Folks born on a leap year observed their quadrennial birthdays last weekend. Co-workers of Libby Kurz at Alaska Mountain Guides treated her to a quinceanera at Raevyn’s Café to celebrate her 15th official birthday. Friends of Janine Allen, 8 in leap years, brought cakes for a party at Haines Brewing Co. Ranee Staska and Fuzzy von Stauffenberg were also born on Feb. 29.

Iris Holmes has earned a doctoral degree in ecology and evolutionary biology at University of Michigan for her dissertation on causes of barriers to animal migration. Barriers that reduce gene flow between populations can lead to inbred animal populations and difficulty adapting to changing conditions. Daughter of Tim Shields and Kathy Holmes of Haines, Iris is applying for postdoctoral fellowships in her field.

Jim and Anna Jurgeleit’s tour of five eastern nations in six weeks included bumping into Dennis Gudmundson and wife Kathy Madsen in Ubud, Bali. Jim and Anna made the connection while visiting summer tour guide Tom Lang, who told them Dennis and Kathy were staying at their hotel. The Jurgeleits visited former Haines School teachers Bob and Lisa Krebs in Shekou, China and in Malaysia caught up with Shohael Abhilash, a foreign exchange student they hosted in Haines 10 years ago. Other stops included Hong Kong, Vietnam and Thailand. Highlights included touring interior China, swimming with turtles and sharks in Malaysia and feeding and walking with elephants at an animal rehabilitation park in Thailand. The couple left China Jan. 4, previous to the coronavirus outbreak.

Barbara Stremple of Wilmington, Del. made a 10-day visit to town to see daughter Claire Stremple and cousin Deb Vogt. Barbara attended yoga classes hosted by Melina Shields and Marnie Hartman and dined at the last week’s pop-up eatery by chef Travis Kukull. A gardener who edited gardening books for Sunset Magazine, Barbara “experienced all the forms of precipitation we have in Haines,” Claire said.

Katie King is working as associate registrar for the collection at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, an art museum in Boston, Mass. After serving as summer intern at Haines Sheldon Museum in 2015, Katie completed an internship in the U.S. Senate Curator’s Office in Washington, D.C., then spent more than two years in the nation’s capital as assistant registrar at George Washington University Museum.

Haines third-grader Lily Jo Ramsey won a hot-dog eating contest in Waimea, Kauai, Hawaii during a recent family trip when mom Mandy Ramsey was attending an intensive yoga teacher training. Lily scarfed down four “Hawaiian” hot dogs (without buns) in two minutes to take the children’s division of the competition. Mandy said Lily was hoping to donate her $100 prize to helping the environment.

About 30 highway gardeners turned out for Monday’s potluck and “Seed Swap” at Mosquito Lake School and Community Center, which included information provided by Mardell Gunn and Erika Merklin. Merklin and Laurie Mastrella are reviving use of the small greenhouse attached to the school. Spring offerings at the facility include weekly yoga sessions.

It’s time to register for Girls on the Run in Haines. The positive, healthy program is open to girls of all abilities in grades 3-5. Practice begins March 10 at the Haines School. Space is limited to 15 girls. Register online at Call Sara Chapell at 314-3074 for more information.

Runner Deborah Asper is taking pledges for her run in the May 23 Prince of Wales Marathon to help Tatsuda’s IGA, the 104-year-old Ketchikan grocery store devastated by a recent landslide. Asper, who works as store director, said Tatsuda’s changed her life by hiring her as part-time checker when she was recovering from addiction issues. Email [email protected] for more information.

Saturday’s showcase of acts by the Haines High School drama, debate and forensics team featured a rollicking, condensed rendition of the local melodrama “Lust for Dust,” performed as a reader’s theater. The act won third place at the statewide DDF competition. Student actors included Nathan Haas, Stella Ordonez, Eli Williamson, Tanna Dixon, Hannah Boron, and Dylan and Sally Chapell. Hannah Revenaugh-Bochart coached the team.

Bernadette Maust passed away at home in Haines on Feb. 27 of cancer. Husband Tim said there will be a celebration of her life Saturday March 14 at the Assembly of God church. There will be a full obituary next week.