What does it take to bring a Chinese New Year celebration to Sitka? A trip to Beijing to learn Tai Chi and fall in love with Summer. Or, at least that was Michael Mayo's route. Michael and Summer met in Beijing in 2001. Summer has been a Sitka resident for the past four years, and is now a member of the Mayo family. She says she typically travels home to Beijing for the Chinese New Year, but this year she wanted to share the tradition with the community that she has grown to love.
It's one thing to study an international crisis in high school, and another thing to do something about it. Pacific High School students Tatyanna Isaacs and Jenny Jeter learned about high rates of maternal mortality in Somaliland in Hillary Seeland's Global Issues class. The pair independently organized and held an Indian Taco sale last fall (that's taco fixings served on classic Southeast Alaskan fry bread) and raised over $500.
Our colleague Dan Olbrych made this short film about the press run at The Daily Sitka Sentinel, a family-owned newspaper celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. While the film has a nostalgic vibe, we're pretty sure that -- like fresh-baked bread or well-crafted construction -- this kind of dedicated, thoughtful newspapering will never go out of style.
In what was one of the most tightly-contested spelling bees in recent memory, 27 grade-level finalists at Blatchley Middle School in Sitka spelled their way to word no. 208 on the official Scripps National Spelling Bee list Wednesday night (1-15-14). In the end it boiled down to eighth-grader Kyle Vidad and defending champion Abigail Fitzgibbon. The two went head-to-head for eight rounds, until Fitzgibbon tripped on "matriculation" and Vidad successfully spelled "smithereens" to win the round, and then "aerodynamic" to win the championship. Test a friend on these words Abby and Kyle spelled with nearly one-hundred fans looking on:
Three days of heavy rainfall has generated serious runoff problems, even in areas outside of Sitka. The Herring Cove Trail was first damaged by runoff during an unusual rain/snowmelt situation about five weeks ago, when water carved a new channel in the trail just below the log bridge at the upper falls. Now, water has filled that channel again, as local naturalist Bill Foster discovered this morning (Tue 1-14-14).
It's Christmas today(1-7-14) in Russia, and for many Orthodox Sitkans. Russian Christmas is celebrated according to the old Julian calendar on January 7th, and in Sitka that tradition is audible. The week-long Feast of the Nativity celebration features a nativity "starring" - the Orthodox practice of caroling. Traditionally, revelers would stay out singing until dawn, sometimes for several days in a row.
At the lighting of the tree on the Sheldon Jackson campus, students from the Sitka Fine Arts Camp After School Carol Choir performed "The Twelve Days of Christmas" -- but with a Southeast Alaska twist: twelve raindrops falling, eleven boats a-floating, ten fish a-leaping, nine Russian dancers, eight deer a-prancing, sevens swans a-swimming, six eagles flying, five humpback whales, four totem poles, three brown bears, two XtraTufs...and one what? Listen to find out:
Few things warm the hearts of Sitka's hunters like coming across a nice, fat buck in peak condition. Few things cool their enthusiasm like discovering a big brownie got there first! Hugh Bevan set up this trailcam "a couple of miles" from the beach on Kruzof Is. near Sitka. These two images (buck, then bear) were captured on October 18 and November 5 respectively. While the bear doesn't look like she could hold another bite after the summer's record salmon run, there's no doubt that she's interested!