Alaska’s Advocate Writer

DONN LISTON is an independent journalist who has lived in Alaska since 1962, and Eagle River since 2010. He was a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News during pipeline construction, and a certified teacher who taught Adult Basic Education. He was selected as a 2013 BP Teacher of Excellence for work with Nine Star teaching adult basic education classes in a basement classroom at the Mountain View Boys and Girls Club, and the Mat-Su Job Center. DONN was a member of three State Education Commissions.

David Windsor also contributes a regular weekly column on this website instructionally addressing business and real estate news,

Donn Liston and David Windsor

Today, DONN is a retiree, focused on giving back to Alaska through independent journalism. Objective of this website is to advocate for the interests of the Alaskan people. DONN LISTON Alaska’s Advocate Writer. We tell the stories of our time for the record and in the hope better decisions are based on knowledge of the past.

Thank you for taking the time to read our stories! Alaska is a beautiful and vast state with great potential. We want to share our amazing story since statehood with the world!

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Latest Posts:

  • Shiloh Community Housing Has Big Plans
    A Quality Resource Center in Mt View This writer spent some of my youth in an Anchorage that was a community of characters you might read about in good fiction, and as a young man I came to know a lot of them. As a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News during the mid-1970s I sometimes wrote stories about them, as happened in this story about old-time crime. Today Anchorage crime is much worse and homelessness is a crisis. Our local elected leaders have made great efforts to warehouse people experiencing homelessness. Many from rural Alaska migrate to Alaska’s largest …

    Shiloh Community Housing Has Big Plans Read More »

  • How Long To Keep Financial Records
    Many folks are confused, and understandably so, about how long to keep financial records. Some feel that to ask this question makes them appear foolish. There are no silly questions. Fools are identified by the failure to ask questions, not the reverse. For the most part, how long to keep records is centered on IRS requirements. For this reason 5 years is a good general rule. All your financial records could be required for audit of your taxes for that length of time. Whilst the IRS normally conducts audits only within 3-5 years from the year of the return, there …

    How Long To Keep Financial Records Read More »

  • How Bad Does YOUR Alaska School Have To Get?
    Kenai Parents are Taking Back a Failing School Members of the community of Nikolaevsk met Friday, September 23, 2022 and formally voted to start a Charter School. Next will likely be war with the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District (KPBSD) bureaucracy responsible for systemic degradation of the once vibrant school. KPBSD Board of Education Charter School Oversight Committee will be meeting September 27, 2022 at the school district headquarters to consider the Initial Homer Forest Charter School Application.1 This Date is too early for Nikolaevsk School parents to present their proposal to do the same thing, but they are working …

    How Bad Does YOUR Alaska School Have To Get? Read More »

    Bear naked ladies, and their children, seem to be everywhere these days – not just at the State Fair. In my own eastside neighborhood, one particular black bear and her three cubs are so well known by the State Fish and Game department that they will soon be needing a full time operator to take calls from alarmed residents. The interesting thing about City Black Bears, as Fish and Game call them, is that they are regarded as “good bears” in general and F&G are reluctant to relocate them because they always come back to their favorite neighborhoods. Another bearly …


  • Brian Endle: What Matters in the MatSu Valley? Election Integrity and Conservative Values
    Imagine a trained computer software developer in the MatSu Valley who intuitively questions integrity of computerized voting machines in Alaska elections. Should that person go to all the expense and trouble of running for local office to address this concern on the front line of political warfare? That’s what Brian Endle has chosen to do. And while he isn’t a one-issue candidate he believes without secure elections nothing else matters. I have 20 years IT experience–I started out as a programmer and then worked my way up to supervise a number of IT programmers and started managing projects and implementations, …

    Brian Endle: What Matters in the MatSu Valley? Election Integrity and Conservative Values Read More »

    There are hundreds of homes in the Anchorage bowl with a 2-wire, ungrounded electrical system. This is because homes built before 1962 were not required to have an inbuilt grounding path. The National Electrical Code still allows for those older homes to retain the 2-wire system because it is not inherently unsafe. What happened is that technology advanced and the 3-wire system is regarded as ‘more’ safe. If you are purchasing a home with the 2-wire system you need to talk to your home inspector because you can overreact or underreact to this issue. Rewiring the home is very expensive …

    HOW ARE YOU WIRED? Read More »

  • Vision of the AK Roundtable: Impact the Future of Alaska!
    What are the top issues facing Alaska and who is examining them with an eye to educating Alaskans to insist elected officials make well-informed decisions? Wise elected officials should want to know this, too. A lot has been happening organizationally with AK Roundtable and this is an update on the previous story written December 23, 2021. Intent of the AK Roundtable Effort The purpose of an election is to enable a qualified citizen who registers to vote to select who will represent them, period–not to enable organizations, unions from all over the United States to come in here and dump …

    Vision of the AK Roundtable: Impact the Future of Alaska! Read More »

  • Anatomy of a team
    Over the last 10 years there has been a clear trend towards real estate ‘teams’ – i.e. 2 or more licensed real estate operators joining up to operate as one. The obvious question that arises is whether this is beneficial to you the consumer. Recognizing some personal bias (since I am not a team nor intend to have one) I strongly suggest that one experienced individual licensee is better for you than a team headed by one experienced licensee but operating through as many as 20 team members. Let us examine the evolution of the team structure, its pitfalls and …

    Anatomy of a team Read More »

  • Peckers Can’t Be Choosers
    By golly, some of my clients are reporting woodpeckers knock-knock-knocking on their wood siding again. They beat up on your trim and may even, at times, create a hole for other birds to nest in. Don’t be too hard on this little guy. He is likely a ‘Northern Flicker’ looking for food. Are there ways to protect yourself from a bird attack like this? Yes, there are remedies to deter woodpeckers. Various products are on the market, including everything from miniature cannons that fire off a sonic bang every few minutes to visual deterrents such as fake owls or other …

    Peckers Can’t Be Choosers Read More »

  • Did NANA Construction Harm Don Tolbert?
    He Says this Employer turned his life upside down… In 2021 the NANA Corporation—owned by more than 15,000 Iñupiaq shareholders who live or have roots in northwest Alaska—was named number three among the top 49 companies in Alaska, by Alaska Business Magazine.1 This for-profit Native Regional Corporation; formed under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971; has a lot going on, and when you have a lot of employees, sometimes bad things can happen. In 2014, something bad happened with NANA Construction probationary employee, Don Tolbert, which continues to plague him today. I applied for a welding position at …

    Did NANA Construction Harm Don Tolbert? Read More »

    Liquid investments or deposits, real estate, and gold are a wise trifecta for securing your financial security. Gold bullion can certainly be purchased and, in fact, held in any vault across the world if you open an account with someone like You can bid on or sell ounces of gold and know they are physically stored on your behalf. Much easier than purchasing actual gold and finding somewhere to hide it. For others, it may be easiest to simply invest in the Exchange Traded Fund – ‘GLD’, which tracks the actual daily price of gold. GLD trades for around …


  • Anchorage Sells off Girdwood: Workers Require AFFORDABLE Housing!
    Ah, to live in Girdwood, where the Beautiful People spend winters cavorting on the world-class ski slopes of Mt. Alyeska, and summers swatting mosquitoes. My own father lived in a condo there until he died in 2014 at age 84. I once asked him–at age 74–if he still skied a lot? His reply: Yep, and nobody can catch me! Once a recreational playground for southcentral Alaska, today some things are catching up with the community of Girdwood; something about a proposed development that dramatically increases the community’s footprint with multi-million-dollar dwellings, has red signs distributed around the town like crushed …

    Anchorage Sells off Girdwood: Workers Require AFFORDABLE Housing! Read More »

    Most of the information in this article is easily corroborated online but the writer wishes to highlight that Anchorage Bowl and Valley homes are now recommended for Radon testing. Alaska is rated the most Radon active State in the United States. The EPA suggests that levels above 4 picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L) are a health risk factor, particularly for lung cancer. Radon comes from the ground so properties with a crawlspace or basement are the most likely candidates. Above ground structures on a slab are less vulnerable though not guaranteed. Radon is a natural gas and comes from …


  • Candidate for Alaska U. S. Senate: Karl Speights’ Patriot Platform
    The Frank & Lisa Murkowski Dynasty must be very pleased at the way this US Senate election is shaping up. The more candidates running against Murkowski, the more voters will pick familiar names and waste votes on candidates who have no chance of winning. Nineteen candidates are running in the top-four primary for United States Senate in Alaska on August 16, 2022. Murkowski is a Republican Progressive Legend.1 Having recognized all of that, one candidate is appealing to fed up Alaskan Patriots. Placing among the top four in the Jungle Primary could cause his message to resonate to like-minded Alaskans …

    Candidate for Alaska U. S. Senate: Karl Speights’ Patriot Platform Read More »

  • Deed of Trust or Mortgage?
    Dear Dave: We have just moved to Anchorage after living in Hawaii for some 10 years. We are a bit confused because the paperwork for closing the mortgage loan is completely different from what we are used to. Can you explain why Alaska’s real estate practices are so weird? What is a Deed of Trust anyway? Answer: Quite a number of States operate similarly to Alaska. In Hawaii, the lending process for real estate is Mortgage based. Alaska operates under a Deed of Trust theory. These are 2 distinctly different styles under which Lenders give loans for the real estate purchase. …

    Deed of Trust or Mortgage? Read More »

  • Ed Martin Jr. Doesn’t take NO for an Answer
    Grand Jury At the Kenai Courthouse Aug. 3: Bring it on! Unintimidated by bureaucrats of the Alaska Court System, Ed Martin, Jr. continues to press for compliance with liberties guaranteed by our Alaska Constitution. The latest standoff with court security staff and protestors in Kenai Wednesday, August 3, 2022, represents a flashpoint that could have statewide repercussions. A sixth Kenai Grand Jury is being asked to hear local citizens’ charges of government wrongdoing. Court bureaucrats think their permission and participation is required to provide information of public wrongdoing to a seated Grand Jury. The court is expected to again demand …

    Ed Martin Jr. Doesn’t take NO for an Answer Read More »

  • Huhnkie Lee; Social Media Sensation
    I find it hilarious when people criticize me and I try to keep my sense of humor about it. I have a regular appearance online every Friday where your readers can see my presentations. Yeah, it’s a Zoom meeting, called Friday and I love Huhnkie Lee. It is open to everybody. They can talk, because I want to listen, and learn from the people all around the world: Africa, Europe, Australia, India, Vietnam, Asia, all have appeared. I am very transparent.
  • LAND UPDATE – Not A Lot O’ Lots
    So we always talk about housing but what about the land needed to build it on? We have all heard of gold, silver, zinc and lead but there are a host of Rare Earth Elements (REE) such as Terbium, Lanthanum and Neodymium that are critical for radar systems and consumer electronics. Although China has half of the world’s rare earth elements, Alaska is considered a strong potential source of rare earth also. As rare as rare earth elements may be, we might also say that any earth is now becoming rare, particularly in Anchorage where buildable lots are few and …

    LAND UPDATE – Not A Lot O’ Lots Read More »

  • EaglExit Draft Proposal Review
    What MORE do you need to know about this effort? The citizen’s group known as EaglExit declares in its current Draft Proposal for detachment (04/24/22) that residents of the Chugach-Eagle River Area are not well-served by the Municipality of Anchorage (MOA) and they want the constitutionally established Alaska Local Boundary Commission (LBC) to allow detachment and formation of a new borough. I have described the citizen’s group efforts in this process of detaching Assembly District 2 (AD2) in previous stories which I will link individually here. Go bold or go home! 1,008 Sq Miles from the northern part of the …

    EaglExit Draft Proposal Review Read More »

    You must get tired of all the internet marketing of every service you can think of. I do. As it applies to Real Estate, do be careful of believing cute one-liners that sound great – but may not be. In Alaska, Real Estate Agents are now designated ‘Licensees’ by Statute and this is often confusing. Your Realtor or other Licensee in Alaska is an agent of real estate and represents you within the designated legal boundaries described in the Consumer Pamphlet which you must be given when you start working with your Licensee. So how do you find the ideal …


  • My Cyber-Crisis Solution: Peterson & Associates Inc.
    Small businesses must come to terms with the Internet. There is no way around it, a business owner cannot let the power of technology be left to competitors. A recent event in my own business brought this blinding realty home to this writer. As a result of this experience, somebody 40 years younger than me has rocked my world. His name is Pete Peterson, and his company—with his lovely wife, Alexis—is called Peterson & Associates, Inc. This story will give you appreciation for the good possible with the Internet, which we have all feared is transcending into Dante’s Inferno.1 On …

    My Cyber-Crisis Solution: Peterson & Associates Inc. Read More »

    Am I mistaken or has the habit of not being truthful accelerated? In marketing, business and private conversation, is lying almost a ‘norm’? Adolf Hitler demonstrated that if you keep telling people the same thing long enough, and loud enough, they will come to believe it! The Grobe Luge (big lie) is any gross distortion or misrepresentation of truth, according to Hitler, who first used the phrase in “Mein Kampf”. Subsequently, it was deliberately employed by Nazis as a propaganda technique to justify the Holocaust. Enough Grobe Luge and lots of people get hurt. For 10 years of my life I …


  • Western Alaska Deserves Better in Juneau: Willy Keppel Says He Can Make a Difference
    Politics is what decides who gets what. Rural Alaska has been electing Democrats to represent them in the Alaska Legislature since before statehood but Rural Alaska remains 3rd World Status in the richest state (per capita) in the United States. But along with Alaska summer activities and the whiff of salmon being smoked is the pungent smell of rural politics as the people again decide if they are satisfied with Democrats–who sometimes call themselves Independents–baiting in Bethel and switching in Juneau. Voting data from the Alaska Division of Elections shows voters in rural Alaska have given up. Why bother to …

    Western Alaska Deserves Better in Juneau: Willy Keppel Says He Can Make a Difference Read More »

  • David Windsor’s Secret of Success: Top Real Estate Producer Since 1992 Educates Alaska
    The real estate business is complicated and requires knowledge for reputable practitioners who are regulated by the State of Alaska to provide Alaskans with honest and responsible property exchange options. I have known many real estate professionals and regret I have witnessed some who exploit those who trust them through cunning because of the client’s lack of understanding about how the business works. My long-time friend, Realtor David Windsor, is a top producer in the industry and brings a fascinating life experience to this business. I have long admired David’s periodic instructional newsletters helping general consumers and practitioners understand how …

    David Windsor’s Secret of Success: Top Real Estate Producer Since 1992 Educates Alaska Read More »

    The Hebrew word “Yom” is the word used in Genesis to describe the stages of God’s creation. Hebrew etymology shows that the “Day” referred to in the Hebrew language of the Old Testament is actually a “Period of Time” and not necessarily a 24 hour period. It could be one of our modern days or ten thousand years. In business practice, including Real Estate, the word “Day” is of particular importance, especially as it pertains to the Purchase and Sale Contract. There are many items in the deal that have time limits – 3 days, 5 days etc. They are …

    HOW LONG IS A DAY? Read More »

    For many years, Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FHLMC) have been offering to waive the need for an appraisal when the borrower puts 20% or more down. Alaska Housing (AHFC) will also follow the Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac waiver offer. When a lender takes your conventional loan application on a particular property, they run it through an Automated Underwriting System (AUS) which electronically assesses the loan applicant and the subject property and provides the lender an initial underwriting decision. As part of this decision, artificial intelligence (affectionately known as DU – ‘Desktop Underwriter’ at Fannie Mae, and LP …


  • Kenai Court Judges Jennifer K. Wells & William F. Morse: “Never Mind the Alaska Constitution…”
    One legislator calls out Kenai Kabuki1 Court! Kenai Superior Court Judge, Jennifer K. Wells doesn’t believe the Alaska Constitution means what it says. Her boss, formerly of Kenai but now Presiding Judge of the Third Judicial District, William F. Morse, doesn’t either. Gov. Michael Dunleavy’s (Deputy) Attorney General John Skidmore has already made it very clear that the Alaska Court System will interpret the constitution any damn way they want to, and there will be consequences to citizens (in which all political power resides under the Alaska Constitution) who might think Alaska Grand Juries are more than just a show …

    Kenai Court Judges Jennifer K. Wells & William F. Morse: “Never Mind the Alaska Constitution…” Read More »

    Question: Is a tree real estate? Answer: Yes, anything permanently fixed to the land which you own is real estate. When you sell your property, the trees go with the real estate. You cannot remove trees, or growing plants, from a pending sale without the buyer’s consent. An uprooted, fallen tree is no longer real estate but, like firewood, it is personal property and, as such, could remain or be removed. If you are in the middle of a sale you should discuss the options with the buyer. Question: Do trees add to the value of your property? Answer: The …


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