Dana Noel Murray was born Jan. 7 to Cara and Rob Murray in Ketchikan. Dana weighed seven pounds, 15 ounces and measured 19 inches. Dana Noel joins big brother Taylor and big sister Eva. Cara’s mother, Cathy Houlberg, took the ferry to Ketchikan and arrived just in time for Dana’s birth. She was a great help to the busy family. Cara’s dad, Keith Houlberg, will travel to Ketchikan soon to meet his newest granddaughter.
Mason Benjamin Nash was born Feb. 14 to Song and Amy Nash in Seattle. Mason weighed six pounds, seven ounces and measured 19 inches. Mason joins big brother, Christian, age 2. Mason’s first outing was to watch Abby Jones play basketball for Peninsula Community College. The Nashes look forward to introducing Mason to their Alaska family this summer.
Tom Morphet and Jane Pascoe have returned from three weeks of camping, snorkeling and hiking on Kauai, Maui and Oahu, Hawaii. At Hanalei Bay, Kauai, they rendezvoused with Daymond and Renee Hoffman, children Cora and Wesley, and Gabe Long and Krystal Norberg. Renee gave Tom a surfing lesson that Gabe caught on video. Maui highlights included a sunset hike at Kaleakala crater with Norman Hughes and a snorkel boat tour with Robyn Barlow and Bryan Shaw. Tom and Jane stayed at Kailua, on Oahu’s windward side, with Tom’s college buddy Steve Downes, an editorial writer for the Honolulu Star Advertiser. Tom’s favorite part was plowing through novels. Jane’s were fresh fruit salads and swims with sea turtles.
Joe and Holly Jo Parnell are back from a week in Las Vegas celebrating Joe’s 50th birthday. “Despite my Methodist upbringing, I have a proclivity towards a little sin,” Joe explained. He said trip highlights included French cuisine at the Eiffel Tower and seeing the Blue Man Group and the “Absynthe” show at Caesar’s Palace casino. They saw Cirque du Soleil’s “O” at the Bellagio, which Holly Jo described as “the crème de la crème of shows. It’s like watching a Salvador Dali painting come to life.” They also visited the pawn store made famous by the History Channel program “Pawn Stars.” The place was swamped but most of the visitors seemed to be buying “Pawn Star” souvenirs, rather than hocked silver and gold, Joe said. They were joined on the trip by Holly’s mom, Beulah Martin, and siblings Stacey and Randy Martin, all from Queen Creek, Ariz., and by Joe’s parents, Tom and Annette Parnell of Cambridge, Ohio.
Friends Doris Ward and Cynthia “CJ” Jones gathered at the home of Joan Snyder to watch the 84th Academy Awards Sunday. Joan dressed up in her “one fancy outfit” and served appetizers, pizza and wine while they watched the awards, which they agreed was “the most elegant show in several years,” according to Doris.
The giant, drifting snowballs seen around town Sunday night were the product of just the right weather conditions, according to Geri Swanson, a hydrometeorologist technician at the National Weather Service in Juneau. The wind-driven snowballs ranged from softball to bowling ball sized and were seen downtown, at Fort Seward and along Mud Bay Road. According to Swanson, the snow must be light enough to blow around, but have enough water content to clump. “It’s an unusual thing, not something you see every day,” said Swanson, who also noted reports from Juneau of similar events Sunday.
The Haines Dolphins Swim Team kicked off its annual swim-a-thon fundraiser last Monday. Set for March 31, the team hopes to raise $15,000. Swimmers will gather pledges to swim up to 200 pool lengths with their teammates. Sisters Rebekah and Naomi Green each hope to raise $500 and swim 200 lengths. Rebekah plans to send e-mails and letters to friends and family, and hopes her mom Shannon will post an appeal on her Facebook page. “It’s a great fundraiser and it helps out the team a lot,” Rebekah said. “It’s fun to swim with the whole team.” To sponsor a local swimmer, go to www.swim-a-thon.com.
The Haines Borough Public Library hosted its first Human Library event Saturday. Patrons had an opportunity to check out a community member as a “living book” for a 20-minute interview. Interim Education Coordinator John Hagen said the books were selected for their “compelling backgrounds” to “represent a diversity of experience.” Patrons could read through descriptions of the offerings at a checkout desk and used that background as a jumping off point for conversation. Many patrons stayed for hours to work through as many “books” as possible. Debra Schnabel enjoyed gaining a deeper understanding of the experience of former embedded journalist in Iraq, Margaret Friedenauer. Debra had spoken to Margaret about her work in Iraq, but this time gleaned “a more personal take. It was more than a story. I was able to get my book to give me a lot of nuances.” She noted that the group around her was lively, “everybody was talking, hands were waving, it seemed like an animated group.” Subjects included a Northwest coast artist, a retired Air Force Colonel and a longtime teacher who grew up on a farm.
Women of all ages gathered Saturday to compete in the “Things We Do in Alaska” race and scavenger hunt to benefit the Haines Venturer Scouts. Organized by Greg Podsiki, seven, four-woman teams took on snowshoeing, commercial fishing, skeet shooting and heavy equipment operation. “Everyone had a great time. It was ear-to-ear smiles,” Greg said. Teams also drove snowmachines around the golf course to collect balloons, built a fire at the fairgrounds to burn through a rope suspended over the fire, and stacked a third of a cord of firewood on a pallet without toppling the load. Teams paid $200 to compete, and many were sponsored by local businesses. The Southeast Roadbuilders team of Jansy Hansen, Patty Brown, Judy Ewald and C.J. Jones took first place. The day ended at the Elks Lodge where teams deciphered clues to solve a riddle and enjoyed a Mexican dinner prepared by Lisa Flory with help from Suzanne Vuillet-Smith. Greg put in dozens of hours preparing for the competition. He said initial glitches will be ironed out for the next competition Saturday, March 31. This time the teams will be all-men and Greg is sure he’ll have plenty of help from the women who competed last weekend. “They have lots of ideas for the guys.