Monday, February 25, 2002

Snowmachine license bill clears first committee
JUNEAU (AP) -- A bill removing a requirement that people have a license to drive a snowmachine cleared its first committee this week.

Fairbanks man charged with sexual abuse of a minor
FAIRBANKS (AP) -- A Fairbanks man on probation for an abuse conviction has been charged with sexually abusing an 11-year-old girl last year.

Feb. 19, 2002 The Ketchikan Daily News supports seafood nation of origin labeling
Want to know where your shirt was made? Check the label. Most items we buy at retail stores have labels or other indicators of the country where they were produced. The information is helpful and, in some instances, can influence whether we buy something or leave it on the shelf.

Home-school parents wary of proposed rules
JUNEAU (AP) -- Cailey Neary, 11, researched a history topic on the computer while her 8-year-old brother, Aidan, wrote in a workbook in the kitchen. A school district in Galena pays for their school books and the computer, while their mother does the teaching.

Biologists ponder two-headed moose fetus
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A two-headed fetus was discovered this month in a cow moose harvested near Clear Air Force Station.

Ketchikan nurses reach tentative labor agreement
KETCHIKAN (AP) -- Ketchikan General Hospital RNs United reached a tentative contract agreement with the hospital last week after seven months of negotiations, the union said.

Netricity hires firm for study of North Slope data center
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Netricity LLC has hired Parsons Engineering Inc. to study the economics and markets for a proposed $1 billion data center on the North Slope.

Cruise bookings appear to be in recovery
JUNEAU (AP) -- Cruise ship bookings so far this year are on the rise, though some cruise line executives are still being cautious about the season as legislators are being asked to spend millions of state dollars promoting the tourism industry.

Talkeetna residents to vote on whether to turn town into city
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The state began mailing ballots to Talkeetna residents Monday with this question: Shall Talkeetna become a city?

Judge sticks with verdict in talk-show trial
JUNEAU -- A state judge has refused to throw out damages a jury awarded to a Juneau woman ridiculed on a national radio show.

Two men robbed in separate Fairbanks home invasions
FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Multiple assailants robbed and ransacked two homes early Thursday morning after tying up the occupants at gunpoint.

Visiting officers try out powerful weapons
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Police officers from Alaska, California and even England joined members of the Alaska Machine Gun Association over the weekend at a firearms familiarity course for law enforcement personnel attending a training convention. The gathering was rich in machine gun lore and firepower.

Agency wants to poison lakes to rid them of longnose suckers
FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has come up with an idea for ridding three lakes of unappealing northern longnose suckers.

Broad energy bill includes ANWR, other issues
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate is ready to take up broad energy legislation that has caused splits over drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife refuge, automobile gas mileage, and electricity competition in the shadow of Enron Corp.'s collapse.

Another plan to cap state finances emerges
JUNEAU (AP) -- Alaska doesn't have an income or sales tax, but there's a plan in the House to rein in both.

U.S. Nordic teams hail medal-less Olympics a success
MIDWAY, Utah (AP) -- For the U.S. Nordic skiing teams, close counts, fourth-place finishes are fantastic and best showings ever are cause for celebration. These Americans, including a new crop of Alaska athletes, aren't ready -- yet -- to measure success with medals.

Rural residents face reduced power cost subsidy
BETHEL (AP) -- Tracy Rischer spent several nights last winter huddled up in blankets in a dark home because her electricity had been cut off.

Ulmer violates campaign finance law
JUNEAU (AP) -- The gubernatorial campaign of Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer had to refund about $3,600 in campaign contributions collected last month in violation of state law, and turn a fund-raiser last week into a ''meet and greet'' session to avoid another violation.

Alyeska terminal closed to visitors this summer
VALDEZ -- Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. says the public will not be allowed to tour its terminal this summer.

Police arrest two men in Anchorage vandalism spree
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- An Anchorage man helped catch two suspected vandals who were arrested early Monday morning in connection with an overnight spree that left more than 50 vehicles with broken windows.

Palin, VanMeter win Iron Dog Classic
FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Todd Palin and Dusty Van Meter won the 2002 Tesoro Iron Dog Classic snowmachine race Saturday, edging Marc McKenna and Eric Quam by about a minute and a half.

Alyeska terminal closed to visitors this summer
VALDEZ (AP) -- Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. says the public will not be allowed to tour its terminal this summer.

Man snatches pain killers from hospital pharmacy
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A man barged into Providence Alaska Medical Center's pharmacy Friday afternoon and stole an undisclosed quantity of a powerful pain killer, then apparently escaped in a distinctive vehicle -- a van from Hooters Restaurant.

New trooper kills self in weekend family dispute
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A man in field training as an Alaska State Trooper died after shooting himself in the head as Anchorage police responded to a family argument over the weekend.

Police shoot Anchorage man's pickup truck
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- An Anchorage man has been charged with assault after police said he tried to run down an officer.

Fairbanks snowmachiner dies in accident
FAIRBANKS (AP) -- A Fairbanks snowmobiler was killed over the weekend when he went off a trail while riding north of the city, Alaska State Troopers report.

Canadian authorities question hitchhiker in death of Alaskan
WHITEHORSE, Yukon (AP) -- Canadian authorities have questioned the hitchhiker picked up by an elderly Alaska man who was found bludgeoned to death last year in British Columbia.

Amchitka atomic veterans may get benefits and compensation
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Under new Veterans Affairs regulations, Amchitka military personnel who developed radiation-related cancers may be eligible for medical benefits and compensation.

Kenai Peninsula looks for riches in birch sap
KENAI (AP) -- A different kind of thick, viscous liquid may be part of the answer to the Kenai Peninsula's economic dependence on oil. A new sweet crude, if you will.

Feb. 17, 2002 The Juneau Empire blasts anti-mining report
A disturbing wire story crossed our desk this week dealing with a very lopsided report paid for by the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC) and the Northern Alaska Environmental Center entitled: ''The role of Metal Mining in the Alaska Economy.'' Dr. Thomas Power a University of Montana professor of economics authored the report.

Nineteen young mushers to run Jr. Iditarod
WASILLA (AP) -- Nineteen young mushers will be heading out on the trail Saturday for the 25th running of the Jr. Iditarod Sled Dog Race.

Feb. 19, 2002 The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner on new federal airport safety measures
Security in airports from Fairbanks to New York City and all points in between underwent a major change this past weekend. But to the average traveler, it probably seemed like not much happened.

Hilton guests come down with pool rash
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A malfunction in an automatic chlorinating system is being blamed for causing a rash to break out on dozens of guests of the Anchorage Hilton Hotel.

Feb. 20, 2002 The Anchorage Daily News says House bill allows lawmakers to abdicate responsibility
Every time we look around, there's a new attempt to put democracy on autopilot in Juneau -- a spending limit or a tax cap or a term limit or some other attempt to rearrange the rules to convince voters that legislators will -- in the future -- be more responsible. Most of the time these tricks do nothing more than blur the focus on the real issue, which is ultimately both profoundly simple and properly difficult. The real issue is votes.

State declares rabies epidemic along northern coast
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- State epidemiologists say a rabies epizootic -- an epidemic among animals -- is under way in northern Alaska.

Feb. 22, 2002 The Anchorage Daily News urges Senate president to take the fiscal lead
When it comes to fixing the $1 billion-a-year hole in state finances, Senate President Rick Halford has his finger set firmly in the wind.

Feb. 22, 2002 The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner urges lawmakers to support the state's travel industry
For many decades the travel industry has been a growing part of Alaska's economy. In more recent years, the advent of more affordable travel options has really opened Alaska up to adventurous vacationers from the Lower 48 and beyond.

Despite slower mail, Postal Service still makes the grade
FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The way Alaska's mail comes and goes, within the state and to the Outside, changed dramatically following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. But the state Postal Service still gets A-minus and B-plus grades in official tests.

Baez to start for Cleveland
Danys Baez has dealt with much more difficult adjustments than moving from the bullpen to the Cleveland Indians' starting rotation.

Photo feature: Me next?
Mingo watches the action while she waits her turn to race for Homer musher Jeff Szarzi Saturday during the Peninsula Sled Dog Association Classic at Soldotna Municipal Airport.

10 Dog Sunday
New names to mushing, and an old favorite were the top finishers in the Peninsula Sled Dog and Racing Association 10-Dog Classic this Saturday and Sunday at the Soldotna Municipal Airport. The event -- with a $2,500 purse -- included a 4-mile, four-dog race each day, as well as two 6-mile, six-dog races and two 10-mile, 10-dog races. The times from each day were combined in each race to determine the winner.

Little by Little, Kasilof musher gains experience
In sled dog racing, as in most things, a little experience can go a long way.

Soldotna doctor ready for 2nd Iditarod
John Bramante is ready to make a second go. The Soldotna physician will set out from Anchorage Saturday for his second attempt at the 1,100-mile Iditarod Trail.

Nineteen young mushers to run Jr. Iditarod
WASILLA (AP) -- Nineteen young mushers will be heading out on the trail Saturday for the 25th running of the Jr. Iditarod Sled Dog Race.

NOW PLAYING: Queen of the Damned
I went into the theater to see Queen of the Damned with a mixture of bitterness and hopefulness. I'm a big Anne Rice fan. I've read most of her books, of which Queen is one of a series of vampire stories. I've even seen her house, though only from the outside. You can understand, then, why I would be so hopeful, but I know a lot of you are saying to yourself, "Queen of the Damned? Which one is that, again?" That's where my bitterness comes in.

Kenseth wins Subway 400
ROCKINGHAM, N.C. -- Matt Kenseth admitted he wasn't too sure he would ever win again. A charge from fourth to first late in the race gave Kenseth the victory Sunday in the Subway 400 at North Carolina Speedway -- the second win of his career and his first in 60 races.

State Supreme Court justice swears in new Youth Court
Kids don't always have to be in trouble to get involved in the legal process.

Water questions spark forum to help find answers
The Kenai Watershed Forum will distribute free water testing kits at the Soldotna Village Fair Saturday to help Kenai Peninsula residents check arsenic levels in their drinking water.

Tax assistance available by appointment
Income tax assistance is available to seniors and low-income families in the Homer area. Special arrangements may be made for home visits for those who are homebound.

Library supporters want more room
Thanks to a contribution from Kenai supporters, the Kenai Community Library can afford to purchase furniture and equipment for an additional wing. Now, somebody's going to have to foot the bill for the addition -- if there will even be a addition.

Schools' woes go to Capitol
Under law, only the Alaska Legislature can give the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District the additional money its teachers, support staff and administrators say they need to give students a quality education.

Village Fair's goal to inform community
The Soldotna Village Fair will sport a new look this year, as well as a few new opportunities.

Negotiations take turn for positive
Progress found its way onto the contract negotiation table Friday following a change in the tone of talks between teacher and support union representatives and representatives from the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District.

Withdrawal of Russian River parcel sought
A proposal by the U. S. Forest Service to withdraw land along the Russian River from possible mining is pitting a Cooper Landing man against the U.S. government.

Thomas Woodford
Former Soldotna resident Thomas "Skip" Woodford Sr. died Sunday Feb. 17, 2002, in Las Vegas, Nev. He was 69.

Jack Williams
Anchor Point resident Jack Williams died Friday, Feb. 22, 2002, at South Peninsula Hospital in Homer of cancer. He was 69.

USOC explains the improved medals count for the US athletes
SALT LAKE CITY -- It was in 1988, when the United States' medal total in the Calgary Olympic Games could be counted on two hands with two fingers unused, that an embarrassed U.S. Olympic Committee vowed that it would never happen again.

Gretzky redeems `98 Canadian defeat, constructs gold-medal winning team
WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah -- Faced with an entirely new challenge in the sport he mastered on the ice, Wayne Gretzky once again played every angle perfectly.

Final notes from Salt Lake City
In 1932, as a gesture of Olympic friendship, two-time gold medal winner Jack Shea traded his skates to Katsumi Yamada, a Japanese skier in nordic combined who gave Shea his skis in return.

The way it was meant to be played
A game. Finally. A game without whining, whispering or screams for review. Without over-the-top displays or under-the-table deals. Just the best athletes from two nations on the world's biggest stage, playing a game that for a few hours mattered more to one of them than anything else.

Some olympic moments to remember
SALT LAKE CITY -- The 2002 Winter Olympics have been reduced to a memory now, one that will fade soon as we forget the American Olympians who commanded our attention over these past 17 days.

Canadian gold on ice
WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah -- The Maple Leaf dollar buried in America's home ice turned out to be a golden omen for Canada.

Canada gets Hockey Gold after 50 year draught
WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah So many coincidental anniversaries had been pointed out. Omens had been assigned to draw parallels to previous Olympic triumphs.

U.S. Nordic teams hail medal-less Olympics a success
MIDWAY, Utah (AP) -- For the U.S. Nordic skiing teams, close counts, fourth-place finishes are fantastic and best showings ever are cause for celebration. These Americans, including a new crop of Alaska athletes, aren't ready -- yet -- to measure success with medals.

A lookback at the Salt Lake City Olympics
SALT LAKE CITY _ They were billed as "The Comeback Games," a chance for America to show its post-Sept. 11 resolve, a chance for the Olympics to wash away the scandals that brought the Games to Salt Lake City.

End games
SALT LAKE CITY -- The world came together for fun and games, only to get a big dose of scandal along with it. American athletes soared and the home crowd cheered anyway, refusing to let anything spoil their party.

Spectacular closing ceremonies
SALT LAKE CITY -- With pyrotechnics originating from the stage floor and from the peaks of nearby mountains, 60,000 flashlights beaming from the stands and Donny and Marie Osmond portraying dinosaurs, the 2002 Winter Olympics came to a close Sunday night with an eclectic flair.

What you see isn't always what you get when it comes to Ohno
He left juvenile delinquency and some of the best skaters in the world in his wake.

U.S. Winter Olympic Medalists
A close look at the United States' medal count at Salt Lake City

Hockey history awaits
WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah -- For three periods, two hours and one history-making afternoon, it will be bigger than Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals.

U.S. finally breaks through in bobsled
SALT LAKE CITY -- The Olympic number for Saturday -- lucky and unlucky -- was two.

Russian skier disqualified, forced to relinquish medal
SALT LAKE CITY -- Olympic leaders have a stern warning for athletes using performance-enhancing drugs.

Letters to the Editor
Sport fishing group not interested in representing resident anglers

Capping spending, consolidating services necessary to slow government growth
I consider it an honor to serve you. I look forward to and appreciate each letter, e-mail, public opinion message and phone call. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome and appreciated.

Careful consideration needed when weighing Point Possession issue
Kenai Peninsula Borough residents need to weigh in on the current assembly debate about whether the borough should auction off roughly 860 acres in the Point Possession area in August.

All Alaskans should pay something toward education
I have listened with interest to Gov. Tony Knowles' proposal to add $1.2 billion in new taxes over the next three years.

Young unemployed face uncertain job options
BOSTON -- Priscilla Ramirez has never had stock options. She doesn't have high-tech skills. She has no MBA to fall back on. And she isn't spending her jobless months traveling through Asia.

Ask the Mayor
Question: What does the siren we hear at noon on Thursdays mean?

Comedy Club owes success to contributions of many

Bush's tough talk should be weighed against opportunity
Blunt and unpleasant rhetoric has been flying back and forth between the United States and Europe in the past few weeks, at remarkably senior levels of government. President Bush has been publicly chastised by the British, French and Germa

Agility competition wins gold for strengthening family bond
It was a year and a half ago that I sat down to write a column about my dog Bailey.

Successful presidents learn art of talking tough, compromising, claiming victory
WASHINGTON -- Despite his lofty wartime approval ratings, President Bush has not been winning many battles on the domestic front. Few Americans seem to notice and Bush does not seem to mind.

Peninsula People
Students named to dean's listKPC woman appointed to national volunteer boardNew board elected to Pratt MuseumFood bank president honoredHospice coordinator completes training course

Hero of the week
My applause to Jessica Gonzales on the evening of Feb. 8. I did some shopping at Carrs and Big Kmart. It was cold and windy as I unloaded my groceries into my car so I left my cart in a cart return area of the parking lot.

Peninsula woman follows instinct to teach
Iola Banks of Kenai knew what she wanted to do in life at a young age.

Experts say studies needed on effects of Sept. 11 terror attacks on children's health
NEW YORK -- Researchers are charting the health of firefighters and iron workers who toiled at the World Trade Center site. They are studying women who were pregnant at the time of the attacks, and even examining the search-and-rescue dogs that worked at ground zero.

Phyllis and Bob Frates of Kenai announce the birth of their daughter, Tamara Laine Frates, at 2:55 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 10, 2002, at Central Peninsual General Hospital in Soldotna.

Balance tests: Is it your wake-up call?
Many of us take our balance for granted. Experts now realize that balance begins to deteriorate for most of us in middle age and the changes are so subtle we may not even be aware of the problem until we are in our 70s.

Photo feature: Life's a birch
Andy DeVolder works to tap a birch tree as Tim O'Brien and Stephanie Rickabaugh watch Saturday afternoon during a one-day workshop sponsored by the Kenai Peninsula Resource Conservation and Development District.

My Best Friend
Copperfield, a golden retriever, bundles up for winter weather at his home in Soldotna. He lives on the Kenai Peninsula part time and in Parker, Colo., the rest of the year with owner Naomi Gaede Penner.

Kenai to Soldotna Ski Stampede - circa 1960
The Kalifonsky Nordic Ski Club sponsored an annual cross-country ski race between Kenai and Soldotna. One year they went from Kenai to Soldotna and the next they went the other way. The course mostly followed the Kenai Spur Highway, and between 60 and 80 skiers normally took part.

Community News
Food bank Non-Run under wayLittle League registration scheduledCANcel hunger CANstruction on displayPageant applications availableSoldotna Class of 1982 seeks members

Club News
Winners of table tennis tournament announcedYouth attend 4-H Rally Day

Area man walking Iditarod Trail to support Sept. 11 attack victims
Kenai Peninsula businessman Denis Douglas began walking the 1,100 mile Iditarod Trail Feb. 17. "The Power of One: Walk for a United America Iditathon 2002," is a fund-raiser to help support the people who were impacted by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the East Coast.

Community Schools
This listing of Soldotna Community School classes beginning this week serves as a reminder for preregistered participants. Most classes require preregistration and prepayment.

Around the Peninsula
Scholarship applications soughtTalent show comingForeign exchange dinner plannedSt. Patrick's Day parade to be heldHomer Health Center closed for holidayAdult education program offeredMeeting to focus on homelessLandowner workshop planned

Around the Peninsula
Homer Boy Scout Troop turns 20Workshop registration ends todayMayor to speak at Soldotna chamber meetingKenai chamber to meet WednesdayJoint workshop features marketing, Internet infoNorth chamber meeting planned ThursdayDevelopment, export authority to speakKenai Library celebrates Dr. Seuss birthdayCook Inlet Lions 'Putting on the Ritz'Tax assistance available by appointment

Wolf watchers get good seats to comeback
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. -- Cliff Browne huddles against the cold air, his camera lens pointed toward two distant dots on a hazy horizon. Daylight has broken, and the gray wolves are showing themselves.

Palin, Kasilof's Van Meter win Iron Dog Classic
FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Todd Palin and Dusty Van Meter won the 2002 Tesoro Iron Dog Classic snowmachine race Saturday, edging Marc McKenna and Eric Quam by about a minute and a half.

Mavericks top Kings in battle of division leaders
DALLAS -- Steve Nash scored 28 points and Dirk Nowitzki had 26 points and 21 rebounds, and Dallas got plenty of help from its newcomers, as the Mavericks beat the Sacramento Kings 111-97 Saturday in a battle of division leaders.

Seward boys, girls drop district games at Houston
The Seward High School boys and girls basketball teams dropped District 3/3A games at Houston Saturday.

Jayhawks push past Cornhuskers by inches
LINCOLN, Neb. -- Freshman Keith Langford hit a 3-pointer with 33 seconds left and No. 1 Kansas rallied to beat Nebraska 88-87 Sunday and clinch the Big 12 regular season title for the first time in four years.

Sutherland scrapes way past top-ranked golfers to win
CARLSBAD, Calif. -- Kevin Sutherland never had much reason to believe he would win the first World Golf Championship of the year.

SoHi takes fourth
The Soldotna High School boys and the Homer High School girls each finished fourth Saturday in the mixed-technique relays, the final event of the Alaska School Activities Association State Cross-Country Skiing Championships at the Birch Hill Recreation area in Fairbanks.

Sports Briefs
Penn State pole vaulter killed in fall

Kenai girls top Colony for weekend sweep; boys lose to Knights
Add two to the number of road kills on the "Give a moose a brake" signs along the peninsula's highways.

Nikiski boys pull away from Houston in second half
The visiting Nikiski boys basketball team overcame a three-point deficit at halftime for a 63-50 District 3/3A victory Friday over Houston.

Kodiak scores region triumphs at Skyview
Balloo would have been proud. The Panthers were on the learning end of the Bear necessities.

Colony blows by Soldotna boys
The good players -- the really good players -- realize it's the last word that counts.

Biologists ponder two-headed moose fetus
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A two-headed fetus was discovered this month in a cow moose harvested near Clear Air Force Station.

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