Posted: Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Hi, neighbors.

It's that time of year again. The Soroptimist International of the Kenai Peninsula will hold its 10th annual Young Women's Conference Saturday at Solid Rock Bible Camp. It is titled "The Sky's The Limit." It is being split into two separate conferences: One is for young women in grades sixth through eighth from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and the other for grades nine through 12 from 4 to 7 p.m.

They will present information on social, image, health and career choices for young women. Organizers use a fun, fast-paced, interacting method for the presentations, which teaches young women to make good choices on how to be their best self. Preregistration is requested. For young people in Sterling registration forms are available at Sterling Elementary School. For more information, call 260-4917. It includes a light lunch and door prizes so you don't want to miss the fun.

Chris Thorne tells me that Girl Scout Troop 383 in Sterling will make blankets for a service project in the near future and needs donations of polar fleece. The fleece should be a piece at least 6 ft. by 6 ft.

If you have fleece to donate you can drop it off at Sterling Elementary or call Krissy Mahan at 262-1551 for more information.

The Sterling PTA is looking for volunteers to help with the Spring Carnival on Saturday from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Anyone interested can call Chris Thorne or Krissy Mahan at 262-4944.

If you aren't busy Tuesday and Thursday evenings and need some exercise, a good way to get it is to walk the halls at Sterling Elementary School.

AmeriCorps has organized a walk for the community from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. You can bring a friend and get your exercise while visiting if you like. AmeriCorps has pedometers for your use while walking and they also have exercise bands and if you are cross training they have instructions for simple exercises to do after the walk.

If you have been struggling with quitting smoking you might want to join Chris Thorne in a wellness circle. Sterling women will meet once a week for at least 12 weeks and beyond if everyone wants to continue. Bring your own craft or hobby to work on and get together with others for support. It might be a good way to have fun and get the encouragement you need to quit once and for all. For more information, call Chris at 262-4944.

Our almost astronaut teacher at Sterling Elementary, Allan Miller, recently learned that his grant application to the Toyota Tapestry program for $10,000 was accepted by the National Science Teacher's Association. This is an annual competition where teachers submit their ideas for innovative science education projects.

Fifty grants were chosen from 750 applications nationally. This is the only district in the nation that received two awards. Besides Allan's application, one was chosen from Soldotna Montessori submitted by Sheryl Sotelo which involves bear studies.

Allan and his class will team with Patti Berkhahn from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game for a project they call "Shrinking Fry, Why?" This project will follow up on ADF&G research that shows salmon fry in Skilak Lake have been showing a significant drop in size. Allan says that one hypothesis is that it might be related to global warming and an increase in glacial runoff which creates murky water conditions.

The money from the grant will purchase science lab equipment, including microscopes, water testing kits, and probes to go with a set of handheld computers they recently purchased with donations from the Kenai River Sport Fishing Association, the Sterling Student Council, Sterling PTA and Tesoro. Thanks to all these people for their donations.

Allan says the goal of this project is to get students involved in hands-on scientific research as they learn to appreciate our delicate ecosystem. Allan and Sotelo will soon be traveling to Dallas to accept the awards at the National Science Teacher Association's national conference. Congratulations to Allan and Sterling Elementary.

Happy birthday to Lucas Robert Ermold, born Feb. 17 to Christine and Bob Ermold. Christine is the principal at Sterling Elementary School. She and husband, Bob, expect to take some time off work to stay home with their new baby but will return to work before the end of the school year. Congratulations to the Ermolds.

Until next week, enjoy the sun and don't forget to tell me your neighborly news.

Lois Pillifant can be reached by phone at 260-3111 or by email at

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