Haines bridge players caravanned to Whitehorse for a weekend tournament. John and Roger Schnabel, Sally and Bob Lix, Gregg Bigsby, Rob Miller, Jim Wilson, Brenda Jones and Roy Josephson all made the trip last weekend. Sally said they watched the temperature plummet on the drive north, and endured strong winds and nighttime lows of minus 35 F. The highlight came Saturday evening when Brenda and Roy joined the group with some big news to share; Roy had proposed just minutes earlier in their hotel room. The group celebrated the new engagement with champagne and toasts into the wee hours. Sally said the group also played a lot of bridge, took home many prizes and had a great time.
Dozens of residents turned out for the 10th annual Lighting of the Fort Saturday. The houses around historic Fort Seward lit up with Christmas lights at the sounding of the cannon blast, courtesy of Jim Shook. Annette Smith and Sam Wright lit luminarias fashioned out of milk jugs. Holly Davis led the live Nativity scene on the back porch of Tresham Gregg’s gallery. Sasha Mackowiak played Mary with Isaac Wing as Joseph. Baby Mackenzie VanSpronsen played baby Jesus, and slept through the whole thing. Angels, shepherds and wise men looked on. Fort residents built a roaring bonfire and provided cocoa, chili and hot dogs to the gathering for roasting. Plenty of fluffy snow kept children sledding for hours.
Robin Grace had an article published in the December edition of “Psychoanalytic Dialogues,” an international journal. Entitled, “Shrink Wrap on the Air - Mentalizing on the Last Frontier,” the article details the mental-health radio talks Robin produced on KHNS, and includes transcripts of shows with Dr. Russ Bowman, Aihan Goldberg and Tom Morphet, who each helped role-play with Robin on-air. The article aims to show “how Shrink Wrap expands the understanding of therapy and relationships and moves beyond the stigma of therapy.” Robin was invited to present her paper at a New York City conference last March, and played the show with Tom on stage for the audience. Contact Robin for the link to the article through her website, www.robingrace.com. Robin, who lives in Eugene, Ore., with husband Dan Henry and stepson Charlie Henry, says they get lots of Haines visitors. Charlie is a sophomore in high school and recently landed his first big role in a drama department production. Charlie plays the policeman in the musical Carousel, to be performed in February.
Steve Vick’s Black Friday video is gaining attention on YouTube. “Black Friday - Haines, Alaska” shows the bustle around Haines on the infamous shopping day. Business owners Jan Hill, Tom Heywood and Kristine Harder are featured, as well as resident shoppers Courtney and Darsie Culbeck, Lisa Blank and Mike Denker, Darren Schweinefus, JoAnn Ross-Cunningham and Nancy Johnson, who was shopping with former resident Julie Rae.
The Visitor’s Center hosted their annual cookie and candy contest Friday, and guests sampled the offerings at Saturday’s open house. Santa made an appearance, and spent time with 170 good girls and boys of all ages, who whispered their lists and had their photo taken with the big elf. Mrs. Claus will make an appearance at the Haines Library at 3:30 p.m. Saturday for stories and songs. Children and families of all ages are invited. The event dovetails with the annual Christmas parade, which kicks off at 4:30 p.m.
The Sheldon Museum and Cultural Center hosted its Christmas Open House Saturday afternoon. Seth Diggins lent his wooden train set that filled “almost the whole Hakkinen Gallery,” according to museum director Jerrie Clarke. The museum also set up their electric train set. Jerrie said the museum had a difficult time finding trains this year, and staff hopes to be able to boost participation for next year’s event. Museum staff Kris Reeves and Blythe Carter led crafts, including Christmas cards and reindeer heads, and Scott Pearce played the concertina and sang Christmas carols. The trains will stay up through the week and on Saturday before the Christmas parade.
The Community Education bazaar was one of the largest in memory, with more than 60 vendors in attendance. Community Ed director John Hagen said the traditional date of the bazaar was pushed back a week to accommodate the wrestling tournament, and may have allowed new vendors to participate this year. Artist and seasonal Skagway resident Jessica Callies is spending the winter in Haines, and recruited her friends to bring their wares over to the bazaar. New vendors from Skagway were selling hand-painted boxes, original art, handmade bags, local hot sauce and jewelry. Chilkat Valley Preschool saw a brisk business mixing up smoothies for hungry shoppers and toasting homemade bagels from board member Alissa Henry. Former residents Russ Bowman and Karen Meizner were seen perusing Saturday’s offerings. Russ was teaching an advanced pediatric lifesaving course in Haines for ambulance crew and clinic staff over the weekend.
Middle School basketball players are home from Juneau’s Icebreaker tournament. Haines sent 10 boys and 10 girls to the tournament. Ralph Swinton and James Sage coached the boys’ team, which included all-tournament player Dylan Swinton. First-year coach Lori Giddings coached the girls’ team with Brian O’Reilly. The girls brought home the only Haines win, with a 1-4 record over the tournament. Lori was impressed with the level of determination on the team. “They had fun, played hard and never gave up. They had good attitudes.” Kayla Yoeman was named to the girls all-tournament team. The Haines Triple Threat middle school tournament is scheduled for February 22-23.
The Haines High School swim team organized for about six weeks this fall. Coach Rae Ann Galasso led sophomore Keegan Sundberg and juniors Kai Sato-Franks and Chevy Fowler in workouts before school. The trio swam at the Thunder Mountain Invitational Oct. 26-27, where Fowler broke the 30-second mark in the 50 freestyle. Sundberg continues to swim with the Haines Dolphins.
The community birthday calendar appears kaput. Rae Ann Galasso took on the calendar last year as a fund-raiser for the high school swim team, but said she lost about $500 on the venture. Assembled for years by students, the calendar included local birthdays and anniversaries.