Rising to the Occasion: Gov. Sean Parnell: Gov. Sean Parnell, shown here during a press conference in Juneau in early August, stepped into his new role following former Gov. Sarah Palin's sudden resignation in July. Parnell's holiday open house in Juneau attracted a record number of visitors in December.
Celebrating Statehood: Myrna Allen: Myrna Allen was one of the Fourth of July "Princesses" in 1959, and was pleased to return to play a role in the 50th Anniversary of Statehood celebration as a member of the Capital City Celebrations committee. "It is a joy to live in a community like this that honors its people," she said, calling Juneau "a gift."
Avalanche Whisperer: Bill Glude: In the wake of a second avalanche knocking out transmission towers from the Snettisham hydroelectric plant, there was renewed local interest in the business of preventing avalanche. This is where Bill Glude of Alaska Avalanche Specialists comes in, working on avalanche forecasting and control. "My job is about avoiding thrill," Glude said.
In His Own Words: Willie Hensley: Alaska Native leader William (Willie) Hensley published his memoir, "Fifty Miles From Tomorrow," in early 2009 to national acclaim. A well-attended presentation of the book in Juneau was filmed for C-SPAN's Book TV. "My own hope is that our own people will be inspired to tell their own story," Hensley said. "They don't have to go through a third party."
Sharing Alaska History: John Venables: John Venables is better known in one of his many historical guises, such as William Henry Seward, shown here. In 2009 Venables received a Rasmuson Foundation grant to present his Alaska history program, "Journey to Statehood - Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Alaska Statehood" in 20 towns across the state. He also visited Washington, D.C. on Alaska Day.
Story last updated at 12/30/2009 - 12:12 pm
Juneau seemed the epicenter of drama several times in 2009, from an avalanche in January cutting off Juneau's hydropower (for the second time in less than a year) to Sarah Palin's surprise resignation on the eve of the Forth of July. Through it all, our state was celebrating its 50th Anniversary of Statehood. Whether working behind the scenes or in in the limelight, whether participating in making history or remembering it, here's a look at some of the people who helped put Alaska's best face forward during an historic year.