State Rep. Bill Thomas, R-Haines, attended the Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage last week, where he was honored with the Seawolves Service Award presented by UAA Chancellor Tom Case. Thomas was commended for his help securing a $2 million grant to support the Great Alaska Shootout. Thomas, a Shootout fan who also played basketball for Haines High School, stepped in to help the tournament, which has faltered in recent years. The funding will support the Shootout over three years with increased game guarantees to draw high profile teams, and a travel subsidy for rural Alaskans. A partnership with Alaska Airlines will provide airline vouchers to Alaskans who purchase Shootout tickets early. Thomas also secured a tax credit for businesses that provide financial support to the Shootout. "Alaska is a basketball state," said Thomas. "So this was to bring the teams back and bring the people back to the state." In addition to the award, Thomas was presented with a basketball signed by the UAA basketball team, including sophomore Haines High School graduate Kyle Fossman.
Pizzeria owner Steve Anderson said he served up more than 80 pizzas Friday between 1 and 7 p.m. during Free Pizza Day at Dalton City’s Klondike Saloon. It was a customer appreciation promotion and his last day of business before a planned re-opening next March. "I’m a local business. The only reason I’m here is because of locals. Nobody else can find me," Steve quipped. He also turned away tips. "That’s not the point of having something for free."
Quilters from Haines took their craft to the seas for a week-long quilting retreat aboard the ferry Malaspina. Six quilters from Haines, Delayna Doleshal, Leslee Downer, Donna Hess, Rayne Litera and Fran Tuenge were joined by Joyce Carson from Pocatello, Idaho. Joyce first visited Haines as a guest of Charlotte Olerud, and has led many workshops here. Delayna worked with a purser before the trip to choose spacious staterooms with sitting areas, and the ladies set up their machines each day in the computer room and aft lounge. Each day they drew a crowd of interested spectators eager to share stories of heirloom quilts and to solicit sewing advice. Leslee and Rayne even took on clothing repairs for a few passengers. Delayna organized tours of local quilting shops in each port, and the ladies were impressed with the friendly and helpful shop owners. In Sitka they met nationally renowned quilter Lisa Moore, who came to the fabric store and invited the ladies to her home for lunch and a tour of her quilting studio. In Juneau, despite a snowstorm and the ferry’s 2 a.m. arrival, Raintree Quilting owner Annette Coggins picked up the ladies for an after-hours tour of the shop. The quilters rode the ferry round-trip between Haines and Bellingham, and rented an SUV in Bellingham to visit three quilt shops during the layover. They also stopped in on Haines High grad Christina Gray, who is studying graphic design at Western Washington University, at a cupcake shop where she works. The ladies had such a good time on their trip that they hope to make it an annual event.
A memorial service will be held 1 p.m. Friday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for longtime resident Jim Cox, who died of heart failure Nov. 22 in Kent, Wash. A full obituary will be published in next week’s Chilkat Valley News.
Mayor Stephanie Scott was elected to the board of the Alaska Municipal League during the AML meeting in Fairbanks November 11. Stephanie represents District 1, which consists of 23 Southeast municipalities (excluding Juneau.) Stephanie won the contested election against Ketchikan Gateway Borough Mayor Dave Kiffer, who previously held the seat. Stephanie believes that her participation on the AML board will help connect Haines to regional and statewide priorities. "I want Haines to have a regional perspective," she says. "If you don’t pay attention, no one will pay attention to us." The AML represents 140 cities, boroughs and municipalities in Alaska.
At least a dozen residents and former residents of the area were spotted at Pacific Marine Expo, the Seattle-based commercial fishing trade show formerly known as Fish Expo, Nov. 17-19. Among them were Gary Graham, Skip Sparks, Mark Saldi, Bart Henderson, Michael Ahmuty, Gregg Bigsby, state Rep. Bill Thomas, Beth MacCready, Norman Hughes and Wren Ramirez. Scott Gilbert, son of Bruce and Gail Gilbert, had a booth featuring LED deck lights. Ocean Beauty hosted a reception in a private lounge above third base in Safeco Field, with mountains of oysters and martini glasses full of shrimp cocktail. The show was held at the CenturyLink Field Event Center.
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Jurgeleit is home in Haines after completing commercial pilot training in Sacramento, Calif. Alec is commercial rated for multi-engine aircraft, and hopes to secure a position with an Alaskan airline in the spring. He trained in Anchorage, where he flew out of Merrill Field and worked at Anchorage International for Signature Air, which provides private jets and medevac fleets. Alec was responsible for de-icing and towing the large planes. Alec’s sister Elizabeth Jurgeleit is finishing her first semester at Washington State University. Elizabeth met friend and former Haines resident Torrey Larson in San Francisco for Thanksgiving. The duo shared Thanksgiving dinner with Kee Heywood, who is studying film at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Cohen and Chorus Bishop are home from a trip that included a month in Nepal. They joined friend and Haines visitor Maki Hisasue for a trek of the Annapurna Base Camp circuit, which they completed in 11 days. Maki and Sarah met when Sarah was a teenager and Maki was visiting John Svenson in Haines. They arrived in Nepal at the tail end of monsoon season and experienced hot, humid days. The weather cooled as the group reached higher elevations and they enjoyed evening stops at teahouses. After the trek, Chorus and Sarah explored the Katmandu valley and the ancient architecture of the region.