Sarah Elliott recently met up with former resident Hilary McNamara of Frisco, Texas in Healdsburg, California. They enjoyed hiking through the redwoods at Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Preserve and the vineyards around Sonoma County. On Saturday, April 13 they completed the Lake Sonoma Relentless Trail Marathon. Sarah unfortunately took a wrong turn around Mile 24 at the final aid station. She mistakenly followed the 50-mile trail runners to their turnaround point, adding several miles onto the 26.2-mile marathon distance. The course was muddy, as it rained the night before and the day of the event. The course also included many water crossings through fast-moving creeks, spring wildflowers and rolling woods and meadows. On her way home, Sarah met up with husband Brian Elliott in Seattle for the Mariners vs Reds baseball series.

Randy Shirley competes in the 2024 Boston Marathon on April 14. Photo by Marathon (Randy Shirley/Courtesy photo)
Randy Shirley competes in the 2024 Boston Marathon on April 14. Photo by Marathon (Randy Shirley/Courtesy photo)

Randy Shirley, a frequent visitor of Klukwan whose mother, Katherine Hotch still lives in the community, recently completed the Boston Marathon. Shirley, who was born and raised in San Francisco, wore a formline shirt designed by Juneau artist Doug Chilton with the words “One People.” Throughout the months of training (which began in August of last year), Shirley said he was inspired by the words of the Oglala Lakota 10,000-meter Olympic competitor, Billy Mills, who told Shirley that he did the run for his people. The mantra “for my people” repeated in his head as he braved the warm and muggy conditions of Boston, suffering through hamstring and calf cramps to make it across the finish line to a roaring crowd. “I just broke down.It was very emotional. I couldn’t stop crying,” he said. 

Chip Lende also raced in Boston along with his daughter, J.J. Hinderberger. On Wednesday after the race, Lende said he was feeling a little sore after completing his first marathon in over a decade, but was happy with his 4:17 time, considering the heat, which reached into the 70s. 67-year-old Lende has done 15 marathons in his life, but hadn’t run much in the last 15 years, instead focusing on cycling. “It’s hard to get used to being slower than you used to be,” he said. It was Lende’s second time in Boston after he competed in the 1996 centennial marathon.  Hinderberger, who now lives in Juneau, finished in 3:28:20 after having to pull out of last year’s race due to sickness. “We both ran a little slower than we hoped but given the heat it wasn’t bad,” said Lende. Heather Lende joined her husband and daughter for the event. 

Alpenglow pizzeria recently celebrated its one-year anniversary under Nolan Woodard. The 28-year-old said about 20 people signed up for a Mario Kart competition (projected on the wall of the Main Street restaurant) on the first Saturday of April to celebrate the occasion. Woodard said he felt immense relief earlier in the week. “On Monday I took probably the deepest breath I’ve taken in a year,” he said. “Everyone always talks about how the first year is the hardest.” It’s been a tough year for restaurants in Haines with tough staffing and high prices. Woodard said he’s been able to survive thanks to the dedication of his high school friends (and current employees) Peter Kohlstedt and Jake Reinoehl plus brother Austin Woodard. The crew has made few changes to the menu, including Kohlestedt updating the dough recipe to have a 2-3 day rising time which allows it to be hand tossed. The pizzeria also expanded community offerings with regular movie nights.  

The National Science Foundation recently announced a $20-million, 5-year grant project to study climate change effects in eight Gulf of Alaska communities including Haines and Klukwan. The project aims to understand how increasing glacial melt affects nearshore coastal environments, including the wellbeing of nearby communities, according to a press release. The release says that researchers will hire local coordinators to lead annual workshops and offer an “honorarium for community participants ‘as a respect for the time and the information they’re giving.’” People interested in project updates will be able to browse online dashboards and databases that will make project data and results publicly available.

Haines residents should soon have another gym option in town. Todd Raining Bird is preparing to open a personal training space near the softball fields for clients of his service, Chilkat Fitness. Raining Bird has been coaching since 2010 using the facilities at Thor’s Gym, but decided to give it a go at his own space recently. The new space will include new workout equipment in a 700-square-foot space with heated floors.  “People said it was a little too expensive to pay for Thor’s and my services on top of that,” said Raining Bird. He said his program is customizable but focused on living well. His clients range from fitness buffs to grandmothers. “It’s more functional training, not just in the gym but for life,” he said. Raining Bird said his flagship program is three days a week at $197 per month. He said he is still deciding schedules for group classes and is shooting for a May opening. Interested clients can check out Raining Bird’s website or text directly at 406-749-0606. 

Haines residents will get free help doing estate planning and drafting their wills on April 27. The Chilkat Valley Community Foundation sponsored a trip for an expert from Alaska Legal Services to help guide residents through the process step-by-step at the library. DeLise Keim, who sits on the CVCF board, said planning for end of life is important for many reasons outside of who gets your money. “Who decides what kind of medical attention you’re going to have — whether you keep the machines going or you turn them off — these are really important questions,” she said. The visitor from Alaska Legal Services is also a notary, so people can have their official documents ready to go by the end of the session. “It’s a great opportunity to do one of those things that you don’t usually think about until it’s too late,” said Keim. CVCF is asking residents to register early to ensure there is enough seating and documents. 

Little League sign ups are open until April 27 for kids ages 4-16. Organizer Brian Elliott said the organization expects about the same number of registrants as last year, about 115. People who are interested can pick up paperwork at the school office. There will be a skills assessment on April 27. 

Amy Kane, the owner of the Haines Bookstore, was recently awarded a $500 bonus from the James Patterson Bookseller Bonus Program based on recommendations she received from customers. Kane is one of 500 booksellers to get the bonus this year, including two others from Alaska. Kane said she’ll be splitting the bonus with her “tireless volunteer” Jenty Fowler. She is hosting a Customer Appreciation Day on April 26 “with champagne provided by James Patterson, lol.”