Haines Postmaster Elaine Brummett has retired after 36 years with the U.S. Postal Service. Elaine served in Haines for three years and as Skagway postmaster for 13. She began her career in Deer Park, Wash., alongside her mother, who worked for the postal service for 25 years. Elaine and husband Gary Brummett, who recently retired from the ferry system, are relocating to the Hawaiian island of Molokai, where they are building a house. The couple learned of the island through sisters who worked with Elaine 30 years ago in Fairbanks. The Hawaiian sisters are now both postmasters on Molokai, where Elaine and Gary have been visiting for 15 years. Elaine’s co-workers threw a retirement dinner for her at a local restaurant, and Greg Podsiki is hosting a “burning party” this week where Elaine plans to burn her post office uniforms and “pop a bottle of champagne.” Greg will head up the office during the hiring process.
The 2013-14 community birthday calendars are here. The calendar that lists birthdays, anniversaries and other local dates of importance begins in June. Extra copies are available for $10. Contact Kim Larson at 766-3885 or at 135 Piedad Road.
Gary and Linda Matthews say they’ll be staying in Anchorage after Gary’s planned retirement in summer 2014 from his position as executive director of the Alaska School Activities Association. Matthews has held the job 20 years and is credited with reorganizing and increasing athletic tournaments, expanding opportunities for home-school students and addressing drug and alcohol abuse. Gary and Linda spent 25 years in Haines, where Gary worked as music teacher and principal.
Ann Myren and Tim McDonough spent two weeks biking through rural Australia and also toured by camper van. Highlights included snorkeling the Ninagaloo Reef and swimming with five whale sharks more than 20 feet long. Ann remarked on the friendliness of the country’s residents and recounted that while resting in the shade one day, nearby residents offered them organic plums.
Tim June arrived in Haines Sunday, in time to catch the return of the spring eulachon run. Tim has been living in Bozeman, Mont., to be near medical treatment for a heart condition. He traveled to town with former resident Robin Houston, who lives in Bozeman. Robin is a doctor who worked with Stan Jones in the late 1970s. They rolled into town just in time to take part in the ferry celebration at the Port Chilkoot dock, where Robin saw many old friends, including Jean Smith, a nurse when Robin was at the clinic. Tim and Robin also caught up with friends at the annual spring gallery opening of artists John and Sharon Svenson.
Former resident Sandy Reid was in Haines for a surprise visit last week. She arrived in time to dance with girlfriends at the dance jam held at the Zumba studio Wednesday, and also caught up with friends at a potluck dinner party hosted by Kim and Scott Sundberg. Sandy lives in Bend, Ore., with daughters Zoey and Kali Reid.
Former resident Bill Fletcher attended the Tourism Association of the Yukon’s annual meeting, held in Haines Thursday through Saturday. Fletcher, who lives in the Seattle area, serves on TIA’s board of directors. The meeting, held at the bald eagle foundation and the Chilkat Center, included receptions hosted by local businesses and the Haines Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, as well as opportunities to see town. Saturday’s cocktail reception included live jazz by Julie Cozzi.
Haines Farmer’s Market manager Susie McCartney is recruiting gardeners for Saturday’s Earth Day celebration and plant sale at Haines School. Gardeners with extra vegetable and flower starts should contact Susie at 303-3038 to reserve their table space at the fair. There is no table fee and 10 percent of proceeds will support the Farmer’s Market and Haines Friends of Recycling. Set-up begins at 9 a.m.
Brian Kurtzman is the new raptor handler and trainer for the American Bald Eagle Foundation. Brian is a trained falconer who moved to Haines from north Georgia. He is responsible for working with the foundation’s raptors and supervising summer interns. Brian has worked as a truck driver and jack of all trades and became a certified falconer in 2008. He arrived Saturday and called Haines “one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever lived.”
Spencer Douthit has relocated to Haines from Fairbanks, and is starting a farm serving Haines restaurants, stores and individuals. This season he will work about one-third of an acre on properties owned by Bob Henderson and Dave and Charlotte Olerud. Spencer most recently worked at Calypso Farm outside Fairbanks, where he managed their school garden project and a rural outreach project. This season he plans to produce kale, chard, carrots, potatoes, beets, radish and salad greens, among others. He chose Haines for the “climate and community” and hopes to expand his production to include a fruit orchard in the near future. He sends an “open invitation to come on out and see the space” on Allen Road.
Lori Webster returned home after seven weeks traveling in Australia with a friend. They snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef, where they swam with sharks and saw green sea turtles. Lori took a surf lesson on the Sunshine Coast and quickly fell in love with the sport. The friends took a road trip along the Great Ocean Road along the southern tip of the country and marveled at the varied landscape. They also witnessed the “penguin parade” on Phillip Island, where Little Penguins arrive on shore each night at sunset.
About 100 adults and youngsters participated in national Bike to School Day Wednesday. Police cars led bicycles along safe routes. “It was a great turnout,” said interim police chief Simon Ford.