Cooper Landing Neighbors

Posted: Tuesday, February 08, 2000



Carol Smith's severely crunched Suburban is mute testimony to avalanche power. Before most of us heard that Carol and daughters Sophie and Carly had been caught in the avalanche on the evening of Jan. 31, they were found and rescued. Thank goodness!

Justin Morgan, who said his home is about 500 feet from path of the avalanche which flowed down the mountain, across the highway and onto Kenai Lake ice, was the second person to reach the scene. He saw Steve Smith's vehicle stuck in the avalanche snow and stopped to help him. Steve didn't yet know his wife and daughters had been caught in the slide.

Sophie, who was thrown clear, ran up to Morgan's house for help at the same time Carol was calling for help on her cell phone. Morris Morgan drove to the avalanche from the east side and climbed over it to get to his wife, Sharon. Justin said his mother had not heard the avalanche come down and wasn't aware of it until the door flew open and Sophie appeared. Trooper Paul Randall, followed by Scott Wilson, rushed to the scene and began searching for the trapped vehicle. Scott worked his way from underneath the Suburban inside where he could help Carol and Carly. He was impressed by their calmness. The Cooper Landing volunteer fire department, volunteer ambulance service and others hurried to offer assistance.

Chugach Electric lineman Mike Gephardt, Morris Morgan and others were on the side of the mountain the next morning at their dangerous work of repairing the electric lines so most of the Landing was only without power for about 19 hours.

Malcolm Branson and his fiancee, Janice Stokes, were in the Alaska Airlines plane that crashed into the ocean near Los Angeles Jan. 31. The Branson family -- Ralph, Margaret, Melissa, Malcolm, Seth and Alec -- lived here from the time Malcolm was a little fellow until after he graduated from high school. He grew up with my kids, the Wilson boys and Jake Hofmeister. Malcolm and Jake went to Seldovia High School together in 1974. Malcolm played basketball, was on the varsity cross country team, a member of the Seldovia volunteer fire department and president of his sophomore class. I think I saw Malcolm once since he moved to Ketchikan, but his wonderful smile and distinctive voice are easy to remember. Condolences from the community go to the Branson family.

Pat Dye is the newly elected Cooper Landing Gun Club president; Warren Pruitt is vice president; and Marlea Bellinger is secretary-treasurer. They meet every third Monday at 7:30 p.m. at the community hall. People are interested in silhouette shoots for .22, a youth marksmanship program, shotgun activity, a co-op shoot with the Snowshoe Gun Club and other scheduled shoots.

Be on the lookout for vandalism at the range, Pat said. The facility has been used for target practice and the club learned that somebody has been shooting toward the cemetery on a regular basis.

The Cooper Landing Community Club, during the Jan. 27 meeting, voted unanimously to support the Kenai Area Plan as outlined in the May 1995 letter to the Department of Natural Resources from the Cooper Landing Advisory Planning Commission. Of particular interest is Unit 390, in which our Snail-a-thon beach is located. This site has been important to residents for more than 20 years and no one at the meeting was interested in seeing it become available for Kenai Peninsula Borough selection. It is more valuable as a public resource.

The Nifty Fifties group meets for a potluck lunch at Kenai Lake Baptist Church at noon on Wednesday.

Greg Brown from Alaska Pacific University is the guest speaker at the Cooper Landing Advisory Planning Commission meeting at the community hall Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Brown will talk about the "Quality of Life Communities Profile" he conducted. Remember how good Cooper Landing came out in that survey?

The first teleconference with state legislators Rep. Gail Phillips, R-Homer; Sen. John Torgerson, R-Kasilof; and Rep. Gary Davis, R-Soldotna, is set for Thursday at the library from 7 to 9 p.m. You might check by calling the library on Thursday from noon to 4 p.m. or by calling Geneese Peterson at 595-1401.

Geneese planned to pick up the teleconference equipment in Anchorage when she and Darwin drove up last week and got stuck between avalanches. Joyce Olsen said they passed the time by playing cribbage. They were airlifted to Girdwood where they had dinner with Wyck Dreifuerst, another stranded Cooper Landingite. The teleconferences are planned for every other Thursday night during the session.

Glenn and Dannette Sackett are serving a five-course sweetheart dinner Friday at 7 p.m. at the Kenai Grill. Entertainment during dinner and into the night is by the 10 Cent Zen Trio. Call 595-1827 for reservations.

Alma Fowler and Bee Wilson are hosting Monday's Dall Homemaker meeting at 7 p.m. at the community hall. Secret pals will be revealed!

Lisa Parker, former Kenai Peninsula Borough planning director and now with the Parker Horn Company, will be the guest speaker at the Cooper Landing Senior Citizens Corp. Inc. meeting on Feb. 15. A potluck lunch starts at 11:30 a.m. with the general meeting and program at 1 p.m. Grants for a van and senior center housing will be the main topic. If you have questions or need transportation, call Mayme at 595-1214.

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