Sunday, March 3, 2002

Education site tracks caribou as a sign of spring
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- North American school children can keep a close eye on the Porcupine Caribou Herd thanks to a free education Web site.

New York Port Authority Police officer on hand for K-9 dedication
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- New York Port Authority Police Officer David Lim was on hand Friday for the dedication of a dog named Sirius.

BPs GTL plant in Nikiski is on target for April start
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A pilot plant in Nikiski for testing BPs technology to convert natural gas to liquid fuels is on track to start by April, a project manager said.

And they're off! Iditarod teams set out on trail to Nome
WASILLA (AP) -- Sixty-four mushers and more than a thousand dogs headed out under a cloudless blue sky Sunday for the 30th running of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Senate gives final passage to conceal carry law
JUNEAU (AP) -- A law requiring Alaska law enforcement to honor concealed handgun permits from all 49 states won final approval in the Senate on Friday.

Attorney says accused pipeline shooter will appeal federal conviction
FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The attorney for accused trans-Alaska pipeline shooter Daniel Lewis says he will appeal a federal conviction of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

House budget would shave $157.4 million from Knowles budget
JUNEAU (AP) -- House budget leaders are proposing a stripped down state spending plan for next year that slashes more than $157 million from Gov. Tony Knowles spending plan.

Homer teen dies in fishing accident
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A 16-year-old Homer youth died Friday afternoon in a fishing accident in the Gulf of Alaska.

Dillingham fire at school was intentionally set
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A fire at the Dillingham school this week was arson, Alaska State Troopers said Friday.

UA gets less than hoped for in early budget deliberations
FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The spending plan proposed by House Republicans includes a smaller increase for the University of Alaska than its administrators requested.

Karluk School's two teachers resign
KODIAK (AP) -- Karluk School's two teachers are being allowed to resign after months of discussion failed to resolve problems at the Kodiak Island school.

Kivalina residents sound off about school closure
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Some 200 parents, elders and students packed the McQueen School gym in Kivalina for a community meeting Friday, two days after the Northwest Arctic Borough School District abruptly shut down classes, citing ''threatening and assaultive behavior'' against teachers.

Legislature hires attorney to defend parental consent bill
JUNEAU (AP) -- The Legislative Council voted to spend $300,000 on an attorney to defend an abortion bill that had been ruled unconstitutional by an Anchorage Superior Court judge.

Knowles appoints state space and missile defense officer
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- An Army National Guard colonel has been appointed the first assistant adjutant general for space and missile defense.

Faculty senate president wants oversight on classified research
FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The president of the Faculty Senate at the University of Alaska Fairbanks has proposed a plan that would require all classified research proposals pass through a faculty committee, the chancellor and the university president before being submitted to the granting agency.

Norwegian musher sprains ankle before race; handler takes team
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Norwegian musher Harald Tunheim was sidelined with a badly sprained ankle and had to watch the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on television while a handler ran his team.

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.

Seward man charged with threatening judges
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A Seward man was arrested Friday on charges of threatening to assault a federal judge and a federal magistrate in the performance of their duties.

House passes minimum wage increase
JUNEAU (AP) -- A bill to raise Alaska's minimum wage to $7.15 an hour next year passed the state House on Friday.

UA president asks for new research vessel
FAIRBANKS (AP) -- University of Alaska President Mark Hamilton visited Washington, D.C., this week with a wish list in hand.

State reduces staff at Dalton Highway checkpoint
FAIRBANKS (AP) -- State public safety officials on Friday ceased 24-hour operation of the Dalton Highway security checkpoint, citing uncertainty over whether the Legislature will pay the bill.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Exercise encouraged during, after pregnancy
WASHINGTON -- Pregnancy and birth make big changes in a woman's life, and doctors want women to consider adding one more.

CDC finds no link among recent rash outbreaks in schoolchildren
ATLANTA (AP) -- A national study of recent rash outbreaks in school children has found no common cause, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

Iditarod Notebook
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- THE CARE AND FEEDING OF MUSHERS: Much is known about what sled dogs need to eat to stay healthy. Jim Gallea of Seely Lake, Mont. is trying to learn more about how mushers should eat.

King, Seavey have rivalry of their own
The biggest tactical mistake Seward's Tyrell Seavey made in trying to defend his Junior Iditarod Sled Dog Race crown this year didn't actually come during the race.

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.

Ankle mishap slows Tunheim
ANCHORAGE -- Norwegian musher Harald Tunheim was sidelined with a badly sprained ankle and had to watch the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on television while a handler ran his team.

And they're off! Iditarod teams set out on trail to Nome
WASILLA (AP) -- Sixty-four mushers and more than a thousand dogs headed out under a cloudless blue sky Sunday for the 30th running of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

House passes minimum wage increase
JUNEAU (AP) -- A bill to raise Alaska's minimum wage to $7.15 an hour next year passed the state House on Friday.

NASCAR's Stewart looking to create some momentum
LAS VEGAS -- As unlikely as it is to consider the third race of a very long season as crucial, the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 might be just that for Tony Stewart if he hopes to be a title contender.

DEC streamlining oil spill contingency plan process
Spill preparedness is a time-consuming subject for oil and gas companies. However, the wheels of bureaucracy can be oiled somewhat, according to a representative of the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.

How school district dollars get spent
Millions of dollars move through the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District every year. Here, according to the preliminary budget for next school year, is where the average dollar will be spent:

Increase in Parks and Rec budget could benefit Sports Center
The Soldotna Sports Center may do some upgrading. Not to the facility, but to the staff.

Where does district money go?
It is difficult to think of $90 million as too small an amount of money. But the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is having a hard time stretching that amount to cover its nearly 10,000 students, about 1,200 employees and 42 schools, including the "Connec-tions" program.

Health plan bad medicine for district
The biggest problem for the Kenai Peninsula School District's bottom line has been the inability to keep up with inflation. Static revenue and rising expenses add up to real cuts.

Vinton O. Edwards
Former Cooper Landing resident Vinton Ogden Edwards died Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2002 at his home in Anchorage. He was 77.

O.J. "Mac" McGann
Longtime Alaska resident O.J. "Mac" McGann died Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2002, after a month-long stay in a Las Vegas hospital. He was 85.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

Where did 'swish' of youth go? Natural pruning of brain cells explains why old dogs can't learn new tricks
So there I was the other night, driving into the paint around a slow-footed center and launching, gracefully ballistic, toward the hoop, the rock balanced ever-so-delicately on my finger tips ready to roll over the rim and in for the score -- just like it did when I was 18. Bonk! "BONK?" I think, as my high-tops touch down on the baseline and I extend my arms to avoid kissing the wall headfirst.

Community needs to help schools
Over the last couple of months, the topic of funding for education has once again reared its ugly head. The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is complaining that the state is not providing adequate or equitable funds that enable it to provide the quality of education we expect. To add fuel to the already boiling pot, the teachers' contracts are up for negotiation. They are rightfully requesting raises that are long overdue and well deserved. Yet the KPBSD is shouting wage freezes and further reductions in teaching and support staff for next year.

Change of address won't change what's wrong with government
Here we go again. Last week, state workers verified that a ballot initiative to move legislative sessions to the Matanuska-Susitna Borough has more than the 28,783 signatures required to be on the November ballot. Sen. Randy Phillips, R-Eagle River, has filed a bill which mimics the ballot measure. If Phillips' bill passes, the initiative would be taken off the ballot.

Ask the Mayor
When does the borough mail property assessment notices?

Changes to fish board worthy of discussion
Like it or not, perception is reality. And the perception of many on the Kenai Peninsula is that the Alaska Board of Fisheries is too political, that the board's actions often advance an agenda other than the wise stewardship of the state's vast fish resources.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

Around the Peninsula
Restoration video to air todayDinner to support foreign exchange studentsCooper Landing forming chamber of commerceFund-raising dinner to aid familyPublic radio holding fund driveHistorical society board to meetOutdoor survival brunch plannedCook Inlet Lions 'Putting on the Ritz'Reception to honor retiring college staff

Kenai Spur and Main, circa 1955
This photo looks toward one of the main intersections in Kenai. Today it is the corner of the Kenai Spur Highway and Main Street, where Paradisos Restaurant is located.

Hardy, Hamrick wed in Soldotna ceremony
Shanon Hardy and Eldon B. Hamrick Jr. of Soldotna were married Jan. 26, 2002, at Christ Lutheran Church in Soldotna. Pastor Randy Parshall officiated.

Ninilchik School gets behind musher Tim Osmar to help keep him on track
Cupcakes, cookies and candy bars. Familiar fare of school fund-raisers when students want to make a field trip or buy equipment. But "Iditadogs," "chilly" dogs, "pup"corn, puppy chow, slush puppies and dog bone-shaped cookies filled the menu when Ninilchik School students turned the spotlight off themselves and focused it on local musher Tim Osmar, who began his 17th Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Saturday.

My Best Friend
Sparky, a pug, lays down for nap time with owner Molly McRae, a 9-year-old fourth-grader. They live in Kenai.

Warner, Gifford marry in California
Shirley Warner and Bill Gifford of Soldotna were married Dec. 22, 2001, at St. Michael's Catholic Church in Shasta Lake City, Calif.

Home-building, buying class scheduled
Are you planning to build, buy or remodel a home anytime soon? Regardless of whether you are in the planning stage or the dreaming stage, Cooperative Extension Service is offering a class you won't want to miss.

Photos: It takes a Village Fair
Jo Linda Seward, above, relaxes Saturday morning as Vicky Gee of the Blood Bank of Alaska's Kenai Peninsula Center takes her donation during a blood drive at the Soldotna Village Fair at Soldotna High School.

Fat hat, no cat. Drat.
Jacob Dye, 4, listens to a Dr. Seuss story at Kenai Community Library Saturday afternoon in a hat he won during a birthday party for the author. The event was one of several that celebrated National Read Across America Day.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Nikiski boys, girls get district victories at Grace
The Nikiski High School boys basketball team recovered from Friday's loss by posting a 56-30 District 3/3A win over Grace Christian Saturday in Anchorage.

Network president seeks more civility in sports
Five years ago, the major professional, amateur and scholastic sports organizations in America formed the Citizenship Through Sports Alliance, a concentrated effort to promote civility and sportsmanship.

Nonregion games serve as primers
Friday's nonregion high school basketball matchup between Skyview and Nikiski in the Bulldogs' yard proved to be a golden opportunity for both teams.

Hollis hits for 23, leads No. 5 Oklahoma past Colorado
BOULDER, Colo. -- Hollis Price scored 23 points and had some key steals in the second half as No. 5 Oklahoma overcame a sluggish start and then held off Colorado for an 82-71 victory on Saturday.

Seahawks ink Dilfer
KIRKLAND, Wash. (AP) -- The Seattle Seahawks have signed Trent Dilfer to a four-year deal and will make him their No. 1 quarterback heading into training camp.

Stoudamire sinks Bucks
MILWAUKEE -- Damon Stoudamire hit a 3-pointer with two-tenths of a second left in overtime as the Portland Trail Blazers extended their winning streak to a season-high nine games with an improbable 104-103 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night.

CIA boys, girls drop contests at Heritage
The Cook Inlet Academy high school basketball teams dropped a pair of nondistrict games Friday at Heritage Christian in Anchorage.

Hornish dominates IRL opener in Homestead
HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- In a new season with plenty of new competition, IRL champion Sam Hornish Jr. put himself in the same old position Saturday: atop the series standings.

Blustery day, Els blow away field at Blue Monster at Doral
MIAMI -- Ernie Els made a mockery of the Blue Monster at Doral on a blustery Saturday afternoon and blew away the field with a 6-under 66 to take an eight-stroke lead into the final round of the Genuity Championship.

Sports Briefs
Soldotna's Smith named to all-state first teamGiambi homers twice in debutAlaska Fairbanks tops Alaska AnchorageWilliams scheduled to make first court appearance

Bryant throws punch at Miller
LOS ANGELES -- There's rarely a dull moment with Shaq, Kobe & Crew, who have a knack for creating excitement when the regular season grind grows tedious.

Lindros gets hat trick vs. Flyers
NEW YORK -- Eric Lindros scored three goals against his former team, leading the New York Rangers to a 6-5 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.

Arkansas, Richardson part ways
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Arkansas ended a tumultuous week by buying out the contract of outspoken coach Nolan Richardson.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Education site tracks caribou as a sign of spring
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- North American school children can keep a close eye on the Porcupine Caribou Herd thanks to a free education Web site.

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