Not as Quiet as it Looks in Haines

 Tonight the planning commission meets at 6:30 in the council chambers and one of the items on the agenda is a potential mine at the base of Mt. Riley, about a mile down the road from my house.  It is on state  and mental health trust land apparently, but is basically in the middle of  a residential neighborhood, adjacent to a popular hiking trail, shooting range, and the valuable Chilkat Inlet fishery, both subsistence and commercial. The proposed mine's neighbors are among the foremost environmental activists in the state, if not the country. Anyone hearing a radio story titled, "Gold Mine Proposed on Mud Bay Road" on April 1, would get the joke. I have a feeling we won't hear blasting anytime soon. Speaking of the neighborhood, on Saturday at noon the Boy Scout Camp, also at  Mt. Riley, which was generously endowed by the most famous mining family in Haines, the Schnabels, is being dedicated. The event will feature a hot dog cookout , horseshoes, and other fun stuff, so dress for the weather. Tomorrow (Friday) from 3-6pm there's an open house at the firehall for fire prevention week, Ducks Unlimited is having their annual fundraiser beginning at 5:30 at the Harbor Bar, and there is a Party in Pink Zumba-Thon for breast cancer research at the elementary school gym from 6-7:30. Saturday night is the Chamber of Commerce annual dinner,  6:30 at the Legion, and from 7-9pm at the school track it is Hospice of Haines' annual Light the Night luminary walk and remembrance gathering. You donate to Hospice, write a deceased loved ones name on a paper lantern,  then walk the dark track and place it  where you'd like. You may do this alone, with friends and family, or with your dog on a leash. Some people come and go quickly, some hang around, some walk several loops and drop multiple bags. It's a nice thing to do. It makes you feel good to remember, I think, and there is something hopeful about  those flickering lights multipying in the night.  Finally, stay-tuned for events related to Amy Gulick's visit next week. The Seattle photographer and naturalist behind the award-winning Salmon in the Trees book about the eco-system of the Tongass, which features essays by Native leader Rosita Worl, artist Ray Troll, and author John Straley, to name a few regional  notables, is being hosted by Seven Echoes Homestead in conjunction with many organizations and individuals. (We're having Amy for dinner Monday night.) Amy  will be officially welcomed by Klukwan's Jilkaat Kwaan Heritage Dancers at Harriet Hall Thursday at 5:30, with a reception and slide show to follow. Speaking of April Fool's in October,  the Chilkat Valley News headline, "Photographer Tips District's 'Controversial' Scale," and the following article, reads like another one of those crazy jokes. The school decided Gulick's award winning book and presentation, which has been praised up and down the west coast, including by other schools here in southeast, was too controversial for local kids. Why? As outgoing School Board President  Kelly told the Chilkat Valley News, the book is more than about the value of healthy salmon to southeast Alaska and great photography, "I think [the book] is anti-development, and as you know I'm pretty much a capitalist."

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