Letters to the Editor
To the citizens of Girdwood,
On Friday May 11th, emergency personnel were dispatched to Twenty Mile River from a call regarding a women “stuck in the mud.” In the four responding units from Girdwood Volunteer Fire & Rescue were Captain Josh Heuer, Firefighter EMT1 Jack Vice, Firefighter EMT3 Lynn Whitcomb and Engineer Connor Gamache. Already on scene from the Anchorage Police Department were Officer Sean Purechell and Officer Vic Washington.
Officer Purechell had already stripped down to his undies and was in the water holding onto the victim. GFD members pulled a disconnect (firehose) and connected it to “the tool,” donned their dry suits and PFDs. By now the water was up to the victim’s armpits and rising.
Captain Josh Heuer & Firefighter EMT3 Lynn Whitcomb entered the water and deployed the “mud rescue tool” and in approximately 90 seconds had that the victim out and onto dry ground. That quick extraction is exactly what the water tool was invented to do, two months after a 1999 incident in which a 12-year old boy became stuck while duck hunting with his father. However, after rescuing his son, the father became stuck, and when rescuers showed up it took 29 minutes to free him.
The citizens of Girdwood are proud to thank and honor these individuals:
Capt. Josh Heuer
FF EMT1 Jack Vice
FF EMT3 Lynn Whitcomb
Engineer Connor Gamache
APD Officer Sean Purechell
APD Officer Vic Washington
I am personally grateful and honored to have this tool handed down to the next generation of such brave, gifted and well-trained people of our community putting your lives in danger and pulling off one heck of a rescue. Your selfless commitment to saving lives is really what it is all about. From the bottom of my heart – I thank you! And to a damn fine job well done!
To the Editor,
Having just read the recent article on the tree fungus chaga by Shane Patrick I find that a few more bits of information and perhaps opinion are necessary for your readers to consider.
Those who use a resource are duty bound to be the stewards of that resource. It is generally understood that chaga will regrow from harvest if one quarter to one third of the original presence is left on the tree. I find the comment that a ‘whack of the hatchet’ is far too aggressive an approach for responsible harvest. Please be careful in harvesting, and take a slow and respectful attitude so that the chaga, once harvested, has a chance to regrow.
John Stamets, a worldwide expert mycologist who studies chaga, has concluded that it is not sustainable as a commercial concern and it will not be sustainable if people over-harvest for personal use. Please limit personal harvest to only what you need, which isn’t a lot.
Only one or two tablespoons of dried powdered chaga will make an incredible amount of chaga tea and tincture. The best way to use chaga is to collect one or two palms full of fungus. Dry it in a dehydrator for 8 hours or on top of a warm (not roaring) wood stove for two days. Grind in a mortar with a pestle (chaga is hard and will dull a grinder quickly) to a grainy powder. This will yield enough chaga for approximately two batches of the following recipe.
Put two tablespoons dried powdered chaga in an 8 quart pot with filtered water, cover and simmer, do not boil. You can quickly strain a whole stock pot of dark tea. Refill the pot again and let heat slowly, do not boil and let sit on a wood stove or griddle if you can. Otherwise let sit until you want to drink tea and warm up to a simmer. The longer it steeps the second time the better for lighter tea. Sometimes you can get another half pot of tea with a third go.
That’s not all! You can still harvest more tea with a little more effort. After the second pot is strained off you can freeze the chaga in about half the amount of water. This breaks the tough chaga down even more. Then heat slowly and strain again for more tea.
Then take the used chaga and let dry on a baking sheet. When dry, add to a full bottle of 151 rum and let sit in a dark dry cupboard for one month. This is the best tincture ever for sub-lingual use by the dropper full.
With the highest antioxidant count of any plant food on the planet, chaga is worth the effort of respectful harvest and use. Thank you for the wonderful story on chaga.
Z Denise Gallup
In Shane Patrick’s article “First Mushroom Hunt of the Year” on page 6 of the Glacier City Gazette, May 9, 2018, important issues were not mentioned.
I have been trying to educate people who come in my gift shop about chaga, which should only be harvested in the winter when the sap is not flowing in the tree. And YES, it will grow back on the tree if a third of it is left to grow again. I have seen it. It is renewable, so if harvested properly, it grows back.
I regret that chaga is being over harvested all over the state since it has become popular. I have a friend with many acres who lives up north, and all his birch trees that had chaga were stripped of this medicinal resource.
It is private land. Please be sure you are not picking on private land and only harvest when the temperature is at least below 40 degrees.