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Legislators and community members flock to Healy for Stampede Summit

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Posted: Tuesday, August 7, 2012 11:47 pm | Updated: 10:36 am, Mon Jan 21, 2013.

HEALY, Alaska — Legislators, community members and others are convening in Healy Saturday for the Stampede Summit.

The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Tri-Valley Community Center.

The day will include presentations from tour operators on the Stampede Road Corridor and information on research in the area, gas drilling, land management choices, hunting and trapping, and the proposed state recreation area.

Legislators expected to attend include Sen. Joe Thomas, D-Fairbanks, and Rep. David Guttenberg, D-Fairbanks. Because of redistricting, Thomas will not represent this district after December. But both legislators will speak on their Stampede State Recreation proposals.

This district’s new legislator, Sen. Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel, running unopposed, also is expected to attend.

Lunch is catered, so online registration is requested at

There also are events scheduled for Friday and Sunday.

On Friday, from 7-8:30 p.m., at the Tri-Valley Community Library, staff members from the National Ecological Observatory Network will present their plans for an ecological testing site between the subdivision and Eight Mile Lake. They are looking for feedback from residents.

On Sunday from, 9 a.m. to noon, Friends of Stampede invite everyone to attend a field day with trail experts to talk about trail work options and management during a walking tour of trails. Meet at the Panguingue Fire Hall for introductions and car pooling.

For more information, call 687-6696.

Cranes art exhibit

The Summer of Sandhill Cranes Art Exhibit debuts Friday at two Denali area venues. The sites are Denali Education Center’s Charles Sheldon Center and 229 Parks Restaurant.

A reception is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Charles Sheldon Center, just off 230 Mile Parks Highway.

Join artists Karin Franzen, Christy Happ and Nancy Hausle-Johnson for an evening celebrating artwork featuring sandhill cranes.

George Happ will give a presentation about these birds, which mark the change of seasons for so many of us.

Artwork will be on display at both places until Sept. 15.

This show, a blend of art and science, is a program supported by Denali Arts & Humanities Alliance.

Augtoberfest Saturday

Polka at the 49th State Brewing Company? Why not?

At Denali, seasonal workers squeeze in a year’s worth of holidays in about three or four months. At the 49th State Brewing Company, Oktoberfest is on Aug. 11. Doors open at noon.

Enjoy traditional homemade German food and live music at

5 p.m. by the Alaska Blaskapelle, a 12-person band.

A group even more familiar with Denali folks will begin playing at 10 p.m. — the Denali Cooks.

Admission is $20 and includes a free souvenir stein. The 49th State Brewing Company also announces first tap of its Vienna Lager and offers other traditional Oktoberfest brews!

Grizzly bears

All is quiet on the grizzly bear front in Healy after a raucous week of bear encounters.

Three yearling cubs were killed and the sow has apparently left the area. There have been no official reports of her getting into any more trouble.

The old, sick bear that was shot at Usibelli Coal Mine does not appear to be the three-pawed bear regularly seen at Denali National Park.

Although park bear biologist did not see the carcass in time to make a clear identification, another local resident is convinced it’s not the same bear.

She has seen both three-legged bears and noted the one shot at the mine was missing only a paw. The park bear is missing a foreleg.

Preschool winner

Congratulations to the Garden Camp at Denali Preschool and Learning Center, which won $500 from the Farm to Preschool Program.

The money will be used to build a fence to deter moose from feasting on the garden. This year, the center lost its crop of chard, broccoli and cabbage to moose.

The gardening program began in 2010, with a small grant for start-up materials and volunteer work by local master gardeners. They raised vegetables, then expanded to edible flowers and strawberries.

Community members and the local library provide donations of plant starts each spring. Preschool students start seeds indoors in the spring, day care kids and summer classes tend the garden all summer, and preschoolers enjoy the harvest when school starts again. They host a harvest party and divide up “shares” to take home to their families, who receive flowers, stems, leaves and vegetables.

Children’s hospital

Congratulations to Tri-Valley School fourth-grader Breanna Mayo and sixth-grader Hailee Ansley, who spearheaded a yard sale to raise money for the Children’s Hospital at Providence in Anchorage.

The two girls raised $740, which they are hand delivering to the hospital this week.

The two cousins decided recently they wanted to raise money for someone. They considered a lemonade stand, a bake sale or selling their toys. They finally decided on hosting a yard sale and began by donating personal belongings.

Word spread and the community responded wholeheartedly.

Sharing talent

One of our talented Tri-Valley School graduates will soon share her talent with Fairbanks audiences.

Kami Graham, who will attend the University of Alaska Fairbanks this fall, auditioned for Fairbanks Light Opera Theatre’s upcoming “Wizard of Oz” production and earned a spot in the chorus and a couple other minor roles.

That is pretty good, considering she auditioned long-distance by sending a videotape.

“The Wizard of Oz” is lucky to have her in the cast.

Successful auction

The biggest party of the year also was a successful fundraising event for the Denali Education Center on Saturday.

The nonprofit raised more than $46,000, which will fund programs throughout the year. Denali Education Center hosts the International Road Scholar program and many programs for youths, including Denali Discovery Camp and Denali Backcountry Adventures.

More than 400 people attended the annual event.

“That’s pretty impressive for this small community,” executive director Jodi Rodwell said.

Fundraising included silent auctions and the ever-popular outcry auction, with auctioneer Jersey Jones and Jimmy Sandie on piano.

It’s entertaining to just watch the action inside the Charles Sheldon Center during the auction.

The first item, a sword from Denali General Store, sold for $400, and the last item on the list, freshly-made pie from Trisha’s Talkeetna Roadhouse, went for $500.

“What a fabulous community we have,” Rodwell 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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