. 3, 2013: The Trials and Tribulations of an Alaskan Columnist

Elise Sereni Patkotak was born many, many years ago into a much kinder and gentler world. Her initial view of life was bounded by the Italian immigrant neighborhood in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in which she was raised and the nuns who taught her throughout her early years. She is now a recovering Catholic.
Elise lived in Barrow for 28 years, during which time she aged with astounding rapidity. While living in Barrow, she was a nurse, health director, social worker, columnist, radio show host, public information officer, city recreation director and Guardian Ad Litem (GAL), working with troubled kids in the Barrow Court System. She now lives in Anchorage with five parrots, a cockatoo and a very nervous little dog that thinks all the birds are out to get his stuff.
Elise has a small writing/graphics company, Precious Cargo, Ltd., that she hopes will actually turn a profit before she dies. She is a columnist with the Anchorage Daily News and is the author of Parallel Logic, the story of her years in Barrow.
Elise continues to work as a GAL with the Barrow Court System and also volunteers with a wild bird rehab center in Anchorage. She is a foster parent for the companion bird rescue organization, Parrot Education and Adoption Center (PEAC). She is a member of Alaska Professional Communicators and has been both its president and membership chair. She is also a past co-chair of the Alaska Public Broadcasting Commission.
Elise belongs to a wide variety of animal welfare organizations and truly believes that the world will be judged by how it treats its most helpless inhabitants, including its elderly, its young and its animals.
She spent her youth wantonly wasting her money on travel to exotic locations with her sister Judy before those places decided to start killing travelers for sport. She has visited every continent in the world except Antarctica. After living in Alaska she felt that was redundant.
Her primary goal in life now is to live long enough to spend all she has saved for her old age. Thanks to recent economic trends, this may turn out to be much easier than she initially believed possible.

Steve LindbeckDec. 6, 2012: The New World of Public Media

Steve Lindbeck came to public broadcasting in July 2007 after a 30-year career in journalism and public affairs. He is President and General Manager of Alaska Public Telecommunications, Inc. (APTI), which includes KAKM-TV, KSKA-FM and the Alaska Public Radio Network.

He also has served as Vice Chancellor for Advancement at the University of Alaska Anchorage, Associate Editor of the Anchorage Daily News, and Executive Director of the Alaska Humanities Forum. His journalism career included editorial positions at the Anchorage Daily News, the Anchorage Times, the Everett (Wash.) Herald, and the Boston Globe.

He has volunteered on many boards and committees, including the Anchorage Museum Association, the Alaska World Affairs Council, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Anchorage, United Way of Anchorage, Anchorage Cultural Council, Alaska State Council on the Arts review panels, Downtown Anchorage Rotary, and Commonwealth North.

Lindbeck, an Anchorage resident since 1968, is a graduate of West Anchorage High School and Stanford University. He is married to Patty Ginsburg, a former journalist who now works as a consultant. He loves reading, music, travel, hiking, golf, and the natural and cultural splendor of Alaska.

Ivan MooreNov. 1, 2012: The Elections, the Polls, the Prospects

Ivan Moore, pollster and owner of Ivan Moore Research, will speak at the monthly luncheon of Alaska Professional Communicators. In the days before the Nov. 6 General Election, as things heat up, Moore will provide his perspective and analysis on what the polls say and how to evaluate poll results. If you've been receiving dozens of survey phone calls and want some extra insight on who's doing what, come hear the "inside story." Moore is also a regular columnist for the Anchorage Press.




Toni McPhersonOct. 4, 2012: Re-inventing the Library: Balancing Budget Cuts and Community Needs

Toni Massari McPherson grew up on the East Coast and got her degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She came to Alaska during the '70s after spending a year as a VISTA in Delaware and working for a small Pennsylvania newspaper for a couple years. She jumped into the Alaska adventure with both feet, including spending a year in a tepee while she and her firefighter husband built their home in Girdwood. She was a reporter and arts and entertainment director at the Anchorage Times until it closed. As the marketing director of Energy Rated Homes of Alaska for 10 years, she helped the program become the national standard for raising home energy efficiency. At the same time, she freelanced for a variety of local publications including Alaska Military Weekly, Alaska Newspapers and, most recently, F Magazine.

For the last 8.5 years, Toni has served as Anchorage Public Library's Community Relations Coordinator, serving in a variety of roles including PR/marketing director, volunteer coordinator and program manager for the library's book sales. She has worked with other staff to expand the library's profile in the community and has witnessed an on-going metamorphosis in the local institution. Over the last year, the library has invested in a community-wide study of how it should evolve to serve Anchorage in the 21st century. In her talk she will describe some of the results of survey and how it is translating into the Loussac plan for re-modeling. She will also describe challenges the library faces moving into the future.

Bob Lyons Photo

Sept. 6, 2012: Historic Preservation in Skagway

Bob Lyon started with photography by learning to do wet-plate tintypes, the kind of photography done during the Civil War. Since then he has done photojournalism—having work published in the Washington Post, Rugby Magazine, Der Speigel, Civilization Magazine, Mother Jones, L’Express, and the International Herald Tribune, among other print media. Bob specializes in large format photography, using a one hundred year old 4” x 5” Korona. Much of Bob’s large format work has been for the National Park Service in the Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record programs.  These photographs are filed at the Library of Congress-ÔÇÉthink of the last scene in the first Indiana Jones movie—except these photographs are available online at

His projects have varied from Anasazi ruins in New Mexico to Minuteman III missile complexes in South Dakota. He also visited all 100 Air Force Missile Launch Control Centers in the 1990s to document their artwork. The missile crews painted their underground facilities, rather similar to nose art on bombers in World War II. 

From Colorado and a resident of Anchorage for two years, Bob hasn’t produced many local images yet, but he is enthusiastically photographing the Alaska scene.  To see some of his work go to:

Bob currently works for the National Park Service in Anchorage, mainly tasked with historic preservation. One of the projects to which he has been assigned is the preservation of Soapy Smith’s saloon in Skagway, Alaska, at Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park.

Contact information:

Carol SturgelewskiJune 7, 2012: Carol Sturgulewski: White House of the North: Stories from the Alaska Governor’s Mansion

Journalist and author Carol Sturgulewski will speak at the monthly luncheon for Alaska Professional Communicators. Sturgulewski, oldest daughter of former Governor Murkowski, has recently published White House of the North, an account of a century’s worth of legends, history, and personalities in Alaska’s Governor’s Mansion. She interviewed governors, first ladies, and friends from every administration since 1925 and tells of glamorous balls, wartime austerity and…leaky pipes.




Mirror Lake Middle School StudentsMay 3, 2012: Emily Blahous - Teacher at Mirror Lake Middle School - Recipient of the 2011 Mayor's Youth Arts Award

Blauhous has been a teacher in the Anchorage School District for over thirty years and has been at Mirror Lake since the school opened 15 years ago. She teaches piano keyboarding classes to music students and is the leader and mentor of a group of students who produce an present daily closed circuit news of the day within the school.

She began a collaboration with Augie Hebert, television and radio pioneer in Alaska, shortly after the school opened. This collaboration grew into a School Business partnership with Channel 11, which has provided professional training and mentoring for middle school students. Several years ago, also through the impetus of Augie Hebert, Mirror Lake Middle School became the only school in Alaska to broadcast over a low power FM station to the school's neighboring community.

Photo by Chris Arend

Richard MurphyApril 5, 2012: Personal Photo Journalism

Richard Murphy - 2012 Atwood Chair of Journalism at UAA

Richard Murphy was the photo editor of the Anchorage Daily News from 1985 to 2011. During his time with the Daily News, he was on a team that won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. He and his team of photojournalists were nominated the next year for news photography. Murphy has also been a nominating juror for the Pulitzer Prizes in 2010 and 2011. Murphy's work has been displayed in galleries such as the Decker Morris Gallery. His work is on permanent display at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art, the University of Alaska Museum, the State of Alaska Museum and the National Press Photographers Association's archives.






Teeka Ballas

March 1, 2012: Blazing a trail from hard news to activist journalism

Teeka A. Ballas - F Magazine - co-founder/publisher/executive content editor


Founder and publisher of F Magazine, Teeka Ballas will discuss how she went from being a news hound to becoming a staunch advocate for culture and community at the stern of an arts publication. Although the magazine has a short history, it is a dynamic one and is currently making a tremendous impact on numerous communities and cultures around Alaska. Ballas will reveal some of the secrets behind running an independent, volunteer-driven publication and share the hard knocks she's learned along the way.


Teeka Ballas first began working in journalism as a travel writer for a publication in Australia 15 years ago. Since then she has traveled extensively and worked in numerous countries and U.S. states, covering everything from hostile environments to travel and leisure for radio, print and Web. In addition to working full time on F Magazine, Ballas currently hosts a show on Alaska Public Radio, teaches writing workshops and classes to youth and is a contributing writer to numerous publications both regionally and nationally, covering travel, entertainment, medicine and engineering.


Pola Banchero


February 2, 2012: Digital Culture: The Positive and the Negative

Paola Banchero, associate professor and chair of the Department of Journalism and Public Communications at UAA, will speak at the monthly luncheon for Alaska Professional Communicators. Her focus is on young people, social media, and other aspects of digital culture. Banchero has 17 years of journalism experience -- reporting from Guadalajara, Mexico to Anchorage -- and she was a reporter and editor for the Arizona Daily Star and The Wichita Eagle before moving to Alaska. The public is invited.



Jackie PurcellJanuary 4, 2012: The Making of "Big Miracle" (the whale movie) 

Jackie Purcell, weatherperson for Channel 2 News, grew up in Anchorage. She assumed her present position in 1990, but that’s NOT what she's going to talk about. At the monthly luncheon for Alaska Professional Communicators, Jackie will share stories of her debut in the movies -- "Big Miracle" (the whale movie). As Jackie says, "I have photos from my movie experience. Little did I know that cameras were not supposed to be on set, but no one said a word to me!"

Jackie graduated from Bartlett High School in 1979. She attended Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., graduating in 1983 with a degree in communications and a minor in political science. She started her career in 1984 at a small radio station in Chickasha, Okla., but decided to move "home" in 1985, working her way through radio and television until becoming the full-time weatherperson for Channel 2 News in December 1990. 

"It's a gratifying experience to work in a job you love, in a town you love, surrounded by people and scenery you love. Wow!" Jackie says.

Although she's lived in Alaska for much of her life, Jackie had the opportunity to travel all over the world, thanks to a mother who believed travel was one the best educations one could have -- plus the fact that she has relatives in Europe and Indonesia -- and her father worked in the Middle East for a time.

Doing the weather at Channel 2 News keeps Jackie on her toes since Alaska presents some of the most challenging weather situations in the world. It's definitely not the same old thing every day.

Jackie married Dannie Pearson, a former Channel 2 photographer, and counts as part of her family three cats ... and would have more if it were up to her.

  Jack Dalton

  Dec. 1. 2011: Many Genres, Many Stories

JACK DALTON, storyteller, author, and frequent artist-in-residence in classrooms, just doesn't stop: he’s at work on a holiday show (Muktukmas!), an opera, and a new play. Jack has grown up an ambassador between the two worlds of his Yup'ik and European heritages.

A professional storyteller, writer and teacher, Jack has been honored by the World Indigenous Peoples' Conference on Education as a Distinguished Dignitary, and considered by many people around the world, to be "The Storyteller." He was chosen as one of Alaska’s Top 40 Under Forty, one of the top forty business people in Alaska under the age of 40. He also received the first Expressive Arts grant from the National Museum of the American Indian to co-create the first Yup'ik opera with friend and world-famous Yup'ik music group, Pamyua co-founder, Stephen Blanchett. He's created and produced five theatrical works of storytelling, written a book, several plays and created curricula used in all levels of education. Performing throughout Alaska and the US, he has also performed in New Zealand, France, Denmark, Australia and headlined the Scottish Int'l Storytelling Festival in Scotland.
Dalton calls Anchorage home.


Diane Kaplan, President, Rasmuson Foundation

November 3, 2011: Ms. Kaplan spoke about Communicating With Alaskans The Value of Philanthropy.

In 2001, Diane Kaplan was named president of the Anchorage-based Rasmuson Foundation. She began administering the Foundation in 1995. From 1994-2001, Kaplan's consulting company provided management and government relations services to philanthropic and nonprofit organizations and Native corporations and tribes. She was previously president and chief executive officer of Alaska's 28-station public radio network. Kaplan earned a degree in communications and women's studies from the University of Pennsylvannia, graduating summa cum laude. She was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She attended executive management programs at the Wharton School, Stanford University and UC Berkeley.

50th Anniversary Celebration
Sunday, Oct. 16, 2-4 p.m.
in the Ann Stevens Room
of the Z.J. Loussac Public Library
3600 Denali St., Anchorage.

Lori Potter
Featured guest National Federation of Press Women President, Lori Potter of Kearney, Nebraska. She is an agricultural reporter for the Kearney Hub, a daily newspaper founded in 1888 that covers south-central Nebraska. Kearney was an important stop on the Platte River Valley thoroughfare that led to the settling of much of the West.

Come hear Lori talk about our connection with NFPW and learn about APC’s founding mothers and early history.

Guests are welcome. Bring your spouse. Invite a past member. Invite a potential member. No reservations required.

Coffee, tea, and snacks will be served.
Optional: Come dressed in 1960s clothes if you would like to join in the fun of the era.

 Founding Mothers

Alaska Press Women's Founding Mothers -- First Meeting

October 6, 2011
Luncheon speaker
Jocelyn Young
1% for Art Program

 East High Art

Marcus Tingle "Thunderbird Sunrise" East High School photo by Chris Arend

Jocelyn Young is the Curator of Public Art and works for the Department of Public Works at the Municipality of Anchorage.

As the Curator of the 1% for Art Program she oversees over 440 works of art valued at $12 million dollars, in public buildings, parks and schools throughout Anchorage. 

Each year the program adds from eight to fifteen works of art to the Public Art collection.  Jocelyn works with over 110 volunteers who donate over 2000 hours annually. She has a degree in communications from the University of Utah. 

Prior to working at the Municipality of Anchorage, she was the Director of the Arts in Education Program for the Alaska State Council on the Arts for fifteen years where she worked extensively with artists and served on many regional and national projects and panels.

September 1, 2011, Jerene Mortenson tells the story of her son Greg's book, Three Cups of Tea, and the power of one

Greag Mortenson Books



Jerene Mortenson Speaking to APC


Jerene Mortenson

Photo by Pamela O'Meara/, 2009
Jerene Mortenson is wearing a red dupatta to show respect and a blue trouser suit her son, Greg, had made for her on her trip to Afghanistan.


Jerene Mortenson was an elementary school principal when her son Greg was trying to raise money for a school in Korphe, Pakistan. Her students collected $623.45 in pennies, and the Pennies for Peace program began. Thousands of schools and other groups around the world have contributed, raising millions in pennies.

Jerene, now living in Anchorage, speaks at book clubs, churches, other groups and schools about Greg's work.
Greg has received dozens of awards for his achievements in educating children, especially girls, in remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan.


For more information on Greg Mortenson and the Central Asia Institute, go to


Social Media Seminar - January 27, 2011

The Basics and Beyond (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and More...)

For months now the buzz has been social media. You’ve put off jumping into the fray, and you feel you may have missed the boat. It’s not too late, but how do you begin? Or maybe you’ve been using Facebook (and even Twitter or LinkedIn) for a few months, but where do you go from here? 

Learn from an expert about using social media to promote your business, your books, or your cause.

- Find out the most efficient ways to start using social media or if you're already dabbling, how to optimize what you're doing to leverage these tools and channels for your work. 

- You've heard of Digg, MySpace, Jaiku, and others, but which ones do you really need to use? Discover the best tools for whatever you're trying to do, from SlideShare to Flickr to YouTube, RedRoom and more. 

- If you're looking to get the most out of social media, you'll need tools to help you manage and measure what you're doing. Learn about a few handy tools that can get you organized and help you measure your results.

Join Alaska Professional Communicators as we welcome seminar presenters Aliza Sherman and Sherrie Simmonds for an afternoon dedicated to the ins and outs of social media! You'll learn how social media gives you the tools you need to boost your communications, marketing, brand-building, and more.

Fulfill your New Year’s resolution to continue learning and expand your social media presence. Register today!


Location: Elim Café, 561 W. Dimond Blvd., Anchorage (near Arctic Blvd.)

Date and Time:

Thursday,  January 27, 2011

12 – 1 p.m. Lunch and Networking,

1 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Seminar

Registration Fee: Members $50; non-members $75 (prepaid by January 19)

Registrations after January 19: Members $60; non-members $85

Seating is limited. Register today.


Register online


About our presenters 


Aliza Sherman

Aliza Sherman is a social media innovator and commentator. She speaks around the world about Internet and social media-related topics. In 1995, she founded the first woman-owned, full-service Internet company, Cybergirl, Inc. and the first global Internet networking organization for women, Webgrrls International. Aliza is recognized for her writing and blogging and was named by Fast Company as one of the “Most Powerful Women in Technology.”

In 2003, she started a consulting firm that would become the social media agency Conversify to provide high-level, strategic Internet and social media consulting to companies and organizations. Aliza is also the author of seven books, including The Everything Blogging Book, Streetwise, Ecommerce, and PowerTools for Women in Business. She is working on her 8th: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Crowdsourcing, out July 2011. Her new company – Mediaegg – develops iPhone and iPad apps for women and children.


Sherrie Simmonds

Sherrie Simmonds has managed communications for Alaska Housing Finance Corp. for 15 years. She is a Distinguished Toastmasters and has won numerous state and national speaking, writing and public relations awards. She has been a frequent speaker on social media at meetings and conferences, including Oregon State Clerks Association annual conference and Yukon/Alaska Council of Toastmasters fall conference.