Contributed by Josh Fryfogle
Talkeetna is a place all its own, instilling a feeling that is hard to describe, a picture-perfect place of poetry. To quote local lyricist, Larry Zarella:
"That's a quick picture of Talkeetna I know
Way up in the northland, that's how the summers go
There's a change in the leaves, the lake starts to freeze
Feathers fly south on a cold... Winter breeze..."
Expanding distribution of The People's Paper into Talkeetna has taken a little more time than I had originally thought. But things tend to happen when they happen, and you just have to go with it. Make hay when the sun shines, as the saying goes.
The Talkeetna Good Times newspaper had served this tight knit community for many years, but no more. It wasn't long after the Good Times stopped publishing that several folks from the Talkeetna area started reaching out to me, asking that I consider expanding The People's Paper north. I wanted to, and would have sooner, but the timing wasn't good.
All in good time, as they say.
Last month I made the trip to this cool town on the Susitna River, and found a bustling hot spot of tourist traffic! The locals were quick to tell me that this would drop off in September. Perfect. The People's Paper is not expanding to Talkeetna for the tourists! We're for the people of Talkeetna.
The Matanuska and Susitna valleys are governed by the same borough, hyphenated together as the Mat-Su. It makes sense to expand distribution to accommodate this same area. As the economy in Alaska is influx, with drastic measures taken at the state level to satisfy financial obligations, it is important to look at what each community is doing well.
Clearly, Talkeetna makes good use of their tourist industry, bustling with locally owned businesses that thrive throughout the summer. The rest of the Mat-Su could certainly benefit from this, with a little guidance from our northern neighbors. And the social and political concerns of Talkeetna should be included alongside other Mat-Su content, shedding light on the big picture in Mat-Su area as a whole.
Regular readers already know how this publication works: you write it, you read it! A truly community-driven newspaper, written by local people, and locally-owned too. As winter rolls in and fall fades fast, I invite the people of Talkeetna to use this publication as you will. Help us shape the paper each month with your words, thoughts, essays and poetry:
"Then it's three feet of snow and it's twenty below
And it's chopping the wood and it's loading the snow
And it's warm with the candles in the cabin at night
And the sky comes alive with a show... From the northern lights..."
-Larry Zarella, "Ebling's Waltz"
I look forward to getting to know this community, and hope The People's Paper can help us get to know each other - our Alaskan neighbors - as one community. Along the way, we are also adding some distribution in Houston and Willow, connecting the dots of our Mat-Su community.
Check out The People's Paper on Facebook for a cool video I made of Talkeetna that's been shared by people all over the world, and viewed over ten thousand times.
Send your articles and events to be included in upcoming editions of the paper through our website: www.makeasceneAK.com.
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