Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Education endowment idea floated
JUNEAU -- Legislators and the Murkowski administration are looking at proposals to fund education using permanent fund earnings, House Speaker Pete Kott said Monday.

Kenai teachers press for contract
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- With a deadline looming for arbitration in salary talks, Kenai Peninsula teachers are taking a ''work to rules'' action this week, cutting out unpaid work hours to put pressure on the local School District.

Alaska groups to look at health insurer's plan
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Three Alaska organizations and a disabled man are being allowed to participate in a hearing in Washington state on whether Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield will be allowed to convert to a for-profit company.

Investment firm wants to buy Whittier eyesore
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A New York investment firm has announced plans to buy an old military building in Whittier for more than $21 million dollars.

Homer foundation puts $50,000 toward library
HOMER (AP) -- Local residents here have turned to their own resources to help pay for a new library and other projects with a unique institution, the decade-old Homer Foundation.

BP official says gas line could be reality by 2011
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A top BP official says a new pipeline could bring Alaska's North Slope gas reserves to market by 2011.

Prosecutors withdraws from Anchorage murder
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The prosecutor in a high-profile murder case in Anchorage has withdrawn from the trial, due to health problems.

Military presents missile defense plans for Alaska
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The Defense Department's Missile Defense Agency is proposing to increase testing around the Pacific basin, including expanding the state's Kodiak Launch Complex.

Prosecutors withdraws from Anchorage murder
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The prosecutor in a high-profile murder case in Anchorage has withdrawn from the trial, due to health problems.

Ogg chosen to replace Stevens in House district
KODIAK (AP) -- Former Kodiak Island Borough mayor Dan Ogg was recommended this week to fill the House District 36 seat vacated by former Rep. Gary Stevens.

Chugach vows to fight refund order
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Chugach Electric Association, the state's largest electric power supplier, says it will appeal an order from the Regulatory Commission of Alaska, that it lower its rates and refund customers more than $7 million.

Stony River man missing after snowmachine accident
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A Stony River man is missing and feared drowned after the snowmachine he was riding went through the ice on the Stony River.

Prospective teachers get taste of Bush life
JUNEAU (AP) -- The University of Alaska Southeast is sending prospective teachers to the Bush to get a taste of what it's really like to live and teach in rural Alaska. And some of them are deciding it's a life that's rewarding.

Denali release draft backcountry plan
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The National Park Service has released a draft of its backcountry management plan for Denali National Park and Preserve.

California man accused of sex abuse of Fairbanks girl
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A San Francisco man has been arrested on charges of wooing an underage Fairbanks girl over the Internet, then traveling to Alaska to have sex with her, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

Troopers responding to alarm discover marijuana operation
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A burglar alarm led state law enforcement to a marijuana operation of more than 2,000 plants, Alaska State Troopers said Tuesday.

Hotel operators learn how to spot meth labs
FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The hot plates, alcohol, cold medicine, jars and chemicals collected by Alaska State Trooper Teague Widmier offered enough over-the-counter ingredients to create about five grams of methamphetamine.

Alaska Air Guard troops activated
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- More than 150 members of the Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Wing have received federal activation and deployment orders.

Homer foundation puts $50,000 toward library
HOMER (AP) -- Local residents here have turned to their own resources to help pay for a new library and other projects with a unique institution, the decade-old Homer Foundation.

Murkowski names new press secretary
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski has chosen a new press secretary.

Quest mushers protest penalties
FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Two mushers who were disciplined during the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race are protesting their penalties.

Judge to hold hearing on re-trying Montana collie case
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) -- A Montana justice of the peace is set to hear arguments Monday on whether to dismiss animal cruelty charges against an Alaska couple.

Hotel operators learn how to spot meth labs
FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The hot plates, alcohol, cold medicine, jars and chemicals collected by Alaska State Trooper Teague Widmier offered enough over-the-counter ingredients to create about five grams of methamphetamine.

Seattle company buys Seward plant
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A Seattle-based company has purchased a processing plant in Seward from Wards Cove Packing Co., which is exiting the processing business.

Police investigating a murder-suicide in Wrangell
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) -- The bodies of a Wrangell High School faculty member, his estranged girlfriend and two other women were found shot to death in a home early Monday in what police say is an apparent murder-suicide.

Juneau man pleads guilty in child pornography case
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A Juneau man has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of attempting to possess child pornography, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

Northern Edge military exercises begin next week
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- An annual joint military training exercise will begin next week.

Police, residents search for answers in Wrangell killings
JUNEAU (AP) -- Wrangell teacher William Gablehouse shot his ex-girlfriend, her daughter and her niece early Monday before turning the gun on himself, Wrangell police said Tuesday.

Statewide salmon harvest looks stronger than last year
JUNEAU (AP) -- State biologists are forecasting a stronger harvest of salmon this coming summer. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game estimates 150 million fish will be caught by commercial fishers, up from 131 million last year.

State seeks changes to federal education law
JUNEAU (AP) -- State officials may turn to Congress for help if the Bush administration doesn't give them the leeway they seek to make a sweeping federal education initiative work in Alaska.

Lawmakers criticize education cost study
JUNEAU (AP) -- Lawmakers from urban and rural Alaska alike have their doubts about a cost study designed to give the Legislature guidance about how it distributes education dollars.

Baypack owner says Nelbro's efforts quashed plans
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A Bristol Bay fisherman testified Tuesday that a major processor quashed his 1995 effort to bring a new, independent processing vessel on line in the Bristol Bay sockeye salmon fishery,

Economic calamity predicted for Dawson
WHITEHORSE, Yukon (AP) -- Business leaders in Dawson City are predicting devastation of the local economy and departure of half the population if new regulations for the placer gold mining industry are allowed to stand.

Chugach vows to fight refund order
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Chugach Electric Association, the state's largest electric power supplier, says it will appeal an order from the Regulatory Commission of Alaska, that it lower its rates and refund customers more than $7 million.

Bad back slows Texas slugger
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Texas slugger Juan Gonzalez took part in agility drills Monday, then was held out of the rest of the Rangers' workout because of a continuing problem with his back.

Rose denied entry into Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame
TORONTO (AP) -- Even when he was put on a Hall of Fame ballot, Pete Rose failed to get elected.

Assessments designed to match people, jobs
Determining what occupation is best suited to one's interests and skills can be hard to figure out.

Job security, good pay lure job seekers into trade industries
Tyson Cox knows the value of a good education. But he also knows the value of a dollar.

Company keeps pace with advances in digital technology
Over the past few years, rapid advancements in the field of digital photography have narrowed the gap between digital and traditional film cameras.

Changing demographics alter economic landscape
Favorable economics, a desire to be with family and the quality of life are all reasons more and more people are choosing the Kenai Peninsula as home in their later years.

Job center helps single mom find her way
Moving to a new town and finding a job is never easy. When that new town happens to be located on the Kenai Peninsula -- and the move comes in the dead of winter -- the task can become downright daunting.

Younger workers needed to fill jobs as boomers retire
The boom is almost over.

Several agencies work to drum up business for area
The oil and gas industry has been the prime mover of the Kenai Peninsula Borough's economy for decades, and if fresh supplies of those raw materials can be found, the industry is sure to remain in that position for decades to come.

School district offers variety of vocational training for students
"Work force development" seems to be a phrase on everyone's lips lately, and with good reason. With the population aging and the economy struggling, many people's minds are focused on the future.

In pursuit of dreams
It may be cliche, but when it comes to trying to make a living in the art world, the old advice of "don't quit your day job" definitely holds true.

Experts: High school diploma not enough in today's economy
As industries become more reliant on changing technology and the job market grows more competitive, post-secondary training is becoming increasingly important to current and future job seekers.

Building-Construction Apprenticeship Programs: At A Glance
The following is a list of minimum requirements, program details and contact information for Alaska Building and Construction apprenticeship programs:

Agencies: At A Glance
The Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District: The agency assists with writing business plans, securing commercial loans, offering access to capital and providing technica

Homer's marine center flowing toward October completion date
In every direction there's activity, but you'd hardly have known that Monday by just staring at the exterior of the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitors Center under construction in Homer.

Assembly expected to pass South Peninsula Hospital lease
A new working agreement negotiated recently between South Peninsula Hospital Inc. and the South Peninsula Hospital Service Area Board is expected to become law under an ordinance now before the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly.

Firefighters respond to Kenai airport alarm
A smoke detector alarm at the Kenai Municipal Airport on Monday afternoon brought a quick response from the Kenai Fire Department.

Two accidents send 5 people to hospital
Two separate motor-vehicle accidents Monday sent a total of five people to Central Peninsula General Hospital. Alcohol was a factor in one of the accidents, according to Alaska State Troopers.

Good Samaritan marks 2 years
What some might pass off as coincidence, one North Kenai good Samaritan describes as God speaking to him.

Kenai thrifty place to live
Beautiful scenery and great fishing are primary reasons Kenai resident Roxann Dodds said she made the Kenai Peninsula her home for nearly a dozen years.

Educators sticking to hours
Employees throughout the Kenai Penin-sula Borough School District are "working to rule" this week in a show of solidarity to support resolution to ongoing contract negotiations.

Legion's commander planning visit to Kenai
The national commander of the American Legion will be in Kenai for the organization's Western District convention March 6-9. It will be hosted by Kenai Post No. 20.

Forum urges: Be ready for any disaster
Don't forget the duct tape. In light of recent national terror warnings, disaster preparedness has been on a lot of people's minds lately. However, being prepared for both natural and man-made disasters should be an everyday priority.

North chamber holds annual awards banquet
A thunderous ovation at the North Peninsula Chamber of Commerce awards banquet recently appeared to confirm the selection of Ron and Louise Mika as Business People of the Year.

Agrium pursues new gas supplies for Nikiski plant
One of the largest cogs in the Kenai Peninsula's economy got a major wrench in its works last November that threatened to throw its productivity, and quite possibly the welfare of the surrounding community, out of whack as a legal dispute over natural gas ensued between industrial giants.

Forest Oil has yet to evaluate Osprey results
Forest Oil is just coming into production from its Osprey platform in the Redoubt Shoal site in Cook Inlet, according to the company's senior executive for Alaska operations in early February.

Tesoro plans to stay on peninsula
With capital expenditures totaling $5.5 million in 2002, Tesoro Alaska plans to maintain its presence on the Kenai Peninsula and continue operating here for the long term.

Oil, gas continue to be primary fuel for area's economy
For nearly half a century, the production of oil and natural gas has been the Kenai Peninsula's economic lifeblood.

BP hoping to prove technologies work at Nikiski GTL plant
'We don't really have a set schedule with deadlines. Starting up a chemical plant is quite a bit more complicated than starting up an oil facility. We're working to start up the plant as soon as we can.',/b>

CIRCAC helps monitor health of Alaska's coastline
In the summer of 2002, the Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council formed a unique partnership with state and federal agencies and a host of other organizations to conduct the first Alaska portion of a nationwide program to assess the health of the U.S. coastline.

What does Agrium's Kenai operation do?
A look on the back of any plant nutrient or fertilizer product at the local agriculture supply retailer will reveal a curious set

Forest Oil: At A Glance
Corporate headquarters: Denver

Enstar attracts new customers, plans southern expansion
Enstar Natural Gas Company added 430 new customers in 2002 bringing its total on the Kenai Peninsula to 10,500.

Marathon expecting 2003 to be another busy drilling year
With Alaska operations focused on Cook Inlet natural gas and a capital budget of $70 million, Marathon Oil is looking toward a busy year in 2003.

Independent firms seek opportunities
Six companies described as independents by the Kenai Peninsula Borough oil and gas office are actively looking for fossil fuels in and around Cook Inlet this year.

Marathon: At A Glance
Corporate headquarters: Houston

Company will not be leaving Alaska
Unocal Oil Company reduced its presence in Cook Inlet in 2002, but the company says it has no plans to abandon its interests in Southcen-tral Alaska.

CIRCAC: At A Glance
Mission: To represent the citizens of Cook Inlet in promoting environmentally safe marine transportation and oil facility operations in Cook Inlet.

Agrium: At A Glance
Corporate headquarters: Alberta, Calgary

ConocoPhillips targeting oil offshore from Anchor Point
'Our export license is good through 2009. And we hope to operate the plant well past 2009. We expect to have adequate gas supplies for the plant as well as for the Kenai Peninsula.'

Unocal: At A Glance
Company headquarters: El Segundo, California

ConocoPhillips: At A Glance
Company headquarters: Houston, Texas

Tesoro: At A Glance
Company headquarters: San Antonio

Wanted: New gas supplies
It heats homes, fuels industry and returns comfortable profits. Too bad it's running out.

Enstar: At A Glance
Company headquarters: Anchorage

Anyone who enjoys outdoor activities should know about avalanches
It's almost irresistible. With nearly nine hours of daylight, fairly moderate temperatures and snowmachines or skis at the ready, Alaskans at this time of year are drawn to the hills to play.

Life in Baghdad still normal
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Why does this city look so normal?

Before Alaska starts building new highways, it should fix the ones it has
I certainly support our new governor's vision to expand the road system in Alaska. I have little doubt that this can be done responsibly with a minimal impact to the environment. Alaska has so many untapped resources and gaining access through a working road system is certainly a key factor in our future.

Letters to the Editor
War will bring more government control; will it reduce terrorism? More inspections is not whats needed to cure ills of Iraq Everyone entitled to his opinion, but Garner is way out of line Another view: Way to go, Garner!

Peninsula residents named to key roles in new administration
The Kenai Peninsula definitely is getting a voice with Gov. Frank Murkowski -- directly in the administration and on several state boards and commissions of importance.

Photo feature: The right spot
William Brighton makes the best out of a small amount of snow at the sledding hill on the bluff at the end of Forest Drive in Kenai on Saturday.

CPGH now experiencing period of change, growth
The second largest private employer on the Kenai Peninsula is going through a transition. Central Peninsula General Hospital administrators are hoping the changes will benefit the hospital as well as the community.

Mixed economic news: Jobless rate up, but so are sales figures
According to the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the Kenai Peninsula Borough is considered to have a "well diversified" economy that includes fishing, seafood processing, tourism, oil and gas, refining and government, and where the retail trade and service sectors continue to grow.

Top Taxpayers: At A Glance
City of Soldotna City of Kenai

Cities plan variety of improvements to infrastructure
Numerous capital projects are on the horizon for the Kenai Peninsula Borough's major cities in 2003. Some of these are new plans; others are ongoing projects that will be completed in the upcoming year.

Alaska's economic pace slows down
Alaska's economy may have been a gangbusters' affair in years past, but a new and slower-paced pattern seems to have taken hold, one that is influenced as much by in-state realities as by out-of-state factors. That has experts predicting a mixed bag for the near future.

Employment: At A Glance
The most recent complete statistics available for the Alaska Department of Labor and Work-force Development are for 2001.

Top Property Taxpayers: At A Glance
Below are the top 10 borough property taxpayers for 2002 and the assessed values of their holdings. The total assessed value includes real

Housing Market: At A Glance
On the central Kenai Peninsula:

Health care makes mark on economy
Health care accounts for a sizable portion of the nation's economy, creating jobs and generating commerce from insurance premiums that pay for routine dental checkups to hospital purchase orders that buy latex gloves and saline solution.

Low interest rates encourage home sales, development of commercial land
While the beehive of activity in the Kenai Peninsula Borough residential real estate business in the past year has centered on homeowners refinancing mortgages to take advantage of low interest rates, the long-term picture bodes well for home sales, according to real estate agents.

Government accounts for almost 25 percent of jobs in borough
In 2001, the borough school district was the top employer with 1,426 people, followed by the state of Alaska with 856 people (not counting University of Alaska employees), and the federal government with 414 people.

Around the Peninsula
Newbould to speak at Kenai chamber Town hall meeting scheduled Talent show set for this weekend Young women's conference planned Slide show to highlight historical meeting International dinner scheduled Shellfish permits available

Around the Peninsula
Job center to hold ADA seminarSteffy to speak at Soldotna chamberNAMI to meet todayWRCC board to meetDistrict CTSO conference FridaySVHS Basketball Booster club holds meetingCIRCAC directors to meetChurch plans Mardi GrasIce fishing derby under wayNutrition classes offeredSquare dances planned

Around the district
Aurora Borealis Charter Kalifornsky Beach Elementary Montessori Charter Mountain View Elementary Redoubt Elementary Sears Elementary Soldotna Elementary Connections IDEA Kenai Middle School Kenai Central High Nikiski Middle-Senior High Skyview High Soldotna High Cook Inlet Academy Grace Lutheran Wings Christian Academy Kenai Cooperative Preschool Peninsula Grace Preschool

Ragin' Cajun adds spice
The Soldotna Middle School library was appropriately quiet Monday afternoon, but Terry Myrick was anything but still.

Prospective teachers get taste of Bush life
JUNEAU (AP) -- The University of Alaska Southeast is sending prospective teachers to the Bush to get a taste of what it's really like to live and teach in rural Alaska. And some of them are deciding it's a life that's rewarding.

School menus for this week

Drop-out to doctorate: KPC AmeriCorps volunteer comes full circle
It's not common for someone with 37 years experience as a professional educator to come out of retirement and volunteer on a daily basis teaching English as a second language. But that's Franklin Adams' story, and KPC's Learning Center staff is happy to have him on board.

Old-age symptoms cause depression diagnosis to be overlooked in elderly
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Old-age symptoms can mask signs of depression, making it difficult to diagnose and treat about 2 million older adults nationwide who suffer from depression, doctors say.

Senior Briefs
What activities are available for our area seniors

Senior Menus
What's on the menu for our area seniors

Title IX panelists to issue minority report
WASHINGTON -- Worried about setbacks for women's sports, at least two members of a commission on Title IX plan to protest the group's work by giving a minority report to Education Secretary Rod Paige.

No. 4 Florida swamps South Carolina 96-63
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Matt Bonner scored 18 points and No. 4 Florida beat South Carolina 96-63 Tuesday night to extend its home winning streak to a school-record 19 games.

Cavs net first win since break
CLEVELAND -- Zydrunas Ilgauskas scored 29 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers got their first win since the All-Star break, 93-90 Tuesday night over the New Jersey Nets.

Sports Briefs
America's Cup postponed againConsumers Union asks baseball to ban ephedra

Nikiski cagers upset Seward
The game may not have been pretty, but for the Nikiski girls basketball team a win over District 3/3A rival Seward is always a beautiful thing.

Yzerman back in Wings lineup
DETROIT -- Steve Yzerman's season debut was a success as the Detroit Red Wings beat the Los Angeles Kings 5-4 Monday night.

Anything can happen in head-to-head format
CARLSBAD, Calif. -- Tiger Woods usually tees it up on the first day of a tournament with the intention of winning. Expectations are a little different this week.

Senette credits close team bonds for Soldotna cagers' success
This weekend is certainly shaping up to be a big one for the Soldotna High School girls basketball team.

Andreychuck pots goal No. 609
TAMPA, Fla. -- Dave Andreychuk scored his 609th goal and moved into 12th place on the NHL career list, and Nikolai Khabibulin made 24 saves for his 31st career shutout as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Anaheim Mighty Ducks 2-0 Tuesday night.

Mobley's shooting propels Rockets to win
BOSTON -- Cuttino Mobley had 31 points and 10 rebounds, hitting a 3-pointer to send the game into overtime and another to give the Rockets the lead for good on Monday night as Houston beat the Boston Celtics 101-95.

Sports Briefs
Seward's Smith 53rd at championships

76ers center diagnosed with rare nerve disorder
PHILADELPHIA -- Diag-nosed with a disease that weakens his legs and disrupts his balance, Todd MacCulloch could be done playing basketball.

It's not all bad news for tourism
Despite a sluggish tourism season for the state overall in 2002, the season wasn't as bad as expected for some area businesses.

Fishers working to change industry's ebb tide
After enduring years of modest runs, abysmal prices and dwindling success, Kenai Peninsula fishers may finally have reason to be optimistic about the industry's future in Cook Inlet.

Adventure firm showcases area from horseback
As a growing number of tourists travel to Alaska to experience the abundance of "the great outdoors" that the state offers, a growing number of tourism businesses are forming to cater to those interests.

Fishing still king when it comes to catching visitors
Although the Kenai Peninsula's professional fishing guides may make landing a Kenai River king salmon look effortless, it's far from easy being a guide these days.

Another ho-hum season predicted for inlet's fishers
Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologists' 2003 catch predictions for Cook Inlet salmon fishers look much the same as they have for the past several years, with harvest numbers that mostly fall short of what would be considered average seasons.

Native corporations play increasingly important role in region's economy
Alaska Native corporations and their shareholders play a significant role in the economy of the Kenai Peninsula, engaging in a variety of enterprises, among them real estate, housing, tourism, hotel operations and the petroleum industry.

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