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Bear statue will soon greet visitors at Denali Park visitor center

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Posted: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 11:33 pm

DENALI PARK, Alaska — Young visitors to Denali will soon have a life-size bear statue to sit upon at the Denali National Park Visitor Center.

What better model than a bronze statue based on a sketch by Alaska artist William Berry.

The public is invited to the dedication of this statue at 4:30 p.m. Friday.

Berry, who was a longtime resident of the Denali area, once cast several small sculptures of the park wildlife, all in repose. The life-size enlargement of the resting bear was commissioned for installation at Denali National Park, as part of a year-long celebration of Arts in Denali National Park.

The casting and installation of the new statue was made possible by a donation from Elizabeth Berry, wife of the artist, to Alaska Geographic. The Coles, longtime family friends, oversaw development of the project.

The statue is intended to be a child-friendly place to sit and climb, and a great spot for photos.

Gym floor

There’s a new roof on the gymnasium at Tri-Valley School. Unfortunately, it did not get fixed before recent rain caused significant damage to the gym floor.

Consequently, the gym cannot be used until November or December.

Home basketball and volleyball games will be played at Anderson School, 40 miles north of Healy, Principal Robyn Taylor said.

The multi-purpose room will be booked now for sports practices. All evening events, except the Oct. 1 performance of Riders In The Sky, have been moved to other locations.

Boat parade

There’s a homemade watercraft behind at Caleb Graham’s house.

The sixth-grader and his partner, Louis Overington, have been working on their entry for the Build Your Own Boat parade.

“Are you sure it will float?” his mother, Tina Graham, asked raising an eyebrow.

The young water safety team member is sure.

We’ll see.

At 4:30 p.m. Thursday, students will gather at Otto Lake in their homemade crafts. All they have to do is get from the private beach at Denali Outdoor Center to the public beach at the Lions Park — without sinking.

The Denali Water Safety Team sponsors this event. Last year, entries included a pirate ship made of barrels, a kayak made of empty water bottles covered in plastic and pallets floating on something buoyant.

This year, Tri-Valley School’s Outdoor Pursuits class is entering the contest, and middle-schoolers in engineering will get extra credit if they design a boat that will float.

All students borough-wide, are invited to participate.

Now, if only the weather will cooperate.

Visitors from India

A contingent of students from India are in Denali for a few days, exploring the area. They visited Denali National Park, and this week scrimmaged against the Tri-Valley High School soccer team.

The wind was so fierce the ball seemed to have a mind of its own when kicked into the air. Even the headmaster played to round out the team.

As usual, the strong contingent of Healyites braved the wind to observe and cheer both sides.

A community potluck followed.

Soccer continues this weekend with the Tri-Valley Soccer Tournament on Friday and Saturday. Come and cheer the Warriors.


Try-outs for the Library Mystery Theatre production “Death By Disco” will be at 7 p.m. today in the Tri-Valley Community Library.

There are three female parts and four male parts.

The popular community performance will be Oct. 26-27.

Caitlin Warbelow visits

It is not often that beginning violinists can take a class from a famous fiddler, especially in Healy. But these kinds of opportunities happen here.

Last week, fourth- and fifth-graders who are learning the violin enjoyed a visit from Caitlin Warbelow, a world-class musician.

The first thing she taught them is a violin and a fiddle are the same instrument.

Then she led them in an easy and fun tune called “Boiled Cabbage.”

Warbelow enjoys working with new fiddlers and it was obvious during this 45-minute class at Tri-Valley School.

She also entertained students and staff during the middle-high school lunch hour. Middle school teacher, Tim Coray, joined in with his fiddle.

Chris Romine leaves

Wave goodbye and good luck to Chris Romine, the longtime technology person at the Denali Borough School District. Romine is moving to Palmer to work for Apple. He won’t be gone for good however, as his work with Apple will have him visiting schools throughout Alaska.

Of course, he insists on bringing his family with him. So we’ll also say goodbye to Stephanie Romine, the Tri-Valley School nurse and their two lovely young daughters.

Back To school

Tri-Valley School hosts a Back-To-School Night from 6-7 p.m. on Sept. 12. Here’s a chance to meet teachers, the principal and walk the halls.

There will be a brief introduction in the school’s multi-purpose room.

Kris Capps is a freelance writer. Her column reporting Denali happenings appears weekly in the News-Miner. She can be reached at

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