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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Commute seems more like a parade
I make a 40-mile commute everyday from Soldotna to Nikiski and back again, been doing this for many years now, and I very rarely see a police officer or trooper on patrol, maybe once or twice a month.

Education keeps Peninsula residents here
I was unable to attend Tuesday's student protest at the Borough building, ironically because I was in class. However, I would like a chance to make my voice heard.

Proposed KPC cuts not that horrendous
I'm not in college. I don't own property (yet), I have heard all about borough Mayor David Carey's proposed budget cuts, primarily from Kenai Peninsula College. After hearing about it and watching the green protests I felt the need to offer a new prospective on the budget cuts that those opposing it may not be considering.

Blaze destroys Tote Road home
A structure fire off Tote Road destroyed a two-story residence and killed two pets late Wednesday morning.

Sporting interests: Kenai Peninsula sport fishermen have varied ideas for fish board
Editor's note: This is the second part in a three-part series leading up to the Alaska Board of Fisheries meeting on Upper Cook Inlet finfish issues Sunday. The purpose of the series is to examine the three distinct user groups, the people that constitute them, and what issues matter to them the most.

AIDEA to assist with jack-up rig
The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority is taking steps toward helping oil and gas exploration in the Cook Inlet.

School fixes take time to pay dividends
Last week, Sen. Kevin Meyer, co-chair of the Senate Education Committee, said he came to the realization that simply boosting funding to school districts is not the answer to challenges facing the state's education system. That mirrors Gov. Sean Parnell's reluctance to spend more money on schools "producing a product for our students that is less than acceptable."

Refuge Notebook: Ptarmigan on the Kenai Peninsula
Most locals know there are ptarmigan on the Kenai Peninsula. If you spend any time in the high country, you're bound to run into these birds at some point while tramping around. About this time of year, some ptarmigan will migrate down to the lowlands, showing up in odd places like Ski Hill Road or along the Soldotna airport fence. But a friend of mine, who I skied with through Crescent Lake recently, was unaware that there are three ptarmigan species on the Kenai despite the fact that he grew up here. And that got me thinking there might be a story here.

Perils of Polly: When it rains, it pours
Editor's note: Polly Crawford was a reporter and associate editor of The Peninsula Clarion from 1985-1988, when she wrote "Perils of Polly." She also wrote a series of "Peril" columns in 1998 about her Australian adventures. Her perils continue in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

An Outdoor View: How to pet a whale
For reasons I don't know, we humans have an urge to pet animals. This might at least partly explain why I recently found myself petting a whale.

Around the Peninsula

Fundraiser to help local fight breast cancer

Don't waste the wonder of winter yearning for spring
Most of us start longing for spring shortly after Christmas. And for many good reasons: the anticipation of returning song birds, signs of new life bringing their annual previews of resurrection, flowers pushing up green hands through the still cold soil announcing brighter days ahead and weather forecasts of fair and warmer replacing wind- chill factors. Even those who live in year-long warmer climbs can't resist looking forward to the season of new beginnings.

Church Briefs

Senior Sweetheart dinner coming

Stars seek 4th straight title; Bree Mucha aims to join sister, Kailey, as region champion
For the first time in four years, Kailey Mucha will not be the individual girls champion when the Region III skiing meet concludes Saturday at Tsalteshi Trails.

Viola to lead class into Oilers Hall
Ask Frank Viola about his memories of playing for the Peninsula Oilers in the summer of 1980, and the stories quickly stray from baseball.

CIA starts tourney with 2 victories
The Cook Inlet Academy boys basketball team opened up play in the Seldovia Tournament with a 59-52 overtime victory over Bristol Bay on Thursday.

Commercial fishing season looks bright: Managers expect strong Cook Inlet salmon return, good prices at the dock
It's looking to be a booming year for commercial fishermen on the Kenai Peninsula.

Report: uptick in construction spending expected
Construction spending in Alaska is set to continue a pattern of stability this year, with an increase of 4 percent to $7.1 billion, according to an annual University of Alaska Anchorage forecast.

KPC turns out quality graduates
When REC Silicon Inc., a company out of Moses Lake, Wash., tried to hire some 20 graduates from Kenai Peninsula College's process technology program this past summer, they were turned down.

Energy an issue in coming year: Plenty of sources available, but harnessing them a challenge for Peninsula
No one denies that energy abounds on the Kenai Peninsula.

Small businesses optimistic for growth: Keys to successful entrepreneurship include good planning, adaptibility
The small-business climate is slowly warming on the central peninsula after a couple tough years, according to the heads of several organizations designed to help local businesses.

Cook Inlet oil, gas exploration in flux: Smaller independent companies move into basin as large producers cut back in region
Oil and gas development on the Kenai Peninsula took a blow after the recent announcement that ConocoPhillips and Marathon Oil are closing the liquefied natural gas plant in Nikiski.

Hospital's growth spurt continues: CPH adds more staff, services
The maxim for small-town healthcare is usually something along the lines of, "Don't get sick. Don't get hurt." But since Central Peninsula Hospital has implemented a variety of new services and hired a slew of specialists, now you can get sick and hurt as much as you please, without having to worry about the quality or scope of care.

EPA to undertake study on potential Pebble impacts
The Environmental Protection Agency isn't waiting until permits are filed for the Pebble mine project before it undertakes a study on its potential impacts in the Bristol Bay watershed.

Staying power: Home is where the heart is
The Kenai Peninsula is where Kelly King's heart is.

Good hosts: Big events benefit whole community
There were more winners at the Class 1-2-3A state wrestling tournament this year than the 14 competitors that were crowned state champions at Nikiski High School on Dec. 11, 2010.

Peninsula real estate market remains solid
Culturally and geographically, the distance between Alaska and the Lower 48 is vast. And when it comes to the real estate market, the gap is equally yawning.

Chuitna could be boon for borough: Coal mine developers still have environmental challenges to address
Despite the controversies that pervade any discussion of PacRim's proposed Chuitna coal mine, the economic benefits of the project -- hypothetically ranging from job creation to increased tax revenue to lowered borough property taxes -- continue to be trumpeted by many.

Speaking from experience: Business owners see challeneges, opportunity in economy
The local economic climate gets mixed reviews from a small sampling of business owners, but all agree opportunity is available to entrepreneurs with a good business sense and work ethic.

Uptick expected in tourism industry: Independent travelers represent boost for Kenai Peninsula businesses
The number of visitors to the central Kenai Peninsula is expected to be higher this summer, and the central Kenai Peninsula can look for a corresponding boost for businesses.

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