Tuesday, February 9, 2010

February is Ice Fishing Derby Month
One of the best ways to prevent "cabin fever" this time of year is to get registered for the 2010 13th Annual Ice Fishing Derby hosted by Soldotna Trustworthy Hardware and Fishing. There is no cost, and there is no experience needed to register for a chance to win some truly great prizes in over 25 separate divisions. The 2010 derby includes divisions from the previous years, such as Kids and Adult, and Kids under 12, but this year for the first time a special "Minnow" division for kids 6-years and under has been added. "We want to get those little guys and girls out there with their parents early, and this will be a great year to get the kiddos started. We've had a great donation from the troopers at Fish & Game of a 16" Rev-Grip kids bike, so that should be a big incentive for the real young ones to get their lines in the water," said Scott Miller of Soldotna Hardware & Fishing. Additionally there will be augers, tents and a huge variety of prizes for division winners, plus grab bags for all kids 12 and under that stop by Soldotna Hardware to register before they head out on the ice.

Perfect Day for The 34th Peninsula Winter Games
The last day of the first month of the New Year may have been one of the most perfect winter days the Peninsula has ever seen. Certainly the most perfect day that the Peninsula Winter Games have ever been held. "We've had it all, from -20 to drizzly rain, but we're Alaskans and we've always had a fun time. But today was just perfect! All the way around - not too cold, no wind, clear skies, and nothing but sunny smiles on the kids faces," said Soldotna Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michelle Glaves. "I'd like to take credit for the weather today, but then I'd have to take the blame for the -20, so we'll give Mother Nature a really big thank you for today. Last night it was starting to rain a little and we were pretty worried, but she came through for us with this perfect day," added Michelle. By all accounts, the big winter event that included the Native Youth Olympics (NYO), that were held separately at Kenai Middle school, was a huge success! Twelve teams from around the state competed in these unique competitions, which made this the largest NYO ever.

During the past 15 years having worked or hunted all over the State of Alaska, I have seen just about every animal or bird in the state. Throughout my travels I have seen musk ox and polar bears, which are two of the more rare creatures to spot, as well as quite a few whales. One of most common creatures that we all see in the state is the raven.

New Solar powered Crosswalk opens at Redoubt Elementary
Solar power is providing youthful energy with a safer place to cross the street at Redoubt Elementary school, thanks to the City of Soldotna. Last Wednesday city and school district officials gathered with students at the close of the school day to have an official ribbon cutting ceremony at the new crosswalk. According to Redoubt principal John Pothast, the project has been in the works for the last five years. "It was my first year here that we started the process with a group of parents on our site council. Because of the new development and increased traffic down toward the end of Redoubt, they saw the need for the street to be safer for kids walking to school. So we started the process of working the various agencies and finding funding to make it happen. It was a little complicated as we have a City street to a District school on Borough land, but five years later, with our thanks to Mayor Micciche and the City of Soldotna that came up with the funds, the new crosswalk is lit up and working today, " said Pothast.

Re-kindling the 2006 AWG Caldron
There were those present Friday, January 29th, when the original 2006 Arctic Winter Games (AWG) Caldron was lit again for the first time since the opening ceremonies of the original AWG several years ago, that remembered the first time ten years ago that then-Borough Mayor Dale Bagley suggested that the Kenai Peninsula should consider being the 2006 host site for the AWG. "Naturally some were skeptical. Anchorage and Fairbanks were the only sites that had hosted the Games in Alaska since their inception in 1967, and of course the main skeptics didn't think we could raise the money. But shortly thereafter Jack Brown and Dave Carey caught the vision, when people from the public like Becky Foster, Pam Howard, and Andrew Carmichael started spreading the buttons with the slogan 'We Want the Games' around the area, and it caught fire pretty quickly," said Bagley. Bagley was chosen to be the second person to light the AWG Caldron since Alaskan Olympian Rosie Fletcher was handed the torch from some of the those original volunteers who made the Games a reality.

The 1 that didn't get away: Homer man lands 400-pound, 7-foot-4 salmon shark
Most every fisherman has a story about the one that got away.

Decision on caribou hunters judicial overkill
I think the courts meddling into the Native overkill of caribou, is an even bigger overkill of justice. One hand says give them Native indiginous rights, the other slams them for doing just what is Native! For thousands of years these folks have overharvested at times just from their means of harvest. How is shooting a bunch any differant than driving 2000 of them over a cliff and leaving a few? Yes it happens, and just how? Is there a chance this just parrallels eons of hunting culture. Did these animals run two miles then expire? Was the population of the Village just to small to carry away all the harvest? Whose land were they on anyway? Was it some recent whiteman refuge parked right on thier traditional Native hunting grounds?

What's the alternative to health care reform?
A new federal study says that $2.5 trillion was spent on health care in 2009, and will nearly double by 2019. A new health care program will lower that expenditure, thus containing or even lowering our national debt.

CPH should be 'in the black'
I was surprised to see our local hospital criticized for being "in the black" last week. Congratulations to them for being in the black. This doesn't mean that they are doing anything sinister.

Playground group pleased with support
Soldotna Community Playground would like to thank everyone at Kaladi Brothers Coffee for their generous donation of more than $800. The wonderful folks who work so hard making such delicious coffee gave up their tips for a day -- New Year's Day -- so that our community's kids and families can have a fantastic new playground. This is the strong spirit of community that is bringing Soldotna Community Playground to life.

Proposed Beluga habitat discussed
Public comment at last week's hearing on the proposed designation of critical habitat for Cook Inlet beluga whales was, for the most part, supportive, though the hearing itself was lightly attended.

Compliance issues continue: Borough to withhold $300,000 until tourism council completes contract terms
The Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council, a non-departmental entity of the Kenai Peninsula Borough, has not complied with the terms of its contract. Until the council comes into compliance, borough Mayor Dave Carey said he will withhold a $300,000 grant.

1st witness called: Investigator testifies in murder case
The Seward police officer who led the investigation into Toni Lister's death in 1982, testified as the prosecution's first witness in the Jimmy Eacker murder trial Monday.

Chow champ crowned: Kasilof man takes eating contest seriously
On a day when millions of Americans were gorging themselves on munchies of all sorts, a group gathered in Kasilof was taking eating to the max on Sunday.

The 1 that didn't get away: Homer man lands 400-pound, 7-foot-4 salmon shark
Most every fisherman has a story about the one that got away.

TransCanada sweetens terms for gas pipeline
TransCanada Corp. is offering significant incentives for North Slope producers to commit gas to its planned natural gas pipeline when an open season for shipping contracts is held this summer.

Commission ponders future of state raises
The state's salary commission intends to raise the salary of the state's governor and top department heads sometime in the future, and may even do away with most of its own job of setting salaries.

Photo feature: Make a joyful noise
Keeven Macik, left, and Dylan Wannamaker, both seniors at Kenai Central High School, rehearse for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Mass Choir Concert on Monday in the Renee C. Henderson Auditorium at KCHS.

Linda Marie Cole
Former Soldotna resident Linda Marie Cole, 47, died Jan. 30, 2010, of a heart attack and stroke in Pomona, Calif.

Around the Peninsula

Mass choir slated

Around the Peninsula

Fish and Game advisory to meet

The world according to a dog's nose
A dog can tell you a lot about the outdoors. When a Lab vacuums the ground with her nose and her tail moves like a helicopter blade, you know a grouse is about to fly. When the dog stops like a dragonfly, then runs off sniffing an invisible path, a snowshoe hare has crossed your trail.

Best Friends
Sheilah-Margaret Pothast of Soldotna said, "Please find a photo of our family pet, Sarah,with our children, Hannah and John-Mark. Sarah came to us as a quiet, lovable puppy from the Kenai Animal Shelter nearly nine years ago and has been a wonderful part of our family since. Sarah loves to chase sticks, play in the water, and nap indoors near her family. This photo was taken after Sarah had enjoyed a 'spa day' at a local groomers."

Kenai Central's Mucha nabs Besh Cup
Kenai Central's Kailey Mucha won the Besh Cup season points race on Sunday as the six-race series concluded in Fairbanks.

Kenai Peninsula College

KPC's first donor recognition installation has arrived at Kenai River Campus

Encouragement about future goes long way for teen
My sixth grade teacher directly told me that I would fail in middle school. In eighth grade, I was told countless times that I would be shocked by how hard I would have to work during my freshmen year at Soldotna High. A few weeks ago, in the first day of a new class I have to take as a senior in high school, I was again subjected to a teacher telling me how college would be so demanding and so much harder than I ever imagined. Now, I would be disappointed if my college experience proved this statement to be wrong, as I wish to be challenged. But I have to wonder, why do teachers (and other adults) feel the need to constantly besiege us with broad generalizations about how hard the future will be? We're constantly told how we'll have to learn so much more than we ever thought; they tell us how we'll have to learn to be harder, faster or stronger if we're going to have a chance at surviving the next step in our lives

Around the District

Connections home-school program

Yukon Quest
Current standings for peninsula mushers in the Yukon Quest:

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