Posted: Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Hello, neighbors.

Have you noticed how much daylight is left at the end of the workday? The days are getting over five minutes longer a day, which shakes out to be over a half hour a week, or two hours a month. Won't be long until we're firing up our lawn mowers instead of snowblowers.

Does it seem like there has been a population explosion on the peninsula? I don't know about your circle of life, but in mine there seems to be a huge number of little children.

The congregation at my church is full of tiny little ones, with more scheduled to join us in upcoming months. Parenthood is a big-time operation these days, and with it comes more absolute joy, more responsibility and, in some cases, more stress.

If you are a new parent, and feeling overwhelmed like most of us feel when we take on that ultimate "on-the-job training" of parenthood, you might be interested to know that help is available.

The Kenai Public Health Center holds parenting classes where you can learn ideas for parenting for 1- to 4-year-olds. There are three sessions in three consecutive weeks available through the center. Call the office at 335-3400 for more information.

Also available for help for young parents is Alaska Family Services, an agency that helps with parenting issues. The Women, Infants and Children program (WIC) offers classes with the the Cooperative Extension Program to help parents learn about different aspects of child care and nutrition.

Classes in nutrition education are being held beginning March 2 concerning understanding your child's changing eating habits and eliminating the stress of feeding your child.

The WIC office is still at 601 Frontage Road, but now in Suite 102, on the ground level, in Kenai. Kathy Kenner and the staff will be delighted to help young parents, foster parents and guardians with training and care of children.

They will have an open house to celebrate the new office March 1 from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Stop by and see what programs are available to help you with your child's nutrition and to see if you qualify for the various help programs available under their guidelines. You may call 283-4172 for more information on the state of Alaska WIC program.

Beginning today at the Kenai Fine Arts Center, Stephanie Cox will teach home-school classes to run through part of March.

Fundamental drawing, as well has hand-crafted pottery, will be available for students grades three through 12. Super Art Saturday will be this Saturday at 11:30 a.m. for grades kindergarten through third, featuring exploring watercolors, and there will be a class at 1 p.m. for grades four through eight on the art of collage. You can reach Stephanie by calling 260-7459 or on the Web at

The Kenai Peninsula Food Bank invites your business, organization or family to enter the 2005 CANstruction event Monday through March 18 at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center. Teams turn ordinary nonperishable food items into unique sculptures of art. Sculptures are eligible for several awards such as the CAN-Do award or the Ton-O-Tin award.

All the food collected will be distributed to needy peninsula residents. Entry forms are available at the food bank, or call Linda Swarner, executive director, or the visitors center for more information.

This will be the last week to catch the magic before it disappears for another 100 years. Plan to attend the Lerner and Loewe musical "Brigadoon," being presented by the Kenai Performers on Friday and Saturday nights at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Ticket prices are $12 for general admission and kids and seniors for $10. About 250 local talents are involved in this musical, including all those helping with set design, costuming and all the behind-the-scenes folk, as well as actors and musicians. This is an upbeat, rollicking good yarn, with lots of music and fun performed by veteran area performers and new talents. Tickets are available at Old Town Music, Charlotte's, Sweeney's and at the door. Don't miss this latest delight, directed by Carol Ford.

Happy birthday today to Margie Vance, Angela Doty and Beverly Kirby; Wednesday: John Vaughn, Faye Pierce, Linda Hunt and Robert Rowley; Thursday: Francis Consider, Judith Childers, Rockney Demello and Rocky Doty; Friday: Jeneane Benedict, Roy Williams, Mary Bartman, Donald McCarthy and Mary McCubbins; Saturday: Lacey Carlson, Shaylee Rizzo and Michael Wilson; Sunday: Molly Jackson; and Monday: Warren Moore, John Ace, Ray Purugganan, Bob McCown, Hilde Majors, Pat Hamilton, Matthew Smith, and our eldest son, Daniel Hansen. Best wishes to all of you.

Here's a thought from Thomas S. Monson for you to ponder: The lessons learned at home are those that last the longest."

Joan Hansen can be reached by phone at 283-5872 or by email at

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