Ron and Jacque Horn have returned from a trip with college friends David and Vicki Gresham to northwest Alaska to view and photograph the summer migration of the Western Arctic caribou herd. The foursome flew from Kotzebue 175 miles north to the Kokolik River where they spent seven days viewing and photographing an estimated 30,000 bull caribou that moved through the valley where they were camped. At 400,000 animals ranging over 140,000 square miles, the herd is Alaska’s largest. Through spotting scopes, the couples also saw tens of thousands of females and calves crossing the river down the valley. The Horns said guide Peter Elstner of Fairbanks went above the call of duty, crawling on his belly for two hours to deliver the group’s lunch without disturbing the migrating herd. They were surprised when Greg Schlachter floated down the river to their camp, while guiding a canoe trip on the Kokolik for Arctic Wild, the wilderness tour company owned by residents Sally Andersen and Michael Wald. Arctic Wild also organized the Horns’ trip.
The family of Marge and Dave Conzatti gathered in Haines for an Independence Day reunion. Dave died May 24, 2012, and the family returned to spread his ashes. Daughter Shari Looney, from Puyallup, Wash., came with husband Bryon Looney, sons Noah Black and Jonah Black, and 8-month-old son Cooper Looney. Son Richard Cooper of Anchorage came with wife Stephanie Cooper and sons Aidan and Joss Cooper. Daughter Jodi Kennedy of Anchorage traveled with children Liam and Marina Kennedy. They all stayed at George and Lyn Campbell’s bed and breakfast. George took some of the boys up the Chilkat River, and explored places he and friend Ian Black, Noah and Jonah’s father, used to hunt. Marge said a highlight of her visit was Fourth of July festivities at Tlingit Park. “I knew we could go and see everyone we knew there. It was just wonderful,” she said. The Conzatti family moved to Haines in 1981. Dave worked for public works for 20 years here and Marge spent 14 years at the phone company. The family stayed in Fort Seward during festivities, listening to music on the parade grounds and watching fireworks from a porch. Friend Diana Lapham hosted a party for Marge with Sue Braaten.
Tune in to TNT at 10 p.m. on Friday, July 19 to see former resident Aurita Maldonado in episode 7 of “72 Hours.” Rita was on a three-person team of strangers that competed against two other teams in a survival-style search for a hidden briefcase filled with $100,000. Episode 7 is set in the Fijian jungle, where participants were dropped by helicopter with only a bottle of water and a GPS device. Following the filming of the episode, Aurita was hospitalized with rat lungworm disease, contracted from a slug she consumed during the show. Read more about Aurita’s illness and recovery at her blog, www.tomorrowsnotguaranteed.com.
Sheldon Museum interim director Christina Smith Baskaya is coordinating the joint conference of Museums Alaska and Alaska Historical Society to be held Sept. 25-28 in Haines. Last year’s conference in Sitka registered 182 participants, and Christina said organizers are hoping for even more in Haines. A pre-conference workshop will focus on building display cases. The finished products will be donated to four local museums in Haines. The museum is recruiting volunteers to help coordinate catering and organize local tours. Contact Christina at 766-2366.
Maggie Stern and mom Pat Timm of Wisconsin are having fun together. Pat flew in to Haines July 4 and will stay through the month. The pair is heading to the Atlin Music Festival in Atlin, B.C. this weekend, where they hope to go canoeing. Pat caught up with Karen Bryant this week and had family dinner with Chris and Deb Kemp.
Stacie Evans’ parents are here from Salmon, Idaho. Tom and Susan Evans drove the Cassiar Highway for their weeklong stay in Haines. They kayaked to the end of Chilkoot Lake and plan to go sailing with son Russell Evans if the wind cooperates. The couple enjoyed the Fourth of July, especially seeing Julia Scott perform. Their trip south was to include pike fishing on Atlin Lake with Stacie.
The fundraiser organized by Melissa Ganey and Kathy Pardee-Jones at Valley of the Eagles Golf Links brought in $1,700 to help defray the medical expenses for Jema Bentley, who was hospitalized in Portland. All proceeds from the golf course and driving range on Saturday went to support the family. Donations may also be made at the bank, where Jema’s mom, Jaime Stanford Bentley, has an account. Jema was able to return home to Sitka recently with her family.
The Haines Volunteer Fire Department brought in $4,000 at its annual barbecue Saturday. Volunteers served up meals to 627 diners this year. The crew prepared 600 pounds of brisket for the event, dished out 160 pounds of potato salad and sliced 44 loaves of French bread. Dessert included four sheet-pans of brownies and 32 cream pies left over from the holiday pie-eating contest. Al Badgley received a volunteer recognition award from the Haines Uglys, presented by Uglys President Chuck Mittman.
The Haines Brownie Troop 101 joined the American Legion for the 7 a.m. flag raising at Fort Seward on July 4. Natalie Jobbins, Taylor Ganey, Aubrey Cook and Sally Chapell donned their Brownie sashes for the ceremony, led by Mike Case.
If you didn’t see Erwin Hertz on the Fourth of July it’s because he was filming a biographical segment with Steve Kroschel. Hertz recently spent 10 days with daughter Lisa Novak, who made her first trip here in about 10 years. She enjoyed beachcombing and seeing the critters at Kroschel’s wildlife park, Hertz said. Lisa lives in Albany, Ore., and works as a decorator alongside husband Todd Novak, a building contractor.
Paul Swift will be leading a hike up Mount Ripinsky starting 7 a.m. Sunday, July 14, at the Skyline trailhead, weather permitting. Dogs are welcome on the hike and those needing rides can meet at 6:45 a.m. at the park next to the public library. Hikers should bring a windbreaker and enough food and water for a 10-hour excursion. Call Scott Pearce at 766-3802 or 303-0204 for more information.