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

The Salvation Army’s Food Bank distribution which was originally scheduled for the Fourth of July week has been moved to 11 a.m. on July 11. 

A memorial for Nels “Nelbert” Niemi took place in Haines on June 22. Nelbert’s son Lars Niemi, daughter-in-law Melissa Niemi, grandchildren Anders Niemi and Erica Niemi, daughter Elise and son-in-law Lynn Kampfer, and nephew Andy Gail traveled from Arizona, Oregon and Washington to join. 

Friends and former guides came from all over the country, as well as a number of locals including: Meghan Condon (event coordinator), Norman Hughes (provided and cooked the crab), Zack Hawks (coordinated the rafts), CP (coordinated the reception at River Adventures),  Scott, Mandy, and Lily Ramsey, Liam and Tracy Cassidy, Lizi Wyrak, Shaun Cornish, Russ Lyman, Darsie and Courtney Culbeck, Alisa Beske, Bryan and Eddy Harmon, Luck, Brittany, and Huxley Dunbar, Marley Horner, Caroline Hankins, Alixanne Podsiki, Doug Evenden, DeLise Keim, Thom Ely, Ray Staska, Marnie Hartman, Jeff Moskowitz, Leslie Evenden, as well as dozens of current and past Chilkat Guides including Skagway’s Bevin Condon, Angie Ricchio, Tom Evans, and Christian Racich.

Some of the group camped at Devil’s Elbow the night before, sharing memories. After Nelbert’s river safety talk (via YouTube), they floated down one of his favorite stretches of the Tsirku River, pausing to spread some of his ashes along the way. The float included 91 participants and 17 rafts. Other events from the weekend:  the family was invited to Chilkat Guides’ weekly party, “Meat Night” and shared fresh sockeye with current and former Chilkat Guides. Locals also took the family on a private jetboat tour up the Chilkat Valley. They explored Chilkat State Park, visited the memorial with Nelbert’s name at 25 Mile, went to 33 Mile for a burger and pie (one of Nelbert’s favorite places to go – he loved dessert), and went to the Legion’s burger night.

The Friends of the Library will be hosting its annual used book sale at the library on the Fourth of July, beginning right after the parade. Books in good condition can be dropped off at the library this week to benefit the sale. Organizers said dated computer books, medical books or videos will not be accepted

Lex Treinen recently returned from a two-week road trip through the Yukon and Interior Alaska as part of a work trip to update a travel guide book. He visited Tok, Fairbanks, Delta Junction, Anchorage and Whitehorse, among other smaller stops. Among the trip highlights were learning to do a cartwheel at a pullout near Beaver Creek, thanks to coaching tips from Jenn Shelton, harvesting morels at a wildfire burn area in the Yukon, and running into former Haines resident Andrew Cardello at the Anchorage Museum. Anchorage friend Joe Besl stayed at his house for a night after completing a leg in the 8-person KCIBR. Besl reportedly had a successful outing at Pioneer Bar karaoke, performing the Cha Cha Slide, by DJ Casper. Besl also gathered signatures from three local bars — as well as the Red Onion Saloon in Skagway — to document his ongoing effort to visit all the bars listed in Doug Vandegraft’s 2014 classic “A Guide to the Notorious Bars of Alaska.”

Peterson’s Pretzels has wrapped up its fundraising campaign for the Chilkat Valley Community Foundation. The goal was to reach $1,000. Owner Chris Peterson said they reached $500 in direct donations and matched it in about two weeks. 

The first week of winners from the Haines Visitor Center’s 2024 Photo Contest have been announced, each receiving a $50 gift certificate to a local business of their choice. One chose Haines Packing and the other is still undecided. The winners are Libby Jacobson’s “Cast Out on the Kathleen” and Luck Dunbar’s “Fishy Grins.” 

Emma Brouillette and Dominic Randles welcomed Trinity Sage Brouillette to the world on 3:33 Monday, June 24, in Sitka.  She weighed 6lbs, 12 oz, 19.5 inches long. Grandmother Amanda Randles said Trinity has 10 fingers, 10 toes, two ears, and a big voice.