Thursday, February 12, 2004

Toy makers battle Wal-Mart over prices
NEW YORK Led by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., discount retailers won a war with other toy stores this past holiday season. Now toymakers, a casualty in that bitter fight, have decided to make their own stand.

Official questions foreign interns project
FAIRBANKS (AP) Hotel Owner Doris Lundin can make polite small talk in the language of her Japanese customers. What she really needed was for someone to explain to foreign guests at the Fairbanks Hotel how to catch a cab and how to flush the toilet.

Business Briefs
Area chambers set scheduleCredit union to host chamber eventExpert to lecture on fishing cooperativesSmall business workshop offeredGCI to hold investor conference callNominations for health care excellence soughtCPGH gives awardsEra Aviation adds electronic ticketingCustomers asked to clear snow and iceCPGH board elects new officers

Developer considers Petersburg for sawmill
JUNEAU (AP) A Washington timber developer wants to inject some much-needed dollars into Petersburg's economy by building a new sawmill.

Theme and variation
At first glance, the heavily-outlined acrylic painting done in vibrant reds and aquamarine seems to have very little to do with a watercolor and graphite piece of subtle hues and shading on an adjacent wall, and even less to do with a quilted vest hanging in the center of the room.

Anthropologists create portrait of tribe
Fate dealt the Han Athabaskans a strange hand.

What's Happening
Best BetsEvents and ExhibitsEntertainmentUpcoming EventsFilmsDown the RoadAnchorage Events

Sandler mostly leaves gross for engrossing
Adam Sandler's new movie ''50 First Dates'' is a romantic comedy that has a goofy take on the question of predestination: If you start out from the same place, under the same circumstances, in the same state of mind, will your day end the same way?

Art Briefs
Painting group to meetCommunity choir holds rehearsalsTalent show applications availableHomer holds community conversationWriting submissions acceptedLogo design contest announcedStudents' stories, photos wantedAssault awareness writing contest heldStatewide poetry contest announced

After long wait, 'Star Wars' saga to debut on DVD in September
LOS ANGELES (AP) ''Star Wars'' fans will finally get the Force-feeding they've been asking for.

Officials feel heat to fund schools
JUNEAU Pressure is mounting on the Legislature to put more money into education as school districts around the state write budgets that call for deep staff cuts next year.

Soldotna chamber award winner humbled by group's recognition
As a recipient of the 2004 Soldotna Pioneer Award, I feel especially privileged to have been honored for this Alaska award.

Sterling community comes together to help neighbors during holidays
Thanksgiving and Christmas 2003 were made brighter for several families due to the combined efforts and generosity of the community of Sterling.

Search is on for viable options for safety of Nikiski community
I attended the meeting Feb. 4 at Nikiski Senior Center, in which residents expressed outrage and anger at the lack of response by Alaska State Troopers for the rash of recent burglaries. Having been burglarized three times over the last six years has left us guarded and untrusting. Listening to other people's anger only made my anger resurface again.

Sitka festival's winter concert warms, thrills peninsula audience
The Sitka Summer Music Festival Winter Concert program of the Performing Arts Society brought the warmth of sheer perfection to the ears and hearts of a large and appreciative audience of snowed upon and chilled listeners last Thursday at Christ Lutheran Church in Soldotna.

Community's celebration of first baby of new year humbles mother
I am the mother of the first baby of the year 2004. The honor came as a surprise to me, but what came as a bigger surprise was the response from the community.

'Thanks for Memories' was great, not-to-be-missed entertainment
I am writing today to express my review of "Thanks for the Memories," the musical performed by the Nikiski Drama and Dance Troupe at Kenai Central High School.

Nikiski Elementary not closed; some action steps to consider
On Jan. 29, I read with great interest Jenni Dillon's front-page story on Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Superintendent Peterson's decision not to recommend further school closures to the school board. In the final analysis, it appears that the penny-wise but pound-foolish decision to close schools is not even penny wise!

Hard-working Alaskans don't get help they need; welfare moms do
Something is wrong with this picture. Recently a family member found out that he has a ruptured disc in his neck causing him a great deal of pain. His doctor wants him to have surgery as soon as possible. This guy is a very hard-working family man. He has worked very hard since he was old enough to obtain a job, meaning that he has been paying taxes and more taxes. His wife checked with Medicare to see if they could get some assistance considering that they have no family insurance. They were denied all because he enjoys working hard and taking care of his family.

Hospice workers help family deal with loved one's death
My father, Edward King, has been featured in articles in your paper concerning smoking, cancer and, most recently, the Kenai Peninsula hospice organization. Dad died on Sept. 7, 2003.

Daytona's police say driver is not at fault
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. The Daytona Beach Police Department cleared a paraplegic driver of blame for Sunday's accident that left a speedway worker dead, but the IPower Dash Series and Daytona International Speedway said their investigations will continue.

As TV viewing grows, sport takes steps to expand circuit
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. Still perceived by some to be a regional sport, proof of NASCAR's national popularity is reflected in ratings figures provided by Neilsen Media Research. Those figures show that of the 10 largest television markets across the country with the biggest increase in viewership during the last three years, only two Memphis and Tampa are in the South.

This Week: Daytona 500
Where and when

Newsmaker: Michael Waltrip
Michael Waltrip has won two of the past three Daytona 500 races. He talks about how those victories changed his life and his career.

Caring for the Kenai isn't just for students
In addition to being a program that teaches environmental awareness to high school students, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District science specialist told the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce that Caring for the Kenai also offers opportunities to business.

Quake rattles Kenai Peninsula
A strong earthquake rattled Southcentral Alaska late Tuesday morning, but there were no immediate reports of damage.

Superior court upholds Redoubt Shoals decision
A Superior Court judge has upheld a state decision allowing commercial development of the Redoubt Shoals oil and gas prospect in lower Cook Inlet.

Delegates back POMV plan
FAIRBANKS Most delegates to the Conference of Alaskans quickly endorsed a change in the way money from the Alaska Permanent Fund should be spent.

Career opportunity
Lydia Link helps Don Weller teach physical education to youngsters at Sears Elementary School on Wednesday during Job Shadow Day for Kenai Central High School students, which was sponsored by the Kenai Chamber of Commerce.

Bill would remove politics from salmon
Rep. Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, has introduced a bill he said could enhance the numbers of salmon available to all user groups and take politics out of fish management by leaving escapement decisions to the biologists.

Delegates warm to tax idea
FAIRBANKS Delegates to the Conference of Alaskans on Wednesday warmed to using some Alaska Permanent Fund earnings as a source of state revenue, but not as the sole means of closing the chronic gap in Alaska's budget.

Hammond to address Conference of Alaskans with fiscal plan
FAIRBANKS It didn't take long for delegates to the Conference of Alaskans to stray from the agenda set by Gov. Frank Murkowski.

Photo features: Standout
A peak in the Kenai Mountains rises above spruce trees near Moose Pass earlier this week.

Randy D. Esquiro
Nikiski resident Randy D. Esquiro died Friday, Feb. 6, 2004, at his

Debra Byers
Sterling resident Debra Byers died Monday, Feb. 9, 2004, at her

Betty-Gay Marie Poe
Soldotna resident Betty-Gay Marie Poe died Monday, Feb. 9, 2004, at Central Peninsula General Hospital in Soldotna. She was 73.

Randy Dean Esquiro
Nikiski resident Randy Dean Esquiro died Friday, Feb. 6, 2004, at his home in Nikiski. He was 44.

E-mail junkie's confessions
"Hello, everyone. My name is Sandra and I am an e-mail junkie."

U.S. looks silly to contest junk food, obesity findings
So, according to the Bush administration, the scientific proof is not conclusive that the consumption of junk food helps cause obesity. Let's see, the White House can find WMDs in the flimsiest of intelligence, but it doesn't believe decades of research showing a link between high-fat, high-sugar foods and weight gain? Hmmm.

Federal agencies must do better job of sharing important information
Two of the key reasons for the creation of the Homeland Security Department were:

Not everything should be for sale as government looks for creative funds
Money is becoming tighter and tighter for municipalities and nonprofits. Everyone is searching for new (and) creative revenue ideas.

Around the Peninsula
Phi Theta Kappa to hold induction ceremonySoroptimists to meetHealthy communities meeting slatedParent awareness forum slatedCPCS holds board meetingKDLL advisory board to meetFishing cooperative lecture planned

Around the Peninsula
Fish and Game advisory meets today CIRCAC meeting planned Inter-Faith shelter meeting set Historical society to gather in Kasilof Cemetery association sets annual date Blood drive planned at Borough Building Master gardening class planned

Skyview High
Congratulations to the wrestlers and coach Neldon Gardner for finishing second at the state tournament. Skyview had three individual state champions, Eli Hutchinson, Brandon Cleveland and Dallas Seavy.

Nontraditional students take second chance to gain education
Laurie Marta is what is considered a nontraditional student at KPC. At 52 years old, she is a self-employed hairdresser who developed a repetitive motion injury because of her work. She rents

Kalifonsky Christian
The first- through sixth-graders have started their swimming lessons at the Nikiski pool three days a week.

Teachers build relationships with rest of world
When Barbara Knapp and her daughter, Laura, visit China this summer, they'll spend most of their time teaching English to middle school-aged Chinese students.

Kenai Central High
All juniors, the foreign exchange students and a few 10th- and 12th-graders in English 11 are participating in the annual Job Shadow Day today. Students will see up-close and personal what happens in jobs they are interested in pursuing.

School readers do battle
Battle of the Books is just one of several literacy-related activities slated for area schools during February Love of Reading Month.

Cook Inlet Academy
The following students placed in the district spelling bee, held in Homer on Friday: Adam Uchtman, first, and Mac Wynkoop, third, second grade; Owen Phillips, third, fourth grade; Cody Munn, first, and Michael Horton, second, fifth grade; Hillary Domke, third, sixth grade; Garryn Munn, second, and Holly Kopp, third, seventh grade; Madison McConnell, third, eighth grade; and Garryn Munn, first, and Michael Horton, third, overall. The students who placed in the overall competition will compete in the Regional ACSI spelling bee in Wasilla on March 15.

Nikiski Elementary
The PTA will meet at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Kenai Cooperative Preschool
February is Love of Reading Month. Students at Kenai Cooperative Preschool read author Leo Lionni's book, "Swimmy."

Redoubt Elementary
February is Love of Reading Month. Students and staff will participate in a reading challenge, door decorating and other activities to promote the love of reading.

Students of Month
The following students were named January Students of the Month at Sterling Elementary School:

Sears Elementary
The cooking club, sponsored by the Salamantof Native Association, meets every Friday. Students learn basic cooking skills, use small appliances and learn about other cultures. Thanks to Mrs. Haddox for doing such a great job with the Cooking Club.

Nikiski Middle-Senior High
The High School Graduation Qualifying Exam will be administered Tuesday through Feb. 19. All sophomores are required to attend. Juniors and seniors who have not passed one or more tests or who are new to Alaska are required to take the test.

Soldotna Elementary
The third- and fourth-grade Battle of the Books team participated in the district competition Friday and won second place. The team included Hannah Cristiano, Kati Dutcher, Bree Mucha and Brianna Norris. They made it to the finals, where they battled with West Homer Elementary and Connections

Soldotna High
Parents of seniors will meet at 7 p.m. today in the library to discuss after graduation plans.

Sterling Elementary
Parent-teacher conferences will be Friday and Monday. Parents are asked to contact their student's teacher if they have not been notified about a conference time.

Grace Lutheran
Grace Lutheran's preschoolers have been busy learning how to find hidden pictures in a big picture, reviewing their numbers and alphabet, learning three-story sequencing, mixing white with colors to make them lighter and playing together.

Mountain View Elementary
Spring portraits will be taken today. Preschool pictures will be taken from noon to 1 p.m.

Wings Christian Academy
The Lower Learning Center will have an art class Thursday. The class will begin at 10:10 a.m. and end at 11:10 a.m.

Tustumena Elementary
Parent-teacher conferences are scheduled for Friday and Monday. Parents are asked to confirm their conference appointments as soon as possible.

Mass Choir performs in Kenai
The Kenai Peninsula Mass Choir a compilation of high school choirs for Homer, Kenai, Nikiski, Skyview and Soldotna high schools, as well as Cook Inlet Academy performed Feb. 10 at Kenai Central High School. About 380 voices joined together in songs ranging from lyrical Scottish music to southern gospel music.

State testing approaches
Students in the district will take a series of state-mandated standardized tests next week. Parents are encouraged to make sure students get a good night's sleep and healthy breakfast prior to testing and to get students to school on time. Check with your school for testing details.

Honor Rolls
Students named to the Honor Rolls in scools around the district.

No school Monday, Friday
Public schools in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District will be closed for parent-teacher conferences and teacher in-services Friday and Monday. Classes will resume Tuesday.

Aurora Borealis Charter
Aurora Borealis Charter School, a public school within the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, will conduct an enrollment lottery April 14. Personnel from Mikunda, Cottrell & Co., CPA, supervise the lottery.

Chapman Elementary
Parent-teacher conferences will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, from 8 a.m. to noon Friday and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday.

Soldotna Middle
Report cards were mailed last week. If you did not receive your student's report card, contact the front office.

Connections
Congratulations to Hope Steffensen, John Shirley, Jesse Sandoz and Mika Morton, members of the Connections third- and fourth-grade Battle of the Books team, and their coach, Marti Shirley. The team won the district competition Friday and will advance to the state competition.

Kenai Middle
Student-involved conferences will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday and from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday.

Kalifornsky Beach Elementary
Students will take the Terra Nova and Alaska Benchmark exams Tuesday through Feb. 19. Grade three through five teachers can provide strategies for test taking.

North Star Elementary
The North Star Elementary ski club is in full swing with skiing through March 18. Students in grades four through six may choose to ski after school on Tuesday and-or Thursday. Contact Mr. Bailey or Mr. Anderson for more details.

Redoubt Elementary
February is Love of Reading Month. Students and staff will participate in a reading challenge, door decorating and other activities to promote the love of reading.

No school Monday, Friday
Public schools in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District will be closed for parent-teacher conferences and teacher in-services Friday and Monday. Classes will resume Tuesday.

Kalifornsky Beach Elementary
Students will take the Terra Nova and Alaska Benchmark exams Tuesday through Feb. 19. Grade three through five teachers can provide strategies for test taking.

Kenai Cooperative Preschool
February is Love of Reading Month. Students at Kenai Cooperative Preschool read author Leo Lionni's book, "Swimmy."

Teachers build relationships with rest of world
When Barbara Knapp and her daughter, Laura, visit China this summer, they'll spend most of their time teaching English to middle school-aged Chinese students.

Wings Christian Academy
The Lower Learning Center will have an art class Thursday. The class will begin at 10:10 a.m. and end at 11:10 a.m.

North Star Elementary
The North Star Elementary ski club is in full swing with skiing through March 18. Students in grades four through six may choose to ski after school on Tuesday and-or Thursday. Contact Mr. Bailey or Mr. Anderson for more details.

Kalifonsky Christian
The first- through sixth-graders have started their swimming lessons at the Nikiski pool three days a week.

Aurora Borealis Charter
Aurora Borealis Charter School, a public school within the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, will conduct an enrollment lottery April 14. Personnel from Mikunda, Cottrell & Co., CPA, supervise the lottery.

Grace Lutheran
Grace Lutheran's preschoolers have been busy learning how to find hidden pictures in a big picture, reviewing their numbers and alphabet, learning three-story sequencing, mixing white with colors to make them lighter and playing together.

Honor Rolls
Students named to the Honor Rolls in scools around the district.

Soldotna High
Parents of seniors will meet at 7 p.m. today in the library to discuss after graduation plans.

Mass Choir performs in Kenai
The Kenai Peninsula Mass Choir a compilation of high school choirs for Homer, Kenai, Nikiski, Skyview and Soldotna high schools, as well as Cook Inlet Academy performed Feb. 10 at Kenai Central High School. About 380 voices joined together in songs ranging from lyrical Scottish music to southern gospel music.

Skyview High
Congratulations to the wrestlers and coach Neldon Gardner for finishing second at the state tournament. Skyview had three individual state champions, Eli Hutchinson, Brandon Cleveland and Dallas Seavy.

Nikiski Elementary
The PTA will meet at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Nikiski Middle-Senior High
The High School Graduation Qualifying Exam will be administered Tuesday through Feb. 19. All sophomores are required to attend. Juniors and seniors who have not passed one or more tests or who are new to Alaska are required to take the test.

Mountain View Elementary
Spring portraits will be taken today. Preschool pictures will be taken from noon to 1 p.m.

Kenai Central High
All juniors, the foreign exchange students and a few 10th- and 12th-graders in English 11 are participating in the annual Job Shadow Day today. Students will see up-close and personal what happens in jobs they are interested in pursuing.

Chapman Elementary
Parent-teacher conferences will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, from 8 a.m. to noon Friday and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday.

Soldotna Middle
Report cards were mailed last week. If you did not receive your student's report card, contact the front office.

State testing approaches
Students in the district will take a series of state-mandated standardized tests next week. Parents are encouraged to make sure students get a good night's sleep and healthy breakfast prior to testing and to get students to school on time. Check with your school for testing details.

Kenai Middle
Student-involved conferences will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday and from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday.

Students of Month
The following students were named January Students of the Month at Sterling Elementary School:

Connections
Congratulations to Hope Steffensen, John Shirley, Jesse Sandoz and Mika Morton, members of the Connections third- and fourth-grade Battle of the Books team, and their coach, Marti Shirley. The team won the district competition Friday and will advance to the state competition.

Nontraditional students take second chance to gain education
Laurie Marta is what is considered a nontraditional student at KPC. At 52 years old, she is a self-employed hairdresser who developed a repetitive motion injury because of her work. She rents

Tustumena Elementary
Parent-teacher conferences are scheduled for Friday and Monday. Parents are asked to confirm their conference appointments as soon as possible.

School readers do battle
Battle of the Books is just one of several literacy-related activities slated for area schools during February Love of Reading Month.

Sterling Elementary
Parent-teacher conferences will be Friday and Monday. Parents are asked to contact their student's teacher if they have not been notified about a conference time.

Sears Elementary
The cooking club, sponsored by the Salamantof Native Association, meets every Friday. Students learn basic cooking skills, use small appliances and learn about other cultures. Thanks to Mrs. Haddox for doing such a great job with the Cooking Club.

Soldotna Elementary
The third- and fourth-grade Battle of the Books team participated in the district competition Friday and won second place. The team included Hannah Cristiano, Kati Dutcher, Bree Mucha and Brianna Norris. They made it to the finals, where they battled with West Homer Elementary and Connections

Cook Inlet Academy
The following students placed in the district spelling bee, held in Homer on Friday: Adam Uchtman, first, and Mac Wynkoop, third, second grade; Owen Phillips, third, fourth grade; Cody Munn, first, and Michael Horton, second, fifth grade; Hillary Domke, third, sixth grade; Garryn Munn, second, and Holly Kopp, third, seventh grade; Madison McConnell, third, eighth grade; and Garryn Munn, first, and Michael Horton, third, overall. The students who placed in the overall competition will compete in the Regional ACSI spelling bee in Wasilla on March 15.

A big dog rules at Westminster
NEW YORK (AP) America's top dog is a big, slobbering, barking dog named Josh.

Majerus says he won't return to coach Utah
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Rick Majerus said Tuesday he will not coach the University of Utah again this season, ending his 15-year association with the school he brought to national prominence.

Crowd jeers eliminated U.S. soccer team
GUADALAJARA, Mexico The boos nearly drowned out ''The Star-Spangled Banner,'' and a few dozen fans chanted ''Osama! Osama!'' as the United States was eliminated by Mexico in Olympic men's soccer qualifying.

Clarett to enter NFL draft after latest ruling
NEW YORK Maurice Clarett is ready to enter the NFL draft, clearing another legal obstacle Wednesday when a federal judge rejected the league's request to suspend her ruling.

Flyers' Niittymaki still solid in net
PHILADELPHIA Rookie Antero Niittymaki stopped 35 shots for his third win in as many starts, leading the Philadelphia Flyers over the New Jersey Devils 4-1 on Tuesday night.

Joseph injured in Red Wings victory
DETROIT Steve Yzerman scored twice, lifting the Detroit Red Wings past the San Jose Sharks 4-2 Wednesday night in what could be a costly victory.

Sixers fire Ayers, promote Ford on interim basis
PHILADELPHIA Randy Ayers lost his job after less than a season as the Philadelphia 76ers' coach. If the team doesn't turn things around, others might be on their way out, too. And star guard Allen Iverson would like to have some input.

Alaska Sportswriters Prep Basketball Poll
The Alaska Sportswriters Prep Basketball Poll, as compiled by the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, with team, first-place votes in parentheses, record and total points awarded on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis.

Nets stay red hot
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. Richard Jefferson had 27 points and 10 rebounds and the Nets posted their ninth straight win eighth in a row under new coach Lawrence Frank, rallying to beat the Detroit Pistons 89-78 on Tuesday night.

Burning rubber: Tire wear a key in Daytona's Twin-125 qualifying races
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. The new tires for the Daytona 500 will be given their first major test Thursday, and Ryan Newman hopes he learns the secret to managing them.

Barbour lights it up for winning Wildcats
LEXINGTON, Ky. Antwain Barbour, making his second start of the season, scored a career-high 23 points and No. 8 Kentucky beat Alabama 66-55 on Tuesday night.

Feds preparing indictments in THG case
SAN FRANCISCO The federal government is preparing indictments against a nutritional supplements lab and its founder, as well as the personal trainer of baseball star Barry Bonds, The Associated Press has learned.

Red Wings' Hasek out for season
DETROIT Dominik Hasek's season is over because of a groin injury. He's determined not to let it end his career.

Nets beat Cavs, win 10th straight
CLEVELAND Lawrence Frank improved to 9-0 since taking over as New Jersey's interim coach and the Nets won their 10th straight game Wednesday night, 105-85 over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Woods faces biggest challenge in five years
Forget the streaks and statistics that identify the best two players in golf. The real comparison starts now.

A new meaning for the nickname 'Buffs'
The widening sex scandal over recruiting practices at Colorado gives new meaning to the nickname of the school's sports teams: Buffs.

Homer, Skyview split in hoops
The Homer girls basketball team survived a tough night at the free-throw line Tuesday in picking up a Region III/4A victory over visiting Skyview.

Kenai battles West, history at state tourney
The Kenai Central hockey team has two first-round opponents tonight at Class 4A state hockey tournament: Anchorage's West High and history.

Changes abound at GM meetings
HENDERSON, Nev. (AP) Hoping to increase scoring in the NHL, general managers proposed Tuesday that goaltenders wear smaller pads and not be allowed to handle the puck behind the goal line.

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