Tuesday, January 9, 2007

The 31st Peninsula Winter Games
In the wake of the international success of the 2006 Arctic Winter Games, the Kenai Peninsula prepares for the 31st Annual Peninsula Winter Games getting under way January 20th-28th. According to Shanon Hamrick, executive director of the Kenai Peninsula Tourism and Marketing Association (KPTMC) which coordinates the event, hundreds of athletes, coaches and families from throughout the State of Alaska will be visiting the Kenai Peninsula to participate in the Peninsula Winter Games. “The Peninsula Winter Games were started back in 1977 by the late Mr. Al York, a missionary and member of the Soldotna Lions Club. Mr. York recognized the need to create an event where the local children would have an opportunity to enjoy sports, games & kid oriented events during the winter season,” said Hamrick.

Central Peninsula Hospital opens new Mountain Tower Wing
Just a few days into the new year last week saw an event that may prove to be one of the major happenings in all of 2007. The occasion was the official opening of the new Mountain Tower wing at Central Peninsula Hospital (CPH). A host of community officials, families and friends gathered for the official ribbon cutting by Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor John Williams and CPH Chief Executive Officer Ryan Smith. “This is certainly a great day in the new year. This particular project is one that was brought about by the voters and has been well designed and executed with construction that is just marvelous. It’s a beautiful facility, one that we are all proud of and that will be with us for a long time to come,” commented Mayor Williams.

60,000 Visitors Guides arrive at Soldotna Visitors Center
Promoting the Kenai Peninsula as a world class travel destination is a huge effort. Last week the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce received their 2007 Visitors Guide and promptly began distribution. While the 60,000 some booklets may temporarily provide some additional insulation for the Soldotna Visitors Center and Chamber of Commerce offices, long before spring temperatures arrive the majority of those guides will have found their way to interested visitors throughout the country and around the world, according to Soldotna Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michelle Glaves. “Right now we’re building walls with them, but we will be mailing them free starting tomorrow to anyone that requests information about Soldotna either from our website or over the phone. The guide has complete information that anyone who is planning to visit or relocate here needs to know to plan their trip or what they’d like to do after they arrive. We also send and take them to trade shows throughout the State and the lower 48 to let people know what a great place Soldotna is to live or visit,” said Glaves.

If I had to pick only one lure to use for all my fishing both in the winter and summer, I would pick a jig. I attended a Babe Winkelman jig fishing seminar as a young boy in Eau Claire, Wisconsin with my father and this seminar changed my fishing, or should I say my way of fishing forever. I don’t know of any fresh water fish that you can’t catch on a jig.

Kenai Dental Clinic welcomes Doc Halliday
Among the legends of the Old West the names of Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp and the gun fight at the OK Coral have become etched in American folk lore. Therefore, when a new Doc Halliday arrives in Kenai one naturally inquires about the parallels.

‘Friendship’ is key word in generosity
Friendship Mission is becoming a reality because of the generosity of many churches, organizations and individuals. We thank all the people who have given to the Mission and allowed God to use them in attaining his goal of making a refuge for men who need spiritual and physical help at this time in their lives.

Fund donations appreciated
The Soldotna Senior Citizens Center would like to thank First National Bank Alaska for its very generous donation to the center’s Endowment Trust Fund. First National Bank Alaska has been a vital partner of the trust fund since its inception 10 years ago.

Reader: Per-person, per-day tax a bad idea
The per-person, per-day tax places an unreasonable burden on businesses to collect, is difficult for taxpayers to understand, will drive some business away and will not make any additional revenue for the borough.

Program works well for neighbors
The Nikiski Neighbors Noel Tree Program was a great benefit to 48 families — 138 children — through the presents purchased by donations given by the people, companies, and organizations of Nikiski. Nikiski Neighbors was also able to serve 82 needy families in Nikiski with Christmas food boxes.

Community support makes holidays brighter for others
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the individuals, families, organizations and businesses that helped make our 2006 Christmas drive a success.

Small theft leads to big loss for others
I own a small tobacco shop at Robinson’s Mini Mall. Someone gained access to my shop and took a few items and money. Although I’m not happy with that, I’m most angry at the thief and cohorts for their stealing the money that my customers had put into my little soup cup to help Ericka Reynolds and her family in their great time of need. (Ericka is a sixth-grader at Kenai Middle School who has leukemia.)

Is there enough contract control?
Assembly member Pete Sprague, of Soldotna, has introduced an ordinance that would require assembly approval when contracts are awarded under borough purchasing rules even when the money for the contract work has already been accounted for in annual budgets.

Wagoner files bill to speed up Point Thompson decision
Sen. Tom Wagoner has filed a bill aiming to expedite a resolution of ExxonMobil’s appeal of the state’s decision to deny its proposed plan for developing the Point Thompson Unit.

Kasilof soldier in fight for PFD money
When Shad Houser enlisted in the U.S. Army at the Peninsula Center Mall recruiting station in Soldotna in 2000, he figured he would be spending time outside Alaska, but he considered this to be his home — his permanent home of record, in Army parlance.

Breaking: Pilot in inlet crash identified
Pilot Randy Crawford remained missing at 3 p.m. Tuesday, after the plane he had been flying was retrieved intact from the icy waters of Cook Inlet.

Eruption 1 year ago won’t be Augustine’s last
A year ago this month Kenai Peninsula residents bought extra air filters for their cars and human resource managers gave paper masks to office workers in anticipation of the volcanic ash geologists warned might rain down on them.

Breaking: Plane crashes in inlet
A "Mayday" call sent emergency personnel scrambling to find a downed plane in Cook Inlet northwest of the FAA flight tower at Kenai Municipal Airport.

Soldotna signs may face 20-foot ceiling
Soldotna residents will have their first opportunity Wednesday night to provide input on proposed changes to the city’s code on freestanding signs.

Facility trains dogs to heal
Got a dog with a dinged-up knee, a pooch with a pulled muscle, or perhaps Fido needs to loose a few pounds?

PRISM plan a go; highway widening discussed
Anticipating the transfer of the Kenai fire training center management to the state fire marshal’s office, a health and safety training consultant from Anchorage was in town Wednesday night wooing the city council.

Lawmakers busy with bills
State lawmakers are getting ready for the opening of the 25th Legislature on Jan. 16 by pre-filing a number of bills on various issues, including several sponsored by the Kenai Peninsula’s delegation.

Patricia Ruth Muir
Longtime Alaska resident Patricia Ruth Muir died Friday, Jan. 5, 2007, at Heritage Place in Soldotna. She was 82.

Pfc. Alan Robert Blohm
Kenai resident U.S. Army Pfc. Alan Robert Blohm died Sunday, Dec. 31, 2006, as a result of wounds sustained while serving his country in Iraq. He was 21.

Shortsighted practices
For a long time no one responded to alarms raised over pollution in the Kenai River. The data accumulated but, with a single exception, no one responded. Some interest groups even denied there was a problem; after all, there were no dead fish. Now that pollution has reached a legal threshold requiring action, a response is beginning to be seen. So my question is: Do we, as a community, need to wait for a legal mandate to prevent local environmental problems? Most problems are predictable. Other places have experienced all the growing pains we are going through. Can we learn from them?

Don’t be alarmed by mine
Many things have changed in Alaska during the last 100 years. We have fought the federal government for control of our resources. We achieved statehood. We built responsible and accountable permitting systems to protect our valuable fish and wildlife populations.

Community Briefs
Family classes offeredMoms to meetClass of 1987 seeks membersClass of ’97 plans reunionReading program continuesGroup offers help

· Malinda and Corey Cooper of Fort Lewis, Wash. announce the birth of their daughter, Zoya Roze Cooper, at 2:49 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2006, at Madigan Hospital in Fort Lewis. She weighed 8 pounds, 3 ounces and measured 20 inches.

Around the Peninsula
KPC orientation, registration dates setBee keepers’ meeting scheduledFundraiser for Ninilchik library scheduledAnnual wine tasting, auction to be heldReading carnival seeks vendors

Peninsula People
Military academy appointments setBumgarner joins Coast Guard

Around the Peninsula
Health classes offeredFirst aid, CPR offeredPeace and justice meeting slatedAfter-school clubs to be heldHorton coming to libraryFood bank board meeting setNYO seeks competitorsSenior center breakfast canceled

Photo Feature: Ho, ho holiday helpers
On Dec. 16, Tim Navarre, shown above, along with Donna Flug and Debbie Bussdieker were Santa’s helpers from Eagles Aerie No. 35255.

Peninsula Reflections
Longevity is coming of age for folks in Kasilof and surrounding communities. Spruce Grove Memorial Park opened in the 1950s, but for the first 10 years no one over 90 took advantage of the creekside cemetery. As the decades continued to cascade, however, the 90-something segment of society picked up steam.

Volunteers sought
The following non-profit organizations are seeking community members interested in leading a helping hand.

NLC girls look to regain state dominance
From 1991 to 1999, the Northern Lights Conference, then called Region III, was the dominant league in Class 4A girls basketball, winning six of the nine state titles and failing to advance to a title game just once.

Sports Briefs
Nikiski drops game to GlennallenMucha, Johnston win Colony Sprints

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