Carol Duis is the 2013 Alaska recipient of the AARP Andrus Award, which honors a model volunteer whose work improves the community and enhances the lives of others. Beth MacCready nominated Carol, who, she says, “is behind the scenes doing everything.” Carol volunteers for Hospice of Haines, Haines Friends of Recycling, the Haines Food Bank, Chilkat Valley Historical Society, the library and the Alaska Native Sisterhood Grand Camp. “She’s the volunteer who always says yes,” said Beth. “I’ve never known a committed volunteer like Carol. Carol takes service in stride and makes it look easy.” Carol received the award Friday on the fair’s main stage at Payson’s Pavilion. AARP Communications Officer Ann Seacrest presented the award. Also in attendance were Georgiana Hotch and Joe Hotch for ANS, Lts. Dave Kyle and Mary Kyle with Salvation Army, Melissa Aronson for Haines Friends of Recycling, and Mayor Stephanie Scott. The award was a surprise to Carol, who thought she was attending a ceremony for the mayor. There are 95,000 AARP members in Alaska.
More than 60 relatives gathered in Juneau to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of Haines residents Leonard and Betty Banaszak. What started as a simple anniversary party soon built into an epic family reunion with relatives from New York, Georgia, West Virginia, South Carolina, Arizona and California making the trip. Lenny and Betty’s six children organized the affair, which included a catered party at the University of Alaska Southeast’s rec center. The Banaszak siblings are Tim Banaszak of Juneau, Valerie Brodigan of Oregon, Lilly Boron, of Haines, Rose Lawhorne of Juneau, Glory Scarano of Juneau and Victor Banaszak of Juneau. The group went whale watching and halibut fishing, and took the tram up Mount Juneau. They also organized their own 5K walk-run-trot event amongst the fireweed on the Mendenhall wetlands trails near the airport. The family shared meals and stayed up late playing music in Victor’s newly-completed house, which became the gathering place for the group. “It was a once in a lifetime event,” said Lilly.
Mary Price is a great-grandmother again. Haven Renee Denali Schruefer was born July 20 in Eureka, Calif., to Mary’s grandson Ronn Schruefer and Shayla Cook. Haven weighed 7 pounds, nine ounces and measured 20 in. long. Nadine Price is the proud grandma. Nadine and her granddaughter Zhamirah Price, who both live in Anchorage, spent 10 days in Haines together. They went to the fair, fished, and visited with Wayne and Sheri Price. Bill and Angie Price also came up from Juneau with their children Haley Jo and Evan.
George Figdor has a busy house this summer. Daughter Alison Figdor, who teaches elementary school in Vermont, spent two weeks in Haines. They hosted George’s Parisian cousin Jean Pierre Larroche, and Jean Pierre’s son Leo. The two are part of an avant-garde theater troupe in Paris, and especially enjoyed the puppet theatrics from “Gepetto’s Barnyard” at the fair this year.
Colleen Bridge, Haines High School class of 1971, was in Haines with her husband Michael. Colleen and Mike live in Anchorage, where Colleen recently retired from Providence Hospital as top administrator. Other visiting alumni during the fair included Wendy Ward, from Juneau, who visited her mother Marge Ward, and Cheryl Martin, who lives in Seattle and visited her mother Ramona Martin and sister Jackie Martin. Kathy Enright came up from Juneau to spend time with her children John Hagen, of Haines, Michael Hagen, of Seattle, and Heather Carlton, of Juneau. Heather traveled up with husband Steve and their boys Arlo and Theo.
Beth MacCready and Gregg Bigsby had a full house of teens over the course of the fair. Former resident Taiga Boisvert is visiting from Viroqua, Wisc. Zoe Davidman, who lives in the Bay Area, is in town with her father Aaron Davidman and Sarana Miller, who taught a yoga retreat recently. Beth’s great-nieces, sisters Kaya Ramirez and Faith St. Hilaire from Seattle, are also in town.
Liana Shull organized a three-day volleyball camp for 19 girls in grades 6-12 last week. Liana, Riley Erekson and Jess Calles coached the program. Mark McNamara made a guest appearance to teach a hitting clinic and sit for an interview session on motivation and aspects of a successful athlete. Many graduates of the HHS volleyball program returned to lend assistance, including Brook Cinocco, Carlee Heinmiller, Anna Jacobson, Ashley Messerschmidt and Amey Messerschmidt. Middle school volleyball coaches Cassie and Brittany Miller also helped with instruction. Liana said her goal is to run the camp each summer to build a strong program in Haines.
Former public works director Brad Maynard is in Haines catching up with friends. Brad lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he manages a mining construction project.
Genevieve Bell is the new Haines postmaster. Genevieve is currently the Glenallen postmaster and will arrive in Haines after Labor Day with her husband, Patrick Bell, and their children Camelia and Calvin, ages 6 and 3. Gen, who vacationed with her family in Haines twice over the past year, said they were drawn to the community. “We are fishermen and skiers and love the outdoors.” She just completed a two-week stint in the Haines post office during an employee vacation, and stayed to check out the fair with her family. “It was the best fair we’ve been to,” she said.
Jenn Walsh tied for first place in the women’s solo division of the Southern Lakes Bike Loppet last weekend. The race is a 108-mile loop from Marsh Lake to Tagish, Carcross, Mount Lorne, Golden Horn and back to Marsh Lake. Jenn finished in 5 hours, 26 minutes with fellow cyclist Melanie Tait. Jenn and Melanie, who didn’t know each other before the race, ended up riding every mile together, and supported each other throughout. Friend Chris Downer also provided support along the course. Jenn’s next race will be the 3-day Tour de Juneau, in August.