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

Duly Noted


June 24, 2021

On June 13, Jordan Stigen graduated from Portland State University with a bachelor of science degree in criminology and criminal justice. She recently accepted a job with the Native American Youth and Family Center as a domestic violence advocate. Stigen said, “My plans right now are to start this new job and see how it goes as well as continue my volunteer work in Clackamas County as a victim advocate with the district attorney’s office. In terms of future plans, I want to stick with the criminal justice field in some way either through my advocacy work or eventually working up to forensic science, which is my ultimate goal. I might look for jobs later this year as a part-time lab tech to get the lab experience I need for forensics.” 

Parents Gary and Michelle Stigen traveled to Oregon for the graduation. The family, along with Jordan’s graduating roommates, their parents, and friends, all watched the ceremony from their shared home. Michelle said, “It was actually better (than in-person). It was more personal. We watched it on a big TV and they announced Jordan’s name and showed her picture. She got to include a quote, too, and we all cheered.” The Stigens flew Jordan’s friend Lyric Wiggins to the graduation from her home in Texas, where she is working on a degree in kinesiology. Michelle and Jordan celebrated Jordan’s achievement by getting matching forget-me-not flower tattoos designed by one of Jordan’s roommates Kaiya Ramirez who’s in Haines again this summer fishing with her uncle Gregg Bigsby.

The Stigens also visited with former residents Jim and Kathy Warner in Clackamas. 

 Dr. Michelle Oakley of “Yukon Vet” reality TV fame has been filming in Haines and all over Alaska again this summer. Production is currently wrapping up their 10th season. Recently Dr. Oakley, with her daughters Sierra, Maya, and Willow, traveled around Southeast on the Fjordland caring for animals in remote communities without a full -time vet. The boat took them to the boardwalk towns of Pelican and Elfin Cove then to Gustavus and Hoonah. Oakley said she saw a chicken with a hurt foot that came via a skiff in Pelican. In Hoonah, she treated a calf from Game Creek Farm that was picked up and shaken by a grizzly bear. “I wasn’t sure the calf would make it but I recently got video of the calf running and jumping and so that was great to see.” Jane Mores’ 91-year-old mother Rosemary Lebowitz, a Game Creek resident, was able to watch the entire surgery in the barn that she designed, as she is an architect. 

Also in Hoonah, Willow and her friend Arik Miller, who came along on the trip, rescued some kittens from a shed. “A neighbor had heard these kittens crying and Arik and Willow found them under a shed. Arik climbed down in there and found these four-week-old kittens without a mother were living in a bed of insulation.” She said they had to repeatedly flush out their eyes that were swollen shut from the insulation particles. Oakley’s Australian Shepherd Bindi, who came along on the trip, adopted them. Arik and Willow cared for the kittens and nursed them back to health. All three kittens were placed in new homes last weekend in Haines. 

 Of her veterinary work in Haines, Oakley explained that the community of Haines can’t necessarily support a full-time vet. She does what she can to serve the community when she is home on a part-time basis. She holds vaccination and surgery clinics monthly and treats local animals on an urgent care basis as best she can while she is in town. She said, “My heart is here in Haines. We are selling our Haines Junction home to make Haines our permanent home.” She added that because of the show, she has incredible equipment in Haines including an X-ray machine, ultrasound machine, and dental equipment. Without the support of the show, she would not have access to such beneficial technology. All nine seasons of Dr. Oakley Yukon Vet are available on Disney+. Seasons 1-9 are also available on the National Geographic station. 

 Stuart and Lexie DeWitt hosted a birthday party for equipment operator and former Haines resident Chauncey Craig, who turned 84 on June 13. Guests included long-time friends of Chauncey’s, Roger and Nancy Schnabel and Toni and Charlie DeWitt. Guests enjoyed deep-fried halibut and chocolate cake.

Stuart and Lexie also hosted TJ Blackhurst with his wife Sara and 14-year-old twins Timmy and Tommy for two weeks. The Blackhursts are visiting from their home in Rye, Colorado where TJ is a high school science teacher. TJ said, “It’s good to be back here and I hope to retire in Haines.” The family also spent time with Bruce and Jenny Lyn Smith and Daniel Martin. 

 The Southeast Alaska State Fair hosted the annual Fisherman’s BBQ on Friday, June 18. Fair Director Kari Johnson said, “We think we had over 650 people attend, the weather ended up being just right. It was great to see so many people at the fair. Huge thank you to the volunteers and Haines Packing for the salmon.” The Fishpickers, a local band, played music to entertain attendees.


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