Ellen Larson was in Haines this week, taking walks and recuperating from brain surgery to remove a non-malignant tumor that was putting pressure on her optic nerve and causing her vision to blur. She was diagnosed in late January and went under the knife Feb. 7 at Barrow Neurological Center in Phoenix, Ariz. Twelve days in intensive care following the surgery were eased by visits from husband Larry, daughter Torrey and sister Jennifer Black. Her three-year-old mutt Mogi was allowed to stay beside her as a “therapy dog,” she said. “I am so happy to be in Haines. I’m feeling great. It’s exactly what I needed,” Ellen said. A retired Haines elementary teacher, Ellen is an assistant clinical professor of education at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. Ellen said a highlight last fall was sharing dinner out at a Flagstaff Thai restaurant with Larry, sister Jennifer, Mike Van Note, Laurie Dadourian and Dave Swift.
Barb Blood described her recent, 10-day trip to Israel with husband Jerry as “incredible.” They went with Barb’s brother, Rob Willey of Springfield, Mass., a retired history professor and college dean who made 11 previous trips, including as a tour guide, and Rob’s wife Carol. Highlights included floating in the Dead Sea and visiting the Israel Museum, Holocaust Museum and The Wailing Wall. They stayed in a hotel on the Sea of Galilee and enjoyed breakfasts of fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and olives. Their return trip included a day-long visit to New York City, where they saw the Sept. 11 memorial and walked across the Brooklyn Bridge.
Friends in Haines were enthused to see Dr. Christine Roalofs win the red lantern in the 2013 Iditarod sled dog race. Roalofs, a pediatric dentist, worked in the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium clinic here for several years and is remembered for her work with patients with developmental disabilities. She finished in less than 15 days, with 11 of her 16 dogs that started the race.
Suzanne Vuillet-Smith said she had a great time visiting husband Norm Smith’s stepmom Donna Smith in Albion, Neb. The weeklong visit included big, country dinners and great hospitality, Suzanne said. Winter still had its grip on the plains west of Omaha, an area that is windswept but beautiful, she said.
The Earth Day ad hoc committee is beginning planning for its seventh annual Earth Day event to be held Saturday, May 11 from 10 a.m. to noon in the school cafeteria. If your organization would like to be considered for putting up a display or making a presentation, please contact Melissa Aronson at [email protected] or call 766-2185.  
Jan Hamilton and sister Laurie Debore of Seattle are at Jan’s Lutak home, opening the house for summer. Jan’s husband Scott also was in town for a few days, taking a break from his job heading up the Alaska Maritime Training Center at Alaska Vocational Technical Center (AVTEC) in Seward. Scott reports daughter Maarit Hamilton will soon graduate from University of Alaska – Fairbanks with an English degree and recently was named UAF Engligh Student of the Year. Maarit plans to attend the culinary academy at AVTEC. Son Blake is entering his third year at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and son Alden Hamilton enters Seward High School in the fall.
The premiere of a four-part documentary recounting the history of the ferry system, “Alaska’s Marine Highway,” airs 8 p.m. Sunday, March 31 on 360 North. The Alaska Marine Highway System is celebrating its 50th birthday in 2013. Filmmakers came to Haines last fall to interview residents about Steve Homer, considered by residents the “father” of the ferries. In the early 1950s, Homer operated a landing craft between Haines, Skagway and Juneau that became the model for the state’s earliest ferries. Marge Ward, Annette Smith, and mayor Stephanie Scott were among those interviewed on film. No word yet on whether they made the final cut. Alaska’s public affairs channel, 360 North can be seen on local cable channel 37, Direct TV channel 3 and on the Dish Network at 7040, 70. Programs also can be seen online at www.360north.org.
Elena Horner spent her spring break from University of Alaska- Southeast in Ashland, Ore., visiting brother Marley. She also met up with former schoolmates Brook Cinocco and Chris Bowman.