Natalie Dawson and Eben Sargent recently finished the Alaska Mountain Wilderness Ski Classic, a winter wilderness adventure race in the Brooks Range. (Luc Mehl/Courtesy photo)

Eben Sargent and Natalie Dawson recently finished the Alaska Mountain Wilderness Ski Classic, a winter cross-country adventure event hosted in Alaska for the last 37 years. The most recent 28 years it’s been hosted by Dave Cramer, an Alaska legend from Tok. This year’s race had route options on both the east side and west side of the Brooks Range, traversing an estimated 200 miles from north to south. Participants travel by ski, and are completely self-supported. Sargent and Dawson have competed in the race in the past, and this year finished just behind the winner, their friend Josh Mumm. The 200-mile route across the Brooks Range took them from Galbraith Lake to Wiseman up the Nanushuk River over the mountains into the Anaktuvuk river valley then over the mountains down the Tinyaguk River to the Glacier River and to Wiseman. They stopped for a meal in Anaktuvuk Pass school. Dawson said the route from the north side of the Brooks Range hadn’t been done before in the event. The pair completed the route in six days and eight hours. They came out with a little extra food and a few duct-taped toes.

A “vicious feral cat” seriously injured a person in Haines on April 15, according to acting police chief Josh Dryden. The cat was captured, held at the Haines jail, and shot. It was later flown to Fairbanks for lab testing for transmittable diseases, most notably rabies. But as of the morning of April 23, the cat hadn’t been received by the state’s Division of Epidemiology lab in Fairbanks, according to spokesperson Alex Huseman. Josh Dryden told the CVN on Thursday that the cat had tested negative for rabies. There hasn’t been a case of rabies in Haines since a bat tested for it in 2015, according to Huseman. Dryden said the owner of the cat hasn’t been identified.

A caller to the Haines Police Department reported an injured bald eagle on Lutak Road on April 18. The call was referred to the American Bald Eagle Foundation. Staff searched in the area for a half an hour and didn’t find the eagle, according to ABEF assistant director Maia Edwards. 

Tlingit & Haida Central Council recently announced a relief program for people registered to vote in Klukwan that gives $3,129.15 per resident. The plan was funded by the federal 2021 COVID-relief act, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). According to a flier about the program, the plan was developed with delegates from Klukwan, who advised on “how to best prioritize and provide meaningful local response to the needs of tribal citizens who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Haines’ first full-fledged Art Fest kicked off last week. The main attraction over the weekend was the Art Walk on the Chilkoot Indian Association trails across the highway from the soccer fields. “Art on the trail was fabulous. We had over 75 people, we kind of lost count,” said organizer Helen Alten, who also participated in the event by oil painting in front of the onlookers. Burl Sheldon, Nick Szatkowski, Shannon Springs, Eric Holle and others played live music along the trail. Pete Clayton tied fishing flies, Gina Randles was crocheting, Rhonda Degtoff wove cedar bark for a graduation hat, Cheri Martin and Gwen Sauser worked on traditional weaving, and Cody Hotch carved wood into a mask while Skeenyáa tláa Nancy Keen drummed along the trail. “A lot of people had never been on the trail before and were really surprised about its existence,” said Alten. There are more events through the first weekend of May, which can be found on the Alaska Arts Confluence website. Last year, the group put on a trial run for Art Fest and realized there was an appetite. This year, the group has been trying to get the word out more. “We’re really trying to build it up and make it bigger,” said Alten. 

Haines School’s first-grade teacher Sophia Armstrong won an Alaska Reading Ambassador Award for her tireless dedication to child literacy at the Science of Reading Symposium in Anchorage last weekend. Armstrong said she was surprised to be recognized as one of about a dozen at the symposium out of hundreds of nominees. She was nominated by Lilly Boron and second+grade teacher Lexie DeWitt. Armstrong said she’s taken classes to be up-to-date on the most research-backed ways to teach reading, and often works late after school and on weekends. “I am passionate about building literacy skills in my first graders so it felt really great to be recognized for all my hard work. Now, if only the government could raise the B.S.A. and return to a pension retirement plan, then I would REALLY feel appreciated,” she wrote in an email. 

Haines Glacier Bears recently returned from the first track meet of the season in Ketchikan. Among the top performances were wins by sophomore sophomore JC Davis in discus, junior Ari’el Godinez Long in the triple jump and junior Emma Dohrn in discus. Dohrn’s personal best throw of 106’ 08’’ put her an astonishing 17 feet in front of her next closest competitor. Davis’ throw of 117’ 05’’ put him two feet in front of Erik Tunes of Petersburg, and puts him at the top of the Division II rankings for the state so far. Davis’ performance in the 300 meter hurdles — a second place finish in 45.72, also put him at the top of the division. Godinez Long led a clean sweep for the Glacier Bears in the triple jump with Ashlyn Ganey in second and Lilly Robinson in third. Gracie Stickler notched a strong performance in the shot put with a second place finish throw of 30 feet, 11 inches, a personal best. Phoenix Swanner also recorded a second place finish in the men’s high jump with a 5 foot 8 inch leap. The Glacier Bears head to Sitka this weekend for their next meet.