An Alaska Report - Inner City Press

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     Welcome to Inner City Press’ Alaska Report. The initiative began in early 2000. Below, you will find a copy of the analysis of Alaska Community Reinvestment Act issues that we filed on April 17, 2000, with the Federal Reserve Board, on Wells Fargo & Co.’s application to acquire National Bank of Alaska, the state’s largest financial institution. (The organizations Alaska Village Initiatives, Rural Community Action Program, Alaska Public Interest Research Group and Alaska Inter-Tribal Council have filed comments with the Federal Reserve as well). You will also find Alaska links, and (extremely) periodic Reports, in reverse chronological order. For or with more information, contact us.

May 8, 2000: Bark in Homer

Dear Inner City Press:

    I picked up your address from...the Senior Voice... [T]he banking industry has destroyed the timber industry here on the lower Kenai Peninsula. They closed down the chip market for our dead trees and now we have nowhere to go. They have put many of my neighbors into bankruptcy and ignore any requests for help to get things going again. National Bank of Alaska took over an AIDEA loan for about $2.7 million and we feel they should have some responsibility to our community as a follow-up on this loan. It is way too big for us and bank personnel (Rick Owens) are grabbing everything without regard to the outcome...We do know things are not right and NBA has caused it. Most believe because of the proposed sale [of NBA to Wells Fargo. More:]

     The bark beetle has hit the Kenai Peninsula forest hard and a very large portion of our trees are dead and in such a condition that they are only marketable for chips. With this condition, [local residents] worked for and received a loan from the state for storage and loading facilities to be located on the Homer spit for the Asian market. Some time after it was in operation, NBA stepped in and took over the state loan and started working with Brown's company Circle DE Pacific.

   It has been a touch-and-go situation from the beginning but we were getting a good price for our dead trees which was very important as to get the trees into chips and to the spit is very labor intensive. We have to remove the trees as they are starting to fall and tangle thereby virtually destroying the land for some time to come. In October of last year NBA stepped in and closed down Circle DE and the plant on the spit. They started taking over everything the company had but would not honor Circle DE's obligations... Rick Owens of NBA is the hatchet man and was the one who is calling the shots. Of course he is under Bill Granger and as the local people claim they are to clean up the banks mud holes without getting mud on them. They tried to sell the facilities on the spit but had no one interested so made a deal with Kevin Gates to take it over.

    When they closed us down there was a ship coming into Homer for a load. This would have brought another $1,200,000 in the area which would have helped us all. The company who was buying the chips found out about what was happening and turned the ship around and nothing has happened since then. Many families have had to leave and the records are full of liens against Circle DE for debt owed them. We have no loans but have contracts that are worthless and over 200 truck loads of trees in the deck which have no place to go. The bank and others have been robbing the assets of the company and as of now we are trying to force Circle DE into bankruptcy for our protection.

    The state loan (AIDEA) was given for development of the community and for assistance to take care of the Bark Beetle Epidemic. I can't see how the bank can disregard this position as without it there would not have been anything in the first place.  The bank sent a repressor [editor’s note: repossessor?] down from the Mat-valley and... picked up every piece of equipment they could. They tried to get a feller - buncher from us but decided not because we have a mechanics lien for repairs on it. If I would have let them bluff me into taking it I would have lost it. Rick Owens told me the other day they were coming after me and the machine soon.

    I believe that Wells Fargo directed NBA to clean up their outer areas before taking over as they do not plan on taking care of us and the more they have still going when they take over the harder it will be for them to abandon us. I would not be a bit surprised to find out Rick Owens and Bill Granger were hired by or for this purpose alone.... Their timing falls into the pattern and when we confronted Owens with this he claims he had no knowledge of the Wells Fargo deal when he brought the ax down. But he could not give us another reason for closing things down just before the arrival of the ship... Until the Wells Fargo deal came up NO ONE could come up with an answer for closing us down and dropping a million-plus dollars worth of chips off the market. A ship load is 900 truck loads of chips which will pay a lot of bills. At the time of closing there were to be one and a half ships due to be loaded and the contract was for more...

   THE BANK WANTED OUT FOR WELLS FARGO. They claim this is not so but can or will not give any other logical reason for their actions and timing. All of their actions regarding loans and general business are against good banking practices. The Homer Tribune wrote a three part story on this a couple of months ago. NBA got real mad about it so much of must have been true...

    I would be proud to help and you may turn what I sent in an article or a letter to the editor as you see fit. I submitted comments about the Wells-NBA application with three February issues of the local paper about the situation this morning:

                                                                                                      May 6, 2000
Maria Villanueva
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
101 Market Street
San Francisco, California 94105

[Fax number: 415-974-3031]

Ms. Villanueva:

I am enclosing a series of articles from last February’s local paper which shows the future action of Wells Fargo regarding our rural communities here in our rural communities here in Alaska.

The only reason National Bank of Alaska started the destruction of our timber community was under the direction of and for the sale to Wells Fargo. If you think Wells Fargo will follow the community reinvestment act, you still believe in Santa Claus. Unfortunately we are the losers in the future and can do nothing about it. Please help us while it is still possible.

February 8, 2000: Closure of Circle DE Pacific $15,000,000 - 250 local jobs lost

February 22, (12) Putting the pieces back together City of Homer problems- Kenai Borough problems “To date, no market in sight”.

February 22 (12) Declining enrollment trend may continue. People leaving the state because of no jobs.

February 22, 2000 Region’s chippers claim NBA’s poor timing cost Peninsula jobs, millions sold out for profit taking.

As of this date, there has been no evidence that we were not sold out and as time goes by things with the bank gets worse. We have over 300,000 acres of dead trees with no place to market them. I can guarantee you, Wells Fargo will not reinvest in our community. NBA has a responsibility to the community for taking over the state loan and should not be allowed to disregard this obligation.

Yours very truly,

Lloyd Schade

     ICP Note:  the Kodiak Daily Mirror of April 19, 2000, along with reporting the Community Reinvestment Act challenge below, repored on National Bank of Alaska's foreclosure on Akhiok's power plant.  NBA vice president Gerard Diemer was quoted:  "It might just be that Akhiok isn't big enough to support this kind of thing.  It takes a certain number of people to be able to pay to have power 24 hours a day."   And what will be the attitude if the Federal Reserve allows NBA to be acquired and run by San Francisco-based Wells Fargo?

    Now, here are the Alaska-specific portions of the April 17, 2000 comment to the Federal Reserve Board, on Wells Fargo's application to acquire National Bancorp of Alaska (for our analysis of the Wells / Lower 48 issues, including predatory lending, see ICP's Wells page).  For or with more information, contact us.


APRIL 17, 2000

   On behalf of Inner City Press/Community on the Move (“ICP”) and the Alaska Public Interest Research Group (“AkPIRG;” collectively, the “Protestants”), this is a timely comment opposing and requesting hearings on the applications and notices of Wells Fargo Corporation and its subsidiaries, including Norwest Financial, Norwest Mortgage, and Norwest Bank Minnesota, N.A. (collectively, “Wells Fargo”) to acquire National Bancorp of Alaska and its subsidiaries (“NBA”).

    As set forth below, Wells Fargo has a history of service reductions, branch closings, and diminished focus on the local communities in which it buys banks. This bodes badly for Alaska communities, particularly rural communities (analyzed in detail elsewhere in this Comment, and in the simultaneous filing by Alaska Village Initiatives and RuralCAP [“AVI/RuralCAP”] with which the Protestants concur). In many rural Alaskan communities, NBA is the only bank. Closure of these bank branches could be the death-knell for these local economies...

     This important service reduction / branch closing theme, which has already been voiced in the local press: see, e.g., Anchorage Daily News of January 26, 2000, at 4: “Not only could Wells Fargo cut banking agents, but [Robert] Lawer [a senior vice president at First National Bank of Anchorage] said he wouldn’t be surprised if Wells Fargo closes some NBA branches in remote towns such as Kotzebue.” These concerns are well-founded in Wells Fargo’s previous record of service reductions: see, e.g., The Arizona Republic of April 30, 1999, at E1: “If you bank at Wells Fargo, your favorite branch might be closing this fall. The bank... is closing 35 locations statewide in October...”.

    Las Vegas Review-Journal of February 6, 1999, at 1D: “Wells Fargo also listed 10 locations in Northern Nevada that will close” (in addition to 11 branches in Southern Nevada);

   Albuquerque Tribune, September 3, 1998, at B1 (five branch closings); and

    San Francisco Examiner of April 23, 1996 (“Wells Fargo & Co. will close 259 branches in California this summer and lay off 2,000 more employees”).

    Alaskan communities, particularly low- and moderate-income, Native and rural communities, can ill-afford this Wells Fargo takeover. NBA is the only bank with a branch presence in the four county equivalents of the North Slope, the Northwest Arctic, Bristol Bay and Nome, and is one of only two institutions with a branch presence in the county equivalents of Bethel, Dillingham, Prince of Wales-Outer Ketchikan, Skagway-Hoonah-Angoon, Southest Fairbanks, and Valdez-Cordova. According to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s (the “OCC’s”) CRA performance evaluation, the non-MSA accounts for 67% of the bank’s lending activity by number of loans, 61% of its dollar volume and has 42% of the bank’s deposits, 70% of the bank’s branches and 64% of the ATMs. Sixty four percent of NBA’s total number of home purchase loans and 60% of its total dollar volume of loans are originated in the non-MSA, and the bank is the number one lender of all home mortgage products, with 48% of the market share. It has almost three times the volume of loans as its next largest competitor.

    Annexed hereto is a sworn affidavit by Diane F. Miller, an ICP member who is a customer of both National Bank of Alaska and of Wells Fargo’s Norwest Mortgage subsidiary, who would be harmed by this anticompetitive proposed combination. The merger should be reviewed in not only the consumer finance product market, but also in the (separate) mortgage product market. In the entire state of Alaska in 1998, NBA, with 5,725 loans, had a 22.92% market share. Norwest Mortgage, with 1,491 loans, had a 5.97% market share. NBA’s affiliate Northland Mortgage, with 1,056 loans, had a 4.23% market share -- combined, that’s an anticompetitive 33.12% market share; the nearest competitor would be below 10% market share. Also note that these figures are for the entire state -- anticompetitive concentrations are even worse, in the actual geographic markets in which the FRB must review this merger, particularly in southeast Alaska. Again, the merger should be denied on these antitrust grounds, as well.

    Wells Fargo would have a stranglehold on rural Alaska; decisions regarding the terms of a single loan can make or break an entire community. As AVI/RuralCAP, based on its extensive experience in rural Alaska, puts it:

[I]t has been customary for NBA to require that some rural Alaska borrowers substantially over collateralize loans... [S]uch over collateralization, sometimes as much as ten times, severely limits the local community’s opportunity to maximize the limited resources available to it.

                                                   --AVI/RuralCAP Protest, at 6.

    The Protestants concur in, and incorporate herein by reference, the April 14, 2000 submission of Alaska Village Initiatives and RuralCAP.

   It seems clear from the OCC’s most recent CRA exam of NBA that the federal bank regulators have, to date, put little focus on studying or understanding the unique forces at work in the economy of Alaska, particularly of rural Alaska. The OCC divided its analysis of NBA into “Anchorage” and “Non-Anchorage” sections, thereby lumping together loans and performance in Fairbanks with much more rural communities that are not connected to any urban area by Alaska’s road system. Limiting CRA performance evaluations in Alaska to only two assessment areas (“Anchorage” and “Non-Anchorage”) results in superficial examinations, and continuing under-performance and disparities in rural Alaska. For these reasons, it is imperative that the FRB grant the Protestants’, AVI’s and others’ requests for a public meeting on this proposal, the take-over of Alaska’s largest bank (in many Alaskan communities, the ONLY bank) by Wells Fargo, given the issues in Wells Fargo’s record analyzed above.

    On the current record, Wells Fargo’s application to acquire National Bancorp of Alaska could not legitimately be approved.

* * *

   As discussed above, Norwest Financial and Norwest Mortgage are already active in Alaska. The current performance of these entities, in particular Norwest Mortgage, in the state does not bode well for minorities.

   Norwest Mortgage’s HMDA data refutes any argument that Wells/Norwest will not be a discriminatory lender in Alaska – it already is. In 1998, in the Anchorage MSA, of the 113 conventional home purchase loans Norwest originated, not one went to an African American or Alaska Native. Whereas, the Anchorage aggregate shows that 80 of the 2,666 conventional home purchase loans went to Natives, and 36 went to African Americans.

   Low and moderate income people and geographies in the Anchorage MSA fared badly with Norwest as well. Low income applicants in Anchorage experienced a 40% denial rate at Norwest, compared to an industry aggregate denial rate of 27.68%. Moderate income people were denied by Norwest 25% of the time, compared to an aggregate denial rate of 15.66%. However, middle and upper income applicants enjoyed the low rate of 6.6%.In 1998, Norwest made only 1 conventional loan in a low-income geography and only 5 in moderate income geographies, compared to 107 loans in middle and upper income geographies. Norwest’s investment in LMI areas was less than half the industry aggregate for investment in the same areas.

    Norwest’s 1998 non-MSA HMDA data reports a similar pattern of lending only to whites, yet the aggregate market consistently lends to Natives.

   In the Bethel Census District, where 86.9% of the population is Native, 48 conventional home purchase loans were originated overall, 11 went to Alaska Natives. Norwest made only one loan – to a white applicant for refinancing.

   In the Bristol Bay Census District, where 41.7% of the population is Native, 5 conventional home purchase loans were originated overall, one of which went to a Native family. Norwest made only one loan – to a white applicant for refinancing.

   In the Fairbanks North Star Census District, where 7.2% of the population is Native, 417 conventional home purchase loans were originated overall, with 15 to Natives. Not one of the 6 conventional home purchase loans originated by Norwest went to an Alaska Native.

   In the Kenai Census District, where 7.5% of the population is Native, 348 conventional home purchase loans were originated overall, with 8 going to Natives. Again, not one of the 11 conventional home purchase loans originated by Norwest went to an Alaska Native.

    In the Mat-Su Census District, where 5.6% of the population is Native, 488 conventional home purchase loans were originated overall, with 17 going to Natives. Every single one of the 20 conventional home purchase loans originated by Norwest went to whites.

    In the Nome Census District, where 80.8% of the population is Native, 21 conventional home purchase loans were originated overall, with three going to Natives. Norwest made only one loan – to a white applicant for refinancing.

   In the North Slope Census District, where 56.2% of the population is Native, 31 conventional home purchase loans were originated overall, with 7 to Natives. Norwest granted an FHA loan to a white applicant.

    In the Northwest Arctic Census District, where 87.1% of the population is Native, 11 conventional home purchase loans were originated overall, with 6 to Natives. Norwest made one loan – to a white applicant.

    In the Prince of Wales-Outer Ketchilan Census District, where 43.8% of the population is Native, 23 conventional home purchase loans were originated overall, with 4 going to Natives. Neither of Norwest’s two loans went to an Alaska Native.

   In the Valdez Census District, where 14.4% of the population is Native, 114 conventional home purchase loans were originated overall, with 4 going to Natives. Once again, Norwest only loaned to whites.

   The Protestants contend that Norwest Mortgage’s consistent exclusion of Alaska Natives from conventional home mortgage products make out a presumptive fair lending law violation, and the Protestants call on the FRB to make the required referral to the U.S. Department of Justice. On the current record, this proposed merger should be denied.

    NBA’s record is also relevant in this proceeding.

     NBA dominates in providing financial services in Alaska, holding 45.18% of all deposits in FDIC insured institutions operating in Alaska. The bank provides 25% of the small business lending, by dollar volume, in the state, as of 1998. This market position is even more pronounced in those areas where NBA is the only bank: in Bristol Bay, NBA provides 38% of the money lent for small business; in Nome, it provides 70% of the money lent; in the North Slope 78%, and in the Northwest Arctic an unbelievable 96%. Even in those communities where NBA is one of only two banks with branches, it is solely responsible for much of the money lent: in Bethel, it lends 46% of the cash; in Dillingham, nearly 78%; in Prince of Wales-Outer Ketchikan, nearly 70%; in Skagway-Hoonah-Angoon, 65%; in Southeast Fairbanks, 50%; and in Valdez-Cordova, 45%. However, urban areas such as the Fairbanks North Star Borough only look to NBA to provide 7.9% of the capital for small business loans. Retrenchment by Wells in rural Alaska threatens to cripple these areas access to credit and economic opportunity.

     NBA’s record in the MSA reveals a higher than average denial rate to low and moderate income people and minorities. This was not picked up in the Fair Lending Review by the OCC since the review explicitly excluded an examination of any minority group other than Native. See discussion below. There is no reasonable explanation for this, since the Anchorage MSA is ethnically and racially diverse: 7.9% are Native, 7.2% are African American, 6.9% are Asian, and 6.3% are Hispanic.

    In the Anchorage MSA in 1998, NBA made 192 conventional home purchase loans to whites and 13 loans to Alaska Natives. Its denial rate for whites was 7.6%, while for Natives it was 26.3%; a NBA’s denial rate 3.46 times higher for Natives than for whites. This compares to an industry aggregate of 6.48% denial rate for whites and 14.8% denial rate for Natives, resulting in a disparity of only 2.28: 1.18 times lower than NBA’s.

    African Americans in the Anchorage MSA faced an even higher disparity in denial rates for conventional home purchase loans by NBA than Natives did. In 1998, NBA made 192 loans to whites and only 3 loans to African Americans. Its denial rate for African Americans was 28.6%, or 3.76 times higher than its 7.6% denial rate for whites. This compares to substantially lower denial rates for African Americans in the industry aggregate of only 11.5%, a disparity between whites of only 1.77.

    Hispanics fared the worst. In 1998, NBA made 192 conventional home purchase loans to whites and 4 loans to Hispanics. NBA denied loans to Hispanics 57.14% of the time, or 7.52 more often than to whites. Again, the disparity between loan denials to Hispanics and whites is significantly lower than NBA’s. The industry as a whole, posted a 6.48% denial rate for whites and 25.7% denial rate for Hispanics, resulting in a 3.97 disparity -- 3.55 times lower than NBA’s.

    Low and moderate income applicants also faced denial rates at NBA that were disproportionate to the aggregate. In the Anchorage MSA, NBA denied low income borrowers seeking conventional home purchase loans 51.51% of the time, compared to the aggregate denial rate of 27.68% Moderate income borrowers fared only slightly better, being denied 25.31% of the time by NBA, compared to 15.66% in the aggregate. Borrowing for properties located in LMI geographies also shows higher than average denial rates for NBA customers as compared to the aggregate.

    Home improvement lending patterns are no better. In 1998, in the Anchorage MSA, low income borrowers seeking home improvement loans had less than 33% chance of getting a loan with NBA, whereas they had better than a 52% chance in the aggregate. Overall, with NBA, LMI borrowers faced a 50% denial rate compared to MUI borrowers who faced a 19.03% denial rate.

    Most disturbing however, is that the outreach and services of Northland Mortgage, a subsidiary of National Bancorp, appear targeted at the same well-to-do white population as Norwest Mortgage. In the Anchorage MSA in 1998, Northland made not one conventional home loan to an Alaska Native, African American or Hispanic.

    Absent a takeover, it is possible that NBA, as an Alaska-owned bank, would address its shortcomings with the community. However, given Wells Fargo’s track record, it does not seem realistic to assume it would shore up these shortcomings. In conjunction with its conduct, Wells Fargo’s takeover of NBA causes grave concern.

    As noted above, NBA dominates banking outside the MSA, an area covering everywhere but Anchorage. Branch closings and service reductions would devastate, and in some instances, eliminate, the economies of large portions of the non-MSA. Based on Wells Fargo’s record, the Protestants reasonably conclude that should the merger be approved, branch closings will ensue. The merger should be denied.

    Even the OCC, in its (cursory) most recent CRA exam, understood the significance of the non-MSA when it wrote, “NBA’s overall performance is largely predicated upon its performance in the rural non-MSA portion of the assessment area outside the Anchorage MSA.” 1999 Performance Evaluation at 8. However, for some bizarre reason, the OCC accepted a single consolidated non-Anchorage, non-MSA assessment area.

   Alaska is comprised of 27 census areas: Anchorage, covering 1,698 sq uare miles is one, and non-Anchorage, covering 568,676 square miles, are the other twenty-six. Contrary to the suggestion in the 1999 Performance Evaluation, the 26 non-Anchorage census areas are not devoid of life. Rather each of these 26 areas has a discrete culture and economy. Packing them into one assessment area is inappropriate. Not only do the poverty, wage rates and racial compositions in each area vary widely, but also the local economies vary independently. Assessing all of Alaska except Anchorage as one area obscures any meaningful scrutiny of the credit and service needs of the depositors and the bank’s conformance with CRA. Community Reinvestment Act means invest in the community from which deposits are taken: Barrow and Ketchikan (located off of the road system), which are separated by more than a thousand miles cannot, under any legitimate analysis, be considered the same community. Yet, because these might be small towns by lower 48 standards, that is precisely what the OCC would have us believe in its evaluation.

   Some examples of the diversity within the non-MSA:

   In the Bristol Bay Borough (where NBA is the only institution with a branch presence), located on the shores of one of the world’s best salmon fisheries, only four percent of the population is below the poverty line, while the Wade Hampton area, with undeveloped business opportunity (perhaps because there is no bank branch in the area), has a poverty rate of 38.9%.

    The North Slope Borough (where NBA is again the only institution with a branch presence), which is home to most of Alaska’s oil reserves and produces nearly 20% of America’s oil, relies almost exclusively on tax revenues from oil. Over $40,000 per resident in oil tax revenues are generated annually, and nearly as much is spent in Borough employment and services to its communities. This wealth, which fluctuates in relation to the production rates and price of oil, is reflected in a poverty rate of only 4.3%.

    The Northwest Arctic Borough (where NBA is again the only institution with a branch presence), is an area adjoining the North Slope. It gleans no benefit from its oil-rich neighbor. The Inupiat Eskimos, who comprise nearly 85% of the population, have lived here for about 10,000 years. While subsistence activities are an integral part of the lifestyle and caribou, whale, seal and fish are important subsistence foods, government, mining, health care, transportation, services and construction contribute significantly to the local economy. In fact, the Red Dog Mine, north of Kotzebue, is the largest producer of zinc concentrate in the world and provides 370 direct year-round jobs and over a quarter of the borough's wage and salary payroll. Opportunities for small business development in this region exist, but only if bank loans are accessible.

    The Fairbanks North Star Borough, based in the city of Fairbanks, is the second-largest population center in the state with 83,773 people. Five banks have branches in the region, and 17 lenders are active. Fairbanks is second only to Anchorage in the number and dollar amount of small business loans made. Only 45 minutes by air from Anchorage and four hours from Seattle, it is an urban area with a diverse economy and is home to the leading university in the State of Alaska. City, Borough, State and federal government agencies, including the military, provide nearly half of the employment in the Borough. Eielson Air Force Base, the Borough School District and the University of Alaska Fairbanks are the primary public employers. Retail services, tourism, transportation, medical, and other services are the primary private sector activities. Although the Koyukon Athabascans have lived in this area for thousands of years, today only 7.2% of the population are Alaska Natives. This compares to Anchorage, where 7.9% of the population is Native. Fairbanks’ poverty rate of 8% is also lower than Anchorage’s rate of 8.7%.

   Under the one non-Anchorage assessment area principle, the bank is getting credit for activities in “rural” Alaska when it operates in Fairbanks, which is properly treated as an urban area. This configuration is unacceptable and guts the purpose of CRA.

    This consolidated assessment area creates an even more troubling evaluative impasse when considering Fair Housing implications. It is impossible to determine by review of the CRA Evaluation whether an institution is violating the Fair Housing Act when the lending performance is measured against the 26 combined census areas, with a combined minority rate of 26.1%, as opposed to a individual district rates that range across the board: Wade Hampton is 92.7% minority, Bethel is 88.1% minority, Juneau is 20.4%, and the Matanuska-Sustina Borough, the whitest area of Alaska, is only 7.3% minority.

     On this issue, the Fair Lending Review is baffling. The review explicitly excluded an examination of any minority group other than Native, and no mention is made whether review was in the MSA or out. As discussed above, in the MSA, African Americans and Hispanics experience disproportionate denial rates to Natives. At the very minimum, a CRA exam must include a meaningful Fair Lending Review. In this case, none occurred....

      For the reasons set forth above, the FRB should schedule and hold a public hearing on this Application, and, on the current record, the FRB must deny the Application.

     NOTE:  For or with more information, contact us.  This will be updated; stay tuned...

    Some Alaska links:

Anchorage Daily News

Fairbanks News-Miner

Photos of hundreds of Alaska communities

Demographic info on hundreds of Alaska communities

Alaska links, including Native Corporations, c/o

Alaska Public Interest Research Group

Alaska transportation, c/o

Lehman's "Non-Electric" Catalog (for Amish, and Alaskans)

The "Anchorage Cam" -- downtown Anchorage

     Some particularly striking Alaska books:

"The Last Settlers," by Jennifer Brice and Charles Mason, Duquesne University Press, 1998 (re homesteaders in Slana and elsewhere)

"Pioneer Bush Pilot," a biography of Noel Wien, by Ira Harkey

''The Last New Land: Stories of Alaska, Past and Present,'' edited by Wayne Mergler

''Shackleton: The Antarctic Challenge,'' by Kim Heacox (and his "Alaska Light")

''The Last Light Breaking: Living Among Alaska's Inupiat Eskimos,'' by Nick Jans

''Williwaw,'' by Tom Bodett

''The Inupiaq Eskimo Nations of Northwest Alaska,'' by Ernest Burch

''Shadows on the Koyukuk: An Alaskan Native's Life Along the River,'' by Sidney Huntington as told to Jim Rearden

''Bamboo Fly Rod Suite: Reflections on Fishing and the Geography of Grace,'' by Frank Soos

''Authentic Alaska: Voices of Its Native Writers,'' edited by Susan B. Andrews and John Creed

   Again, for or with more information (or more links, books, etc.), contact us.

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