Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Soldotna Chamber hosts 47th Awards reception...
A capacity crowd turned out last week for the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce 47th Awards Reception. The decorations and transformation of the Soldotna Sports Center annex has become a hallmark of the annual event and a creative expression for the Soldotna Chamber Staff. “You would think we were in Las Vegas or Hollywood on a red carpet run, I’m so glad I dressed for the occasion,” one attendee was overheard commenting. “The team at the Soldotna Chamber once again came together in unity with their various talents to create the most indisputably extraordinary Award Reception ever with the guidance of their admirable leader Michelle Glaves,” said Robyn Sullens, Soldotna Chamber project coordinator.

Central Peninsula welcomes its “Coming Home Soldiers”
A sea of emotion, applause and appreciation such as has never been expressed in the twin cities welcomed home returning National Guardsmen last week. The idea of Soldotna Mayor David Carey and Kenai Mayor Pat Porter who together with a troop of volunteers, allowed the hearts of the community to be filled with pride and love of country. “This is the best community that anyone could be asked to serve and we’re certainly including Nikiski and Sterling too,” said Sgt. 1st Class Troy Zimmerman.

Eater’s Digest
Like a keepsake put in the attic and forgotten about until years later when it becomes a valuable collectable, Ginger’s Restaurant tucked away at the end of the Peninsula Center Mall is one of Soldotna’s secret treasures.

Historic bus ride worth a million bucks...
After the Arctic Winter Games are over, after the celebrations of victory and the banquets are done, when all of the visiting athletes have gone home to prepare for the next Games, and Kenai Peninsula Borough School District (KPBSD) students return from their spring break, the tangible benefits of hosting the 2006 Arctic Winter Games will continue. Last week an elated Dr. Donna Peterson, KPBSD Superintendent joined other District officials along with “Rascal” the AWG mascot, for the first official ride in one of the 22 new legacy buses that will be used to transport AWG athletes during the Games. “This is so exciting and a historic ride. The buses are beautiful and they even have seat belts,” commented Peterson as the bus made a celebrity run on the AWG route.

Hospice celebrates 10th Annual Winter Wine Taste & Auction
Hospice of the Central Peninsula is an army of volunteers that become the strong link when the weaker link is in need. More than an organization, Hospice is an experience and hundreds gathered at the 10th Annual Winter Wine Taste & Auction to celebrate and support the Hospice experience. “We are very excited that our event once again sold out. 172 tickets were sold. This year’s event brought in more funding than ever before,” according to Marquitta Andrus, Hospice of the Central Peninsula executive director.

During the past week I fought the elements here in Alaska that were created by our weird weather almost on a daily basis and was not very successful in this battle. I have always said I never quite understood the purpose of God sending us rain in the wintertime but I’m sure he has some reason for it.

Reader: Why are teachers first to be laid off?
I just read the article in today’s paper (Clarion Feb. 8) stating that we are going to lose up to 100 teachers. I know that other readers and I do not have all of the facts about the borough budget, but it seems that the first thing that government cuts in bad times is education. Isn’t there anything else that the borough runs other than education (ie. maintenance and administration).

One way or another, citizens will end up footing the bill
(Regarding whether the state or oil companies should pay for tug boat escorts for oil tankers in Cook Inlet):

Ski meet slid along without a hitch
I would like to thank all the skiers, coaches, parents and volunteers who worked so hard to make the SoHi pursuit ski meet and success on Jan. 27 and 28.

Reader: Borough shouldn’t always get its ‘Way’
I received notice from the Kenai Peninsula Borough Planning Commission of a proposed name change for a through way off Echo Lake Road. There have been a lot of these name changes over the past few years and I have paid little attention to them. This one caught my attention: the Borough wants to change the name of Kaye Way to Kaye Road.

Buses shouldn’t be exempt from seat belt law
Governor Murkowski passed the mandatory seat belt law yet I called his representative and they said the public school buses are exempt. My kids ride the public school bus and they told me about the crowded conditions, there is usually three to a seat, they are all falling off their seats whenever they make a turn. I have also seen the gruesome videos of school buses involved in accidents, the children are not safe behind the large seats the system says is safe. I hope we can enforce the seat belt law, also include Laid Law so our children are not able to get launched out of their seats in harms way. Please help save our children, lets not wait and learn this the hard way.

State of health care approaching Third World conditions
I think that Debra Hansen (Letters to the Editor, Feb. 1) and I are very near to being on the same page. Have you ever thought about the jobs that are being eliminated in this country for the last 20 or more years — every one is $15 an hour and up and every job being created is $10 or less. All the businesses of any size will only allow a person to work 30 hours or less so they don’t have to provide any benefits. Yes they have them to buy but who can afford them? In the low income housing field, the workers a lot of times can’t qualify because they make just a few dollars too much.

Outlawing torture won’t stop wars, conflict
On Dec. 27th a letter to the editor (“Dialogue sought from area spiritual leaders”) expressed the desire for a spiritual perspective on the particular issue of “torture or inhumane treatment of individuals in the name of self protection (individual or country).” These comments are in response to that letter.

Wild weather not unusual
It’s that time of year again. If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.

Ferry furvor
Angered at Washington state federal legislators’ support for efforts to block oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Rep. Kurt Olson (R-Kenai) has filed a resolution calling on the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities to terminate ferry service to Washington ports.

Elected officials’ pension benefits cost thousands
Most people naturally assume city and borough workers and school teachers get pretty good benefits as government employees, but not many know some of those same benefits are passed on to elected officials, as well.

Wet weather drenched some more than others
How much precipitation one saw on the Kenai Peninsula over the past week really depended on where you were, said David Vonderheide, spokesperson for the National Weather Service.

Photo Feature: Looking for lunch

Florists say they are cut out for the rush
By some estimates, more than 156 million roses will be sold today, and roses only make up half of cut flowers during Valentine’s Day.

School talks move along
Big money issues and job security have not yet been addressed, but school contract negotiators have already reached tentative agreement on nearly half of the items on their lists.

New trick?
Alaska sled dogs are undeniably amazing athletes and an ongoing research project is indicating that these dogs may not just be elite, but completely distinctive.

Tug requirement considered after tanker grounding
The grounding of an oil tanker in Cook Inlet on Feb. 2 has renewed attention on tanker safety improvements, particular the proposal to require tugboat assists for tankers, but some have said safety recommendations are misguided.

Mayor sounds Games’ budget alarm
The mayor of Soldotna sounded the Arctic Winter Games funding alarm at the regular meeting of the city council Wednesday.

Lester L. Creary
Longtime Soldotna resident Lester L. Creary died Sunday, Feb. 12, 2006 at the Central Peninsula General Hospital in Soldotna. He was 62.

Inlet at risk of oil spill: Inlet navigational safety needs to move into the 21st century
Cook Inlet fishermen, businesses, and residents can breathe a collective sigh of relief the grounded tanker Seabulk Pride did not spill its nearly 5 million gallons of oil products into the region’s rich and productive fish habitat. Two things saved Cook Inlet from a near-disaster: the Seabulk Pride’s double hull, which protected it from damage, and a competent response effort by the spill responders who re-floated the tanker.

Navigating regulations: Tanker grounding shows need to improve inlet navigation safety
In 1999, we at the Cook Inlet Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council (CIRCAC) wrote in an op-ed column that the grounding of the Exxon Valdez had resulted in a major overhaul of the oil transportation system in Prince William Sound and that the prevention measures in place there had significantly reduced the likelihood of an oil spill. We also emphasized that regulators had not focused the same kind of attention on Cook Inlet; that marine traffic in Cook Inlet lacked the best available technology and tug presence protecting tankers in the Sound; and most disturbingly, that it was as though there had to be a catastrophic spill in Cook Inlet before prevention measures were given serious consideration.

Around the Peninsula
Soldotna chamber to meet PLFAG to meet Flight instructors to take off Wrestling club seeks members SoHi after-grad committee to meet

Community Schools
Mushroom identification Honeybees, beekeeping Ab blast core workshop Tissue paper note cards Success in school though arts Advanced directives Beginning Excel

Community News
Class of 1996 seeks members Soldotna Elks table tennis results

Around the Peninsula
Women voters meet Women invited to take a break Fish and Game to hold elections Foster care, adoption workshop slated Dinner fundraiser set Junior Miss application deadline looms Frontier community to host open house Clothing donations sought

· Alice Lee and Jeffrey Bitterich of Nikiski announce the birth of their daughter, Cadance Renee Bitterich, at 3:39 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 19, 2006, at Central Peninsula General Hospital. She weighed 7 pounds, 11.5 ounces and measured 20 inches.

Peninsula People
Area students make dean’s list Baldwin graduates Carpenter graduates Hansen joins Army

Sports Brief
Soldotna’s Monica Hutchison and Michaela Hutchison won titles Saturday at the United States Girls Wrestling Association Alaska State Championships Open on Saturday in Sitka.

Sports Briefs
Kenai boys take Barrow tournament Yakutat sweeps CIA

Senior Menus
Homer Kenai Nikiski Ninilchik Soldotna Sterling

Senior Activities
Homer Kenai Nikiski Ninilchik Soldotna Sterling

Sports Brief
Kasilof’s Lance Mackey was in third place Sunday night is his attempt to defend his title in the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race.

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