A photo of Nels Niemi, former guide, decked out and on a river.
Nels Niemi. (Courtesy photo/Colin Arisman)

1: Beloved guide Nels Niemi dies at 83 – Heather Lende Oct. 19

This obituary, filled with charming details of a larger-than-life guide, and written by contributor Heather Lende, captured readers’ attention online more than any other story this year.

2: Millions of worth of downtown property goes for sale overnight – Lex Treinen Oct. 12

A story about plywood ‘For Sale’ signs that appeared on the walls of a half dozen prominent downtown buildings with little explanation led to deep questions about the state of the local economy.

(left) Carl Heinmiller, Johnnie Avatock, John Hagen and Wes Willard (standing). (Courtesy photo/Delta Museum)
(left) Carl Heinmiller, Johnnie Avatock, John Hagen and Wes Willard (standing). (Courtesy photo/Delta Museum)

3: Totem pole returns to Haines after 50 years at corporate airline – Lex Treinen Dec. 7

A feel-good, blast from the Alaska Indian Arts’ past story was shared thousands of times on Facebook, where people from around the world celebrated the return of the pole to the Chilkoot Indian Association.

The pole was originally carved in Los Angeles by a group of artists from the Chilkat Valley.

4: Eldred Rock Lighthouse volunteers aim for 2025 opening – Nakeshia Diop July 13

An overnight visit we already know she’s the author to Eldred Rock brought vivid photos of the gritty decontamination work being done by a dedicated group of volunteers and inspired a strong reaction to this story.

5: Haines man dies, fentanyl use suspected – Lex Treinen Sept. 21

The tragic death of a 26-year-old man at a local apartment complex shocked the community of Haines.

Jason Katz-Brown skated from Anchorage to Haines. He made the 750-mile trip in 17 days, carrying a 40-pound pack and skating 8-10 hours per day. (Courtesy photo/Jason Katz-Brown)
Jason Katz-Brown skated from Anchorage to Haines. He made the 750-mile trip in 17 days, carrying a 40-pound pack and skating 8-10 hours per day. (Courtesy photo/Jason Katz-Brown)

6: 750 miles to Haines on rollerblades – Tom Morphet July 13

A story about the slightly absurd solo rollerblading journey by a young man from Anchorage to Haines captured what life was like for Jason Katz-Brown for 17 days this summer.

7: Yearling bull moose escapes wildlife center days before hunting season – Lex Treinen Sept. 14

Haines is one of the few places in the state where there are enclosed moose, and story about a moose on the loose inspired both worry for the its survival and some teasing.

In late June, siblings Sam and Wendy McPhetres welcomed Angela Startz of Oklahoma to Haines. (Courtesy photo)
In late June, siblings Sam and Wendy McPhetres welcomed Angela Startz of Oklahoma to Haines. (Courtesy photo)

8: Long lost sister reunites with Haines family – Nakeshia Diop August 3

A cousins DNA test in revealed a secret sibling of Haines resident Sam McPhetres, which brought back the family’s past connections with Nome.

9: UFO sighting in Haines – Lex Treinen July 13

(right) Christy Tengs Fowler dances during the 70-year anniversary of the Bamboo Room and Pioneer Bar, which Fowler has owned since the 90s. (Photo by Lex Treinen/Chilkat Valley News)
(right) Christy Tengs Fowler dances during the 70-year anniversary of the Bamboo Room and Pioneer Bar, which Fowler has owned since the 90s. (Photo by Lex Treinen/Chilkat Valley News)

Aliens? Russian satellites? The answer to a strange celestial phenomenon observed over Haines was probably just a passenger jet, experts decided.

10: Pioneer Bar celebrates 70th anniversary with party – Nakeshia Diop Aug. 24

Infused with original song lyrics from P-Bar owner Christy Fowler, this story captured the quirky and complicated feelings that come with living alongside a bar for decades.