Thursday, March 2, 2000

Iditarod ceremonial start shortened due to poor trail conditions
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is being cut short, due to icy conditions on the trail to Eagle River.

Couple, biker rescued from Iditarod trail
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Even before the start of her rookie run in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, rookie musher Anna Bondarenko ran into trouble on the trail.

Fur prices remain strong as Alaska trapping season draws to a close
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- As the fur trapping season comes to a close, prices seem to have held to predictions at the beginning of the season, according to one of the state's largest fur buyers.

Sitka man named first state writer
SITKA -- Richard Nelson has won several awards for his writing, but his most recent honor -- being named the first Alaska State Writer -- is particularly rewarding.

Knowles introduces $127 million school construction package
JUNEAU (AP) -- Saying many Alaska school buildings are in disgraceful shape, Gov. Tony Knowles proposed a $127 million bond package Wednesday to replace four rural schools and pay for 46 major repair projects at schools across Alaska.

Judge upholds firing of Wasilla police chief
PALMER (AP) -- Wasilla Mayor Sarah Palin maintains she didn't fire Police Chief Irl Stambaugh three years ago because he supported her election opponent John Stein. But even if that was her reason, she was within her rights to dump Stambaugh, a federal judge has ruled.

Permanent Fund dividend expected to drop
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The stock market slump has taken its toll on the Alaska Permanent Fund and Alaskans are likely to see a somewhat smaller dividend from the state's oil wealth savings account this year.

$25,000 dividend gets first hearing
JUNEAU (AP) -- The sponsors of a plan to hand out a $25,000 dividend next year and then dedicate the Permanent Fund's earnings to the state budget pitched the idea to a House committee Wednesday as the only practical way out of the state's financial problems.

Protesters fined for illegal personal-use fishing
JUNEAU (AP) -- Four Native women arrested last summer after challenging a subsistence ban on fishing in restricted waters were fined $25 after a trial Tuesday.

$25,000 dividend gets first hearing
JUNEAU (AP) -- The sponsors of a plan to hand out a $25,000 dividend next year and then dedicate the Permanent Fund's earnings to the state budget pitched the idea to a House committee Wednesday as the only practical way out of the state's financial problems.

Phillips to christen new tanker
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The second of five state-of-the-art Millennium Class tankers planned for Phillips Petroleum will be christened Saturday.

Interior shop builds $3 million Northstar module
NORTH POLE (AP) -- A fabrication shop here is building a $3 million module for the Northstar field in the Beaufort Sea. The module is the biggest fabrication ordered by BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. in the Interior in at least a decade.

Travel begins to get back to normal after Northwest earthquake
SEATTLE (AP) -- People found their way to work and school Thursday in the Seattle area, but for many it took some creativity, patience and planning after the strongest earthquake in 52 years rocked the region.

House approves boating safety bill
JUNEAU -- Rep. Bill Hudson woke up Wednesday nervous about his boating safety bill coming up for a vote Wednesday, but then remembered why he was pushing it so hard: two beautiful, blond girls about 6 years old.

Former Anchorage mayor Stolt dies at 100
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Bill Stolt, who came to Anchorage as a teenager in 1917 and served three terms as mayor in the 1940s, died Tuesday in the Anchorage Pioneers' Home. He was 100.

Cruise ships willing to test emmissions -- within limits
JUNEAU (AP) -- The cruise ship industry says it's willing to test its air emissions and wastewater discharges and turn the results over to the state -- as long as the information isn't used to penalize cruise lines.

Companies say merger will help competition
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- BP Amoco and Atlantic Richfield Co. urged a federal judge Wednesday to approve their $25 billion merger over government objections, saying the combination ''will benefit competition worldwide and in the United States.''

Accelerated construction bill moves out of committee
JUNEAU (AP) -- A bill proposing to borrow $350 million to accelerate development of 11 transportation projects around the state was approved by the House Transportation Committee on Tuesday.

Children of San Francisco policeman sue Alaska Airlines over crash
SAN FRANCISCO -- Three children of a retired San Francisco police officer who was killed in the Alaska Airlines Flight 261 crash have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the airline and against Boeing, the plane's manufacturer.

Fuel tax on hold for now
JUNEAU (AP) -- Gov. Tony Knowles' proposal to boost motor fuel taxes is on hold while legislators watch what the marketplace does to the price of gasoline.

Two Alaskans charged with escape acquitted
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Two Alaskans charged with escaping from a private prison in Arizona have been acquitted by an Arizona jury.

Goodnews Bay man sentenced in hotel murder case
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A 35-year-old man from a southwest Alaska village has been sentenced to 129 years in prison for the 1998 rape and murder of a woman at a downtown Anchorage motel.

Senate passes bill calling for kids' hunting seasons
JUNEAU (AP) -- A bill aimed at creating special big-game hunting seasons so kids can hunt before school starts passed the Senate on Wednesday.

Forest Service sets policy on memorials
SITKA (AP) -- The U.S. Forest Service will allow private memorials to be placed on national forest lands in Alaska despite a national policy that generally forbids such markers.

Slope crude price tops $30
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The price of North Slope crude oil on Wednesday topped the $30-per-barrel mark for the first time since late 1990, when the nation was on the verge of going to war in the Persian Gulf.

Fairbanks man gets eight years for molesting young girl
FAIRBANKS (AP) -- A Fairbanks man has been sent to prison for more than eight years for molesting an 8-year-old girl.

One reported missing in Juneau avalanche
JUNEAU (AP) -- One person was reported missing Thursday after an avalanche near Eaglecrest Ski Area in Juneau, Alaska State Troopers said.

Man arrested for gunfire near Anchorage middle school
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- An 18-year-old man was arrested Tuesday on charges that he fired shots near an Anchorage school, police said.

Special Olympics flame makes its way around the state
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A flame lit in Athens, Greece, began making its way around Alaska Wednesday, carried in several torches by teams of law enforcement officers and Special Olympians from around the world.

One-third of KC-135 tankers grounded temporarily
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Air Force has temporarily grounded more than one-third of its fleet of Boeing-built KC-135 air refueling aircraft after discovering a problem with a stabilizer part on the tail section, officials said Tuesday.

Governor calls for increased emphasis on suicide prevention
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- After a decade of nearly 130 suicides a year in Alaska, Gov. Tony Knowles is calling for increased attention and spending for suicide prevention.

Bill would cut fees for public interest lawsuits
JUNEAU (AP) -- Bringing lawsuits in the public interest could get riskier and more expensive under a bill passed by the Senate.

Northwest Quake-Damages,
Earthquake damage reported in Washington state:

Maass' magical duck paintings haven't lost their luster

Unalaska police investigate assaults in worker housing
UNALASKA (AP) -- Unalaska police are reporting a rash of bunkhouse sexual assaults in the nation's top fishing port, where most seafood processing workers live in company housing.

Heavy snow doesn't stop Oregon nurse from reaching rural patients
BEND, Ore. (AP) -- Marianne Kehoe keeps a pair of snowshoes in the back of her Subaru, but she doesn't use them for fun.

Men use tow rope to fish yearling moose out of thawing Chena River
FAIRBANKS (AP) -- A snowmachine ride on the Chena River turned into an unexpected fishing expedition Monday afternoon for Bret Helgeson when he pulled a yearling moose out of the river's icy grasp with the help of his father and a 20-foot tow rope.

Milne wins Quest red lantern; race ends
FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race officially ended Tuesday night as musher Bruce Milne reached the finish to claim the Red Lantern.

Legislators request tourism growth target
JUNEAU -- There isn't a benchmark to determine how much the state should spend on tourism marketing, some legislators concluded in January.

Farming family plants seeds of innovation
Always interested in plants, Allan Baldwin stopped by a nursery in Wisconsin while he was traveling and got to chatting with the owner. The man, upon hearing that the visitor was from Alaska, asked if he had ever heard of an Alaska horticulturist named Dick Baldwin.

Charter operators split on meaning of changes
HOMER -- When federal fishery managers voted last year to limit the annual harvest of halibut charter operators in Southcentral and Southeast Alaska, they turned the charter industry on its head.

Retailer finds niche in big-box dominated market
Paul Miller attributes the success of Trustworthy Hardware to three things -- aggressive advertising, low prices and a knowledgeable, friendly staff.

Workers stretch wages to make ends meet
The national economy has been flush, unemployment is down, and it's a job-seekers market. But on the Kenai Peninsula, finding a good job -- the kind of job that can support a family -- is still a challenge.

Changes cast long shadow on commercial fish industry
What would make a successful commercial fishing season this year? If you were to ask those involved, most would say anything better than last season would qualify.

Full menu, full service make Gwin's Lodge a logical stop
The new owner of Gwin's Lodge in Cooper Landing had a revelation shortly after he bought the business.

Small businesses fuel area's economic engine
Don't call small businesses "small" on the Kenai Peninsula.

Farmers struggle to grow sector
Farming on the Kenai Peninsula is a hard row to hoe.

Study says healthy ecosystem benefits Alaska's workers
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A new study attempts to place a dollar value on Alaska's natural ecosystems.

Industry: Time is right for dead spruce harvest
In 1995, gross timber industry sales on the Kenai Peninsula reached a high of nearly $33.8 million, or 2.2 percent of total sales recorded boroughwide. In 1999, timber sales dropped to $11.8 million, or .7 percent of total sales throughout the borough.

New center helping peninsula businesses sell to government
The red tape of selling to the government is easier to cut through now since Mike Taylor opened for business.

New center helping peninsula businesses sell to government
The red tape of selling to the government is easier to cut through now since Mike Taylor opened for business.

Homer adapting to changes in market
Fundamental changes in Alaska's commercial fishing business, from the advent of individual fishing quotas to the calamitous decline of salmon prices, have had devastating effects on many coastal communities the last few years, but Homer has fared well.

Community Calendar
Today 6:30 a.m.

Community Calendar
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Technology changing face of business
The way we do business changes each year as technology continues to take giant leaps forward in terms of capability and affordability.

EDD, KPC offer assistance, training to entrepreneurs
A tightly woven mesh of networking proves an excellent resource for peninsula small businesses.

Flight director helps young minds reach for the stars
Some students visiting the Challenger Learning Center of Alaska in Kenai ask Flight Director Daniela Martian if she made up her last name just for this space-related job where one of the missions is a simulated trip to Mars.

Schools scramble to provide skilled graduates
After years of high unemployment and economic stagnation, Alaska employers are hanging out "help wanted" signs again.

High-tech organizations struggle, but optimism high
Built with the hope of making the Kenai Peninsula a hotbed for high-technology research, education and training, three largely publicly funded organizations that have opened in the last three years are struggling to achieve the lofty goals set for them.

Sleep deprivation a hazard of the trail
ANCHORAGE -- Mushers can't outrun their need for sleep on the 1,150-mile Iditarod trail through Alaska's wilderness.

Musher builds hopes on family, dogs
"We are as ready as we've ever been, although it has been difficult to train this year," said Mitch Seavey.

Competitive fire still blazes
Fifteen-thousand four-hundred miles. That's the distance Tim Osmar has traveled on the Iditarod Trail over the past 14 years.

Sleep deprivation a hazard of the trail
ANCHORAGE -- Mushers can't outrun their need for sleep on the 1,150-mile Iditarod trail through Alaska's wilderness.

Art Briefs
Native art show planned at visitors center

Peninsula authors to perform prose, poetry
The third annual Central Peninsula Writers' Night will be held March 9 at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center in Kenai. Doors open at 6 p.m.; readings begin at 7 p.m.

What's Happening
Best Bets

Sitka man named first state writer

Animal cruelty trial continues in Kenai
The defens

'Gruntled' postal worker retiring after 30 years on job
For the better part of three decades, John Snyder has served customers at the United States Post Office in Kenai. At the counter he helped mail packages, sold stamps and took care of money order and passport needs 40 hours a week.

Assessor says 560 untaxed buildings will add $88,000 to borough coffers
Kenai Peninsula Borough assessors have again found it profitable to search systematically for unreported structures.

Schools budget woes presented to assembly
The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District introduced a balanced budget to the borough assembly Tuesday, but the balance was achieved at high cost.

Painted Sky
The day's final light illuminates Mount Redoubt and ice on the beach in Kenai shortly after sunset recently.

Earl W. Westphal

Wolf Lake project, more pipelines on tap for Marathon
Marathon Oil Co. is planning at least four new wells under its $22 million capital spending program for Cook Inlet this year and is stepping up exploration efforts in the region.

Unocal gearing up for busy year
Unocal Alaska expects to double capital spending for 2001 in Cook Inlet and is aggressively hiring new employees as the company's oil and gas division gears up for a busy year.

Forest Oil makes Cook Inlet strike
The next well likely will determine whether Denver-based Forest Oil Corp. proceeds with a project that potentially could double Cook Inlet oil production.

Tesoro Alaska on the rebound
Tesoro Alaska is on the financial rebound after a disastrous earnings year in 1999 forced the company to take a hard look at its operations, resulting in several changes implemented last year.

Scientist's decision helps Alaska wallets
Every Alaskan who has cashed a permanent fund dividend check owes a thank-you note to Tom Marshall. In the early 1960s, the geologist made a choice that helped transform Alaska from pauper to prince.

Cook Inlet share of Prudhoe gas up in the air
Momentum is building to bring Prudhoe Bay gas to market, but it is an open question whether Cook Inlet homes, businesses and industry will get a share.

Schools, government are top employers
The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District remains the borough's top employer, followed by state, federal and borough government.

Diverse economy weathers the bumps
The diversity of the Kenai Peninsula economy is its greatest strength.

Agrium takes over Unocal's fertilizer plant
Taking a role as one of the star players in a growing company has put Nikiski's former Alaska Nitrogen Products plant in the spotlight after last year's sale to a Canadian fertilizer company.

Enstar eyes gas supply, pipeline to southern peninsula
With one new gas service contract in hand and another awaiting state approval, Enstar Natural Gas Co. has one message for Cook Inlet producers: "Keep on drilling."

Acquisition of Arco adds acreage in inlet leases
Plans for a new well near Anchor Point as well as installation of production equipment at a western Cook Inlet gas field share the bulk of Phillips Alaska Inc.'s capital spending for 2001.

BP's trial project worth $86 million
Alaska has long exported raw materials, but an experimental gas-to-liquids plant in Nikiski may soon export technology, too.

Ice Dogs can't run Chinooks
The Peninsula Chinooks finally got a collar on the Fairbanks Ice Dogs.

Kardinals slip past Ninilchik
Kenai's Karli Knudsen nailed an 8-footer with about 10 seconds left to hand the host Kardinals a 43-42 nonconference victory over Ninilchik Tuesday.

Aging Homer placing new demands on its hospital
HOMER -- Aging baby-boomers won't go quietly into the night of old age, but are more likely to battle that irresistible force of nature all the way to the ground, say medical professionals from Homer.

CPGH grows with advances
The pulse Doug Davis began hearing in his ear could have been the sign of a tumor.

Humble beginings: Cooperative traces roots to 56 customers
Homer Electric Association has come a long way since nine Homer residents organized the cooperative in 1945.

On the high-tech cutting edge
Alaska's electric utilities could someday face competition. To prepare, Homer Electric Association is working to maintain competitive rates.

Homer facility pursuing technological upgrades
Time is critical in treating heart attack patients, and the new blood analysis machine at South Peninsula Hospital can shave hours off the time required to confirm an attack.

Jobs may not be plentiful, but community spirit abounds
Take away Seward, Soldotna, Kenai, Homer and Seldovia, and what's left of the Kenai Peninsula?

Fiber-optic cable brings revolution to schools
Technology is advancing at the speed of light in Kenai Peninsula schools, thanks to space Homer Electric Association donated on its new fiber-optic cable.

Bear panel debates size of corridors
KENAI (AP) -- Just

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