Sophia Skye Hedden was born Thursday, March 3 in Juneau to Jessica Edwards and Andy Hedden. Sophia weighed 9 lbs., 7 ozs. and measured 20.5 inches long. The new family is expected home in Haines this week and friends are lining up to bring meals and meet Sophia. Both of Sophia’s grandmothers, Jessica’s mother, Marilyn Harrold of Kansas City, Mo. and Jessica’s stepmother Mary Lynn of Tacoma, Wash., are planning visits this month to meet their first grandchild.
A trip to Jamaica was realized thanks to a promise Lea Harris made to her friend MargaretDinksey” Totlin many years ago. Totlin wanted her ashes scattered in Jamaica, and Lea promised to do the honors if Totlin were to die before she did. Three years ago Totlin died unexpectedly, and Lea made the trip this year to fulfill her promise. Lea, Chuck Mittman, and their son Justin Mittman spent eight days on the island. They stayed in the town of Negril, along the famed “Seven Mile Beach,” and chartered a sport fishing boat to take them offshore, where Lea released Totlin’s ashes into the sea. Her first trip to Jamaica, Lea loved walking barefoot in the sand and was impressed to find first-rate snorkeling spots. On her way home, Lea stopped in Philadelphia to visit her father, George Harris, who celebrated his 103rd birthday in October.
Jeremiah Brower completed his master’s degree in marine science in October 2010 from Moss Landing Laboratories, part of the University of California – Seaside. He started work March 6 aboard the sailing ship, American Pride, in Long Beach. The ship is owned and operated by the Children’s Maritime Foundation. Jeremiah will be working as a marine scientist with children and adults aboard the American Pride and on Catalina Island. He’s the son of Kathryn Friedle and John Brower and graduated from Haines High School in 2000. Jeremiah’s sister Hannah Brower, who graduated Haines High in 2008, is in her third year at Northern Arizona University, working on a degree in astronomy and physics. She received an internship grant from NASA, working in their offices in Flagstaff, Ariz. on planet Mars research, for the next school year. 
Haines gained unusual recognition when the first tulips of spring emerged Feb. 9. Pam Randles plants a test garden of Red Emperor tulips in her yard each fall and watches the plot for activity to report to the Journey North project, which maintains a database and interactive maps of more than 400 tulip gardens planted across the country. Unusually warm weather in early February may have tricked the tulips into emerging for an early spring. Pam’s tulips emerged the same day as gardens in Humble, Texas,. and Charleston, S.C. and only two days later than the first reported tulips in Kingwood, Texas. Pam has planted test tulips since 1999 and reports that this year’s emergence was about a month early. The tulips are currently hidden under snow and Pam is watching to see if they survived the recent cold snap. To see an animated map of tulip emergence, go to and click on Journey North. The project also tracks the migration of the gray whale, American robins and several species of hummingbirds.
A winter trip to visit family was a welcome break for Alex Juren, who flew back to Norfolk, Va. to see his parents Elliot and Gail Juren and his brother Max, who traveled from Austin, Tex. From Virginia, Elliot and Alex embarked on a two-week father-son trip to India and Nepal. They joined a group tour that began in New Delhi and saw well-known attractions including the Taj Mahal. They celebrated Alex’s 33rd birthday in Jaipur with a rickshaw adventure and a dinner of mutton curry. In the Hindu holy city of Varanasi, they took a boat tour on the Ganges River and saw burning funeral pyres along the river. In Katmandu, Alex enjoyed taking his dad to some of his favorite spots, and stepping away from the group to explore new restaurants together.
The Pioneers of Alaska are planning a “treasure auction” this month. Pioneers vice-president Jim Shook is working with long-time residents to identify “the beautiful things we have been cleaning and dusting for years,” and are ready to let go of for a good cause. Their last treasure auction raised $3,000 for local scholarships. Call Jim at 766-3835 if you’d like to donate an item.
The fifth grade class enjoyed a February field trip to Juneau. Organized by teacher Jansy Hansen, the class tried rock climbing at an indoor climbing gym, checked out NOAA’s fisheries lab at Lena Pointe, and visited the state museum. A day of downhill skiing was a highlight for the group, which included parent chaperones Josh Zahnow, Greg Palmieri, Becky and Ray Chapin, Phil Wilde, Erika Merklin and Denise Richards. Blue skies and good snow made for a great day of skiing.
About 30 residents participated in the library’s Japanese Cultural Day Sunday afternoon. Participants were guided in sushi rolling with Yuko Hays, and tried their hand at the art of Japanese calligraphy with Yuko’s cousin Akane Iijima. Rin Hamada demonstrated the martial art of Naginatajutsu, the practice of wielding a wooden pole weapon. The afternoon was a part of the Chilkat Valley Fingerprints project, a cooperative initiative of the Haines Borough Public Library and the Chilkoot Indian Association, to “bring different identities of the Chilkat Valley to the foreground.”