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.

Watch for some social distanced positive picketing Friday morning on the Cushman Street Bridge when supporters of United Way recognize nonprofits doing good work in the Fairbanks North Star Borough.

Normally, this traditional event marks the beginning of the United Way Day of Caring and volunteer activities would continue throughout the day. But the coronavirus pandemic has limited that option, so no groups will be gathering. Instead, organizers are counting on the positive picketing to raise awareness of nonprofits and the ongoing need for volunteers.

The positive picketers will meet in the parking lot of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner at 6:30 a.m. and picketing will continue from there along the bridge, until 9 a.m. Coffee will be available at the Red Cross truck in the News-Miner parking lot.

“We want to catch the early morning, on the way to work traffic,” said volunteer coordinator Shea Brenneman. 

The picket signs will advertise local nonprofits and will also share uplifting messages, like “Be The Golden Heart of Fairbanks” and “Invest In Your Community.” Local businesses supporting United Way and supporters of nonprofits are expected to be on hand for the positive picketing, which will promote the work of nonprofits and encourage investment in the local community.

United Way of the Tanana Valley supports nonprofit agencies who provide essential health and human services in the Tanana Valley, as well as fundraising, advocacy and volunteer resources so nonprofits can focus on essential programs.


Retired Teacher Scholarships

Fairbanks Retired Teachers Association announces the 2020 scholarship recipients, and a deferred 2019 recipient.

Every year, this group of retired teachers raises funds for this scholarship program and administers accounts donated for this purpose.

“These six young people have outstanding academic and community records and our organization is proud to assist in their continuing education,” said Judy Rae Smith, who spearheads the scholarship committee.


Recipients of the $1,500 scholarships include:

Elena Rodriguez, North Pole High School. She plans to attend  Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. Her goal is become a radiation oncologist.  

Vaughn Simpson, West Valley High School. He plans to study engineering and computer sciences at Colorado School of Mines.

Owen Luo, North Pole High School. He plans to attend University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, with the goal of becoming a general surgeon in Fairbanks. 

Jakob Wade, North Pole High School. He plans to attend Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and plans to work in public policy.  

Thomas West Bueler-Faudree, West Valley High School. 

He plans to attend Columbia University in New York City and become instrumental in social media.

The 2019 recipient is Zeber Khan, Eielson High School. Zeber will attend University of Alaska Fairbanks in spring 2021 and study engineering.  


K-9 Vest Fundraiser

The ninth annual fundraiser to acquire bullet- and stab-protective vests for specially-trained dogs in Alaska takes place this Saturday/Sept. 12-13, at the Alaska K-9 Center at 1995 Badger Road in North Pole.

The event, held 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days includes vendors, food trucks and a car show sponsored by Gene’s Chrysler Jeep and Ram. A silent auction will be held both days. Vendors are still invited to participate. Call 907 378-5868.

All proceeds go to Vested Interest in K-9s, to purchase bullet- and stab-protective vests for working K-9s in Alaska.

Beth Frank, owner of the dog training facility Alaska K-9 Center sponsors this event every year, because of her love of dogs and law enforcement. She is connected with Vested Interest in K-9s, a national nonprofit organization whose mission is, in part, to protect dogs in law enforcement with these special vests. The vests can cost as much as $1,000 apiece.

Reach columnist/community editor Kris Capps at Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMKris.