On Jan. 21 at 10:05 a.m. Ayla Marie Schlosstein made a rapid entrance into this world via an ambulance, Coast Guard helicopter, medical jet, and another ambulance, before joining parents Leah Wagner and Nick Schlosstein exactly six weeks early. Ayla was born at a nice round 5 pounds and 44 centimeters long. Following Ayla’s birth the Schlossteins spent two months with family in Anchorage to be near medical support. 

Last week the family embarked on the long drive home to Haines only to be turned around at the border to rush back to Tok to get required COVID tests. The new parents then utilized roadside telehealth assistance in Haines Junction with support from the Canadian Ministry of Health to execute at-home tests and mail them before ending their brief international sojourn. The family is grateful to be back home, happy and healthy, and hoping for much less excitement in the coming months.

8th grade student Willa Stuart finished 4th at the Alaska State Spelling Bee. The Bee was a little different this year, being held over a video platform. Spellers were given a list of words to spell and they were judged on how many they spelled correctly. This was Willa’s final year competing as she is promoting to high school this spring. She has won the local qualifying Bee five years in a row. 

 The Haines Ministerial Association hosted the annual Blessing of the Fleet on Sunday Mar. 28. The Davis family (Mark, Holly, Mark, Luke, JC and Meg) led the usual hymns in place of the Men of Note or Women’s Choir who are not currently meeting as per COVID. Hymns sung by attendees were: Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee, It Is Well With My Soul, and Amazing Grace, along with the special addition of We’re Gonna Sing When The Spirit Says Sing. 

Al Badgley counted 63 persons in attendance which is a great turnout, probably due in part to the beautiful sunny day that blessed Haines. Al was also responsible for ringing the bell which rings to honor each local person who has perished in local waters. Following the outdoor service, the group walked the docks and blessed each boat in the harbor. Crystal Badgley said, “We will continue to pray for a good and safe season for everyone.” 

Todd Sebens is back in Haines after a visit to Mexico. Todd said, “My brother Mark (Sebens) is a gold miner, you know, and he traded some gold with a guy and got us a two-week stay in the presidential suite at a resort in Cabo San Lucas; it’s not normally my scene but it was nice to spend some time there. The place was really nice and seemed like a fair trade to me.” Todd, Mark, and their sister Karen Sebens, with Mark’s sons Fletcher Sebens and Tristan Sebens, spent two weeks at the resort. Then they met up with George Falcon, who sailed Mark’s sailboat to meet them. They switched places with George and took the sailboat north from La Paz to the small Puerto Escondido near the town of Loreto (not to be confused with Puerto Escondido in Oaxaca, Mexico). Andrew Cardella with partner Mads Rayneer joined them on the roughly two-week sailing excursion. Mark and Fletcher dropped everyone off and then continued sailing the boat  through the Sea of Cortez to Santa Rosalia in Baja. They put the catamaran on a trailer to be hauled to Texas for safekeeping until the next adventure. 

The group also ran into friend Grantly Moore while in Mexico. Todd added, “It was great to get some sunshine.” 

Alixanne Goodman and Forest Podsiki took their dogs for an early beach walk on Wednesday Mar. 24 on the town side when they spotted something in the water about 300 yards from shore. They quickly realized they were seeing a pod of killer whales. Alixanne said, “We jumped in the truck to try to follow them and get a closer look.” From the Picture Point pull-out they could clearly see about 7-10 orcas, including at least two babies. They ended up parking at the Tank Farm beach and walking out on  the rocks to get a better view. Alixanne added, “We noticed they were chasing something and that went on for about 30 seconds and then we saw a big splash of red.”