Kalen was born in Skagway and spent all of her life there, save for one year of high school in California, vacations to the lower 48, and international trips to Iceland, the Galapagos and the Panama Canal. She helped reforest an area in Iceland from lodge pole pine seeds she collected in Skagway,
In the late 1980s, she took over management of Dedman’s Photo, which her mother had started in the early 1920s. She was the registered historian for the Klondike highway project, and a decades-long news stringer for publications in Fairbanks, Juneau, Whitehorse and Anchorage.
Kalen was a photographer, writer, musician, storyteller, gardener, and local legend. She’s well remembered for her dedication to the arts — music, in particular. She tried not to miss an Alaska Folk Festival and participated in numerous Juneau Lyric Opera festivals as well as other music events in the capital city.
Kalen founded the Skagway Arts Council in 1974 and was director until three years ago. About five years ago, she received an award from the Alaska State Legislature for her work in the arts.
Kalen also was fiercely interested in politics. She remained a staunch opponent to a road between Juneau and Skagway.
Memorial services are tentatively planned for next June, when more family and friends are in Skagway.
- Heli-skiing has long been a controversial topic in Haines. The interests of the industry often clash with people who live near heliports and don’t want the noise disturbing their peace and quiet. But there’s another group that’s impacted by helicopter noise: mountain goats.
- In the Northwest Arctic, caribou hunting has been contentious for years. Alaska’s largest herd continues to decline while tensions have emerged between rural subsistence users and outside hunters.
- From the Aleutian island of Akutan to the arctic village of Kiana, 13 communities have been crowned champions of a rural energy competition. The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced that it will help these communities cut their energy use by 15 percent by training local utility providers.
- It’s costing 14 percent more to take the ferry to and from the Lower 48. The higher fare is part of another round of tariff increases aimed at boosting income and equalizing rates across all routes.