Julie Rae and Jan McPhetres recently returned from a challenging tour of the Bernese Oberland in Switzerland. Rae and McPhetres completed eight day hikes in the Alps, which Rae said were filled with blue skies, warm temperatures, wildflowers and the sound of cow bells. They also went to Zurich, where they took part in The Street Parade, the largest techno festival in Europe. At the festival, they were interviewed by a reporter and appeared on TeleZuri News. The two-week trip involved six plane rides, 12 train trips and one boat ride, to explore the castles along the shores of Lake Thun. Rae and McPhetres joint-taught kindergarten in Haines 35 years ago. McPhetres lives in Juneau.  
 Fame is not making Matilda Rogers frugal: the fifth-grader recently donated $50 of her winnings from the Southeast Alaska’s Got Talent show to the Haines branch of Southeast Alaska Independent Living. Rogers won first place in the youth category singing her rendition of Ingrid Michaelson’s “You and I.” She handed the $50 bill over to SAIL program director Sierra Jimenez last week. Rogers said she picked SAIL because she wanted to donate to “a really important charity in Haines” that helps people.
 Jade and Eric Scheele recently spent a week in Haines visiting Jade’s mother Annette Smith. Eric’s parents Rick and Mary Anne Scheele of Darby, Mont., also made the trip, as did fellow Darby resident and Jade’s father Randy Smith. The group took a glacier flight tour with Annette’s partner Sam Wright, visited Steve Kroschel’s Wildlife Center and watched bears at the Chilkoot River. Jade and Eric are training for a triathlon and went biking, swimming or running every morning. Jade is senior development manager for a wind power company and Eric is a journeyman plumber. They live in Austin, Texas.
Former Haines tour operator Dave Button was in town this week to testify on the controversial minor offenses ordinance at the Haines Borough Assembly meeting. Button came down from Fairbanks, where he runs van tours during the summer. He visited with Joe OrdonezMike Ward and John Katzeek. During the off-season, he lives in Washington state with wife Jane.    
 Dena Burnum reports that her husband Bob Deck finally had his back surgery last Friday and is now home resting in Canby, Ore. Deck worked as campground host at Chilkoot Lake for the past seven summers. He also lived in Haines for nine years in the 1970s. To contact Deck, search for him on Facebook.
Woodworker John Carlson returned recently from installing some of his handiwork at the Northrim Bank in Ketchikan. He made the bank’s cabinets and countertops out of Formica and plastic laminate, though the countertops included a five-inch hickory edge. While in Ketchikan, Carlson toured Totem Bight State Historical Park and stayed with Shelley Stallings, a former Haines School shop teacher.  
 Matt Blood, from the Haines High School Class of 2003, recently graduated from Excelsior University with a nursing degree. Mother Barb Blood said Matt wanted to thank all of the local organizations that awarded him scholarships for his continuing education. Matt is currently working as a flight paramedic for LifeMed Alaska in Fairbanks.  
A group of Haines hikers recently returned from a 40-mile backpacking trip on Wyoming’s Teton Crest Trail. Leslie EvendenMarirose Evenden, Alison Jacobson, Libby Jacobson and Anna Jacobson completed the hike in three days. Before embarking on the adventure, they hung out in Bozeman, Mont., then stopped in Wilson, Wyo., to spend time with Gina St. Clair. They also visited Yellowstone National Park, where they saw Old Faithful erupt. The trip’s highlights including viewing bison and elk, Leslie said.
 Anne Hanssen recently retired as manager of the Haines Senior Village and Haines Senior Center after nearly 10 years on the job. Friends and co-workers toasted her with a salad potluck at the center. “I had a very big birthday this year, so it seemed like a good time to retire,” Hanssen said. She’ll be helping out daughter Pam Long at the Haines Real Estate office. Valery McCandless is taking over Anne’s duties. Valery is an obstetrics nurse by training and served two terms as mayor of Wrangell, where her family lived from 1991 until moving here three years ago. Husband Dave McCandless is medical director at the SEARHC medical clinic. The couple has three grown children.
Joanie Wagner is hosting ukulele classes led by ukulele connoisseur Kalani Kanahele, also known locally as “Mr. K.” Classes began this week and will continue to meet at 5:30 p.m. every Tuesday. Contact Wagner at 314-0020 for more information.  
 Chilkat Valley Community Foundation board member Lew Lowery reminds local nonprofits to get their applications in for this year’s grant-making cycle. The deadline is 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 30. Applications are being accepted for operating support grants, new program and special projects grants, and capital grants. The foundation is also offering a $500 environmental grant and $500 “mini-tech” grant. Apply online at www.chilkatvalleycf.org.