Kai Dixon moved from Haines back to Wasilla with his family at the end of summer 2020 and has transitioned his high school athletic career in grand fashion.  Kai is one of the team captains and on the starting front line for the hockey team Colony Knights, and scored a natural hat trick in his first game.  After following up with another two goals and one assist in his next performance, he was recently named by the local newspaper as “Athlete of the Week” which is awarded to the top weekly athlete in the Mat-Su Valley.  Kai’s parents, Chris and Lindsey Dixon, say he never passes up ice time and is the first to show up for practice and the last to leave.  His games can be seen online through the Colony High School website at matsuk12.us/CHS. Find the hockey links in the “Announcements” section on the main page. Haines High School 2020 graduate Tanna Dixon, Kai’s sister, is experiencing an unexpected gap year due to the pandemic. She and Chris did a full house remodel and flip together. They have also been working on several bathroom remodels.

Andrew Friske, a Haines High School 1996 alumni, was featured on the show “Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations.” Andrew is the residential and activities principal at Mount Edgecumbe High School in Sitka, Alaska. He lives there with his wife Becky Friske and children Gracelynn and Jake. During the summer months he is a commercial fisherman and runs Halibut Point Crab & Brew. His business is located on the cruise ship dock and caters to cruise ship passengers. The show focused on different seafood businesses in Sitka and spotlighted his boat-to-table business model. 

Melina Shields was in the same graduating class as Andrew and she was recently featured in Edible Alaska’s article entitled: Alaskan Spirits. Melina reports her Mud Bay home is the perfect climate for growing wormwood and she takes pleasure in giving it to her friends at Port Chilkoot Distillery as she isn’t quite sure what to do with it all. “I got one plant from my mom’s old seeds and a few gift plants from other growers and suddenly I have hedges,” Shields said. 

Port Chilkoot Distillery appreciates deliveries of anise hyssop, lemon balm, and wormwood from Melina and the Mosquito Lake Community Center. The fresh, local ingredients play a huge role in the flavor of the distillery’s award-winning Green Siren Absinthe.

The Haines Senior Center is currently delivering 33 meals each day to seniors in town and they head out to Klukwan on Thursdays to deliver six meals to elders there. In December, staff dressed up as Santa and Elves, delivering meals in holiday fashion along with a gift bag to each senior. Site Manager Caroline Hankins reminds seniors that their transportation bus is up and running again. If you need a ride anywhere, call the center at 766-2383 by noon the day before to get on the schedule. 

The weather in Haines has been sunny, cold, and beautiful. Chilkoot Lake road is a popular place to cross-country ski and snowshoe. Residents are eagerly waiting for the lake to freeze for skating. It’s not uncommon for skaters to fall into the lake as there are thin spots caused by warm springs. Go with a friend once the lake is deemed frozen. The golf course is a wonderful place to cross-country ski in town. If you have the time to enjoy a beautiful drive or if you live out the highway, cross-country skiing along the river at 25 Mile Haines Highway is in excellent condition thanks to Jim Stanford who grooms the trails. Kids and adults have had fun playing hockey on the small pond at Buster’s pit. Hockey players are working on laying ice at the fairgrounds for community hockey games. Backcountry enthusiasts’ vehicles can be seen parked along the side of the road at Lutak. They hike up through the trees to ski and snowboard down the north side of Mount Ripinsky. 

The snowmachiners and powder seekers have been out the highway, finding good snow up high. The Canadian border continues to be closed, cutting off the popular winter playground in the Haines Pass.

Identical twins Patricia Pascoe and Colleen Ruffini saw each other face-to-face for the first time in 16 years during a Zoom meet-up to celebrate their 95th birthdays Sunday. Patricia, mom of Jane Pascoe of Haines, lives in Wollongong, Australia. Twin sister Colleen lives in Sarasota, Florida. Colleen’s grandson, Will Hyland, put together the online meet-up, where the sisters joked, saw and heard from relatives in the United States and Australia and mused about longevity, pets, the weather and other topics. The video hook-up also allowed some American family members to meet Australian relatives, live and face-to-face, for the first time. Patricia and Colleen were born in Lahore, Pakistan (formerly British India) in 1926 and made their way to Australia and the United States, respectively, after World War II. The twins speak to each other on the phone every week.