Former Chilkat Valley News reporter Bill McAllister is quoted in a Nov. 21 New York Times Magazine article about Sarah Palin. McAllister, a former Palin press secretary who now works as a spokesman for the state Department of Law, said the national media “grossly mischaracterized” Sarah Palin “in a way he found frustrating and maddening.” McAllister said he found Palin, early in her career as governor, as “bright, easygoing and exceedingly popular with the local press.”

Friends gathered Friday night at the Klondike at Dalton City for a send-off party for former Takshanuk Watershed Council director Emily Cowles. Well-wishers included board members Ray StaskaBen Kirkpatrick and Norm Hughes as well as state Rep. Bill Thomas and his wife Joyce. Emily left over the weekend to begin work with the National Forest Foundation in Davis, Calif.

Laura Rogers was completely surprised when her sister Frankie Anderson pulled up to her house in a taxi. Frankie traveled from Edinburgh, Scotland to surprise Laura and her family with a five-day visit. Frankie spent her time playing with her niece and nephew, Matilda and Maddox. Laura, husband Manuel and the kids accompanied Frankie back to Juneau where they celebrated Laura’s birthday before Frankie flew home to Scotland.

Volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters gathered Saturday at the school kitchen to bake cookies as a thank-you to BBBS supporters who have pledged multi-year gifts to the organization. “Bigs” Alexandra Feit, Judy Ewald, Helen Mooney and Burl Sheldon and their “littles” were joined by Krista Kielsmeier and Jessie Miller. Director Burl Sheldon anticipates making three new matches this week, which will bring the total to 30 matches in upper Lynn Canal. Their goal is 45 active matches by the end of 2011. There are currently 10 youths on the waiting list for big brothers or sisters. Burl said he’s pleased with the results from the group’s fundraising luncheon Nov. 8, which brought in nearly $20,000 in pledges. BBBS Alaska’s CEO Taber Rehbaum came from Anchorage to attend. Call Burl at 766-2151 to learn more.

If you ordered Cub Scout popcorn from Wesley Verhamme, please contact den leader Jayme Dozier at 314-0540. Wesley’s order slip is missing, so the Scouts need to connect their popcorn with their customers. Jayme apologizes for the inconvenience and says the Scout troop is doing great. They’ll hold their annual Pinewood Derby after the holiday, Dozier said.

The Jacobson family spent their Thanksgiving with family in Kansas. Glen, Alison, and their kids Anna, Libby and Ketch visited with Glen’s parents Myron and Sylvia Jacobson in Ozawkie and also spent time with Alison’s parents, Mick and Virginia Jamison, in Perry. Everyone gathered at the Jamisons’ farm, a 1,000-acre cattle ranch, for Thanksgiving. Ketch and Glen took time for squirrel hunting during the visit. “You have to be patient,” Glen said. “It’s not as easy as it sounds.” The family is gearing up for a month-long trip to Argentina to explore Buenos Aires and the Patagonia region.

Students in grades five through eight participated in the 2010 Elks Americanism Essay Contest. This year’s topic was “Why I am Proud to Be an American.” The Division I (grades 5 & 6) winner was Jordan Stigen. Jordan wrote that being an American comes at a great price because we have had to fight for our rights. She also wrote about Americans who work hard to make a living by working in different types of trades and industries. The Division II (grades 7 & 8) winner was Charlie Henry. He wrote he was proud to be an American because of the many cultures that make up our country. He briefly explained how the American flag was first flown in Alaska by Tlingit Natives from Haines and went on to argue that freedom of religion and speech is the proudest aspect of being an American. Division winners were each awarded a $50 check and their essays were sent on for regional judging.

Former residents Becky and Cameron Baird traveled from Fairbanks to celebrate Thanksgiving in Haines. They stayed with friends Andy Hedden and Jessica Edwards and caught up with Michael and Kaci Ahmuty and Renee and Daymond Hoffman over the weekend.

Samantha Clay and Pam Randles are organizing an evening of community caroling 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 18. Meet at Mountain Market. The first stop will be the senior village. Pam and Sam will have music books and a van is in the works so the group can sing at the homes of elders around town. All are welcome to join. If you’d like the carolers to visit your neighborhood, call Pam at 766-3664.

Remember your neighbors in need this holiday season. The fifth grade class is sponsoring a canned food drive for the Salvation Army. The collection will run Dec. 1 to Dec. 14. Food may be placed in the community box in the school lobby. Donations can also be dropped off at Sacred Heart Catholic Church or by contacting the Salvation Army at 766-2470.

Last week’s Duly Noted listed an incorrect website to Kelly Hansen’s blog about her work in India. Find it at