Wednesday, February 4, 2004

Henson says bye to baseball
NEW YORK On the day Ivan Rodriguez joined the Detroit Tigers, former University of Michigan football star Drew Henson said goodbye to the New York Yankees and to baseball.

Mail vote could determine the future of Co curricular activities
A special election by mail will be taking place on the Kenai Peninsula this spring and an informational effort is being launched by educators and administrators to inform voters of their options.

Over 400 learn about snow machine safety
Keeping kids safe while they're having fun and developing outdoor skills is the mission of Safe Kids on the Kenai Peninsula. The program started five years ago is a community effort sponsored by the Central Peninsula General Hospital, McDonalds of the Kenai Peninsula, Caribou Hills Cabin Hoppers, and A-1 Enterprises.

Native Alaskan, or Hockey player in ice?
Until warmer temperatures return, memories of the 2004 Peninsula Winter Games will be held in ice at various locations around the Central Peninsula. From leprechauns and Irish fiddlers, to frozen salmon and ice bears that were chipped out by talented ice carvers. Already, Ice Harvester Jerry Near of Soldotna, inventor of the Near Ice Cutter, is receiving requests from local businesses that want to be included next year, "They joke about selling ice in Alaska, but this thing is really growing and has become a fun part of the Winter games," said Near.

Chamber of Commerce Award Ceremony honors Kenai's best
For the last 28 years, the All American City of Kenai has been singling out individuals for special recognition at the Kenai Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Gala. The event this year was held in the newly completed addition to the Challenger Learning Center of Alaska in Kenai, catered by Michelle Steinbeck & Country Foods the buffet featured an oyster bar courtesy of Snug Harbor Seafood and specialty salmon provided by Sea Products. Sue Biggs and Jack Will provided entertainment.

Keeping it in the family
Thanks to the sponsorship of Bob Sizemore, the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce recognizes outstanding students each month from Skyview High School, Soldotna High School, and Soldotna Middle School.

Dan Green takes Mr. Monopoly title
The officially sanctioned Monopoly Tournament at the Aspen Hotel in Soldotna was a huge success and great kick-off event for the 2004 Peninsula Winter Games. The player's list read like a Who's Who of Peninsula Realtors, Bankers, and Utility executives.

Soldotna crews doing great job keeping roads clear, sanded, safe
This is a sincere thank you to the Soldotna public works director and his maintenance and utility staff who are doing a great job in keeping our city sidewalks, streets and highways relatively clear of ice and snow, in sanding the roads to improve driving safety, and for keeping our water system and hydrants in good working order to be able to fight fires.

Kenai Rotarians earn gratitude for work with KCHS students
For the seventh straight year, the Kenai Rotarians have graciously held the "Not For Sale" business ethics seminar for Mrs. DeVolld's senior English classes. We would like to thank the following individuals for their commitment to the students at Kenai Central: Barry Eldridge, Randy Daly, Rick Baldwin, Sig Casiano, Kristine Holdridge, Rick Ross, Wes Keller, Jeff Belluomini, Rebecca Cronkhite, Craig Fanning, Joe Gallagher and Nelson Amen.

Janet Jackson incident not nearly as offensive as disrespect for flag
I, like many Americans, watched the Super Bowl on Sunday. I saw the Janet Jackson incident and thought it was what it appeared to be, an accident. It did not particularly offend me.

Percent of market value plan step toward solving budget dilemma
I am a long-time advocate for the 5 percent of market value payout because it inflation-proofs the entire permanent fund and because it makes the fund's payout policy compatible with its evolved investment strategy that includes real estate and equities rather than only the income-producing investments originally allowed.

Stars Nordic Ski Team says thanks for community's support
The Soldotna Stars Nordic Ski Team is thankful to a community where athletics are so well supported.

Support helps spread word about Anchor River watershed issues
Community Rivers Planning Coalition and the Homer Soil and Water Conservation District would like to thank the Alaska Conservation Foundation for its support of the newsletters and thereby our Community Outreach Program in the Anchor River Watershed.

Are we better off without Saddam? Ask the families of dead, wounded
Since the fall of the Baath Party and Saddam Hussein, many Americans and their politicians have posed the question in support of the Iraq war: "Aren't we better off without Saddam?"

'Faithful 4' shop till they drop to make holidays better for others
"Shop till you drop" is often a term for recreational shopping for the hard-core shoppers. However, the faithful four ladies who put together the Sears, Mountain View and Kenai Middle School Christmas Drive this year were very dedicated and hard-working shoppers.

Effort to recall Murkowski, Leman has broad support across Alaska
Fellow Alaskans, The Murkowski-Leman recall effort has officially begun. Visit our Web site and print our recall petition at Sign and return our petition to recall Gov. Frank Murkowski and Lt. Gov. Loren Leman.

Nikiski drama students give great show, plenty of memories
Our family recently attended the delightful performance of "Courage Thanks for the Memories." What a great way to spend a Saturday night.

Only solution to state's fiscal woes is to match income, spending
I would like to address the issue of how to resolve Alaska's annual fiscal problem.

Soldotna Senior Center volunteers honored for 5,429 hours of service
Soldotna Senior Center's recent Volunteer Awards Banquet honored and recognized volunteers and area businesses who dedicated 5,429 hours of service in 2003 in support of nutrition, transportation and support services for area seniors.

Auction benefits youth mission trip
I would like to thank the following businesses for their generous donations to the Mexicali Auction: Acapulco, Froso's, Orca, K-Beach Pizza Boys, Schucks and Soldotna Florist.

Soldotna Elks honor outstanding students with scholarships
The Soldotna Elks Scholarship Committee has completed the Elks National Foundation Most Valuable Student judging for the Soldotna area, which includes Skyview High School and Soldotna High School.

Here's an idea for protecting state's permanent fund, balancing budget
We would like to suggest a possible option to settle the permanent fund debate: Transfer $1 billion worth of the stock investments of the permanent fund to the general fund with the requirement that no further request for draws be made from the fund for the period of five years.

No-confidence vote in legislators hurts cities' chances for funds
Let's recall all the Alaska mayors who disgraced our state with their no-confidence vote of our state Legislature!

Budget issues monopolize district meeting
The future of school consolidations in the Kenai Peninsula Bor-ough School District remains uncertain, but one thing is clear: Mass school closures will not solve the district's $5.2 million budget problem for the 2004-05 school year.

Photo feature: Going deep
Knee-deep in snow, a moose browses for food alongside Bridge Access Road recently. This winter's snowfall makes eating and getting around more difficult for wildlife.

Report: Soldotna in 'nice condition'
The city of Soldotna is in the black. The city recently released its comprehensive annual financial report for fiscal year 2003. At Wednesday's City Council meeting, an independent auditor gave the report a thumbs up, saying it's apparent the city is on firm financial footing.

CPGH moves closer to expansion
The final step toward launching the project to expand Central Peninsula General Hospital will happen today when the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly holds its final public hearing on an ordinance to fund the $49.9 million construction job, after which it is expected to vote to approve expenditure of general obligation bond proceeds already in the bank.

Police recover stolen property
One man was arrested and approximately $20,000 worth of what is believed to be stolen property was recovered by Alaska State Troopers investigating several recent burglaries in the Island Lake Road area of Nikiski.

Shallow gas lease bill hearing scheduled today
A bill that would direct the state to buy back eight shallow gas leases covering 22,000 acres on the lower Kenai Peninsula is scheduled for a hearing before the Senate Community and Regional Affairs Committee at 1:30 p.m. today.

School board meeting highlights
In other action Monday, the Kenai Peninsula Borough school board:

Education committee meeting rescheduled
A meeting of the House Special Education Committee was canceled Tuesday, but area residents still will have an opportunity to weigh in on education issues this week.

1 charter passes, 1 on hold
The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Edu-cation on Monday approved a five-year charter for an arts and sciences-based elementary school in Kenai and postponed action on a proposed academic high school.

Robert G. Hunt
Anchor Point resident Robert Gordon Hunt died Monday, Jan. 26, 2004, at the Mary Conrad Center in Anchorage. He was 76.

Bernard 'Bernie' White
Longtime Kenai/Soldotna resident Bernard "Bernie" White died Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2004, from complications of surgery at Central Peninsula General Hospital. He was 70.

Loretta 'Sweet Pea' Akers
Soldotna resident Loretta "Sweet Pea" Akers died Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2004, at Alaska Native Medical Center. She was 55.

Gloom and doom stories abound, but the truth is life's never been better
Despite what is said during this election cycle, it's a wonderful time to be alive in what one radio talk show host calls "the greatest country on God's green earth."

Better methods to deal with foul language than what FCC would impose
It's hard to remember the time when profanity on stage or screen could get you arrested. These days, with profanity so prevalent on cable television and in rap and rock music, it's more likely that spewing curses earns you a pile of money.

Democrats will have field day with deficit, congressional pork
The Congressional Budget Office says federal deficits over the next decade will total $2.4 trillion, according to The Associated Press.

Around the Peninsula
Fund set up to help familySoroptimist to meetSubsistence management accepting nominationsFish and Game advisory plan meetingBasketball teams to hold fund-raiserDog classes slated at PenDOGSafety day slated

Around the Peninsula
Nikiski council to meet KAEYC meeting slated for Monday PFLAG schedules meeting Homer youth wrestling to begin Fish and Game advisory meeting scheduled Healthy communities meeting slated

Cook Inlet Academy
The preschool classes warmed up their spirits this past week by having a Cabin Fever Party. The students had a lot of fun playing games, watching a movie and eating popcorn. Ms. Becky also surprised them by providing pop.

Report: Student behavior similar in cities, suburbs
WASHINGTON People who flee urban schools in pursuit of more wholesome settings may be surprised by this report card: Suburban students engage in just as much sex, drugs and fighting as city kids do.

Kenai Montessori Preschool
Kenai Montessori students just finished a month studying Australia. The children learned where Australia is, what kind of animals live there and about their culture from sister Montessori schools in Australia and New Zealand. In February, students will study Africa.

Redoubt Elementary
All drivers are reminded to observe the school zone speed limit of 20 mph, stop for children at crosswalks and slow down in the school parking lots, where the speed limit is 5 mph. Local law enforcement has been asked to increase their patrol in the area. Drivers are asked to allow plenty of time to reach their destinations and to drive with extreme caution.

Around Campus
It's no mystery to anyone that life is full of challenges. Each person faces a different set of circumstances that makes their life unique. Why is it that some people face adversity and find a way to overcome life's difficulties? The answer to that question can be found in the stories of the incredible students that walk the halls at KPC.

Sears Elementary
"Love of Reading Month" activities are coming to Sears Elementary beginning Feb. 17. Parents should check their classroom newsletters for details.

Wings Christian Academy
Last week, students in the Lower Learning Center gave their European reports. The children gave oral and visual presentations.

Soldotna Elementary
Thanks to Fun Buck winners for the week: Lilah Boone, Zoe Garoutte, Forrest Robinson, Colin Walrath, Lily Zufelt, James Lester, Ryan Reid, Taran Edmonson, Blake Thibodeaux, Shara Redford, Michael Hanson, Shay Harrison, Billy Haviland, Forrest Hrinkonich, Molly Nyland and Alexis Wallis.

Nikiski Elementary
The Nikiski club house is providing homework help and after-school activities for both North Star and Nikiski students. Call Ann Holloway at 776-4144 to sign your student up.

Soldotna Montessori Charter
Congratulation to Mrs. Sotello, one of three finalists nominated for the National Shell Oil Teaching Award for Excellence in Science. She was invited to the National Science Convention and will bring back ideas and activities to share with the rest of the staff and children at Soldotna Montessori. Thanks Mrs. Sotello, for your enthusiasm and hard work.

Students of Month
The following students were named January Students of the Month at Kenai Middle School:

Kalifornsky Beach Elementary
February is "Love of Reading Month," and K-Beach is celebrating. Congratulations to the winners for the most books read during the first semester at K-Beach.

Soldotna High
Test week is right around the corner, and students are encouraged to prepare by attending Saturday school and after-school tutoring on Tuesdays and Thursdays. These programs are opportunities for students needing extra help with schoolwork and preparation for the Terra Nova Assessment and the High School Graduation Qualifying Exam.

ACT registration deadline approaches
College-bound high school students will have the opportunity to take the ACT Assessment on April 3. The registration postmark deadline is Feb. 27. The test fee is $26. The late registration postmark deadline, which requires an additional fee, is March 12.

Grace Lutheran
The students at Grace Lutheran School celebrated the 100th day of school Jan. 29. The lower-grade students each brought 100 items to count and sort.

Central Peninsula Connections students will take the Benchmark, Terra Nova and High School Graduation Qualifying exams at the Soldotna Bible Chapel, on the corner of Kobuk and Marydale in Soldotna.

Kenai Cooperative Preschool
The preschoolers at the co-op had a tummy tickling, tasty field trip to Pizza Hut. A special thanks to the Pizza Hut staff for their patience and treats.

IDEA (Interior Distance Education of Alaska)
Today's Wednesday activity is computer games from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the IDEA office. This activity is for students in seventh grade and older. There will be no activity next Wednesday, due to testing preparations.

Kenaitze Cuya Qyut'anen Head Start
Teachers will conduct home visits Monday.

North Star Elementary
Christianna Garcia, Lincoln Johnson, Bo Reilly, Madeline Knoll, Jayden Tumbaga, Jessica Samskar and Jesse Carrasco represented North Star Elementary School at the finals of the Kenai Elk Hoop Shoot.

Students take state exams
Students in grades five, seven and nine at area public schools are taking the Analytical Writing Assessment through Friday.

Kenai Middle
Congratulations to the sixth-grade Battle of the Books team members: Vanessa Dukowitz, Sarah Rector and Ashley Smith for winning their practice battle with West Homer Elementary this week.

School in-service days approach
There will be no school for students in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District on Feb. 13 and 16, due to parent-teacher conferences and teacher in-service. Classes will resume Feb. 17.

Soldotna Middle
Colten Jensen has been selected as the SMS Soldotna Chamber of Commerce Student of the Month.

Pat on the back or privacy violation? School honor rolls under fire
NASHVILLE, Tenn. The school honor roll, a time-honored system for rewarding A-students, has become an apparent source of embarrassment for some underachievers.

Kenai Central High
Juniors, as well as a handful of other students, will participate in Job Shadow Day on Feb. 11.

Honor rolls
The following students were named to the Chancellor's List for earning 4.0 grade point averages for the fall 2003 semester at Kenai Peninsula College:

Nikiski Middle-Senior High
The National Honor Society will induct new members during an assembly at 1:55 p.m. today.

Mountain View Elementary
Mrs. Cramer's class celebrated Penguin Day with many fun and educational black and white activities.

Skyview High
Parent-teacher conferences will be from 3 to 6:30 p.m. Feb. 12 and from noon to 3 p.m. Feb. 16

Tustumena Elementary
Battle of the Books assemblies were conducted last week, and at the conclusion of each assembly, the school's battle teams were announced. Representing grades three and four, coached by Mrs. Worsfold, are Phoebe Napolitano, Stefany Malatesta and Elizabeth Schoessler.

Aurora Borealis Charter
The second-graders have been studying China and Japan. As part of this unit, they had a Japanese tea party complete with kimonos and a low table.

Chapman Elementary
Parent-teacher conferences will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Feb. 12, from 8 a.m. to noon Feb. 13 and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 16.

Sterling Elementary
February is "Love of Reading Month," and Sterling Elementary is kicking off the celebration. "Read with Me," the 2004 community reading challenge has begun.

Democrats try to beef up prescription bill
JUNEAU House Democrats tried unsuccessfully Monday to increase the benefits that would be provided under Gov. Frank Murkowski's proposed senior citizen prescription drug bill.

Medicare HMOs plan to cut premiums, enhance benefits
WASHINGTON Health maintenance organizations for the elderly are planning substantial rate cuts and benefit increases in response to a $500 million boost from the federal government this year.

Senior Menus
What's on the menu for our area seniors

Senior Briefs
What activities are available for our area seniors

Saint Joseph's keeps perfect record intact
VILLANOVA, Pa. The perimeter trio of Jameer Nelson, Delonte West and Pat Carroll combined for 60 points and Saint Joseph's beat Villanova 74-67 Monday night to extend its school-record winning streak to 19 games.

Elliott makes shift from in-line to ice skates
Kenai Central senior Ryan Elliott was an in-line hockey player living in San Bernardino, Calif., when his father retired from the police force.

Jackson issues apology
NEW YORK Suddenly, Britney and Madonna's smoochfest seems G-rated.

Lightning jolt Flyers, take sixth straight
PHILADELPHIA Pavel Kubina and Ruslan Fedotenko scored second-period goals to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to their sixth straight victory, 2-1 over Philadelphia on Monday night.

Super Bowl champs enjoy Patriots' day
BOSTON The New England Patriots held high their second Super Bowl trophy in three seasons before a raucous downtown crowd Tuesday, celebrating a championship that was as thrilling as the first one.

Dream story turns nightmarish
His story was believable enough, even coming from behind prison walls.

Hurting Los Angeles goes down in Indiana
INDIANAPOLIS The Indiana Pacers without Jermaine O'Neal were better than the Los Angeles Lakers minus Shaquille O'Neal.

Senior VP Marino's first move is to quit
MIAMI Dan Marino's visit was a surprise to Wayne Huizenga. The purpose of it was even more stunning. Five weeks removed from asking for an executive position with the Miami Dolphins and only three weeks after accepting the senior vice president job created solely for him, Marino resigned Tuesday and left the team he quarterbacked for 17 seasons.

New England dominates in league of parity
HOUSTON Bill Belichick shies away from the ''D'' word. Yet even after winning their second Super Bowl in three seasons, the New England Patriots seem to be as close to a dynasty as any team can be in an era of parity.

Nikolaevsk boys top Ninilchik
The Nikolaevsk School boys high school basketball team defeated Ninilchik 41-35 in a District 3/2A game Tuesday at Nikolaevsk.

Stars stop Kardinals
Brian Herring scored 20 seconds into the overtime to lift Soldotna to a 5-4 North Star Conference victory over Kenai Central Saturday at the Soldotna Sports Center. The goal was assisted by Matt Vasilie and Johnny Mills.

Sports Briefs
Norman: Women should stick to their own eventsKnight gets into verbal spat with chancellorWilliams, Bulls agree on contract buyout

Tustumena 200 results
The 2004 Tustumena 200 Sled Dog Race is finished. According to the race Web site,, the following are the official results:

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