February 22, 2019, Letters to the Editor

Category: Editorials
Created on Friday, 22 February 2019 15:33
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Library Thank You

Dear Editor: On behalf of Sitka Public Library, a hearty “thank you” is extended to all who participated and helped make the Hogwarts School Week on Feb. 12, 13 and 14 a success. The program was part of a global initiative by the UK publisher of the popular Harry Potter series, and we joined to share the public’s love for the stories, and also introduce the series to a new generation of readers. 

Sitka Public Library became the Hogwarts School during three days thanks to the creativity and effort of many, and the enthusiasm, expertise and support of the library show at KCAW, Sitka, the Alaska Raptor Center, a group of enthusiastic naturalist volunteers, and Sitka 4-H with the Sitka Conservation Society. 

The efforts of the librarians, organizations and volunteers to contact and make possible a visit to Sitka of different Hogwarts professors were invaluable. The Alaska Raptor Center located Professor Griffin and Professor Strix, and both offered a fantastic class on Care of Magical Creatures. They also introduced two retired postal Owls to the students, a magnificent Snowy Owl, family of Hedwig, and a beautiful Northern saw-whet owl. Students from the four houses – Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin – worked with flobberworms and made quills out of feathers. Sitkans who made possible the Care of Magical Creatures class were Hannah Blanke and Britainy Wright, both avian care specialists with the Alaska Raptor Center, Mike Matiatos, librarian, Richard Hart, and Ange Grant, worm provider!

On Feb. 13 Sitka Public Library offered a Herbology class hosted by Professor Artemisia, Professor Cinnamon, Professor Basil, Professor Coriander, Professor Sprouts and Professor Nutmeg. Sitkans helping to connect with them were Kitty LaBounty, Jasmine Shaw, Angie Hillman, Kari Sagel, Elisabeth Schafer, Paul Norwood and Brooke Schafer. In order to make points for their houses, students taking this class had to learn about “Fruits, Roots and Shoots,” how to make a nightshade salad, how to make their house tea, and actively participate in a Munching, Munching Mandrake activity.

Finally, on Feb. 14, thanks to the help of the 4-H and Sitka Conservation Society, the library received a visit from a few of Severus Snape’s pupils and a relative of Crookshanks, Hermione’s cat. They taught the students about Defense Against the Dark Arts, sharing their knowledge on survival skills, bear aware tips, the characteristics of different woods of the Tongass and their effects on wands, and how to produce a “Tongass patronus.” Students left the library with the book “Feast of the Animals: An Alaska Bestiary Volume II” by Sheila Nickerson and Dale DeArmond. Sitkans making the connections possible were Dave Nichols from the U.S. Forest Service Forest Products Lab, Ellie Handler from the Forest Service, Muriel Reid, Mt. Edgecumbe High School student and Teen Advisory Board member, and Kevan O’Hanlon, Claire Sanchez, Heather Bauscher and Andrew Thoms from the Sitka Conservation Society, an organization that also donated the books for the students.

During the week, each house received a score based on their hard work, and the House winner of the Hogwarts School classes of 2019 was Hufflepuff. Sitka Public Library would like to thank all the students for their enthusiasm and willingness to learn. Hufflepuff students were Ever Mathes, Finn Brewer, Cedar Starbuck, Tyce Meabon, Ben Linhou, August Fair, Sawyer Bastian and Bentley Duncan. Gryffindor students were Coral Barrs, Khrom Barrs, Will Jacobs, Khloe Neal, Ayden Neth, Wren Bowers and Everyl Ebanks. Ravenclaw students were Stella Callistini, Marley Bayne, Steven Bautista, Olive Kubacki, Lazaria Kubacki, Sophie Carroll and Jade Terrill. Slytherin students were Scottie Golden, Trenton Lara, Cyrus Nelson, Riley Lysons, Logan Lysons, Silas Marley, Marina Marley, Karmen VonScheerschmidt, Kulani VonScheerschmidt and Ronan George.

To all our wonderful volunteers, thank you. You made the Hogwarts classes at the Sitka Public Library a possibility. Author J.K. Rowling’s first novel, ‘‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,’’ was published in Britain on June 26, 1997. Twenty-two years later, the power of the Hogwarts universe still lives in the hearts of many readers of all ages. 

Thanks to Raven Radio and the Sitka Daily Sentinel for all their support. 

To Rachel, Mike and Brooke, and the muggle Greg from faraway, all my gratitude for believing in the magic of libraries, and using your wands to bring Hogwarts to Sitka Public Library. 

Maite Lorente,

Youth Services Director, 

Sitka Public Library


Farmers Summit

Dear Editor: Thank you for making the 2019 Southeast Alaska Farmers Summit a success! 

Last week over 100 people from 19 communities attended the 2019 Southeast Alaska Farmers Summit in Sitka. This is the third bi-annual gathering that was started by commercial farmers and producers created this opportunity for farmers and gardeners from across the region and beyond to share their experiences, learn new skills, and connect with each other to energize their efforts and strengthen self-sufficiency and food security in region. 

Many hands make light work, and we are fortunate to have had so many amazing people involved in making this event a success. 

We are grateful for Nancy Douglas and Anne Davis from Sitka Tribe of Alaska for welcoming us to Sitka and opening the conference. Thank you to the amazing Sitka Fine Arts Camp and Harrigan Centennial Hall for hosting us at their venues, and the kitchen staff at SFAC and the Blatchley and Sitka high school music department for preparing delicious meals throughout the summit. Thank you also to Mark and the Guillory girls for all of their help. 

Thank you also to Charles Bingham, Amanda Anjum and Laura Schmidt of the Sitka Local Foods Network who hosted Friday’s potluck and the Sitka Conservation Society for supporting Saturday’s dinner. Many thanks to the Americorps volunteers who have helped with set up, Maija Nurikko, Mary Hommel and Angela Hess. Thank you also to Kaleb Aldred, Kevan O’Hanlon and Cait O’Malley for your help, and Roby Littlefield for sharing Tlingit potatoes and information on this important traditional food. Many thanks for everyone who contributed delicious vegetables, fish, meat and other dishes to Friday’s dinner potluck. 

Thank you also to Shannon Haugland and James Poulson of the Daily Sitka Sentinel, and Katherine Rose of Raven Radio, for getting the word out about the event. Agency representatives included Stephanie Storrs from Agrilogic Consulting LLC and Jasmine Shaw from the UAF Cooperative Extension Service in Sitka. Caprice Pratt and Alana Peterson of Spruce Root provided business consulting services.

The event would not have been possible without many sponsors who contributed monetary, staff and food donations. Our Sitka-based sponsors include Gimbal Botanicals, Hames Corporation (Sea Mart), Highliner Coffee, Jerry Fleming, Sitka Conservation Society, Sitka Local Foods Network, Sitka Salmon Shares, Sitka Food Co-op, Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium, Southeast Island School District, Spruce Root, The Beak, The Farm, Westmark Sitka, True Value Sitka, and Visit Sitka. Additional sponsors include Alaska Airlines, Alaska Farm Bureau, Barnacle Foods, Coppa, Ed Buyarski of Ed’s Edible Landscaping, Farragut Farm, Glacier Seafoods, Harris Air, Juneau Greens, Office Plus, and Sunnyside Farms of Haines. 

Special thanks to John Krapek of Juneau Greens for donating basil for the centerpieces, Christina Van Den Hoogan at Sitka Fine Arts Camp and volunteer Lori Adams for providing shuttles. Thank you Lauren Kenny for a rejuvenating farmer yoga session. 

We would like to extend a big thanks to our farmer presenters: Marja Smets and Bo Varsano of Farragut Farm, Rob Bishop of Game Creek Orchards, John Krapek of Juneau Greens, Andrea Fraga and Kaleb Aldred of Middle Island Gardens, Joe Orsi of Orsi Organic Produce, Scott Hansen of Sunnyside Farms of Haines, Laura Schmidt of St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, Debbie Hurley of the Flower Farm, Lori Adams of Down to Earth Garden, Florence Welsh, Eli and Kylie Wray of Panhandle Produce. 

Many thanks also to our invited speakers Janice Chumley, Lisa Daugherty of Juneau Composts, Dena Cologgi from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Maggie Hallam of Cripple Creek Organics, Meghan Fehrman of Rogue Farm Corps, Barbara Hanson from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, Johanna Herron from the Alaska Division of Agriculture, Jenn Landry of Fucus Fugue, Eero Ruuttila, Brandon Thynes of Petersburg Indian Association, and Tristan Woodsmith of Fungi Perfecti. Dena Cologgi, Barb Hansen, and Sarah Lewis also provided a free post-summit Produce Safety Alliance Grower’s training for Farmer’s Summit participants.

Finally, a big thanks to our Farmers Summit committee for dedicating your time and hard work to planning the summit: Lia Heifetz of Grow Southeast, who coordinated the initial event planning process, Marja Smets, Bo Varsano, Andrea Fraga, Joe Orsi, Laura Schmidt, and Colin Peacock at Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition and Salt and Soil Marketplace. In gratitude,

Jennifer Nu

Local Foods Program Director, Southeast Alaska 

Watershed Coalition

Food Sustainability Catalyst,

Sustainable Southeast Partnership