Posts Tagged ‘Kettleson Memorial Library’


Sitka Community Hospital and the Sitka Public Library are joining forces to make a short safety talk about the hospital’s new “Be Bright At Night” campaign. The presentation takes place from 6:30-7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 29, at the library (located on the Sheldon Jackson campus).  

Multiple door prizes will be raffled and given including lighted reflective bands, vests, iron-on reflective tape, helmet stickers, and two high-visibility jackets.

For more information, call Sitka Community Hospital Director of Health Promotion Doug Osborne at 747-0373.

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(Editor’s note: The following is a thank you note from Sitka Community Hospital for those who participated in its recent Be Safe, Be Seen promotion.)

Dear Editor,

Walking and bicycling are economical and environmentally responsible ways to simultaneously meet needs for transportation, physical activity, and fun — all in one. Sitka has been nationally recognized as both a walk and bike friendly town and our rates for both activities are higher than the national average.

Living in a rain forest in Alaska means we often have low visibility. It’s important for pedestrians and cyclist to be visible as a courtesy to drivers and more importantly as a way to prevent collisions and injuries.

One of the best ways to protect yourself is by wearing a high-visibility jacket that provides total upper body coverage so you can be seen from both a long distance and from all sides. As part of the State of Alaska’s Injury Prevention program, 25 high-visibility GAGE jackets were purchased and distributed through Sitka Community Hospital’s Health Promotion Department. Thank you to the State of Alaska for the funding and to Murray Pacific, who sold the stylish raincoats at a generous discount. Also, thanks to the library staff who supported and hosted our “be safe be seen” educational event and jacket give away on Feb. 25.

High-visibility clothing is one item on the safe habits list including: biking on the right side of the road, wearing a helmet, looking left, right and then left again before crossing a street. The goal of this pilot project is to work together to start a trend of wearing bright clothing when biking or walking. Please encourage your family and friends to dress according to the conditions.

If you are walking or biking near cars, in low light, please don’t do it in dark clothes. Please consider joining the “High Vis. Evolution” and help our town shine bright!


Doug Osborne, Bill Giant, Patrick Williams

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Doug Osborne, front, wears one of the GAGE high-visibility jackets during the Sitka Winter Cycling Celebration in January 2012. Sitka Community Hospital will distribute 18 of the high-visibility jackets to walkers and cyclists during an event Wednesday night at the Stratton Library.

Doug Osborne, front, wears one of the GAGE high-visibility jackets during the Sitka Winter Cycling Celebration in January 2012. Sitka Community Hospital will distribute 18 of the high-visibility jackets to walkers and cyclists during an event Wednesday night at the Stratton Library.

Cyclists and pedestrians who commute in low visibility are invited to a special “Be Safe, Be Seen” gathering from 6-6:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 25, at the Stratton Library (the temporary Kettleson Memorial Library) located on the Sheldon Jackson Campus.

Complimentary high-visibility jackets will be given to the first 18 ambassadors who attend the meeting and join the new club. The popular GAGE jackets, by Grunden’s USA, were purchased, at a generous discount from Murray Pacific, with grant money the Sitka Community Hospital received from the State of Alaska Injury Prevention section.

dougosbornediscussesbikeprojects“These jackets are the best and brightest, they cover your whole upper body, provide 360-degree visibility and they don’t require batteries,” Sitka Community Hospital Director of Health Promotion Doug Osborne said.

In addition to receiving new first-come, first-served jackets, participants will get a fact sheet, hear two important stories, see a short video, and brainstorm ideas for the official and unofficial greeting, handshake and slogan for the new club, also known as the high-visibility posse (HVP). After the short presentation, participants will take a group photo on the Sheldon Jackson Campus lawn spelling out the words, “when you’re out at night, be extra bright” or if fewer people show up, “WE’RE SAFE.”

“Every evening we have people walking and cycling in low visibility and in dark clothes,” Osborne said. “It’s risky, it’s contributed to injuries and we need to start a new trend now. We are gaining daylight, but visibility is still an issue, especially when it’s overcast and rainy.”

Osborne said one reason Sitka Community Hospital is sponsoring the promotion is the recent bike-vehicle crash that sent a 15-year-old cyclist to Seattle for a month of hospitalization (the cyclist was not wearing a high-visibility jacket). He said the hospital also plans another, larger Be Safe, Be Seen promotion in October, when it starts to get darker again.

In addition to wearing high-visibility jackets, such as the 18 that will be given away on Wednesday, cyclists are reminded that state law requires them to have a solid white light capable of reaching 500 feet on the front of their bike, and a red tail light (blinking or solid) or red reflector on the back that is visible from 100-600 feet away by a car with headlights set at low beam. People who walk and bicycle also are encouraged to put reflective tape on their jackets, backpacks, the sides of their bikes, rain pants, etc., to help increase their visibility when it’s dark.

For more information, call Doug Osborne at the Sitka Community Hospital, 747-3752 or 2011 National Bike to Work Spokesperson Bill Giant, 752-7049.

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The seventh annual Sitka Health Summit is coming up, and this year’s event features health fair, lunch-and-learn, community planning day and community wellness awards.

This annual event got its start in 2007, when leaders from Sitka Community Hospital and the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) got together to try and build bridges between their health organizations. Working with other partners, they created the Sitka Health Summit as a way to help improve the health culture in Sitka.

Summit_LogoThis year’s summit opens with the Sitka Community Health Fair, which takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21, at Sweetland Hall on the Sheldon Jackson Campus. This event features workers from the Alaska Health Fair Inc., who will provide a variety of medical tests such as cholesterol checks, glucose tests, vision screenings, flu shots, and more. It also includes informational booths from a variety of health-related programs in Sitka.

At noon on Monday, Sept. 23, at Kettleson Memorial Library will be a lunch-and-learn with Dr. Don Lehmann, a local physician and sports medicine specialist. He will give a brief talk called “Whistle While You Walk,” which will feature highlights about Sitka’s trail system. Participants can enter for a chance to win a set of walking sticks.

The “Community Planning Day: Selecting Sitka’s Wellness Goals” is from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27, at Sweetland Hall. This all-day event is when members of the community get together and select two community wellness projects to work on this year. The two projects will receive $1,500 in seed money, plus facilitation to help get the project going. Last year’s three winning projects included the Sitka Downtown Revitalization project, Walk Sitka‘s work in applying for a Walk Friendly Communities award, and the Sitka Community Food Assessment. Some of the top projects from previous years include the Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community award applications in 2008 and 2012, the Choose Respect mural at Blatchley Middle School to raise awareness about sexual and domestic violence, the Sitka Outdoor Recreation Coalition’s Get Out, Sitka! project to get more families and kids outdoors, supporting the Hames Athletic and Wellness Center as a community resource, etc. There also have been several projects related to local foods, such as creating a Sitka Farmers Market, expanding community gardens and building a community greenhouse, planting dozens of fruit trees around town, promoting more local fish in school lunches, community composting,, and more. The first 65 people to RSVP will receive a free lunch (contact Clara Gray at clara.gray@searhc.org).

Finally, this year’s Sitka Community Wellness Champion Awards will be presented as part of the Monthly Grind at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 5, at the Sheet’ká Kwáan Naa Kahídi on Katlian Street. The awards are made in a variety of categories, such as physical fitness, nutrition, tobacco control and policy, holistic health, injury prevention, and general wellness.

For more information, call Doug Osborne at 966-8734 or go to the Sitka Health Summit’s website at http://www.sitkahealthsummitak.org/.

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May is National Bike Month, and Sitka cyclists will have plenty of opportunities to celebrate.

Not only is May National Bike Month, but May 14-18 is National Bike to Work Week and May 18 is National Bike to Work Day. These are great times to leave the car at home and take the bike to work.

Sitka cyclists can take part in the National Bike Challenge, which runs from May 1 to Aug. 31. This national event is trying to get 50,000 people riding 10 million miles during the four months from May through August, and you can win prizes for participating as individuals and/or teams. There also are smart phone apps that can track your distance and record it.

New this year is the inaugural National Bike to School Day on May 9, which is a chance to encourage students to develop healthy lifestyle habits such as riding a bike or walking. School districts have the opportunity to schedule special events for National Bike to School Day, and they can list them on the national site to earn pioneer status. Parents should feel free to join their children to ride to school that day.

One of the highlights of National Bike Month in Sitka is the Sitka Bike Rodeo, which this year takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the U.S. Coast Guard-Air Station Sitka hangar. This free event teaches young riders bike safety, provides the kids with bike safety checks and more. It is sponsored by the Sitka Rotary Club and U.S. Coast Guard-Air Station Sitka.

National Bike to Work Week kicks off on Monday, May 14, which is when the League of American Bicyclists will announce its next group of Bicycle Friendly Communities. Sitka submitted a renewal application in February, so this is when we should hear if Sitka maintained its bronze level status from 2008 or improved its status. Fingers crossed.

Each year, Sitka hosts a National Bike to Work Week contest where people who ride their bikes to work or school on May 14-18 can stop by Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop to enter a contest to win a $100 gift certificate from the shop. The more times you ride, the greater your chances to win.

At noon on Thursday, May 17, there will be a bike commuting lunch-and-learn at the Kettleson Memorial Library. This free event will discuss how to have a safe, fun and effective bike commute in Sitka. SEARHC Health Educator and bike commuter Doug Osborne will lead the discussion. (Click here to listen to Doug’s Morning Edition interview about National Bike Month on KCAW-Raven Radio from Monday, April 30.)

From 7:30-9 a.m. on Friday, May 18, the University of Alaska Southeast-Sitka Campus will host its annual free pancake breakfast for National Bike to Work Day. Ride your bike to the university and get free pancakes fresh off the griddle.

Finally, the 28th annual Julie Hughes Triathlon takes place at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 19, at Blatchley Middle School. This event is hosted by the Baranof Barracudas Swim Club. The triathlon features a five-mile run from Blatchley to the U.S. Coast Guard-Air Station Sitka entrance gate and back, a 12-mile bike ride from Blatchley to Starrigavan Recreation Area at the end of Halibut Point Road and back, and a 1,000-yard swim at the Blatchley Middle School swimming pool. A shorter course is available for children age 12 or younger. There is a $25 per participant entry fee for individuals and teams, and proceeds from the triathlon benefit the Sitka Cancer Survivors Society. Event registration is from 4:30-6:30 p.m. on Friday, May 18, at the Hames Athletic and Wellness Center, or from 7-8:30 a.m. Saturday before the race at Blatchley. For more information, contact Kevin Knox at 738-4664 or e-mail bbsc.sitka@gmail.com.

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May is National Bike Month, and Doug Osborne is compiling a list of Sitka bike events happening in May for our annual calendar. In addition to May being National Bike Month, National Bike to Work Week is May 14-18 this year and National Bike to Work Day is Friday, May 18. This year also will be the inaugural National Bike to School Day on Wednesday, May 9.

In past years, events have included the Sitka Bike Rodeo (USCG and Sitka Rotary, May 12 this year), a free pancake breakfast for bike commuters on National Bike to Work Day (UAS), a bike commuter contest for National Bike to Work Week (Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop), the Julie Hughes Triathlon on May 19 this year, and a variety of lunch-and-learn seminars about bike commuting or women and biking or bike touring at Kettleson Memorial Library, SEARHC and Sitka Community Hospital. There also have been some businesses who offered discounts to people who bicycled to shop or work during this month.

In other communities, events have included community bike ride, community bike/gear swap, or similar events. Unfortunately, due to limited manpower and budgets we will need someone to champion these events if they are to happen in Sitka. Another option is to have Sitka individuals and teams register for the National Bike Challenge that launches on May 1 and runs through Aug. 31, with the goal to have 50,000 cyclists ride 10 million miles.

If you have any Sitka events you’d like to add to the calendar, please contact Doug Osborne at 966-8734 or doug.osborne@searhc.org.

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Sitka cyclists Jeff Budd and Laura Kaltenstein will give a presentation, “Two on Highway One,” at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 29, at Kettleson Memorial Library.

The presentation covers Jeff’s and Laura’s trip in September and October down Highway 101 and Highway 1, from the Canadian border to the Mexican border. They followed the Pacific Coast Bicycle Route maps available from the Adventure Cycling Association, which has developed several bicycle tour routes and maps around the country.

The Pacific Coast Bicycle Route covers 1,853.5 miles from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Imperial Beach, Calif. Highlights of the trip included windswept beaches, haystack-shaped rocks along the coastline, dairy farms, massive redwood trees, vineyards, vegetable farms and many urban areas.

Jeff and Laura will give a similar presentation about their trip during the noon meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 31, of the Sitka Rotary Club, held at the Sitka Westmark Hotel.

• Flier for the “Two On Highway One” presentation by Jeff Budd and Laura Kaltenstein

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Michaela and Keith Larsen with their tandem in Nova Scotia (Photo by Charlie ten Brinke Photography, http://charlietenbrinke.wordpress.com/)

Michaela and Keith Larsen with their tandem in Nova Scotia (Photo by Charlie ten Brinke Photography, http://charlietenbrinke.wordpress.com/)

Michaela and Keith Larsen will be in Sitka to share a four-month, 5,900-mile bicycle trip they took through Canada called, “Northern Exposure — Bangor to Rupert or Bust.” The free presentation will be at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 6, at Kettleson Memorial Library.

Riding on a DavinciDesign tandem bicycle, carrying all their gear in a B.O.B. trailer, they camped along the way, living off macaroni and cheese and cinnamon rolls. They saw amazing places, learned about the culture and history of Canada, met warm-hearted people and woke up to a new set of adventures every day.

They started in Bangor, Maine, traveling up to Lubec, the easternmost point of the continental United States, continuing up through New Brunswick, around Prince Edward Island, through Nova Scotia and up the western coast of Newfoundland, through Labrador, down the coast of Quebec, through Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and ending at Prince Rupert, British Columbia. You can read about their journey on the Larsens’ blog, “A posse ad esse — From possibility to reality.”

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