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John Thain

Stories by John Thain

  • Lifestyle

    Remembering Ronnie: ‘The Estate of a Beautiful Lady’

    by John Thain on Nov 11, 17:33

    Handmade signs and flyers were the first clue that the sale at Valley View Baptist Church was about much more than money. It was about the generosity of a woman named Veronica Wurtz, better known as Ronnie. She spent 59 years with her husband Ron. Together they were known as Ron and Ronnie. “My wife had big […]

  • Arctic Man 2016

    Arctic Man snowmachine parade might have beaten a world record

    by John Thain on Apr 08, 21:42

    It’s not uncommon to see a lot of snowmachines buzzing around Arctic Man, but on Friday they gathered for a purpose – they were trying to beat a world record. In a late-Friday update, organizers said they believe they accomplished their goal. According to the “Guinness Book of World Records,” the previous record for the […]

  • Arctic Man 2016

    Arctic Man postpones Thursday races due to weather

    by John Thain on Apr 07, 17:40

    The Arctic Man race was forced to shut down events Thursday halfway through the race as the weather took a turn for the worse. The weather started out good, but after about an hour of racing turned poor. Visibility was the biggest issue, the flat lighting made it difficult for racers to see where the […]

  • Arctic Man 2016

    Avalanche forecasters concerned about risk for Arctic Man participants

    by John Thain on Apr 06, 23:08

    There’s already been one avalanche-related death near the Arctic Man event this year, and the Alaska Avalanche Information Center warns there could be more. On Sunday, a snowmachiner triggered an avalanche in the Hoodoo mountains. He made it out alive, but his riding partner, Claire Sundgren, was buried and killed. Avalanche forecasters say riders need […]

  • Iditarod

    Warm conditions make for wet crossings on Iditarod trail

    by John Thain on Mar 08, 15:08

    The Iditarod trail is known to throw just about everything at mushers and their teams. Monday, it was a surprise thanks to warmer weather — an afternoon swim was added to the Iditarod schedule. Mushers were forced to cross the open water before Rainy Pass, managing any way they could. Jeff King hit the obstacle full speed […]

  • Only in Alaska

    Lance Mackey: These dogs saved my life

    by John Thain on Feb 29, 21:41

    Lance Mackey likes to joke that he was mushing before he was born. “But in all seriousness, my mom was seven-months pregnant, mushing the Women’s Invitational with me,” he said. Mackey’s home outside of Fairbanks is filled with photos and newspaper articles related to mushing, proof of a long history with the Iditarod. His dad, […]

  • Iditarod

    Lance Mackey: Cancer, Infection and Determination

    by John Thain on Feb 28, 22:08

    The unforgiving, windy, snow-sparse ice of the Kuskokwim River might not look like an attractive place to mush dogs, yet 25 teams are signed up for the Kuskokwim 300 dog sled race. This remote race, hundreds of miles off the road system in Bethel, Alaska, attracts many elite mushers, some of them with previous Iditarod […]

  • Only in Alaska

    Web Extra: Mushing for tourists above the Arctic Circle

    by John Thain on Feb 23, 17:19

      In the tiny town of Bettles, Alaska, which lies 35 miles north of the Arctic Circle, people from around the world visit the Bettles Lodge to view the Northern Lights during the winter. The aurora activity takes place at night but other events keep guests busy during the day, even when the temperatures drop […]

  • Local

    Alaska earthquake breaks apart ice during 2016 Northern Lights 300 race

    by John Thain on Jan 25, 10:10

    Thirty-three dog mushers were halfway throughout the Northern Lights 300 race when Sunday’s 7.1-magnitude earthquake hit and began breaking apart the ice they were racing on. Watch the video above to hear their stories.

  • Anchorage/Mat-Su

    From the Middle East to Anchorage: 10-year-old’s postcard project comes full circle

    by John Thain on Mar 25, 21:31

    A 10-year-old Pacific Northern Academy​ student started a global movement to send hope via postcards to refugee children in the Middle East. Now, his project has come full circle as those children have written back.

  • Arts & Entertainment

    Photographer documents special bond between Anchorage seniors and their pets

    by John Thain on Mar 24, 23:36

    Dogs, cats and other pets — they’re often part of the family. At the Centennial Village senior apartment community in Anchorage, one photographer is documenting the special — and in some cases, lifesaving — relationships between man and beast.  

  • 2015 Iditarod Mushers

    Benjamin Harper

    by John Thain on Mar 05, 16:09

    Ben Harper felt right at home at the Knik 200 Sled Dog Race. After all, it runs many of the same trails as the Jr Iditarod — a race he’s finished three times. But after his 18th birthday last June, Harper was a junior musher no more. The next step was the Iditarod. “I’ve never […]

  • 2015 Iditarod Mushers

    DeeDee Jonrowe

    by John Thain on Mar 04, 19:18

    DeeDee Jonrowe has many dogs to care for, but it’s a labor of love — which works both ways. She remembers her first years in Alaska, working and living in the small community of Bethel. “The weather was cold, but the culture was wonderful,” Jonrowe said. Part of that culture was dog mushing. She starting running […]

  • 2015 Iditarod Mushers

    Steve Watkins

    by John Thain on Mar 02, 23:34

      Some people seek out adventure on the occasional weekend. Steve Watkins looks for it every day. “There’s nothing like a strong, compelling, physical challenge to get you up and get you motivated,” he says. It’s what led him to the armed forces in 1999. “I never thought I’d serve in a war, much less […]

  • 2015 Iditarod Mushers

    Lev Shvarts

    by John Thain on Mar 01, 23:28

      There was a time when Lev Shvarts only had one dog, but that didn’t last long. “Dogs are like potato chips, you can’t have just one,” he says. He now has about 30, but he didn’t grow up mushing dogs. “I was born in the Soviet Union, doesn’t exist anymore, good for us all,” […]

  • 2015 Iditarod Mushers

    Chuck Schaeffer

    by John Thain on Feb 01, 13:59

      As a young boy growing up in the small community of Kotzebue, Chuck Schaeffer dished out a lot of dog food. “I tried to hide from all my chores when I was a kid and I’m the only one of my siblings that became a dog musher,” he explains. “Everyone else is smarter than […]

  • Health

    New business markets ancient tea

    by John Thain on Dec 26, 21:36

    When Sarah Susook first harvested five pounds of chaga, she said, it sold out within the day. Chaga is a fungus that grows primarily on birch trees. It’s not always easy to find. “A lot of walking and rough terrain,” Susook said. But she doesn’t mind. “I enjoy being in the woods, it’s like my […]

  • Only in Alaska

    Minnesota climber begins solo ascent of Denali

    by John Thain on Dec 19, 21:45

    Post by KTVA 11 News. TALKEETNA – Climbing season on Denali is long over, but for Lonnie Dupre, it’s just beginning. The 53-year-old Minnesota man is attempting to be the first person to summit it alone in January. It’s his fourth attempt after trying similar expeditions in 2013, 2012, and 2011. The closest he came was […]

  • Campaign 2014

    Run, Forrest, run: Running against the odds

    by John Thain on Nov 06, 22:31

    It was a grassroots campaign from a young, relatively unknown politician from the small town of Cordova: Forrest Dunbar did not win a seat in Congress this week, but he did come closer than many expected. KTVA followed Dunbar through the last month of his campaign for a behind-the-scenes look at a race that surprised […]

  • Web Exclusives

    Web Extra: Digging out

    by John Thain on Oct 20, 18:59

    We knew it was coming, but today’s snowfall still felt like a surprise. Were you ready for the snow? We asked some Rabbit Creek residents how they felt about the area’s first measurable snowfall of the season.