Former resident Brietta Leader visited Haines to lead a five day workshop for her creative dance program WildCore, which was held at the yoga studio on Mud Bay Road. Community members who took the class included: Alissa Henry, Julie Vance, Mandy Ramsey, Debi Knight Kennedy, Merrick Bochart, Stoli Lynch, Amah Curry, and even some others as far as Seattle made the trip to take the class. WildCore is a dance-based practice that explores the wilderness of body and soul. Rick Leader, Brietta’s husband, also joined her on the trip to Haines to catch up with friends.

Keely and Jordan Baumgartner have returned from two weeks in sunny Kauai along with their boys Spencer and Parker. While there, the family attended Jordan’s brother, Tanner Thain’s wedding to Erin Weaver. “Highlights were watching Tanner catch a 120-pound yellow finned tuna and then eating it. Also, paddle boarding in Wailua river to a waterfall and a catamaran boat ride along the Napali coast. It was amazing,” said Keely. The boys enjoyed snorkeling and their younger son, Parker, learned to swim.

Katie and Dustin Craney are building a house with a geothermal ground source heat pump to heat the home fuel-free. The couple is building post and beam with structurally insulated panels. They bought beams from a local sawmill and used designer Larry Larson to formulate the concept. Friends Angela and Micheal Cota from Kenai are here to help build.

Teri Podsiki’s glass workshops have been a hit. “People have been supportive of my art. It’s great to see people come together to practice my passion. It’s a great creative release for them and you don’t have to be an artist to take my classes.” Teri also plans on incorporating kids’ classes, party classes, and renting her space for others who want to create their own pieces.

Haines school bookkeeper Judy Erekson returned from a four-day International Association of School Business Officials Conference in Orlando for the Haines School District. Judy has been a member of ALASBO since 2010 and has attended several professional and educational sessions. While there, she also took a side trip to Marsh Harbour, (Abaco) Bahamas where she stayed with friends she hadn’t seen in more than 20 years. She enjoyed snorkeling and catching lobster for dinner. “I visited a private school where my friend teaches literacy and drama. It was fun to meet and talk to her students about Alaska and all the similarities of living in a remote place,” said Judy. On her way home, she stayed with daughter Riley Erekson in Seattle and toured her new FDL International lab downtown. “She was busy creating new flavors for Starbucks, Dutch Bros, and more. She has a great job where she can combine her experience in Lilly Boron’s cooking class, making desserts for local restaurants, being a barista at our local coffee shop and using her degree in nutrition, so we are very happy for her,” said Judy.

The Sinking of the Princess Sophia proved to be a hit last weekend. Mila Thomas, 5, was the youngest in the play and played the part of Ruthie Mae O’Brian. This was Mila’s first play; she had been begging to be “on the stage” ever since she saw her mom, Tracey Harmon, in a play last winter. “Mila wasn’t nervous at all. There were some long nights with her snoozing backstage, but her dad Gabe Thomas and I couldn’t be prouder of her level of comfort in front of a crowd at five. She says she wants to be a singer when she grows up, and a cat,” said Tracey.

Al and Lori Giddings‘ daughter and former Haines school alumna Jess Giddings has been working in Hong Kong for a global nonprofit mission organization called YWAM Gateway. The non-profit does ministry in Hong Kong and mobilizes people to work in China. She just came back from a month working secretly off grid because government restrictions on religion are heavily monitored. She also traveled to Thailand for a global conference with people who work for the organization from over 100 nations. Jess said she finds passion in seeing young people rise up wanting to make a difference in the world.

Haines graduate Carlee Heinmiller became engaged to Will Young last month at The Grove Park in Asheville, NC. The couple is planning to wed sometime in the year 2020, Carlee said .