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.

Teens between the ages of 14 and 17 are invited to apply to attend a Youth Preparedness Camp on July 26-31 near Anchorage. Forty teens from Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington will participate in the event hosted by FEMA Region 10.

The camp will be staffed by camp and emergency management professionals and is designed to teach students how to safely assist in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. This will be done through hands-on scenarios and realistic drills. Local emergency responders and other experts will introduce campers to a variety of emergency response professions. As part of the program, campers will identify and develop a concept for a longer-term project aimed at using their new skills and improving preparedness in their communities.

FEMA funds all travel costs. Successful applicants will be notified in March.

Students can apply at The deadline is 10:59 p.m. AKST Jan. 19.


The Toastmasters clubs in Fairbanks are always finding ways for members and others to develop public speaking skills and confidence.

Sweet’s Pride Toastmasters of Fairbanks will sponsor a special event starting next week to offer extra training, mentoring and experience for those wanting to improve speaking and leadership skills.

The event is called the Toastmasters Speechcraft program and it encourages those who sign up to become confident speakers in a friendly atmosphere.

The sessions will be held  from 6-8 p.m. Jan. 13 and 27, and Feb. 3, at the Fairbanks Resource Agency, 805 Airport Way. The cost is $100 and registration is limited to 12 people.

For more information, call 907-450-8304 or email

Google Maps

The Google Maps app was not helpful to me in 2019 when I tried to find certain locations in North Pole.

I have a pretty good idea of where everything is located in North Pole, but I always seem to be driving there in the dark of night and sometimes it takes me awhile to find my destination.

When I drove to the anniversary celebration of the North Pole Library recently, I figured I’d be smart to just follow directions on Google Maps. The directions led me off the Richardson Highway way earlier than I would have planned, then directed me to drive through winding subdivision roads. When Google Maps finally announced the destination was on my right, it was correct. Kind of. I could see the library from where I was located, but it was off in the distance with no obvious way of getting there directly.

When I finally made it there, I asked a librarian about my experience. She laughed and told me I’m not the only one to experience this frustration. She thinks Google Maps is interpreting a snowmachine trail as a road.

A week later, I wanted to stop at the North Pole Chamber of Commerce office on my way back to Fairbanks from Eielson Air Force Base. Google Maps led me to a cul-de-sac with no Chamber in sight. That turned into a phone call instead of a personal visit.

In this age of technology, it’s wise to remember that technology doesn’t always work.

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