Efforts to improve our community applauded

We’ve always known we live in a special place.

The sense of community, healthy economy and great recreational opportunities attract many from all over the state and nation, whether it is tourism, a temporary residency or someone looking to set down roots for good.

Two recent news items exemplify those traits we have come to know and love, and unfortunately often times forget about.

The city of Kenai was recently named an All-America City for the second time.

The delegation shared three projects we should be particularly proud of — one about maintaining the health of the Kenai River, one about efforts to mitigate conflicts between animals and people, and the Caring for the Kenai student competition.

It is nice to see our community can recognize and build upon the strengths it has while not being afraid to brag on itself a little bit.

We think the recognition is well deserved. So, we owe a big thank you to all who made this award possible — for the committee members who gave their time and effort to organize a successful campaign. And more importantly, to those officials and administrators who made possible the programs the committee highlighted to be recognized as an All-America City.

Frankly, it is indicative of a sense of belonging and pride residents have in their city.

That attitude doesn’t stop at the Kenai city limits.

We are also encouraged by a program pairing Soldotna city governemnt and local businesses to work together to improve the city’s main corridor, the Sterling Highway, through a $10,000 annual allotment.

This effort to further beautify the area fits into the same theme we think Kenai won the All-America award for — residents striving to improve upon our current situation by what might not be the easiest or most obvious way, but rather addressing the issues head-on.

Sure, an award, a few trees and extra plants aren’t going to forever change our area for the better. They might not even be immediately noticeable to passers-by.

But, Kenai’s All-America award is more than another notch on city officials’ belts, and Soldotna’s new beautification effort is more than pretty flowers.

They indicate we recognize what we’ve got, what we can celebrate, what we need to improve upon and that we are willing to strive for a better tomorrow.

It is enough to make us remember why we live where we do and rekindle our pride in it. Thanks for that.

In short: The community effort that goes into making our area a nice place to live should be applauded.

More

What others say: Obama’s legacy a mixed one

President Barack Obama leaves office Friday after eight years as the most consequential Democrat to occupy the White House since Lyndon Johnson. And unlike that Texan, whose presidency was born in tragedy and ended in failure, Obama will not have the ghost of the Vietnam War haunting his days and eating his conscience as LBJ did all the remaining days of his life.

Read more

Op-ed: Trump won the news conference

Donald Trump should do press conferences more often. Not for the country’s sake, certainly not for the media’s sake, but for his. He really shouldn’t have waited 167-plus days to hold one, because the man gives great sound bite. Although I’ve participated in probably thousands of these staged encounters as a reporter, they’re not my favorite way of getting news — you almost never get any. The guy at the podium controls the proceeding. He can get his message out with little challenge from the assembled journalists who are limited to a question and a follow-up, maybe. Politicians can bob and weave through that without any of us landing a blow. And that’s our job: to penetrate the canned responses to their version of the controversy du jour and get at whatever truth they are hiding. Besides, Trump — who uses contempt for the media as a weapon, his preferred way to discredit reporting that displeases him —has a wonderful forum to do that. At the very least he should hold these confrontations as a supplement to his Twitter tirades. And frequently. It’s his opportunity to hold the media hostage as they cover live his rain of abuse on them.

Read more

Good luck in Juneau

The 30th Alaska Legislature gavels in on Tuesday, and we’d like to take a moment to wish our Kenai Peninsula legislators good luck over the coming months in Juneau.

Read more

Ready to weather the storm

If there’s a bright spot in the recent headlines regarding Alaska’s economy, it’s this: on the Kenai Peninsula, the bad news isn’t nearly as bad as it could be.

Read more