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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Outdoors
Certain things in the animal world have always amused me but at the same time left me wondering just how well animals and birds communicate with each other. Those simple sounds we hear from time to time have to mean a whole lot more to members of the animal world than just a noise that we hear. With a little thought and perhaps a whole lot more imagination perhaps this is somewhat close to what is actually being said by those birds of the air and the animals that live here among us.

Miles of Smiles
It could be said that it was a cast of “Wanna be’s, Should be’s and Never will be’s!” that drew a standing room only crowd to the Sterling Senior Center last week for the 5th Annual Sterling Head Start/Community Club Dinner/Show & Auction, but that would exclude the host of local dignitaries, volunteers, supporters, sponsors and followers of North Slope Chef Michael Even’s famous prime rib supper. It would also not do justice to the lovely contestants that turned out for the first ever Ms. Sterling Beauty Pageant, arrayed not in bunny boots and Carhartt’s as one might have expected, but in gorgeous evening apparel the envy of any red carpet, supplied by Deb Debnam at Alaska Wedding Brokers. It might also discount the vocal styling’s of Stephanie Bouchard who provided the during dinner entertainment, or the comedy skits, dance ensembles, karaoke numbers, and self defense demonstrations all of which have folks eagerly anticipating next year’s event. But would never the less provide a humorous description of the evening.

Charlotte’s celebrates a decade of gourmet dining
In 1975 Charlotte Legg was in Kodiak Alaska driving trucks, not 4X4 pick ups or U-Hauls, but 18 wheeler semi-tractor’s, “I was one of the first five women that joined the Teamsters Union and I was dispatched out of Valdez and I hauled Trans-Alaska Pipeline pipe from Valdez to Fairbanks for about three months before I jackknifed my rig on top of Thompson Pass and decided I should go back to the kitchen where I belonged,” Charlotte told the Dispatch as she was preparing for “King & I” Gourmet 5 Course Dinner & Theatre event last week. I would be some 20 years after the jackknifing incident before Charlotte would open her own restaurant in Kenai, “I started cooking on dude ranches and realized that the kitchen was where my talent really was and where I belonged,” she said.

‘Canstruction’ artists build food pyramid to topple hunger
The 2008 Canstruction event at the Kenai Visitors & Cultural Center enters its final week of Can-Do-creativity that CAN fight hunger in the local area. Through Saturday, March 8th, sculptures made out of nonperishable food items are eligible for several awards such as the CAN-Do-Award or Ton-O-Tin-Award. All of the food collected will be distributed to needy Kenai Peninsula residents. “We are counting on the AlasCAN Spirit, that CAN-do attitude to make a difference by counting CANs to help us fight hunger on the Peninsula,” says Kenai Peninsula Food Bank executive director Linda Swarner, “Through Saturday we are looking for teams to build sculptures from canned and packaged food for the 10th annual CANstruction event. CANstruction is a fun filled food drive designed to collect food for the hungry.”

KCHS juniors walk in the real world, cast shadows into the future
Another successful Job Shadow was held last week. The program sponsored by the Kenai Chamber of Commerce annually gets Kenai Central High School (KCHS) juniors out of the classroom and into the real world for a day to experience a career they might be interested in pursuing. The entire KCHS junior class participated this year according to Sal Mattero of the Job Shadow committee, “It was a pretty hefty number this year, up around 130 students, which we were very happy to see and their enthusiasm was also tremendous this year,” said Mattero. Prior to Job Shadow day Mattero did in-classroom orientations for six classes and spoke with them about what they should expect when in the real world of business and appropriate behavior, “Then Wednesday the students were picked up by their hosts early in the morning at the high school and were taking to the various businesses where they spent the day in the work place until 12:30pm when we met for the luncheon at the Kenai Christian Church,” explained Mattero.

Fair has healthy response
Wow, what a great turnout we had at the Kenai Peninsula College Health Fair! A big thank you to the community, students and volunteers who made this such a success. We had over 30 health and wellness exhibitors, including Peninsula Athletic Club (free passes); Dena'ina Health Clinic diabetes and colon cancer screening information; Cooperative Extension food safety program; Healthy Living (Shaklee); WIC/Alaska Family services; Consumer Direct Personal Care information; Dr. Dawn Lamb, Naturopath, discussing menopause and hypertension approaches; Geneva Woods Pharmacy; Hospice of the Central Peninsula; KPB/OEM spruce bark beetle mitigation and disaster preparedness; Kenai Peninsula Food Bank; LeeShore Center; Life Alaska Donor Program; Nature's Remedies SAD lights, heaters and nutritional information; Peninsula Smoke Free Partnership; Planned Parenthood; Stem Tech Health Sciences; Xocai Healthy Chocolate; Central Peninsula Counseling Services; Lions Club low-vision screening station; paramedic class "SIM" Man demonstration; Glitterbug stationmaster Joey Becher and free massages from Energy Enhancements; Healing Arts Center and Dr. Frisk, chiropractor; and Peninsula Health Center.

Reader supports mining development
Good paying jobs come from industries that have a good margin of profit and, where often times required, skilled workers. Does the fishing industry match these criteria? No, commercial fishing needs skilled workers, but the margin of profit is not there. The tourist industry does not need highly skilled workers and the profit margin varies widely. Government? Fast food? Retail? Etc.?

Performers are top-notch
I just cannot believe the talent we have in this community. I am talking about the "King and I" play in Kenai. I really never paid attention to the plays put on by the Kenai Performers until my twin daughters got a part in the play directed by Carol Ford.

PRISM may get new manager
With the approval of the Kenai City Council, the city's fire training facility stands to get a new manager, again.

HEA elections set for May 1
Six people have signed up to run for three Homer Electric Association Board of Director seats. Nominations closed Friday.

Oil industry oversight money restored
State House lawmakers voted Tuesday to reinstate a $523,000 increase in funding to an office established last year that coordinates the state's oil and gas oversight and compliance functions with other agencies.

HEA wants to advance alternate energies
If Homer Electric Association gets the green light from state regulators, the utility would like to offer members a chance to help advance the cause of renewable energy.

Photo feature: Mush through the slush
Dixie DeMars walks her pugs Hercules, Buddha and Chelsea on ice-covered Sterling Court in Kenai on Tuesday afternoon. Forecasters are calling for another day of snow mixed with rain today.

911 system needs upgrade
Imagine facing a desperate situation in which you need emergency services immediately. Now imagine your call to 911 is dropped or misrouted to the wrong agency.

Photo feature: Walking in a winter wonderland
Life imitates art as Bobbie Eide walks along Forest Drive in Monday's snowstorm. "I like the snow so I got out to stretch my legs for a little bit," Eide said. "I think it's pretty."

Potatoes take center stage at garden presentation
Four members of the Central Peninsula Gardening Club will spend today's meeting behind pots of boiling water. When the meeting is over, gardeners will evaluate approximately 100 pounds of potatoes, noting taste, texture and appearance.

Mayors call for state energy policy
Shrinking energy supplies and rising costs will impair the future economic health of Southcentral Alaska unless the state takes steps to adopt a comprehensive energy policy, Tri-Borough Commission leaders said at a press conference Friday in Anchorage.

Around the Peninsula
Recycling group to gather Archbishop to install Catholic priests Rotary raffle offers hope Democracy to be discussed Charter school enrollment continues Canine Good Citizen test planned Rodeo meeting slated

Around the Peninsula
Kids talent contest Saturday Foster care, adoption meeting set PFLAG to meet Cancer fundraiser a cut above CIRCAC to meet March of Dimes walk planned KCHS class of '88 reunion planned Cameras, photo printers sought Donations sought for military personnel Kids reading program continues

Sports Brief
The Kenai Peninsula Borough Middle School wrestling tournament was held Friday and Saturday in Homer. The results follow:

CIA, Ninilchik set for conference tourney
It's difficult not to consider the Cook Inlet Academy and Ninilchik girls basketball teams as the front-runners to claim the two state tournament berths on the line when the Peninsula Conference tourney kicks off today at Cook Inlet.

Around the District
School board meetings slated No school planned for Friday School Web pages available Scholarships offered Aurora Borealis Charter Connections home-school IDEA home-school Kalifornsky Beach Elementary Kaleidoscope School of Arts and Science Kenai Central High Kenaitze Head Start Mountain View Elementary Ninilchik School Nikiski Middle-High Nikiski North Star Redoubt Elementary Sears Elementary Skyview High School Soldotna High Soldotna Elementary Soldotna Middle Sterling Elementary Tustumena Elementary Wings Christian Academy

Standing in the shadows
Cory Lehl was part of Kenai Central High School's Job Shadow Program as a student about eight years ago.

Love of reading sweeps through district schools
A word of warning to guest readers visiting schools during Love of Reading Month: Beware the Dr. Seuss books.

Student program keeps growing
Job Shadow Day, a day where juniors from Kenai Central High School have an opportunity to learn about a specific type of career they are interested in, has been running since 1994. Colleen Ward was the brains behind the operation and ended up staying with the program for 11 years before handing over the reins to a special committee that includes people from all over the Kenai Peninsula.

Writer feels enlightened after day at the office: Job Shadow
On Job Shadow Day, I almost gave up on going. The night before I had just about completely lost my voice, and the morning of I sounded like a man rather than a 17-year-old girl. In spite of this, I dragged myself out of bed 15 minutes earlier than the usual 5:40 a.m. wake up call, just to make sure I had enough time.

Quiz measures readiness for distance education: Kenai Peninsula College
In an effort to help students gauge their aptitude for distance education, the IT staff at Kenai Peninsula College has put together a quiz that, if answered honestly, should help students determine if distance education is a good fit.

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