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.

Summer of Heroes

Sasha Ferguson of Healy is one of six students statewide recognized as an outstanding youth making a difference in her local community. She received a $1,500 scholarship from the annual Summer of Heroes program from Alaska Communications.

The 2019 logo was inspired by one of last year’s heroes, Jenelle Brook, of Fairbanks.

Ferguson, an 18-year-old graduate of Tri-Valley School, cares about others and is passionate about changing the world — “not just because it can be a scary place for her, but because she wants it to be better for other people she sees struggling,” according to a press release from Alaska Communications.

Sasha’s story is unique. She lives with autism, and after seeing other students struggle, “she does not let labels define her and she’s not waiting until she grows up to try and make a difference in her community of Healy.” She is an active advocate for education and has participated in several face-to-face meetings with legislators to talk about the importance of public education, with a focus  on the needs of students with disabilities. She participates in service learning efforts, is active in her local church and encourages her peers to join in on volunteer activities to improve their community.

According to the news release, Sasha shares love and kindness in everything she does. She is attending the Alaska Vocational Technical Center for culinary arts training.

The other students honored this year include Ethan Ahkvaluk, of Nome, Anna DeVolld, of Soldotna, Zachary Halstead, of Kenai, Carlee Rizzo, of Nikiski and Claire Schimmack, of Eagle River.

Summer of Heroes is a partnership program between Alaska Communications and Boys & Girls Clubs — Alaska, promoting education, awareness and support for youth development program throughout the state.

Fairbanksan Jenelle Brook was honored in 2018 in the Summer of Heroes program, for her time volunteering at the Fairbanks Police Department. She provided office support, volunteer coordination and researched various crime prevention programs. Every Halloween, she participates in Operation Glow, which helps young children be more visible in the dark.

“This year’s logo acknowledges Janelle’s volunteer work by featuring children in Halloween costumes safely traveling their neighborhood,” according to Alaska Communications.

This program began in 2011 and since then, has recognized dozens of young people around the state.


National awards

Canyon Steakhouse at McKinley Chalet Resort, just outside Denali National Park, has been honored with an Award of Excellence by Wine Spectator Magazine. The annual awards recognize restaurants whose wine lists offer interesting selections, are appropriate to their cuisine and appeal to a wide range of wine lovers.

Canyon Steakhouse offers a wine list with at least 90 selections.

According to the award, the wine lists “feature a well-chosen assortment of quality producers, along with a thematic match to the menu in both price and style. Whether compact or extensive, focused or diverse, these lists deliver sufficient choice to satisfy discerning wine lovers.”

Lavelle’s Bistro in Fairbanks received a Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator Magazine.

“These wine lists display excellent breadth across multiple wine growing regions and/or significant vertical depth of top producers, along with superior presentation. Typically offering 350 or more selections, these restaurants are destinations for serious wine lovers, showing a deep commitment to wine, both in the cellar and through their service team.”

Reach community editor/columnist Kris Capps at Call her at the office 4599-7546. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMKris.