Serving Sitka, Wrangell, Yakutat, Craig, Angoon, Kake, Pelican, Port Alexander & Tenakee Springs!  •  shop@sitkasoup.com

Register RSS Feed  | 

Comments Off on In The Spotlight: Anna Prussian & The Medvejie Solstice Run

In The Spotlight: Anna Prussian & The Medvejie Solstice Run

| In The Spotlight | May 20, 2021

SHS sophomore Anna Prussian is looking forward to the 2021 Medvejie Solstice Run. While she’s been running track in Sitka since the sixth grade, Anna actually began running in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in the second grade. She and her family moved to Sitka in 2013 when her mom, KK Prussian, got a job as a hydrologist with the Forest Service.

These days, says Anna, “My main event is the 2-mile and then, I am also on a 4×8 team.” The runner describes the 4×8 as a relay race with teams of four people, in which, “Each person that you hand off to runs 800 meters, which is two laps around the track. I also run the mile.”

Although this will be her first time in the Solstice Run (which was cancelled in 2020 due to Covid), Anna speaks very highly of the SHS track and field program and the folks who coach – Shasta Smith, who coaches distance events and Jeremy Strong, who is head coach and also coaches sprints.

Track and field events have historically included the 1- and 2-mile runs; 100, 200, 400 and 800 meter runs; and the 100- and 300-meter hurdles. Relays are the 4×100 meters, 4×200, 4×400 and 4×800, and there are also field events (shot put, discus, high jump and long jump).

Now in its 15th year, the Solstice Run is an annual event to benefit the SHS track and cross-country teams. KK is one of the parents on the committee putting together the 2021 event. She noted that the race has consistently generated at least $1,000 to put towards the teams.

The Run course was modified when Sawmill Creek Rd. was being re-constructed a couple of years ago. Construction inhibited the use of the highway and the race was moved to the dirt road beyond the Beaver Falls trailhead parking. While runners considered the new course more difficult, they really liked the gravel (versus pavement) surface. The race, noted KK, has remained in this location ever since.

This year’s Medvejie Solstice Run will take place on Saturday, June 19 at 9am. The three distance events will begin and end at Herring Cove, adjacent to the Beaver Lake Trailhead parking lot at the end of Sawmill Creek Rd. All races will head out toward Medvejie Hatchery and back. The 1/2 marathon turn-around is at the Green Lake Power House; 10K near the Medvejie Hatchery; the 5K at about half-way out to the hatchery. Solstice Run organizers describe the course as hilly and urge contestants to train accordingly.

Registration fees are as follows: 5K – $25; 10K – $30; 1/2 marathon – $40. SHS students run for free. Pre-registration is highly recommended & available at runsignup.com – search for “Medvejie Solstice Run.” Race Day Registration begins at 8am at Herring Cove and will cost $10 more. Visit the Medvejie Solstice Run page on Facebook for more information, or email runsitkahigh@gmail.com.

Volunteers are warmly invited to support the event. For more information call Jenn at 738-6635.

1292 total views, 1 today

Comments Off on In The Spotlight: Armchair Travels May 2021

In The Spotlight: Armchair Travels May 2021

| In The Spotlight | May 6, 2021

In 2013, Sitkan Michael Mausbach traveled to Thailand and spent five months there, during the “hot season” from January to May.

Known until 1940 as “Siam” Thailand is (per Wikipedia) “…located at the center of the Indochinese Peninsula…bordered to the north by Myanmar and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the west by Myanmar and the Andaman  Sea…Throughout the era of Western imperialism in Asia (Thailand was) the only nation in the region to avoid being colonized by foreign powers…”

Photo Credit: MapsOnline.com

The 2013 adventure was a solo one for Mausbach, which he embarked upon as part of an independent research project connected with his undergraduate thesis. During his time in Southeast Asia, he also spent two weeks in the (historically fraught) nation of Cambodia. Mausbach’s particular interest, though, lies in Thailand’s role as a (subjugated) ally of Japan during World War II and the cultural memories of that time.

“Over the course of my undergraduate studies, I developed an interest in the ‘politics of memory’ – specifically how and where memory is explored in a dynamic way. My faculty advisor had lived in Thailand and was a fluent Thai speaker. I also became deeply interested in the Japanese role (in Southeast Asia) during World War II.”

Wikipedia describes the “Death Railway” as a 258-mile railway between Thailand and Burma, “built by the Empire of Japan from 1940–1944 to supply troops and weapons in the Burma campaign of World War II.” Construction was completed using forced labor and resulted in the death of 90,000 Southeast Asian civilians and more than 12,000 Allied POWs.

When I asked Mausbach to tell me more about the “Death Railway” he said he became fascinated with “what went into the story of The Bridge on the River Kwai and why America became so invested in this story. It became like a kind of rabbit hole for me – this particular episode in history.”

“Going into it, I was using my research as (an entry point) for this facet of World War II that is often overlooked. So much of Thai tourism (these days) is oriented toward the beaches of the south, whereas I spent most of my time in the central Thai province of Kanchanburi.”

“I took this photo of the building because the color gradient was beautiful, and Bangkok is full of overgrown buildings.” – Michael Mausbach

Kanchanburi (again, per Wikipedia) is home to one of the most well-known parts of the railway… Bridge 277, the so-called ‘Bridge on the River Kwai’ built over the Khwae Yai River.

Mausbach also told me a bit about his background and how he came to live in Sitka. “I went to Evergreen State College in Olympia (Washington) with Margot (O’Connell) and got my undergrad degree in Global Studies and International Relations, with a minor in cultural analysis. Then, after SE Asia, I took a seasonal job with the Science Center, and have been in Sitka ever since.”

These days, his day job is as the Manager of Business Operations and Human Resources for Sitka Salmon Shares. He also serves on the Sitka Health Coalition and the board of the Sitka Sound Science Center.

Where does Mausbach see himself in the future?

“I had originally thought of academia, but now more and more I see myself moving into economic impact work, work that honors human resilience, and helps ensure that communities are resilient – economically and culturally.

———-

On Thursday, May 13th the public is invited to hear Mausbach share stories and photos from his travels in Thailand, where he spent time researching the politics of memory and military ruination along the Death Railway. This event is part of Sitka Public Library’s Armchair Travels Speaker Series and will be held via Zoom. The registration deadline is 12pm on May 13th. For more info. or to sign up, please call 747-4020 or email margot.oconnell@cityofsitka.org.

482 total views, 0 today

Comments Off on In The Spotlight: Sitka Tells Tales

In The Spotlight: Sitka Tells Tales

| In The Spotlight | February 25, 2021

When I spoke recently with filmmaker and documentarian Ellen Frankenstein, she explained, “Normally we do Sitka Tells Tales live in a small space in Sitka.” But in the Covid-19 environment, this local staple, like so many forms of art and social interaction, has had to adapt.

On Feb. 25th, people will get to experience Sitka Tells Tales through the venue of Raven Radio – either streaming the live performances or listening to them on KCAW 104.7 FM. The stories will also be archived on artchangeinc.org.

“Storytelling is all about listening – you relate, you’re impacted,” says Frankenstein. It seemed almost like a natural to have live storytelling transmitted via radio.

Each person’s story session is limited to 6 minutes. “The process by which people decide how to tell their stories is super-collaborative,” says Frankenstein, as is putting the event together. “Sitka Tells Tales has a history of collaborating with other community organizations and non-profits.”

The storytelling format is flexible. “Some of the past stories have included poetry and even music.”

“We want to draw in people who don’t always get to ‘go to the podium.’ There are usually about five tellers, who work together on their stories before the public event and offer each other feedback. In the past, this pre-work has been by gathering together in a room, but this time is being done over Zoom.” Not ideal, maybe, admits Frankenstein, but still workable.

Tellers and producer alike must have “a tolerance for uncertainty, because you never know what interesting and serendipitous changes might ring in at the final performance.” These last-minute changes can produce results which are “unexpected and sometimes heartbreaking.” She adds, “The stories are not read; they are shared.”

Frankenstein believes listening to each other, laughing and sharing moments of heartbreak together, changes us. People truly are changed by the hearing of other people’s stories.

In a Sitka Tells Tales some years ago, I heard the story of a Sitka woman whom I had known for many years, but I (as I told Ellen) I never felt I knew this woman so well as after I heard her story. It changed my understanding of her forever.

I asked how Frankenstein came up with the theme for each show – like “Foot in Mouth” for this one.

“Sometimes,” she said, “a person will come to me with a story they want to tell, and I will build the theme around that. Other times, the theme comes out of conversations I have.”

Frankenstein is excited about getting the word out and encouraging participation, “not just in Sitka, but in other places as well.”  She wants to work with storytellers from communities in Raven’s broadcast range. “It would be good,” she says, “for people in Sitka to hear stories from all around.” The collaboration with Raven may prove a perfect opportunity, a kind of lemonade.

Frankenstein welcomes questions and suggestions for future themes and tellers. And she always welcomes volunteers to make it all happen!

724 total views, 1 today

Comments Off on In The Spotlight: The Sitka Spelling Bee

In The Spotlight: The Sitka Spelling Bee

| In The Spotlight | January 27, 2021

I recently spoke with Jeff Budd and Kari Sagel about the long and distinguished history – and 2021 reincarnation – of the Sitka Spelling Bee. The 2021 Bee will take place on Thursday, Feb. 24th, and Bee organizers are actively looking for contestants. New news: the first 16 teams to Register will have their registration fee paid by one of the 2021 Sponsors!

“The Bee started in 2009. Davey Lubin came to us with a desire to raise money to help another library in need, and Sarah (Bell, who was the library director at that time) came had the idea for the spelling bee.” says Kari. “Us” is The Friends of the Library, which, together with the library itself, sponsors the Bee.

So, the 2009 Sitka Bee became a fundraiser for a library down in Guatemala through an organization called Probigua (“Proyecto Bibliotecas Guatemala” – a nonprofit that brings educational opportunities to rural children in Guatemala). You can read about their work at probigua.com/projects.html.

Another year, the Bee was in aid of Haitian libraries affected by the 2010 earthquake.

But where do the words come from? I asked Kari. “I and some other folks pick them out,” she admitted. “It started with words I just liked or found intriguing. Then, over the years I came up with funny sentences for the words. Scripps (the national school spelling bee organization) is now doing this, which I find amusing,” says Kari.

One year, Kari became fascinated with the word “talisman” and her sample sentence was, “He placed his lucky talisman so that it touched both of his bingo cards.”

Sitkan Paul Norwood has also come up with words. Kari describes Paul as “a naturalist, nurse, and National Guardsman. French by birth. He is a great speller, no matter the language. Funny part to me is that the French language accounts for at least 30% of English words.” Kari says one of the most memorable “Paul” anecdotes was “The French Debacle,” in which many words were either French, or English derived from French. Needless to say, Paul won that one.

Kari’s chart of past spelling words is a delight to behold, with word/pronunciation/sentence combos such as:  Bungalow/buhng-guh-loh/She wanted to be the kind of girl who lived in a bungalow and had friends who wore berets. AND Piracy/pahy-ruh-see/Tom contemplated a life of piracy on the Bering Sea.

In more recent years, says Kari, Bee funds have been used for whatever the library needs, and to support “Babies and Books” and the “Imagination Library.” The event, to her knowledge, has never before been broadcast and has actually not been done in the few past years, not since the library remodel.

The original Bee was at least partly the brainchild of one Jeff Budd, who – along with the eponymous Don Muller (as in one who mulls it over) – constituted “Team Zero.” Says Jeff, “Don and I competed in all of the subsequent Bees, maybe six or so.”

The 2021 Sitka Spelling Bee, says Jeff, will take place on Wed., Feb 24th from 7-8:30pm. The Bee – or at least the contestants – will be arranged in an enticingly masked, safe and socially distanced fashion – at the Centennial Building. Then, the event will be broadcast on Zoom for the edification of Sitkans (and others) who would like to view it.

The Rules for this year’s Bee are shaping up to look something like this:

  • A “team” consists of one or two people. The entry fee is $20.00 per person* (*The first 16 contestants/teams to register will be underwritten by one of the Bee sponsors.)
  • Robert Woolsey will be the host and give the words.
  • Lifelines may be purchased to assist your team in spelling. Each team may use two lifelines during the bee. No lifelines will be used in the last two rounds.
    • $5 – Allows the team to Ask a Zoom Audience Member for help. They spell it once and then the team spells it correctly.
    • $10 – Allows 30 seconds to Call a Friend for help. The 30 seconds starts at the end of the question or when the call is placed to the friend (??) Contestant(s) must get the spelling, hang up, and spell the word within the time.
    • $20 – Allows 30 seconds to Find the word in the Dictionary, close the book, and spell the word correctly. You may write on your hand with your finger, but not with a pen or other device.
  • You may restart spelling but must repeat the letters already given exactly in the order they were first given.
  • If no one in a round spells a word correctly, then everyone in that round comes back for the next round. To win the Bee, the last speller has to spell his/her own word and a championship word. If a speller misses the championship word, all the remaining spellers from the previous round will be reinstated.
  • Contestants must wear a mask and practice social distancing as required by the Centennial Building.

People who wish to be in the Bee must contact Jeff Budd to Register. People may call Jeff at 747-4821 or email jbudd3500@gmail.com.

When, I ask, can people start contacting Jeff? Immediately! Forthwith! ASAP! Pronto!

2021 Sitka Spelling Bee Sponsors:  The DUCKfather & Sitka Rotary Club, Sitka Checkered Tours, Christine Harrington CPA Services, Venneberg Insurance, Precision Boat Works, Old Harbor Books, Cindy Westergaard/Neurobehavioral Consultants LLC, Hames Corporation, Sitka Tribe of Alaska, Foreign Auto, Sitka Soup, First National Bank of Anchorage

606 total views, 0 today

Read the Latest Our Town

Subscribe to Our Mailing List

* indicates required





DOWNLOAD NOW