Cullyn Smith of Portland, Ore ., enjoyed a 10-day visit with grandparents Joe and Sue Poor. On his first visit to Alaska, the 16-year-old “just had the time of his life,” said Sue. Meanwhile, J.B. Axsom and wife Linda had friend Linda Carter of Eden, N.C. and grandson Austin Vaden, 16, visiting. Joe took Cullyn and Austin salmon and halibut fishing, to Kroschel Wildlife Center, and to 33 Mile restaurant. Cullyn also went hiking and saw bears. Austin hiked Mount Ripinsky and Battery Point trails, raced in the Haines Century Bike Ride, and rode the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad in Skagway with his grandmom Linda. Both boys say they’ll be coming back to visit next summer.
Alexandra Feit is in Dawson City, Y.T ., doing a four week artist residency through the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture. KIAC gave her a place to live, an art studio, and time to paint whatever she wants – all part of its program that accommodates artists as they work toward creative endeavors. She also led a sketching workshop during the Yukon Riverside Arts Festival, an annual event held over Dawson City’s Discovery Days weekend. “This is a big happenin’ art community here! With so many talented Haines artists, (I) wish Haines could offer an artist residency and do an annual arts weekend,” Feit said. She invites anyone passing through Dawson City to look her up through KIAC’s ODD Gallery.
Leslie Ross and daughter Rio Ross-Hirsh, 7, were forced to evacuate their family reunion in Sun Valley, Idaho, due to the Beaver Creek fire. What was supposed to be a weeklong reunion was cut short three days due to concerns about the approaching blaze. With the flames in view and only poor phone service, the family of about 20 left their rented house. “It was kind of exciting (but) it was a little bit of a bummer, losing those three days,” Ross said. Leslie and Rio made the most of the remaining days, heading northwest to McCall for paddle boarding. Before the reunion’s abrupt end, the family hiked, biked, and held yoga competitions on paddle boards. “My family’s pretty competitive,” Ross said.
Tracy Mikowski is expecting a phone call from radio personality Carl Kasell. Mikowski won the call through the National Public Radio’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” game show. Celebrity guest and actor Tony Danza was quizzed by host Peter Sagal on events in the news. Friend Jerry Burkert called Mikowski when he heard Kasell mention her name during the segment’s morning airing. Mikowski, who emailed NPR months ago inquiring about how to enter for a chance to be a contestant on one of the station’s games, was caught by surprise. “I’d completely forgotten I’d even sent that in,” she said. Mikowski is busy getting a newly released children’s picture book onto store shelves. “Squirt the Otter” is the story of an orphaned river otter she raised for four years while working as a zookeeper in Traverse City, Mich. The book is out in the Traverse City area, and the gift store at the Natural History Museum of The Adirondacks, where Squirt now resides. Mikowski hopes to get the book into more stores including The Babbling Book.
Former resident Lori Polley of Denver, Colo ., reported that writer and photographer Lynn Schooler of Juneau received an outpouring of donations from friends when his hard drive crashed. Schooler, who shares his “beautiful photos” of Alaskan nature via Facebook, let his appreciative viewers know that it would be a while before he could get a new computer and thus continue photo-sharing. “Before he knew it, he had enough money to buy a Mac,” Polley said.
Rita Maldonado and John Binger met up with Donna Catotti while Donna attended advanced portrait painting classes at Nelson Shanks’ Studio Incamminati in Philadelphia. Their 24-floor room was across the street from the clock tower in Philly’s landmark city hall. At the Rodin Museum, they ran into Andus Hale of Haines, who was visiting his family. Rita, who is back salsa dancing after her recent illness, is doing a motivational speaking program to help others overcome difficulty in their lives.
Mardi Gras was “definitely busy, and a lot of fun,” said Kevin Thompson, a bartender at the Pioneer Bar. Owner Christy Tengs Fowler said the bar had a packed house on the noisy night, which included music by local band Devine Funk. Mardi Gras 20-year commemorative T-shirts designed by Eric Forster were given away to partiers, some of whom wore Mardi Gras-style costumes and masks, Thompson said.
No, Phil Benner is not going hippie. He’s growing his hair to donate it to “Locks of Love,” the nonprofit organization that accepts donations of hair and provides hairpieces for people with medical conditions resulting in hair loss. Benner lost his mother to lung cancer in Aug. 2012, shortly after he took her to get her hair done for the last time. “I’ve never had long hair. When I heard about the Locks of Love program, I decided to grow it in honor of my mom,” Benner said. Now up to seven inches, the harbormaster said he has about a year to go before his hair reaches the minimum 13 inches.
Jan Dubber recently spent a week on the Hawaiian island of Kauai with son Steve, daughter Brandi and her two grandchildren. Jan said she hid under the beach umbrella during their stay at Poipu.