HEALY — Personal donations make up most of the $8,500 raised to date for the Tri-Valley Volunteer Fire Department’s new summer intern program.

Promises of additional donations should bring the total to the anticipated $10,000. Only $2,000 of that total is corporate or business donations, with the bulk coming from individuals.

Two young people from Healy have been hired as paid summer interns. They happen to be brother and sister: David Townsend and Shelby Townsend.

Shelby, a junior at Tri-Valley School, is a certified Emergency Trauma Technician and has worked with the department as a volunteer since earning that certification a year ago.

David, who graduated from Tri-Valley School in 2011, acquired his ETT certification in that same class, then went on to earn his Emergency Trauma Techician 1 certification.

Fire Chief Rusty Lasell is excited about the new program.

“We really appreciate all the donations,” he said. “We’re asking people to donate while it’s fresh in everyone’s minds. This will be our last push for this fundraiser.”

The department earned about $900 during the weekend at Miner’s Market annual community barbecue. The well-known local rock band Loose Gravel played during the event, also donating their time. Patrons were able to buy T-shirts promoting the department.

Money earned from that event will help fund the intern program.

The two interns will work side-by-side with paid crew, said Lasell, who views this as an investment in the future of the department.

Ambulance calls are already increasing, as the summer season gets underway.

International Life Flight will provide helicopter medevac capabilities this summer.

“We are really excited about that,’ said Lasell.

Shelby and David Townsend are members of the student group that won a statewide Spirit of Youth Award this year in the Lifesaving Category.

Murkowski intern

Tri-Valley Senior Joe Mueller got a surprise call during his trip to compete in track last weekend.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski left him a message, inviting him to intern at her Washington D.C. office this summer.

“I am so excited,” he said.

Mueller was Alaska representative to Boy’s Nation last summer and plans to join the U.S. Coast Guard eventually. 

Hunter safety

Now’s the time to prepare for hunting season. Instructors Brett Baysinger and Wayne Valcq will teach hunter safety at the Healy Hockey Shack on May 11-12.

Pick up your $10 workbooks from the instructors and complete them by classtime. Sign up sheet is at Tri-Valley School. For more information, call 378-8362 or 683-2676.

Spring trips to Denali

This may not seem like a vacation destination quite yet, but this area is very popular in May for school trips from Fairbanks and Anchorage.

Fourteen fourth-graders from Pacific Northern Academy in Anchorage will visit for a few days this week for their end-of-the-year school trip.

They will tour the Usibelli Coal Mine, ride a covered wagon at Black Diamond Resort, learn archery from students at Tri-Valley School and attend a water safety workshop put on by the Denali Water Safety Team, a group of students who regularly train visitors about how to be safe on Alaska waterways.

They’ll also visit Denali National Park and the Denali Education Center.

The season begins

Many summer businesses will open this week.

The Denali Salmon Bake “awakens” on May 12, with live music.

McKinley Creekside also hosts its annual Chili Cook Off on May 12. See their website or facebook page for details.

The new Tonglen Lake Canine Resort holds an open house this week to introduce itself to residents and visitors. Tour the boarding kennel, grooming room and training arena. Free pawdicures from 3-7 p.m. Thursday. Special classes are also offered, including canine first aid on May 12. Call 683-2580 for details.

Old Sourdough Studios opens May 14 for its 15th season. Get your picture taken or have owner/photographer Jimmy Tohill sign a copy of his new book, “The Spirit of Alaska.”

Tohill is the hardy fellow who climbed up a snowy mountainside with his wife to clear off the satellite dish and return television reception to all of Healy. Sen. Mark Begich sent him kudos. Watch for more fun stories about the Tohills in the near future.

Trashin’ Fashion and more

The second annual Trashin’ Fashion Show takes place on May 10 at the Cabin Nite Cabin at McKinley Chalet Resort.

Enter recycled fashion in the following categories: evening wear with formal flare; sportswear; Alaskan gear; most exotic; most recycled; and the audience show stopper.

Entrants should arrive at 5:30 pm. The show begins at 6:30 p.m.

Charity walk

There’s still time to register and participate in the Fairbanks Charity Walk on May 11 in Fairbanks. Kids In Motion is a registered non-profit organization and always boasts a good turnout of residents from the Denali Borough. It’s a fun family walk-and-graze.

Chamber banquet

Denali Chamber of Commerce Banquet and annual membership meeting is May 12 at Black Diamond Resort. Meet and greet at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m. RSVP at denalichamber@gmail.com

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

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