College growth reflects community values

The new school year is in full swing across the Kenai Peninsula. That includes the Kenai River Campus of Kenai Peninsula College in Soldotna, where a pair of new buildings represent the tremendous growth of our local institution of higher learning.

With much deserved fanfare, college officials last week opened a new Career and Technical Education Center, and a new residence hall. At a practical level, the new buildings will allow the college to expand the programs it offers, as well as expanding the student body. Our local college continues to evolve to meet the needs of students as well as the industries in which many graduates hope to find careers once they complete their education. A well trained, professional workforce is an investment that always pays dividends, and graduates of KPC programs frequently find their skills in high demand.

On a bigger, more philosophical level, the college’s continued growth represents an embrace of the importance of education in our community. Former University of Alaska president Mark Hamilton liked to say that once upon a time, you worked construction so that you could go to college; in this day and age, you need to go to college so you can work construction.

It’s a message that our community is buying into — just look at the list of graduates from recent KPC commencement ceremonies. From those earning their GED, to the students from all walks of life receiving associate, bachelor and advanced degrees, there is a belief that continuing education or specialized training will lead to better, more fulfilling opportunities down the road.

We’re excited to see the KPC’s continued growth, and the community’s support of its goals. A thriving college is an important part of what makes the central Kenai Peninsula such a vibrant place to work and live.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Letters to the editor

Chuitna mine threatens Alaska way of life

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