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

Duly Noted


December 7, 2017

The annual Lighting of the Fort went off with a bang as the cannon blast signaled the yuletide display. More than 75 people gathered at the Fort Seward Parade Grounds to celebrate turning on the cheerful twinkly lights that will be on display around Fort for the rest of the season. The weather held out just long enough to make it a healthy turnout, with a large bonfire provided by Greg Podsiki to keep everyone warm on the frigid night. Sam Wright manned the cannon this year, and the Haines High School basketball teams lit the milk jug “luminarias” leading from the cannon to the back of Tresham Gregg’s Sea Wolf Gallery, easily converted to a manger. There, carolers comprised mostly of the high school choir, led by Holly Davis, encouraged crowd participation while a live Nativity scene gathered. Replete in bathrobes, scarves and Xtra-Tuffs; Jenn Walsh, Chris Downer, and their baby Azeo were Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus, with Keegan Palmieri as the shepherd narrator and the choir’s sopranos as the choir of angels. Annette Smith organized the lighting event, and said she was very happy with the results. Although attendees ate all the hot dogs, she was surprised at the apparent lack of interest in actually roasting the weenies over the fire.

Haines skippers have returned from Seattle after visiting the annual Pacific Marine Expo, the largest commercial marine tradeshow on the West Coast, where thousands of people connected to the commercial fishing industry in the Pacific Northwest gather to network, teach, learn and buy/sell new gear. Many Haines captains, including Norm Hughes, Cindy Adams, Gary Graham, Dennis Gudmundson, Stuart Dewitt and others made it to the event.

Lizzie Jurgeleit and Lizi Wirak are back from a six-week road trip through the Pacific Coast and Southwest U.S, visiting family, friends and adventuring all along the way. After packing bags and heading south in mid-October, they spent time traveling through Canada, Idaho and Montana. While in Boise, Idaho they stayed with Haines friends Chris Denker and Nichole Lasich, and while in Montana they were able to spend some quality time with Lizi’s parents Jan and Dan Wirak. After that they headed south, traveling through the epic deserts of Utah and Arizona. Escalante National Monument was a favorite of Wirak’s: “What’s so cool about it, is that it’s this big vast desert that has all these gems, slot canyons and formations…that just keep going and going.” A poignant moment as the monument was significantly reduced this week by President Trump. After hiking through endless sandstone and sand, they stayed at Ella Soklowski’s, near Joshua Tree National Park. After California they headed west, then north on the coast, staying on Highway 1 as much as possible. On the way back to the last frontier, they planned out a Thanksgiving in Bellingham with Torrey Larson. After spending some more time in the Northwest, the girls headed further north, arriving in Haines just in time for the tree lighting on Main Street.

For the first time in many years, there was a celebratory lighting of a Christmas tree on Main Street. Organized by CarolAnn Wooton and Tracy Harmon, the lights went up at 5 o’clock sharp on the brand new spruce tree on the corner of Third Avenue and Main Street.

Borough employees donated the tree to the people of Haines. Cotton candy was provided by Alex Stock, the Chamber of Commerce provided hot chocolate with all the fixings, and the Haines Women’s A Capella Choir led by Nancy Nash entertained the crowd with Christmas carols.


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