Klukwan is mourning the deaths of two long-time residents, Smith “Smitty” Katzeek, 85, and Tony Strong, 75. Smith died Monday morning at his village home. Tony died at his home in the village late Monday or early Tuesday. Full obituaries will appear in upcoming editions of the CVN. Evangeline Willard and son Trygve Bakke recently traveled through Pittsburgh, Pa. on a college-scouting trip to Denison University in Granville, Ohio. Besides seeing brother Danny Willard and his wife Lauren D’Agostino-Willard in the Iron City, they saw the set of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood at the Heinz History Center, rode the Dusquesne Incline up Mount Washington and watched the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team play to a 6-3 loss against the Montreal Canadiens. Evangeline said their amazing city tour included lunch at The Doorstop, a restaurant featured in the TV show “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.” Denison is a prestigious liberal arts college known for theater arts. Alumni include actors Hal Holbrook, Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner. Sue Libenson and Bill Holton traveled to Los Angeles Nov. 20 to see UCLA face off against USC, a classic college football rivalry showdown. Sue’s nephew Ari Libenson is a walk-on kicker for the Bruins, who crushed the Trojans, 62-33. Extended family all wore number “96” jerseys in UCLA’s blue and gold colors in support of Ari, who has twice visited Haines. Highlights included meeting NFL Hall of Fame kicker David Akers, who kicked a 63-yard field goal for the San Francisco Forty-Niners in 2012. His son Luke Akers is a UCLA punter.
Rabbi Sydney Mintz was among guests at the annual White House Hanukkah party Dec.1, the first time the holiday has been celebrated at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with a Jewish spouse of a vice-president. “It was an honor to represent the San Francisco Jewish community at the White House Menorah Lighting tonight,” Mintz wrote on Instagram. U.S. President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden and vice-president Kamala Harris spoke at the event. Harris’s Jewish husband, Doug Emhoff, led the menorah lighting. Mintz, of San Francisco’s Congregation Emanu-El, recently purchased property at Paradise Cove.
Joe and Edie Ordonez and family are settling into life in Mount Vernon, Wash. Joe started a seasonal job as educational coordinator at the Skagit River Bald Eagle Interpretive Center. He’s leading walking tours this winter along the river that hosts all five species of salmon and is home to the nation’s second-biggest bald eagle congregation. Stella is a senior at Mount Vernon High School and Sapphire attends fourth grade. Edie stays busy tending to all the plants, including fig and apple trees, in their yard.
Carolann and John Wooten donated the town Christmas tree but it took a host of volunteers to stand it up at Third Avenue and Main Street amid weeks of snowstorms. Lance Caldwell of Alaska Power and Telephone got a hole dug, Patty Campbell and Andy Glackin provided lights, and Will Hickman cleared a spot amid snowdrifts. Tourism director Steve Auch said he’s grateful for the effort, including the support of Tracey Harmon at the Haines Chamber of Commerce.
Leah Wagner was refilling her coffee cup Sunday morning when she found herself eye to eye with a small black bear atop a snowdrift as high as her window. Then she was staring at its belly as the bruin climbed atop the roof of the house on Mount Riley Road. Husband Nick Schlosstein shooed away the bear. A video of the bear on the roof is posted on the Facebook page of Foundroot, the couple’s business.
Dr. Serena Badgley left town Wednesday after a week-long visit to parents Al and Crystal Badgley. Serena caught up with high school friends, walked the galleries at First Friday and enjoyed board games with Al and Crystal. She lives in Beaverton, Ore. and starts next week as occupational therapist in memory care and independent assisted living at The Springs at Lake Oswego and Carmen Oaks, retirement communities.
Three-month-old Jacklynn Woodfin maintained perfect poise during her acting debut as Baby Jesus in the crèche scene during the annual Lighting of the Fort. Dad and mom Joseph and Liz Woodfin portrayed Joseph and Mary, respectively. The three shepherds were J.C. Davis, Luke Davis and Uriel Bravo. Kings were Tydus Woodfin, Logan Borcik and Colin Aldassy. Natalie Jobbins and Meg Davis were angels and Meg’s mom Holly Davis served as narrator and song leader. The lighting included a wiener roast, bonfire and started with a blast by cannoneer Sam Wright. Judy Weibel and Maddy Russell provided cookies.