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In Healy, Halloween means freshly baked doughnuts, snatched pumpkins

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Posted: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 11:08 pm | Updated: 11:52 am, Mon Jan 21, 2013.

HEALY — There is no doubt where I will be on Halloween night — frosting freshly baked doughnuts at the Hundrup house. It’s the one place I know that every trick-or-treater and parent visits on this special night.

Generally in Healy, trick-or-treaters are driven from house to house, because of the space between houses and the cold weather. The drivers always get out to become a trick-or-treater themselves. If they don’t, Hundrups send doughnuts to the drivers.

This tradition has gone on for more than 30 years.

Healy has always been a busy place on Halloween night and this year is no exception.

Valley Chapel is sponsoring a costume and candy party from 6-8 tonight at the Tri-Valley Community Center. Everyone is invited to attend for candy, snacks and games.

Checkers the Clown will await trick-or-treaters at the Denali Chamber of Commerce building.

The Stampede Lodge (Princess housing) also will be open for trick-or-treaters.

A heads up for newcomers in Healy. If you treasure your personally-carved jack-o-lantern, you should bring it inside on Halloween night.

A longtime unofficial Healy tradition is that high schoolers snatch those pumpkins from porches and put them on display together somewhere in town.

Don’t be caught unaware.

Throughout the years, many a wily pumpkin owner has tried to thwart the Halloween thieves, without success.

That’s why I just do doughnuts and look forward to seeing the pumpkins on display, in unexpected places, the next morning.

Don’t forget to vote

On Election Day Nov. 6, there are candidates for every open seat on local boards, including write-in candidates.

For the Denali School Board, Todd Shorey confirmed he is a write-in candidate for Seat F. Also running for the first time are Jeff Yanuchi for Seat G, James Tench for Seat C  and Christie Anastasia for Seat D. All four of those candidates have children at Tri-Valley School. LeRoy Sutton, of Anderson, filed to retain Seat H.

For the borough assembly, Clay Walker filed to retain Seat B, Richard Weibel, Seat F and Jared Zimmerman, Seat G.

There are two propositions on the ballot.

The first asks whether the borough charter should be amended to allow mayoral candidates to be residents for one year, instead of three years, before election.

The second proposition would increase compensation for assembly members from $100 per month to $200 per month, and compensation for the presiding officer from $125 per month to $250 per month.

If that passes, because of the borough’s code of ordinances, Denali Borough Planning Commission members will receive an automatic increase from $50 to $100 per month, with the chairperson receiving $125 per month.

Candidate visit

Dorothy Shockley, candidate for House District 38, will be in Healy on Saturday. She plans to go

door-to-door and invites the community to meet her from 2-4 p.m. at The Totem. Call 347-4659 for more information.

She will visit Cantwell, go door-to-door then meet people from

1-3 p.m. Sunday at Cantwell Lodge.

She also will stop briefly in Anderson on Monday morning, en route to Fairbanks.

Death by Disco

An amazing cast put on another hilarious show for this year’s Library Mystery Theatre, an every-other-year event that provides a big chunk of the community library’s operating expenses.

The audience responded by opening their wallets at the silent auction and it raised nearly $21,000.

Gym floor

The gym floor at Tri-Valley School is good to go. After being damaged by rain during a recent roof renovation project, it is refinished, repainted and ready for action.

Come to the middle-school basketball tournament this weekend and check out the newly-painted Warrior in the middle of the floor.

Dinner canceled

The community Thanksgiving dinner has been canceled for this year.

Bill Mitchell

School bus manager Bill Mitchell was a regular fixture in Healy.

He managed First Student bus service here.

He volunteered every year to deliver boxes to Anderson for Neighbor to Neighbor, and he developed “bus bucks” for students who rode the bus every day. The bus bucks translated into prizes for good behavior.

When he died Oct. 18, co-workers discovered Mitchell was a private person.

They are searching for any surviving family members. He once told Sumarium Lowe they were “all gone.”

Unless family is found, his “school bus” family will take care of him.

Mitchell had been on administrative leave because of an illness. He wound up in the hospital, and to everyones’ surprise he did not survive. Apparently, he suffered from an intestinal disease. No one knew.

“He was a never-hurt-a-fly type of person,” colleague Sumarium Lowe said. “Just the sweetest guy. Very private, very quiet.”

Mitchell was 58 years old.

Co-workers know he held two college degrees, used to work for the government and he loved photography, cooking and traveling.

He worked for First Student in Fairbanks for a while before choosing to come to Healy about five or so years ago.

“He wanted to be in a quiet little community,” Lowe said.

Here, he worked with the planning commission. Every spring, he held a free bike safety workshop for local children.

“He loved the kids so much,” Lowe said.

“We knew he was sick,” she said. “We just expected him to take some time off. We always figured he’d be back. We didn’t expect to take care of funeral arrangements. It was a real shock.”

But they are more than happy to step in.

If family is not found, the tentative plan is for cremation. In the spring, First Student colleagues and any community members who want to attend, will be invited to board a bus for the Denali Highway. There, his ashes will be scattered.

“That was his favorite place to go,” Lowe said.

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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