Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Duly Noted


Haines High School’s class of 2014 celebrated with friends and family at Dalton City after graduation ceremonies. Christy Tengs Fowler performed a humorous “graduation rap” for graduate son Chevy Fowler. Immediately afterward, graduates were surprised by a “flash mom” dance to Michael Franti’s “Say Hey (I Love You).” At least 20 moms jumped in, including Fabiemme Paes, mom of Belgian exchange student Yael Paes. Mom Suzanne Vuillet-Smith translated dance moves into French for Fabiemme, who doesn’t speak English. Jackie Ruggirello loaned her dance studio for rehearsals and helped with choreography.

Sasha Mackowiak, Scotty Hansen and Alex Hotch recently graduated from IDEA homeschool. Mackowiak and Hansen joined about 45 other students of the homeschool from Southeast at a graduation ceremony May 16 in Juneau at the Auke Bay Bible Church. Parents Stan and Tammy Hotch had a small ceremony for Alex at Klukwan’s ANS Hall on May 17, where family members all dressed in camo, hunting gear and Xtratufs for the avid hunter.

Christian Racich is in Harborview Medical Center in Seattle and would like to hear from Haines friends. Racich was in an accident last weekend in Haines. Messages can be emailed to: and will be read to him.

Members of the Ripinsky Rippers quilting group are displaying painted “quilt blocks” outside their homes. The four-by-four foot signs will create a “quilt trail.” Quilter Becky Nash said 24 local quilters are creating blocks with paintings that reflect their individuality. Quilter Sandy Wratten of Texas created a block with the state symbol, the Bluebonnet. Nash’s block will include a “storm at sea” design, commemorating a turning point for her fishing family. Quilt blocks also will be displayed at both quilt shops. A wood shop student has been cutting and sanding boards. The quilting fund is paying for supplies. The group hopes to have all the blocks up by the end of summer and to give a “quilt tour.”

Stop by the Sheldon Museum to see the Eldred Rock Lighthouse model donated by Mary and Bill Bernower. The Lower 48 couple visited Alaska years ago and were so impressed by the lighthouse they commissioned lighthouse model-maker Terry Murphy to build the model in the late 1990s. Scaled at one-tenth of an inch per foot, the model is about three feet long and crafted from metal, plaster, and wood. It is equipped with functioning lights and a working foghorn.

Haines hosted the General Federation of Women’s Clubs of Alaska conference Thursday and Friday at the Senior Center. Nearly 20 out-of-town women attended, plus a couple husbands. Local members in attendance included president Georgia Sampson, officer Susan Johnston, and member Joan Snyder. During business meetings, the group discussed issues including child abuse and neglect, which Snyder said is this year’s primary focus. Silver and blue pinwheels are being placed around town to help the issue gain public attention. In addition to catered breakfasts, the group enjoyed motoring up the Takshanuk Mountain Trail as well as a visit to the American Bald Eagle Foundation.

A group of couples returned from a two-week trip to the Aleutian Islands, where the water was “mirror glass calm,” said Donna Walter. The group included Donna and Wayne Walter, Jean and Ron Smith, Shel and Jean Scarrott, and Fran and Rodger Tuenge. On a stop in Kodiak, they looked down on an eagle’s nest from a hill. In Dutch Harbor, the group visited a World War II Army encampment and bomb shelter. They also visited war museums along the island chain. During stops on the islands, dozens of villagers came aboard the ferry to order hamburgers.

The new group “Residents for a Better Haines” is seeking members. Organizer Joe Poor said the group aims to become a “truth source” for Haines, as too much here is guided by rumor. The group will get involved in state projects impacting town such as the Juneau Road, and may address issues such as year-round residency and heli-skiing. “Our goal is to gain accurate data.” This group is different from the Chamber of Commerce, because it is for everyone, he said. To learn more, go to, or contact the group with ideas by email at

Former resident Janie Swinton of Roseburg, Ore. enjoyed her two-week visit with son Ralph Swinton, daughter-in-law Sarah, and grandchildren. Janie attended grandson Justin’s high school graduation as well as Dylan’s eighth grade promotion.

Klukwan School honored three students at its graduation ceremony on May 15. Senior Danielle Dallmann received her high school diploma and Rodney Williamson and Douglas Nicholas were promoted to high school. The elementary students performed a concert and David Strong and Kyle Strong sang solos. Danielle, Kaitlyn Stevens, Josephine Kahklen and Cynthia McFeeters sang the round “Dona Nobis Pacem.” A reception for a full house was held after graduation. Dallman won a UA Scholars Scholarship and a University of Alaska Performance Scholarship. She is attending University of Alaska-Southeast in the fall.


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