Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Nearly 20 years ago, my Uncle Jim Von Haden, his son Tim and I floated the Eau Claire River near Augusta, Wisconsin in hopes of getting to a secluded county-owned landlocked area to hunt Whitetail deer.

Refuge areas open for Snowmachining
Deputy Refuge Manager Jim Hall has announced that portions of Kenai National Wildlife Refuge (KNWR) are open to snowmachine use effective as of Christmas Eve 2006. All traditional areas of the Refuge are opened, but closed areas include the Headquarters Area on Ski Hill Road, Skilak Loop Special Management Area, the Swanson River and Swan Lake Canoe Systems, the Wolf Lake Pipeline corridor, and areas above timberline, except Caribou Hills.

Karlene’s gets a new manager for the New Year
Most New Year’s resolutions deal with weight loss or some specific commitment to a healthier life style in the coming year. Karlene Muller and her staff at Karlene’s Acupuncture and Day Spa say that their resolution is to help you succeed in your health improvement ambitions. “Our goal is to create a safe environment for a person to experience new techniques and ideas involving the function and care of their bodies so that they may reach their highest potential. Our staff is dedicated to giving an opportunity for you to take charge of your health and change your health naturally,” says Karlene. She suggests that a pleasant foot detox would be a simple way to start, “One apparatus that we have uses foot stimulation to pull toxins out from the whole body and coupled with a steam bath and massage you can be on your way to a happier, healthier New Year.”

Live Bravo to Billy-O & Discovery crew from Peninsula students
December 21st was a historic day for Alaska and the staff at the Challenger Learning Center in Kenai. For the students who were selected to participate in the live video conference with the crew of the orbiting Discovery shuttle it was a day they’ll tell their grandchildren about someday as that generation travels to Mars and beyond. The Discovery was piloted by Alaska’s first man in space Bill Oefelein, known among his fellow astronauts as “Billy-O.” It was the day before Discovery would return to earth and in a brief live question and answer session CNN and ABC news reporters seemed fixated on the weather problems developing at the mission’s potential landing sites, both networks asking identical questions and STS-166 crew members repeating the same answers. However, when the Johnson Space Center announced the networks time was up and switched to Kenai, the mood changed and an Alaskan flag was unfurled behind the crew, “It was one of those emotional moments that thrilled us all and put lumps in everyone’s throats, it was awesome,” said KPBSD Supt. Donna Peterson. A cheer went up from the capacity group of school children in attendance and a beaming Billy-O acknowledged the ovation.

Advice to reporter: Wait a few more years
My view on Patrice Kohl (Clarion, Dec. 24): Wait until you have been in Alaska for a few more years before you judge us. There is no way for you to claim to know us in one year.

Chenault good for seniors
The Legislature will soon be going into session for the new year. I wish to thank Rep. Mike Chenault for introducing House Bill 399 and seeing it passed in the 2006 legislative session.

Decisions need to be made for good of all
The 110th Congress begins shortly and I have had some observations of late. The story in Iraq has continued to be grim and with the changing of power from Neo-Con Republicans who blindly follow an agenda that has no end and fails to see the direction of the war as disastrous to sanity and balance where a Democratic power base will seek to make the government work again.

Who is to judge chosen lifestyle?
Prejudice’s many definitions include “unreasonable hostile feelings toward or hostile opinions of a broad group of people.” Discrimination may be defined as “making an unreasonable distinction against a category of people.” And, hypocrisy can be defined as “a pretense of having a virtuous character and moral principles.”

Governor needs a history lesson
Well, Governor Palin, it took you all of two weeks to betray your constituency, to demonstrate you will not stand up to the tyrants who sit on the judicial benches of this state. You did what everyone knew Tony Knowles would do. However, Knowles would have done it in two days, maybe two hours.

Soldotna woman finds success with modeling
Laura Hinz has grown from a young home-schooled girl with dreams of performing ballet to a 19-year-old runway model.

Elvis, Marilyn may show at Kenai airport
If it’s OK with the city council, Elvis, Marilyn Monroe and James Dean will soon be making an appearance at the Kenai Municipal Airport.

Hospital shows off new digs
The freshly remodeled Central Peninsula General Hospital will open its doors to the public Wednesday to show off the result of months of construction work.

Fire destroys Sterling home
Firefighters raced over slick roads to battle a fire as it gobbled its way through a Sterling home Tuesday morning.

Sterling couple starts new year with special delivery
Cody James Grimes earned his way into the new year as did his mother. After 29 hours of labor, Tammy Grimes gave birth to Cody, the first 2007 Kenai/Soldotna area baby born at Central Peninsula General Hospital.

Photo Feature: Falls in winter
Water streams through ice encasing Juneau Falls near Cooper Landing in December.

ACT sues borough
The Alliance of Concerned Taxpayers has filed a civil suit against the Kenai Peninsula Borough alleging that it is violating ordinances governing the collection of sales taxes and spending on capital projects.

Construction on bridge to resume
Some work is slated to resume on the Sterling Highway bridge in Soldotna next week. Just how much remains in question.

Shelf life of resolutions increased by setting small, reachable goals
The new year offers a promise of change and self-improvement, and offers businesses a promise of higher sales. People want to lose holiday weight now that the new year has started and are turning to the health professionals for assistance.

Cold winters add up for Wilkinson
As the effects of the cold, dark season add up on the Soldotna finance director with each passing year, she has opted to retire and head south.

Emmett Jordan Jr.
Longtime Soldotna resident Emmett Jordan Jr. died Sunday, December 31, 2006 at his home in Soldotna. He was 66.

Willis Clifford Wheeler
Longtime Kenai resident Willis Clifford Wheeler died Friday, Dec. 29, 2006, of emphysema at Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna with his family at his side. He was 83.

Jacob James Parnell
Kenai resident Jacob James Parnell died Sunday, Dec. 24, 2006, at his home in Kenai. He was 2 months old.

George Pederson
Lifelong Alaskan and Kenai resident George Pederson died Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2007, at his home in Kenai.

Abigail M. Verhelst
Former Soldotna resident Abigail M. Verhelst died Saturday, Dec. 30, 2006, in an automobile accident near Ravenna, Ohio. She was 22.

Lila Ardell Pace
Former Kenai resident Lila Ardell Pace died Monday, Jan. 1, 2007, after along illness at her home in Willow, Okla.

Margaret Mary Curran
Soldotna resident Margaret Mary Curran died Friday, Dec. 30, 2006, from congestive heart failure and cancer at Heritage Place in Soldotna. She was 97.

Robert R. ‘Bob’ Antila
Longtime Soldotna resident Robert R. “Bob” Antila, 68, died of cancer Sunday, Dec. 31, 2006 surrounded by his family at his home in Soldotna. He was 68.

Abigail Maurine Verhelst
Former Soldotna resident Abigail Maurine Verhelst of Brighton, Mass., died Saturday, Dec. 30, 2006, in Kent, Ohio, from injuries sustained in an automobile accident. She was 22.

Community Events
Reading carnival seeks vendorsParenting course offeredAlzheimer’s information availableFundraisers for cancer victim continue

Peninsula Reflections
Slikok Valley School, with teacher Tommye Jo Corr, was open only two years — 1958-60. It was the last of Alaska’s territorial log schools and is one of the historic buildings comprising the Soldotna Homestead Museum.

Around the Peninsula
Recycling group to meetHistorical society to meetFish and game to meetStoryteller comes with strings attached

Peninsula People
Long enlists in ArmyFlood graduates

Around the Peninsula
School starts todayYouth volleyball, basketball offeredIndian education committee to meetCancer fundraiser set

· Jennifer Harris Carter and Kyle Carter of Sparr, Fla. announce the birth of their daughter Riley Paige, at 6:36 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 14, 2006, at Ocala, Fla. She weighed 7 pounds and 13 ounces.

Volunteers Needed
The following nonprofit organizations are seeking community members interested in leading a helping hand. For more information, contact the listed organization.

SoHi girls place 3rd in San Diego
The Soldotna girls basketball team went 3-1 in a tournament held in San Diego, Calif. last week, finishing third out of eight teams.

‘Not your normal 37-year-old, that’s for sure’
It’s going to be a long two weeks in the City of Broad Shoulders and weak arms.

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