Happy 50th!

Kenai Peninsula celebrates 5 decades

Kenai Peninsula College Advancement Programs Manager Suzie Kendrick stood before a crowd of hundreds of Kenai Peninsula residents gathered on the lawn outside KPC’s Kenai River Campus Goodrich building. Sharing the stage with her throughout the day was Borough Mayor Mike Navarre, Chief of Staff Paul Ostrander, KPC College Director Gary Turner, State Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, and KPB School District Superintendent Steve Atwater.

The local government officials, organization directors and residents gathered for the KPC-KPB-KPBSD Joint 50th Anniversary Celebration Thursday.

The scent of barbecue permeated the scene, and people milled about from the KPB information tent to the Cake Lady in Sterling’s table, which was piled high with 800 mini-cupcakes to the Boys and Girls club booth where children could get wacky hairdos with vibrant dyes.

Kendrick called for the roving audience’s attention as she read the content list of the time capsule, which will be installed in the brick walls of the Brockel building later this fall. She said the box will be reopened at the 100-year anniversary.

“It’s just going to be a hoot for them,” Kendrick said. “If they can figure out how to open this thing up.”

The content is a mix of the local history. Two KPC history books, the 50th anniversary compilation called “Keeping the Fire Burning,” by Tony Lewis and Clark Fair, and “Kenai Peninsula College History” by Lance Peterson were included. Kachemak Bay and Kenai River water samples and an air sample were also added to the list because the air is likely to look completely different in 50 years, Kendrick said.

Community newspapers, founding director of KPC Clayton Brockel’s US Navy military service flag, memory storage devices and local entertainment such as favorite video games and academy award winning movies were chosen to give a good example of what the local interests are, Kendrick said.

“I wish we had one to open today,” Ostrander said. He said the event did an excellent job representing the borough as a whole.

The Kenai Peninsula has seen significant changes through out the past five decades, Navarre said. From the development of paved roads, to the introduction of roundabouts, through ups and downs in the economy, Kenai continually presents itself as a “positive and dynamic area,” he said.

Taking his turn to address the crowd, Navarre went through the last 50 years of borough mayors, including his father George Navarre who was elected in 1966 to himself, the current mayor.

“I get to be here for the 50th anniversary,” Navarre said. “The reality is no government could succeed without the community. This is really your government.”

 

Kelly Sullivan can be reached at kelly.sullivan@peninsulaclarion.com

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