Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - 23:00

Graduating with honors Candace Blas, Chugiak High School graduate 2006, graduated cum laude from the University of Alaska, Anchorage -Spring 2014, with a degree in International Studies. Her first two years of college were spent in North Carolina at Wake Forest University and Appalachian State University. Currently, Blas is the campaign manager for Claire Ross (D) who is running for the Alaska State Senate, District K.


Honor roll

Dylan Keiffer, of Eagle River, was named to the honor roll at Oklahoma Christian University in Oklahoma City. Keiffer is a junior studying mechanical engineering.


Really good at real estate

The Madden Real Estate teams of Eagle River, Fairbanks and North Pole were recently named one of America’s top 1,000 real estate professional teams by “Real Trends.”

The Madden Team is now ranked in the top one half of one percent of more than 963,000 realtors nationwide.

The teams had an impressive 477 real estate transactions in 2013, retaining the position of Alaska’s top selling real estate team for the fourth year in a row.


Ms. Petite United America

Three Alaskans won top honors at the United America pageant in Austin, Texas on June 21.

The pageant, held at the Wyndham Garden hotel and Woodward Conference Center honors women from all across the United States who serve as role models in their communities.

Women ranging in age from 14 to over 60 competed in personal interviews, fashion wear and evening gown, and also submitted photos for judging.

Deb Morton, of Eagle River, was crowned Ms. Petite United America, a title honoring those who are 5’6” and under. Chanda Ly, of Anchorage, was first runner up in the Mrs. Division. Ariel Talen-Keller, of Chugiak, represented United America last year as Ms. Petite United America. Returning to crown her successor this year, Ariel was bestowed the title of Ms. United America Ambassador, allowing her to wear the crown and represent the pageant for a lifetime.

Morton, is the recruiting, placement and mentoring (RPM) supervisor at the Alaska Military Youth Academy. She has a master’s degree in education-counseling and guidance from the University of Alaska Anchorage. Her husband, Jeff, is a retired Anchorage Police Department Sergeant and currently a State of Alaska, deputy fire marshall, and they have two children.

“I am honored to represent Alaska and look forward to continuing to represent Alaska and the United America pageant,” she said in a press release.

Ariel Talen-Keller has lived in Alaska for seven years. She attended the University of Oregon and graduated with a bachelor of science in geography. She also attended the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences at University of North Dakota where she learned to fly. In 2011, she graduated with a Master of Aeronautical Science degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. She is the founder of Aero Femme Non-Profit Organization & Scholarship Fund – an organization to encourage and educate women of all ages to be involved in aviation, to promote women’s contributions to aviation and award scholarships to individuals. Along with three President’s Volunteer Service Awards for community service, she was nominated for the Top 40 Under 40 award from the Alaska Journal of Commerce. She also sits on the board of directors for the Chugiak Eagle River Senior Center, the Board of Economic Development, and the Airport Advisory Commission for the City of Palmer, Alaska.

Chanda Ly was born in, and spent much of her life, in Cambodian refugee camps in Thailand. She met her husband, Robert Ward, in 1996 and they married the following year. In 1998, they moved to Anchorage, where Ward now works for the Municipality of Anchorage Traffic Department. Chanda became a U.S. citizen in 2000. The couple has two children. Chanda is the head cake decorator for Carrs.

Pageant director, Annette Rushing, said, “We were so thrilled to have contestants from Alaska, and they represented their state so well.”

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