Friends and members of the Presbyterian Church came to the Chilkat Center for a retirement party honoring Ron and Jacque Horn on Saturday. Susan Weerasinghe and Shannon McPhetres organized the party, which featured “lots of wonderful goodies,” said Jacque, including pies and chocolate desserts. “Ron’s a pie man,” she added. Christy Tengs-Fowler wrote and recited one of her signature poems for the event. The Horns have been in Haines nearly 15 years. Ron is retiring as the pastor of the Presbyterian Church. The couple is moving to Lander, Wyoming, where their son Evan Horn, his wife Anna, and their four-month-old baby (and Ron and Jacque’s grandson) Benjamin live. “We are sad to leave Haines,” Jacque said. “Haines has been so good to us.” Lander is a town similar to Haines, she said, but with a population around 7,000 people.

This summer, the Horns will embark upon a road trip with their A-frame pop-up trailer to see “as much of Alaska as possible”, and also the Yukon and Northwest Territories. They plan to travel the newly graveled road to Tuktoyaktuk (known locally as Tuk) on the Arctic Ocean during the first summer the former iceroad is open. “We’re bringing lots of spare tires,” Jacque said. Ron, a talented photographer, will document the journey.

Marge Ward turns 95 years old on March 8. Tom Heywood and HAL’s Pals sang “Happy Birthday” to Marge on Monday night at Haines Assisted Living.

Last Wednesday was Kyle Gray’s last day as branch manager at the Haines bank. He’s moving to Fairbanks to accept a position as Johansen Branch loan officer and Assistant Vice President for FNBA. Living in Haines “always felt like living life as a character in a quirky novel,” Gray said. He described Haines as “a squabbling family — one that’s there in any time of need… (a family) I will surely miss.” Wendell Harren is the new Haines branch manager.

Teri Bastable-Podsiki says a highlight of her recent trip to Thailand was spending time at an elephant rescue in Chaing Mai. She enjoyed “feeding (the elephants), being in the water and mud with them, getting to cover them with mud from the pond and then scrubbing them clean… they loved it. It was incredible.”

The Alaska Salmon Sisters featured Haines High School senior Molly Ekstrom on Instagram and Facebook as part of a “Young Fishermen Friday” feature. Molly’s quote read, “I fish with my father and our husky Siku. We have had several deckhands throughout the years but as I have grown older I have become the only deckhand. I used to get extremely sea sick but I loved fishing so much that I would beg my father to take me. Because he had spent so much time on the water, it was an easy way for us to connect.” The post, which has 854 “likes” on Instagram, notes Molly has fished for salmon and lingcod in Yakutat and Sitka and for squid in California on the F/V Kaleva and F/V Little Viking.

Becky Hill celebrated her 50th birthday in Hawaii – the 50th state. She enjoyed eight days in Maui, where she spent most of her time on the beach. “Surprisingly,” she said, “I did not see any Haines (people).” On her birthday, she went on a sunset dinner cruise with live music. At one point in the night, five whales surrounded the boat. Hill started planning her trip to Hawaii last year after she turned 49 in the 49th state.

Sarah Roark and Jim Foster are home from a week in Cuba. They stayed in Nueva Vedado, a neighborhood in Havana, in an Airbnb rental on the fifth floor of an elevator-less building. “We ate lots of rice and beans and chicken and pork and drank lots of rum,” Sarah said. They played disc golf with locals on the beach, and left them a disc so they could continue to play. A favorite place was called Fábrica de Arte Cubano, an indoor/outdoor nightclub and art gallery with short films playing and different exhibits throughout – some in tiny little caves and closets.

Local artist Katie Craney was recently the Artist in Residence at Denali National Park and Preserve. She taught an art class during the annual Denali Winterfest celebration and spent 5 days solo at the Savage River Cabin, a dry cabin built in 1924 during park road construction. Temperatures reached 20 below during her stay. The cabin has a woodstove but no electricity. In her five days, she only interacted with one other human being: a Chinese tourist who giggled in response to her “hello”. The solitude offered her time to write and work on art. Craney has an upcoming show at the Pratt Museum in Homer.

“It’s great to be back in Haines,” says Peter MacDonald, who is back in town after six months in Montpelier, Vermont, where he worked at the Hunger Mountain Co-Op. He’s here for the summer. MacDonald said while he’s in town he’ll be painting Harriet Hall and Dalton City. He’s looking forward to playing rock and roll music with friend Dennis Durr.

Haines community members are encouraged to participate in the Haines Economic Development Community Survey to help guide Haines’ economic development efforts. Results will be incorporated in the development of the Haines Five-Year Economic Development Plan. To take the survey, go to the HEDC’s website at http://www.hainesedc.org.

Big Brothers Big Sisters in Haines has three kids waiting to be paired with “Bigs”, says BBBS community director Rosalie Loewen. Currently there are two girls and one boy on the waitlist. “One girl is a music lover. The other loves animals and horseback riding. The boy likes shooting hoops and outdoor activities,” Loewen said. “I want to match these kids before June to pave the way for a summer of connection, support, and fun.” The volunteer commitment is two to four meetings per month for a year. For more information, call 766-2151.