Saturday, March 2, 2002

Move under way to repeal Barrow smoking ban
BARROW (AP) -- It didn't take long for Barrow smokers to react to a new ordinance banning smoking in public buildings.

Timber companies threaten to sue over owl's status
SEATTLE (AP) -- A coalition of timber companies is threatening to sue the federal government if it doesn't review the protected status of the northern spotted owl, whose classification under the Endangered Species Act halted logging on millions of acres of public land.

Survey of DEC employees raises several concerns
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A survey of Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation employees raises several concerns, including whether big oil has too much influence and if the agency is adequately funded.

North Pole police find suspected methamphetamine lab
FAIRBANKS (AP) -- A suspected methamphetamine lab has been found in a reportedly vacant North Pole house near the Richardson Highway.

Environmental group wants cut in bycatch
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A new environmental group has asked federal regulators to decrease the amount of catch wasted by the U.S. commercial fishing industry.

Environmental groups want access to ANWR records
FAIRBANKS (AP) -- An environmental law firm is asking that the White House and Department of Interior release any documents relating to recent discussions on opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

Lodge caretaker killed by falling tree
CHENEGA BAY (AP) -- The body of an Anchorage man working as a lodge caretaker on Knight Island was found Wednesday.

Alaska unloads surplus grizzly bear hides in public sales
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- Bill Slavin wanted something out of the ordinary to hang inside his new cabin in Guntersville, Ala. An Alaska grizzly bear would be ideal, he decided, exuding the mystique of the wild Far North.

Father, son counterfeiters sentenced to prison
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- An Alaskan and his son will serve prison terms for counterfeiting.

State urges speedy reopening of Kivalina schoolf
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A state education official said Friday he knew of no other case similar to the Northwest Arctic Borough School District's abrupt shutdown of the Kivalina village school this week.

Safety threats close Kivalina school
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- State Department of Education officials are keeping close tabs on developments at Kivalina's only school after it was closed indefinitely.

Coast Guard gives Petersburg basketball contingent free ride to Wrangell
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The Coast Guard played good Samaritan for a support contingent of the Petersburg High School basketball team.

House Finance plans to put off tax measures and tackle budget
JUNEAU (AP) -- The House Finance Committee will set aside tax talks for a while and focus first on making deep cuts in Gov. Tony Knowles' $7.3 billion budget, Co-Chairman Eldon Mulder said.

Anchorage households outspend the average American household
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Anchorage area households outspend the average American household, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Knowles appoints two to Anchorage and Bethel courts
JUNEAU (AP) -- Gov. Tony Knowles appointed two new judges to courts in Anchorage and Bethel this week.

Little dog named Boo saves owner
FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Dan Cofey's 4-year-old sheltie, Boo, isn't usually allowed on the bed at night.

Panel approves bill to give dividends to Peace Corps volunteers
JUNEAU (AP) -- Alaskans serving in the Peace Corps could supplement their Third World stipends with permanent fund dividends under a bill that's begun moving through the Legislature.

Peninsula boasts affordable housing
A report put out by the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation has good news for area residents -- the Kenai Peninsula continues to be one of the cheapest places to live in the state.

Prognosis good for medical field
Health care has a unique niche in any community. Seen from varied angles, it is a calling, a technology or a public service. But it also is a big business, one with major growth forecast.

Print, camera operations set for digital explosion
As the British author James Burke once demonstrated in an episode of "Connections," his fascinating television series tracing the advance and effects of technology, the pace of change seems quickly to be leaving many of us behind.

Caterer finds fun, profit in feeding peninsula
In a meat -- make that salmon -- and potatoes community, Lori Chase, owner of The Chase is Over Catering, has learned that it takes a little bit of time, but in the end Kenai Peninsula residents are willing to test their palates when the opportunity arises.

CPGH measures three decades of growth
The history of Central Peninsula General Hospital in Soldotna reflects the explosive growth of not only the Kenai Peninsula but also the health care industry in Alaska.

Kenai architect has eye for beautification
It may be a stretch to say Bill Kluge is responsible for shaping the look of several communities on the Kenai Peninsula, but he certainly had a hand in designing their buildings. Kluge has designed more than 300 buildings in his 20 years as an architect in Kenai.

Area housing market points toward stability
Information provided by the U.S. Census Bureau and Kenai Peninsula Borough Situations and Prospects 2000

CIRI, Seldovia Native Association, others bank on growth
Whether they're rebuilding run-down homes for low-income tribal members or investing millions in efforts to extract black gold from deep in the earth, Alaska Native corporations play a major role in the economy of Alaska and of the Kenai Peninsula.

Confidence, savings rate don't match when it comes to retirement
NEW YORK (AP) -- There seems to be a ''disconnect'' in American thinking when it comes to retirement savings.

Attitudes about security changing since Sept. 11
The need to ensure the safety and integrity of person and property has existed for a long time. One need not look further back than the old European castles, with their beveled walls, drawbridges, moats and gated windows.

Boomer skin care adds up to big dollars for industry
NEW YORK (AP) -- When lotions failed to smooth the crow's feet around Cheryl Hoover's eyes and restore the firmness to her skin, she turned to Botox, collagen and laser treatments to ease the effects of aging.

Doctors are encouraging women to exercise during and after pregnancy
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Pregnancy and birth make big changes in a woman's life, and doctors want women to consider adding one more.

Cincinnati electrician leads double life as Iditarod musher
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The way Jim Oehlschlaeger figures it, he must have been left outside in a snowstorm as a baby.

Swingley set to defend title in 30th running of Iditarod
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Defending champion Doug Swingley is confident and matter of fact without sounding boastful when he talks about his chances for an unprecedented fourth consecutive victory in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Something to howl about
The Olympics were fun, but for a winter sport with teeth turn your attention to Anchorage on the first Saturday in March for the Iditarod.

2001 Yukon Quest champ, 3-time Jr. Iditarod winner eyes big prize
You've gotta keep it all in the family.

Iditarod mushers and their starting order
The starting order of the 2002 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race:

House panel: More cuts before taxes
JUNEAU -- The House Finance Committee will set aside tax talks for a while and focus first on making deep cuts in Gov. Tony Knowles' $7.3 billion budget, co-chair Eldon Mulder said.

Priorities keep Soldotna family grounded
While economists say diversity is the Kenai Peninsula economy's greatest strength, Lisa Parker and Steve Horn of Soldotna say their ability to adapt to change in a small job market has proven to be one of their greatest assets.

Suspect in assault case pleads not guilty
The Soldotna man charged with the attempted murder and sexual assault of a Soldotna woman pleaded not guilty to the five charges against him Thursday in Superior Court.

Chenault plan clears House
A bill that would let the Kenai Peninsula Borough grant property tax breaks to land owners who must build improvements such as roads in order to clear dangerous beetle-killed spruce passed the Alaska House on Wednesday.

Photo news feature: Traffic stopper
Kenai Police and Fire departments, Alaska State Troopers and Central Emergency Services respond to a three-car wreck at Mile 4 of the Kenai Spur Highway that stopped traffic between Kenai and Soldotna for about an hour Thursday evening. Five people were transported to Central Peninsula General Hospital with unspecified injuries.

Phillips puts emphasis on expansion
In late December, Phillips Petroleum Co. announced its $807 million budget for 2002 oil business in Alaska.

Forest Oil hoping to build on successes in 2001
Forest Oil announced success in the first of its five exploratory wells off the Osprey Platform in the Redoubt Shoal site in February 2001. The company's good fortune at the beginning of the year carried over to the remaining months.

Cook Inlet drilling, gasline project boosting Unocal
Unocal Alaska is looking toward another banner year by building upon the company's recent success in its Cook Inlet drilling operations.

Growing customer base fuels Enstar
Enstar finished off the year at the end of a decade-long growth streak that doesn't appear to be dwindling any time soon.

Exploration, expansion in Marathon's future
With two large projects started at the end of 2001 and continuing into the new year, Marathon Oil has a busy year to look forward to.

KPC program trains workers for oilfield jobs
Legend has it that, once upon a time, a strong back and can-do attitude were all a young man in Alaska needed to snag a lucrative job in the oil industry. Those days are gone, but opportunities still are around -- if a person literally does their homework.

Agrium looking for improved global economy
Declining prices in the international fertilizer industry have left the Agrium U.S. Inc. Kenai Nitrogen Operation facility in Nikiski wary of the coming year.

Tesoro Alaska hoping for continued market stability
Tesoro Alaska plans to maintain the economic viability it reattained in 2000 after the downturn the company's earnings took in 1999. Changes made in 2000 meant 2001 was more than a rebound year for the company, and operations continue to ensure the status quo at the Nikiski refinery.

Study reveals economic impact of oil industry
The oil and gas industry's presence on the Kenai Peninsula is hard to miss. Just visit the Kenai airport to witness the biweekly changing of the guard on the North Slope. Or take a drive north on the Kenai Spur Highway toward Nikiski, where it is impossible to ignore the abrupt turn from natural scenery to that of steam- and smoke-producing refineries.

GTL plant nearing completion
When British Petroleum announced its new gas-to-liquid plant would make its home in Nikiski in June 2000, the company was brimming with prospects for growth.

Peninsula's diverse economy will soften blow of changing times
Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, it

Tourist dollars, not conservation, are behind newest fish board regulations
Well, folks, indecent proposals have left us burdened with indecent regulations. Courtesy of the Kenai River Sportfishing Association, the Kenai River Professional Guides Association, and the Board of Fisheries, resident dipnetters have had their fishing cut nearly in half, guides may now fish Sundays and after 6 p.m., and fishing the first run of Kenai kings is a fiasco.

Letters to the Editor
Unemployment benefits should be increased to help bridge gapPlatform on land-use issues is what got Bagley elected

Many contribute to memorable Soldotna chamber awards banquetSterling seniors sing praises of 'Four On The Floor' quartet

On filling empty spaces
I still had to go in there. As I sat in a tow truck, headed for Fairbanks on the night of Christmas, a thousand raging and boiling thoughts in my mind coalesced into one strange feeling of impending quest for meaning.

Iditasport races have evolved over the years
ANCHORAGE -- Two decades ago, a dozen intrepid skiers broke trail with the first ever Iditaski, a 120-mile backcountry ski race that followed a stretch of the famed Iditarod Trail.

Photo feature: Low profile
Clouds obscure Mount Redoubt Thursday afternoon, leaving only the lower peaks of the Chigmit Mountains exposed.

Far-flung volcanoes mysteriously share eruption patterns
Pavlof, an Alaska volcano with a fondness for erupting in fall, is not alone. Three other volcanoes from around the globe seem to share Pavlof's preference, erupting mostly from September to December. This routine behavior in a very unpredictable world intrigues Steve McNutt.

Peninsula's economic future up in air after Sept. 11
Its resilience and diversity may be the Kenai Peninsula economy's saving grace in this period of national recession.

Borough income lower than U.S. average
Information provided by Kenai Peninsula Borough Situations and Prospects 2000 and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Government jobs support lots of residents
Government may take money out of communities to fund its operation, but it gives money back as well, in the form of thousands of paychecks each month.

Reforms move people off welfare into workplace
Reforms enacted five years ago are changing how area agencies approach welfare clients, and one Kenai Peninsula organization received the governor's stamp of approval for its innovations.

Graying of Alaska changes economic trends
We are all getting older. On the Kenai Peninsula, that process is collective as well as individual.

Oil and gas industry tops among borough taxpayers
Historically, oil and gas industry participants have dominated the top 10 taxpayer listing in the Kenai Peninsula Borough. In recent years, some have been displaced by

Big projects set to give big boost to economy
Erosion protection, dock building, harbor expansions, trail construction and other capital projects either under way or about to start are brightening the economic horizons of the Kenai Peninsula Borough's major cities.

Schools, state government are area's top employers
The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District remains the borough's top employer, followed by the state, according to statistics compiled by the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development for 1999, the most recent yearly stats available. The federal and borough governments were ousted from the second and third slots by Unocal, which now holds the position of being the borough's No. 2 employer.

Statistics point to mostly healthy outlook for future
Irrefutably one of the most beautiful parts of Alaska, the Kenai Peninsula offers such a wealth of wonders, pursuits and possibilities that it approaches the prosaic to reduce that dynamism to mere numbers.

Around the Peninsula
Bear-viewing applications due Blood bank celebrating birthday Talent show set for Saturday Health Fair to be held Saturday Young women's conference planned Library events coming up Dinner to support foreign exchange students North peninsula council meets Monday Winter lectures continue

Taking care of Kenai River business a team effort
Yes, the business of sport fishing on the Kenai River has a ton of problems. And, yes, when one sits back and looks at all the issues surrounding the business of sport fishing on the river, they can be overwhelming.

Commercial fishers find salmon market a challenge
Cook Inlet salmon fishers are in for another slim year, with an average catch hobbled by below-average prices, but halibut will continue to buoy the industry with near-record high stocks.

Everyone shares wealth of peninsula wilderness
They just aren't making any new mountains, rivers or seashores. Wilderness, by any definition, is in limited supply.

Study indicates refuge plays important role in borough's economy
The Institute of Social and Economic Research of the University of Alaska Anchorage studied the economic importance of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. The study, dated May 15, 2000, was conducted for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It was based upon 1997 data. It did not include non-sustainable uses, such as gas and oil production.

Southern Baptists choose Greensboro, Nashville for upcoming annual meetings
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The Southern Baptist Convention is choosing locations for its next few annual meetings and it appears Nashville and Greensboro, N.C., will be among the sites.

Residents strike back after ACLU sues town over religious signs
FRANKLINTON, La. (AP) -- Civil libertarians won a battle over public religious displays in this small Louisiana town. But residents feel they're victors, too.

Religion in the News
A summary of California state standards for the unit of seventh-grade world history looking at the civilizations of Islam in the Middle Ages.

19-day Baha'i Fast gets under way Saturday
Saturday, the Baha'is of the Kenai Peninsula will join 5 million Baha'is worldwide in their annual period of fasting.

Religion Briefs
Prophecies topic of speaker Women's Bible study to start Fellowship to host Aleut evangelist Nikiski church plans events

Churches consolidate to serve changing congregations
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Facing a shortage of priests and rapidly changing congregations, many Roman Catholic churches in central and eastern Connecticut are merging or reducing Sunday services.

Assemblies of God hopes to keep presence in Belgium despite permit problems
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) -- The Assemblies of God hopes to maintain its missionary work in Belgium despite having four church volunteers deported from the country for violating work permit laws.

People, churches can make a difference
Poor children are sounding a cry that goes largely unheard. Consequences from our deaf ear are neglect, abuse, depression, violence and even early death.

Muslims begin voter registration drive
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations has started a campaign to register more than 100,000 Muslim voters before the November elections.

Retired L.A. bishop appointed interim head of Berkeley Divinity at Yale
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) -- A retired Episcopal bishop from Los Angeles has been appointed interim head of the troubled Berkeley Divinity School at Yale.

World history course in California draws criticism for section on Islam
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -- Complaints that California schools present Islam in glowing terms but shortchange Christianity are highlighting a classroom dilemma: How do you teach -- but not preach -- religion?

Ski choices all about timing
This week, spring skiing arrived on the Kenai Peninsula. Timing has now become everything.

With Jordan sidelined, young players need to fill his shoes
WASHINGTON -- Washing-ton Wizards coach Doug Collins called Michael Jordan after the game, and they analyzed it player-by-player.

Madden signed by MNF team
NEW YORK -- Boom! Just like that, John Madden is in, and Dennis Miller is out.

Virginia defeats Duke to keep hopes alive
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Virginia, desperate for a win to keep alive its NCAA tournament hopes, wiped out a 12-point deficit over the final seven minutes and beat No. 3 Duke 87-84 Thursday night, giving the Atlantic Coast Conference title to Maryland.

Lemieus out for remainder of season with bad hip
PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins star Mario Lemieux, his team fading fast from playoff contention, is expected to miss the rest of the season because of the painful hip injury that has bothered him since training camp.

Visitor industry mixed on prospects for summer
Travel and tourism industry heads in Alaska may be worried about how the downturn in the nation's economy and the events of Sept. 11 will affect the travel and tourism industry this year, but area business owners haven't let doomsayers take away their optimism for a booming summer tourism season.

Alaska Railroad keeps peninsula connected to Anchorage, Interior
There has been a railway to carry Alaskans, visitors and freight between the Kenai Peninsula and the Interior for nearly 80 years. The only full service rail system in the state, the Alaska Railroad is a vital lifeline between the much of the inner regions of the state and Seward, where the line ends at Resurrection Bay.

Travel agents busy as ever
The events of Sept. 11, the slump in the economy and the popularity of Internet booking sites have combined to paint a bleak picture for travel agents elsewhere in the country, but Alaska travel agents seem to be largely immune to the hard times others in their profession are facing.

Soldotna tops tourist destination list
Tourism dropped in every incorporated city in the Kenai Peninsula Borough except Soldotna in 2000. Homer experienced the largest loss of visitors, falling 37 percent from 1999 statistics. Seward and Kenai also had lean years, they lost 14.3 percent and 9.1 percent, respectively.

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