The idea for an all-urban Alaska publication has been on Sophia Metters' mind for more than 30 years. On May 25, it became a reality. 

The 49th Degree magazine was unveiled at a launch party at the Wilda Marston Theatre. There was music, demonstrations, food and awards. 

Each quarterly issue will focus on small business owners, youth programs/mentors, fashion, beauty and music in Alaska and also feature artists of various cultures and ethnicities.

The first issue highlights Leonard Lawson who owns BlaqueIce Productions, an audio production company. At the launch party, Metters handed him an award for his contributions to the community.

Metters is both owner and editor-in-chief of The 49th Degree. She said when she came to Alaska in 1985, she couldn’t find a publication like it. 

Years later, Metters started an employment agency, and then a youth outreach called Graduation Assistance Program, with the goal of helping high school students graduate on time.

"After that I said, 'You know what, it's about time for me to get to the magazine,'" Metters recalled. "Because I started networking with other small businesses that I didn't even know about."

At the launch party, the first issue of the publication was met with excitement. Laurin Jones, who is a part of the mentor group Generation-Z Girls that’s featured in the magazine, was glad to see her community represented.

"We know them," Jones said. "We have relationships with them and it is so awesome to see them and point them out and talk about them."

Each issue of The 49th Degree can be found on the company’s website.

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