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Hiland Mountain Correctional Center plant sale underway

Updated: May. 25, 2021 at 6:28 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - No one seems to know exactly when the Hiland Mountain Plant Sale started, but one thing is sure, according to Correctional Officer Dena Yuill: The secret is out.

“It’s a big seller, it gets bigger and bigger every year,” Yuill said. “We used to go four days, then it’s been down to three. In the last couple years, we barely even make it to day two.”

This year the sale that takes place in the parking lot of the Hiland Mountain Correctional Center in Eagle River opened at 9 a.m. Tuesday morning to a line of shoppers. Although it’s slated to run until Thursday at 5 p.m., insiders say there’s a good chance the flowers will be gone by Wednesday afternoon.

The sale at the women’s correctional center is popular for many reasons, but a lot of the regulars say they come specifically to support the prison’s horticultural program and the women in it. Alaska Department of Corrections Commissioner Nancy Dahlstrom said all the profits from the sale go back into the prison program.

“All the funds that are generated go right back into this horticultural program ... it just regenerates the program and lets them have that experience,” she said, adding that she is grateful for the community’s support.

This year inmates who normally work the sale aren’t allowed to because of COVID-19, but Dahlstrom said women selected for the horticultural program have been learning important job skills throughout the year.

“Skills like showing up on time, working well with others, learning how to take instructions,” she said. “Those types of things are valuable wherever we work.”

The correctional center is located at 9101 Hesterberg Rd. in Eagle River. Plant sale hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, or as long as plants last. No credit cards are accepted — it’s cash or checks only.

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