Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Signs will help Games’ visitors
Thousands of visitors are expected to arrive for the 2006 Arctic Winter Games in a few weeks. Many will come with questions, wondering not only about the Games and how their favorite team is doing, but also about simple things like, “Is it OK to park here?” or “Where’s the bathroom?”

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.

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.

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.

Outdoors
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.

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.

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.

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.

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):

Business support made event a hit
On behalf of the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and our members we are proud to announce the annual community award winners. Saturday evening we presented — the Service to Youth Award to Colleen Ward, the Volunteer Award to Penny Furnish, the Community Service Award to Herb Stettler, the Outstanding Business Award to Arby’s, the Outstanding Organization Award to Unocal Retirees, the Pioneer Award to Bob Bielefeld, the Log Cabin Award to Sue Carter and the Presidents Choice Award went to Bob Favretto.

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.

When gas runs out, residents will shoulder tax burden
In late January, the Agrium fertilizer plant in Nikiski was forced to shut down during the cold weather because there was not enough natural gas for all users. Just a few years ago there was plenty of gas.

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.

Photo Feature: Looking for lunch

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.

Photo feature: Thinking ahead

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

Accident injures crane operator
One person was taken to the hospital after a crane working on a Marathon Oil Co. natural gas well near Kenai twisted and broke Friday afternoon.

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.

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.

Changing fire season ignites cost concerns
State lawmakers are considering a bill that would reset the official start of Alaska’s annual fire season, putting fire-fighting air tankers into the sky a month earlier than under current law.

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.

Lester L. Creary
Longtime Soldotna resident Lester L. Creary died Sunday, Feb. 12, 2006, at Central Peninsula General Hospital in Soldotna from lung cancer surrounded by his family. He was 62.

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
HEA schedules meter upgrades Women invited to take a break Byway corridor workshops set D.A.R.E. graduation today Dinner fundraiser slated Art donations to be part of auction Peninsula fair seeks members Team will work for uniforms

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

Sports Briefs
Kenai boys take Barrow tournament Yakutat sweeps CIA

Around the District
Students of the Month announced Scholarships offered to high school seniors Connections Cook Inlet Academy Grace Lutheran Kalifornsky Beach Elementary Kaleidoscope School of Arts and Science Kenai Central High Kenai Middle Mountain View Elementary Redoubt Elementary Sears Elementary Skyview High Soldotna High Soldotna Middle Soldotna Montessori Sterling RurAL CAP Head Start Wings Christian Academy Honor Roll

Budget requests, Arctic Winter Games preoccupy KPC
The Kenai River and Kachemak Bay Campuses have student representatives in Juneau this week talking to as many legislators as possible trying to ensure that the university budget is fully funded.

Beating the winter blues
“If you live in a place with ice and snow,” said Tustumena Elementary School teacher Dave Michael, “you might as well learn to enjoy it. It’s going to be around for a while.”

Teens’ self-image suffer enough without media’s input
We all know the media can be a great source for numerous types of information, good or bad.

Five straight misses eliminate Hakkinen’s chance at medal
The Olympic dream of Kasilof’s Jay Hakkinen quickly turned into a nightmare Tuesday in the men’s biathlon 10-kilometer sprint at the Turin Olympics due to five straight misses from the prone shooting position.

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