Anderson McKinley FD

Firefighters at Anderson and McKinley Volunteer Fire Department recently received pallets of canned water. They were donated by Anheuser-Busch through the National Volunteer Fire Council. They are intended for firefighter rehab during/after fires. Photo courtesy city of Anderson

Vitus Energy is now operating the former Chevron gas station and convenience store in Cantwell.

The company began in western Alaska and is expanding into the Interior and along the road system, according to CEO Justin Charon. It acquired four gas stations this year, in Sterling, Birchwood, Trapper Creek and Cantwell. The company also provides heating fuel service in the Trapper Creek area, which includes Talkeetna.

The company leases property at Port MacKenzie (across from Anchorage) and is looking to develop a fuel terminal there, Charon said.

“This is part of growing into those needs,” he said. “We are growing our volume to become our own supplier.”

He doesn’t expect too many changes at the Cantwell site.

“It’s really too soon to tell,” he said. “We need the community to tell us what they want. Maybe there’s something they want that wasn’t there before.”

For instance, the hot food service may be expanded, he said.

“It’s already a really nice store. We’re not having to do anything drastic,” he added. “Customers shouldn’t see anything major go away. We’re going through it now to determine what to add.”

New signs go up in the next four weeks.

The company gets its name from Vitus Bering, a Danish explorer and officer in the Russian Navy who explored the Bering Strait in the 1700s.

“We started with a marine focus,” Charon said. “We were Vitus Marine. Now we changed to Vitus Energy. We’ve been in this form since 2009.”

Borough seal

The Denali Borough seal is featured in a national publication called County News, by the National Association of Counties. It features a photo of the seal, which was created by Denali artist and pioneer Ree Nancarrow. She won a contest to create the distinctive seal in 1990.

The center of the seal features Denali, the highest peak in North America. Caribou in front of the mountain represent the wilderness in the borough, which is the gateway to Denali National Park. The seal also includes the George Parks Highway, completed in 1972. The Alaska Railroad, completed in 1923, connects the borough and is also represented on the seal.

The short feature includes basic information about the borough, which is 12,000 square miles and has 1,825 year-round residents. But it also hosts up to 600,000 visitors and 4,000 seasonal workers every year.

Denali Borough Mayor Clay Walker thinks this may be the first time an Alaska municipality has had it’s seal featured in this national publication. Visit to learn more.

Wood chips

Grab as many wood chips as you want, free of charge, at both the Cantwell and Healy Transfer Stations. This is the result of the borough’s free brush disposal program. You must load the chips yourself into your own vehicle or trailer. Due to limited quantity of brush at the borough landfill, wood chips are not available there.

The free brush disposal program will continue at all the sites on April 15.

Census meeting

The public is invited to an informational meeting about the upcoming census at 5 p.m. Oct. 16 at the Tri-Valley Community Center, with state census outreach coordinator Barb Miranda.

The borough invites people to come learn about the 2020 census, why it is important to participate and employment opportunities. The meeting won’t last longer than one hour, since the planning commission meets at 6 p.m.

Reach columnist/community editor Kris Capps at Call her at the office 459-7546. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMKris.

Community editor and columnist Kris Capps is a longtime resident of Fairbanks and Denali Park. Contact her at, in the office at 459-7546 or by cell at 322-6334. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMKris.