Author: Nita Mauigoa

April 29, 2015 Nita Mauigoa

In ancient Hawai‘i, “ali’i,” or royalty, wore feather lei as a sign of “mana,” or spirit and grandeur. In contemporary society, there are endless varieties of lei and meanings. The sentiment of mana, however, still echoes during times like graduation — even in ice-ridden Alaska. The word “lei,” or garland, is specific to the Hawaiian…

July 8, 2014 Nita Mauigoa

Ever see a flower beautiful enough to…eat? For the curious, UAA horticulture/landscaping supervisor Catherine Shenk skimmed the subject of edible flowers. She named some varieties that can grow in Alaska and shared tips from a gardener’s perspective. Shenk used common names for the flowers for the purpose of the article. However, she stressed the importance…

March 19, 2014 Nita Mauigoa

I fell down the stairs. I am just clumsy. She didn’t mean it. But he loves me.

Do these “reasons” sound familiar when a friend or loved one shows up with a black eye or a bruised arm?

The Justice Center and the UAA chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma, the Criminal Justice Honor Society, will introduce the national “NO MORE” campaign against domestic violence to campus through a discussion panel at 7 p.m. March 19 in the Consortium Library.

“Focus will be on bystander intervention to move past the passive agreement that ‘yes domestic violence is bad’ to action — doing something about it,” said Kristen Speyerer, justice major and coordinator of the event.

NO MORE was founded by actress, Mariska Hargitay, and the campaign is taking flight in several universities around the country. Several celebrities have joined the cause of awareness, from rapper Ice-T to comedian Amy Pollard.

To bring local awareness to the table, several experts will serve on the panel, including Marny Rivera, UAA Justice Department faculty; Randi Breager, Alaska State Troopers program coordinator; and Rhonda Street and Dave DeLesline, officers of the Anchorage Police Department.

Speyerer said the annual Alaska Victimization Survey, conducted by the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault and the campus Justice Center, shows figures to give the subject of domestic violence local context. For example, 60 percent of women in Alaska will be a victim of domestic abuse of some sort in their lifetimes. Domestic violence rates in Alaska are the highest in the nation.

Simona Gerdts, who is the president of Apha Phi Sigma and a main coordinator of the event, said the panel will also touch on domestic violence against men, something that is often overlooked and lesser discussed. The NO MORE message is not limited to women.

“Domestic violence does not discriminate against race, national origin, socioeconomic status, gender or sexual orientation — it’s everywhere,” Gerdts said.

Gertdts said the event was organized for March because it is National Criminal Justice month. The event just so happens to take place during NO MORE Week, which celebrates the one-year anniversary of the campaign.

The symbol for the NO MORE message is a blue zero for “no more.” The campus is covered in flyers with the blue zero. Speyerer said the goal is to have the blue symbol as widely recognized as the pink breast cancer ribbon one day.

Gerdts said another goal is to break the taboo of discussing domestic violence, which is often viewed as a personal topic that just isn’t spoken about, even today.

“This is one way to come together. Domestic violence shouldn’t be a stigma, and it shouldn’t be something to be ashamed of,” Gertdts said.


For those who cannot attend, information can be found through the “UAA Says NO MORE” Facebook page at






March 18, 2014 Nita Mauigoa

Flames consumed the hot Louisiana morning in 1964. The owner of a shoe repair shop, Frank Morris awoke to find his shop ablaze and a shotgun aimed at him. ““Get back, nigger!”” the man wielding the gun yelled. Within seconds Morris, who was in the shop, became engulfed in flames. His cries echoed. Morris died and no one was charged for his murder.

Hank Klibanoff, co-author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book “The Race Beat,” about news coverage during the civil rights era, will speak on campus at 7 p.m. March 20.

March 4, 2014 Nita Mauigoa

Spring fever is rampant and many students are ready to jump on that plane and escape to bask in the sultry island heat of Hawai’i. Here are some tips offered by kama’aina (locals from the islands) from around campus on some treasures to check out on O’ahu — the main island destination where 10 million…

March 4, 2014 Nita Mauigoa

Jacqueline Leavitt, owner of Golden Wheel Amusements, remembers being a little girl in early Alaska in 1967, playing by a tiny cotton candy wagon. The hot, sugary scent permeated the air as her mother operated only a handful of rides.

“It was my playground,” Leavitt recalls as someone who has spent her entire life in the family carnival business.

Golden Wheel Amusements is a family owned and operated carnival business that has been the sole provider for Alaska fairs and carnivals, including the Fur Rendezvous, since 1967.

February 23, 2014 Nita Mauigoa

Jevante Mcalister, a biological sciences student, vividly remembers the day he got his heart broken for the first time. The anticipation led up to that fateful Valentine’s Day. All the hard work and preparation he put into his gift for his crush was going to culminate into something beautiful. “I made my crush a Valentine’s…

February 23, 2014 Nita Mauigoa

Some folks just want friends — no sex, no romance — just pure, unadulterated, platonic fun. However, not everyone is a socialite. Craigslist Anchorage takes a break from the conventional personal ads and offers a “strictly platonic” section, where strangers age 18 and over can solicit friendships. Upon reading the posts, they run the gamut…

February 4, 2014 Nita Mauigoa

Hippies and snobs. Those are the kinds of people shopping for organic, natural or specialty foods, right?

“Wrong!” said Natural Pantry owner Vikki Solberg, as she laughed and poked at the common misconception.
The Natural Pantry, Anchorage’s largest, full-fledged organic grocery store, is moving.

“The answer is simple. We’ve rented for 37 years. We wanted to own our place, so no more leasing,”

January 21, 2014 Nita Mauigoa

Various news outlets across Anchorage have painted their headlines with rave reviews about the Downtown Grill, a restaurant hot on the scene.

“Oh my gosh, those are good — yummy!” Maria Downey, an anchor for KTUU said in a quote about DT Grill’s beignets.

Riza Brown, Anchorage Daily News correspondent, dubbed the restaurant as “Southern flair, excellent fare.”

January 14, 2014 Nita Mauigoa

The pathway to religious enlightenment is like a Dr. Seuss Limerick: One could find it here, one could find it there, one could find it anywhere — even at UAA.

Religion isn’t for everyone, but for students looking for a dose of soul food on campus, there are options through registered religious clubs and organizations.

January 14, 2014 Nita Mauigoa

For students seeking to nurture their over-processed brains, there are easily accessible places in town to “escape from it all” in a healthy manner — at least for an hour.

The Alaska Institute of Oriental Medicine, Acupuncture and Massage Therapy/Oriental Healing Arts Center offers free community tai chi and meditation classes Saturdays and Sundays from 9-10 a.m.

November 26, 2013 Nita Mauigoa

Perhaps it’s his alluring pine green complexion or his brawny body and broad shoulders. Or maybe it’s his stylish green and gold jersey or his walloping white fangs.

Whatever it may be, Spirit the Seawolf seems to have that animal magnetism crowds go wild for.

Who is Spirit’s real identity, if any?

November 21, 2013 Nita Mauigoa

Vivid pictures of toddlers soaked knee-deep in muddy water next to piles of wood — remnants of what was once their home — flash a glimpse of how Typhoon Haiyan left the Philippines.

UAA’s Alaskero Partnership Organizers, or APO, held a vigil in honor of those impacted by Typhoon Haiyan in the Student Union Den last Friday, where community members gathered.

November 12, 2013 Nita Mauigoa

The holiday season is here, and the spirit of giving is in the air.

Various Student organizations will host an upcoming food drive event set to run daily from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily in the Student Union cafeteria Nov. 18-20. Hosts include the Golden Key International Honour Society, Tau Kappa Epsilon and the Black Student Union.

Business student Xavier Mason, who is a main coordinator of the event, said food and clothing donations will be accepted from students and the community. Those who donate five pounds of food will receive a prize.

Golden Key President Michael Holmes said donations will also be accepted at the Gorsuch Commons during the same dates and times.

“Students always have items they no longer use. Why not donate them?” Holmes said.

Mason said collected donations will go toward various organizations such as the Children’s Lunchbox, the Salvation Army and the Alaska Food Bank.

“It’s always amazing to see UAA students heading events that benefit the community,” said Bean’s Cafe event coordinator Rebecca Simcox about the event.

The Children’s Lunchbox is a Bean’s Cafe program dedicated to feeding elementary-age children who live in poverty.

According to the Children’s Lunchbox’s website, “in 2012 the Anchorage School District collected income data which showed that over 18,000 of our students right here in Anchorage are living in poverty. They are at risk of not having access to enough healthy food.”

Black Student Union President Ashleigh Gaines said the BSU jumped at the chance to get involved to continue their community-wide involvement.

Mason said a “pizza feed” demonstration will be held Nov. 19 during the food drive. Volunteers are invited to participate. The demonstration will include a group of students that receives pizza while a certain percentage does not. The group that does not get to eat represents the percentage of starving children in Anchorage.

Mason assured that at the end of the demonstration, everyone will eat pizza.

Other demonstrations are planned. Mason said a DJ from KRUA 88.1 FM will also provide music during Tuesday’s event.

Those who have questions or want to get involved can email Mason at [email protected] or call him at 907-310-0319.


November 5, 2013 Nita Mauigoa

Young Mexicans swirled around traditional alters built to welcome the spirits of passed on ancestors. Their faces were painted with skull-like images, symbolism which echoed the sentiments of Mexican Nobel Prize winning poet, Octavio Paz:

“The Mexican, in contrast, is familiar with death. (He) jokes about it, caresses it, sleeps with it, celebrates it. It is one of his favorite toys and his most steadfast love.”

Members of the Mexican community hosted El Dia de Muertos – The Day of the Dead at the Northway Mall this weekend with traditional art, dance and music. Hundreds of visitors basked in the celebration.

October 29, 2013 Nita Mauigoa

Love, sex, drugs and fondue were just some of the themes that bounced around in the ‘70s.

Keep Halloween goodies drug-free yet psychedelic with a colorful array of exotic fruits drenched in warm caramel fondue.

October 22, 2013 Nita Mauigoa

Spirits lingering, dead bodies in the backyard, witch hunts — think “Paranormal Activity,” “Psycho” and “Season of the Witch.” Every year, millions of Americans flock to movie theaters in search of the best horror flick that amps up their “screamometers.” Now eliminate all the special effects, bogus storylines, cheesy acting and predictable plots. You’ll find people in real life who value supernatural elements as integral parts of their lives.

October 16, 2013 Nita Mauigoa

There are people who hear eerie footsteps or see objects move only to discover they are all alone. Was it a ghost or pure imagination?

Stories and rumors of haunted structures have swirled around Anchorage for decades — from UAA’s own Wendy Williamson auditorium to the 4th Avenue Theatre to the Anchor Pub to the Oscar Anderson House Museum.

October 16, 2013 Nita Mauigoa

In the spirit of democracy, many young journalists hail Gretchen Weiss as the editor who exercised freedom of press.

Weiss, who was a biology student with no photography experience, dived in headfirst on a whim and applied for the photographer position at the Northern Light in 2007. From there she flourished and eventually became the executive editor.

October 11, 2013 Nita Mauigoa

Feeling stressed? Pet a puppy.

According to Doug Markussen, director of the campus Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management Support Department or EHSRMS, UAA could join other campuses throughout the United States that have therapy dogs to help relieve stressed out students.

The key word is “could.”

October 1, 2013 Nita Mauigoa

It was a new semester when Sarah, an engineering student, began her transition from a man into a woman.

“In the first week, there was a lot of stares and confusion. I was the guy named Sarah,” Sarah said.

With the exception of one student, she said, her classmates accepted her transition. That was three years ago. Sarah, who is now a confident woman, still recalls that first stage when adjustments were fragile.

October 1, 2013 Nita Mauigoa

Whether it’s about the discovery of dinosaur fossils by the Yukon or headless walruses washed up ashore, many Alaskans are used to reading Suzanna Caldwell’s articles in the Alaska Dispatch.

September 24, 2013 Nita Mauigoa

In celebration of TNL’s 25th anniversary, we will highlight past editors of this newspaper over a span of the next several issues. What has changed at TNL since they worked here? Where are they now? Are they still writing for newspapers or did they run away with the circus?

September 24, 2013 Nita Mauigoa

It started out as a general education course to fill a void on her transcripts. Psychology student Katie Browning said after taking one American Sign Language course, she eventually took every ASL course offered by the university. Browning fell in love with the Deaf culture, which incorporates ASL.

September 19, 2013 Nita Mauigoa

As summer fever filled the air, students were itching to leave town and play. Among the mix was a group of students anxious to travel abroad and dive straight into volunteer work.

Joseph Lurtsema, who is a double major in Natural Sciences and Business, founded the UAA Volunteers Around the World chapter last year. VAW’s mission is to provide medical treatment and health education to less fortunate communities around the world.

September 19, 2013 Nita Mauigoa

As the anniversary for the 1964 “Good Friday” Alaska earthquake looms, Alaskans are reminded it could happen again.

Sourdough Caleb Albeman recalled how the 1964 earthquake — the second-largest in world history — ripped through his Wasilla neighborhood, slamming trees sideways and tearing homes in half. It was on his tenth birthday.

September 5, 2013 Nita Mauigoa

Backpacks and a suitcase bulging with books. That’s all Alaska filmmaker, Mary Katzke and her son, Corin Katzke took when they sold everything and left Anchorage on a one-way trip to Ireland in 2010. They continued to travel across three continents with no set itinerary for what was then Corin’s entire fifth grade school year.

Photographs from the Katzkes’ year-long adventure will be shown during the “World School” exhibit at Hugi Lewis Studios beginning this Friday, Sept 6, 5 p.m. Showings will continue throughout the month. The accompanying “World school” documentary film will screen at the Bear Tooth Theatrepub, Sept. 16, 5:30 p.m.