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Monday, March 6, 2006

Arctic Winter Games athletes arrive by the planeload: Airport sees busiest day ever

Native athlete pulls for a win
It has only been five weeks since Brianna Goins of Ninilchik learned she had been selected for the Arctic Winter Games juvenile female Dene team. But Dene coach Amanda Attla of Anchorage has had her eye on Goins for years.

Reporters’ Notebook
Editor’s note: The Reporters’ Notebook is an opportunity for Clarion reporters to share their experiences with our readers as they cover the 2006 Arctic Winter Games.

Workers will see overtime
From the police officers providing security to the cooks preparing Alaska dishes, employees throughout Kenai and Soldotna are stretching their work weeks to accommodate the athletes and spectators arriving to participate in the Arctic Winter Games.

‘We knew we could do it’
A now-infamous car ride to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, in 2002 finally paid off Sunday night for Jack Brown.

Eager athletes ready for competition, fun
The only thing more unusual than seeing the succession of massive Boeing 737 airplanes that began landing at Kenai Municipal Airport in the wee hours of Saturday morning, was seeing the ear-to-ear smiles on the faces of the young athletes who stepped off those planes despite how early in the morning they arrived and how long some of their flights had been.

Feeling the fire
It’s a small world after all as people from far-flung regions came together in camaraderie and a mutual experience at the opening ceremony of the 2006 Arctic Winter Games that got under way at the Soldotna Sports Center on Sunday evening — an event that lived up to its intention to inspire athletes, cultural performers, volunteers and onlookers alike.

Dene Games
At Mountain View Elementary School

Warming up for the Games
Teams eager to compete in the Arctic Winter Games weren’t wasting any time this weekend, and many athletes didn’t let jet lag stop them from practicing for events — some just 24 hours away.

Reader: Alaska control needs to come to an end
To annex or not to annex. I’m not talking about that little trailer house down on the corner being annexed for a bus stop. I’m talking ANWR. That’s right, the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or about 2,000 acres and a road to connect it.

Reader: Sports coverage lessens senior night meaning
Your coverage of Soldotna High School and Skyview High School senior night festivities/basketball games urged me to write this letter. My comments are for all, but especially directed at your sports writing staff. Although I did not have a student playing on either team, I went to senior night to celebrate with the students and parents of the seniors that were playing.

Stevens outlines Pebble stance
Sen. Ted Stevens, visiting the Kenai Peninsula for the opening ceremonies of the Arctic Winter Games, outlined his opposition to the Pebble Mine Project, vowed a continued fight to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling and urged state legislators to create a climate for investment in Alaska during a press conference Sunday.

South Peninsula Hospital expansion project put on diet
The troubled South Peninsula Hospital construction project is expected to go out to bid by the second week in March, Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor John Williams said.

Mayors find holes in tax cap proposal
A House bill that would cap the rate at which assessed values of real property could rise each year would harm many of Alaska’s municipalities, Tri-Borough Commission mayors said in Soldotna last week.

Fighting drugs a difficult battle for Kenai Peninsula, elsewhere
As researchers continue gathering data and applying techniques that reveal how the brain works and how addictions occur, the more the world of substance-abuse treatment changes, said Henry Novak, for a decade the executive director of the Cook Inlet Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse.

Alaska economy on drugs
Alcohol and drug abuse cost the Alaska economy an estimated $738 million during 2003, according to a report by the Governor’s Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.

Zip Mart clean up continues; monetary relief awarded
State environmental engineers may next try blowing air into the groundwater to force spilled gasoline vapors to the surface for collection near the defunct Zip Mart gas station in Sterling.

Inconsistent log books hinder halibut options
Inconsistent logbook data for saltwater charter boats and missing information are frustrating renewed efforts to map out halibut charter boat fishery regulation options for southeast and southcentral Alaska.

David W. ‘Dave’ Billingsley
Lifelong Alaska Native and Kenai resident David W. “Dave” Billingsley died Thursday, March 2, 2006, at his home. He was 50.

Dave Billingsley
Kenai resident Dave Billingsley died unexpectedly Thursday, March 2, 2006, at his home in Kenai. He was 50.

Virginia L. Caro
Former Kenai resident Virginia L. Caro died Thursday, Feb. 2, 2006, at the Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles, Wash. She was 77.

Sharon Lynne Traughber
Longtime Nikiski resident Sharon Lynne Traughber died Sunday Feb. 19, 2006, at home with family by her side, after a prolonged illness. She was 58.

Cathy Michelle Corder
Former Soldotna resident Cathy Michelle Corder died Sunday, Nov. 20, 2005, after a prolonged illness at her home, in Idaho City, Idaho.

Food for your thoughts: There’s a lot of Twinkies out there, and that’s a fact
Earth reached a milestone of sorts on Feb. 25. Somewhere on the planet a baby was born, pushing the world’s population above 6.5 billion.

It’s time for celebration
After three years of planning, fundraising, stress and excitement, the Arctic Winter Games kick off tonight.

Around the Peninsula
Pesticide training planned HEA schedules Kasilof meter upgrades Free health screenings set Parenting seminar scheduled Bear baiting clinic planned

Around the Peninsula
DeForest to discuss library history Parent night set

Ninilchik musher leads Oregon rookie on the trail
Rachael Scdoris — a legally blind musher from Bend, Ore. — may have impaired vision, but that hasn’t stopped her from being focused on what has become a single, engrossing, all-consuming goal — to complete the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race from Anchorage to Nome.

Peninsula People
Area students make honor roll Area scouts honored Peterson honored

Kenai Peninsula Online - Alaska Newspaper -

My best friend
Piper, 5 months old, naps with a paw around Willow, 5 years old. Both dogs belong to Bill and Rose Sirois of Kenai.

Sports Briefs
Middle schools hold borough meet Kenai girls, boys split with Sitka

Nikiski girls finish undefeated in conference
The Nikiski girls basketball team wrapped up an undefeated season in the Southcentral Conference on Friday with a 68-17 victory at Susitna Valley.

CIA senior boys get rousing send-off
It was an evening of a first and lasts Friday at Cook Inlet Academy.

Senior Activities
Kenai Soldotna Sterling

Senior Menus
Kenai Ninilchik Soldotna Sterling

Oilers Corner
The Oilers have solidified their 2006 coaching staff with the signing of Brian Hickman to the assistant coaching position left vacant when Wes Davis was unable to return. In 2004, Hickman served with the Oilers alongside current Oilers head coach Thad Johnson under head coach Aric Thomas. Hickman now serves as an assistant to Thomas at Eastern Oklahoma State College. The former catcher from Oral Roberts University played several seasons in the White Sox organization before entering the coaching ranks.

Pamyua opens the Games in international fashion as local Native college students join them onstage
Feel the beat of the drums. Watch the entertaining showmanship. Listen to the variety of lyrics of Pamyua (pronounced “bam-u-ah”).

Website brings the world to the Games
Not everyone who is interested in the Arctic Winter Games can attend in person, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be part of the experience. The Games website (www.awg2006.org) offers a window to the action.

In event of emergency, breakout this plan
Should there be any kind of natural disaster or threat to human safety, Arctic Winter Games officials have a plan.

Adam and Eve in Kenai
Adam and Eve have arrived on the Kenai Peninsula for the Arctic Winter Games.

International media converge on Kenai Peninsula for Games; volunteers to light cauldron
More than 200 local, regional and international media covering the Arctic Winter Games gathered on Sunday for a brunch and briefing at the Challenger Learning Center of Alaska, which will be known as “The Coca-Cola Media Center” during the Games.

Behind-the-scenes unity and spirit motivate Games organizers
Preparation for the Arctic Winter Games took on new urgency last week, as organizers worked to meet the last-minute needs of athletes, guests, volunteers, and media. The staff at the Games headquarters expected those challenges and took them in stride.

Snow creates winter wonderland, but creates work for volunteers
Those who were dreaming of an even whiter Arctic Winter Games got their wish late Saturday night when almost 10 inches of snow fell on the Kenai Peninsula. While the white stuff gave even more meaning to the term “Arctic,” it created more work for volunteers.

Tsalteshi trails await athletes
Groomed and in good condition is how the expected 60 Arctic Winter Games athletes for cross-country skiing, the ski biathlon and the snowshoe biathlon will find the course.

Sled Dogs Challenge the Mushers
The mushers of sled dog racing have unique challenges that other winter game participants won’t encounter. Each dog driver has four to seven dogs they have to care for. In other events, the participants only deal with their own personal gear and equipment.

Native American Music Award-Winning Group, “Pamyua,” Performs at Local College
Kenai Peninsula College hosted the musical group, Pamyua, as a Showcase event in celebration of the Arctic Winter Games on Saturday. This was the group’s first performance on the Peninsula.

Winter Games for the Motivationally Challenged
Couch Potato Chip Toss: This game can be played as an individual or a group sport. There are no official rules; however, bonus points can be earned if participants demonstrate the ability to catch chips in mid-air.

Officials report no problems with international arrivals
Security officials agreed Saturday morning there had been no real problems with the arrival of international flights at Kenai Municipal Airport

Melted Ice Sculptures
One lone ice sculpture stands as the sentinel over the remains of the Alaska State Championship Ice Carving Contest held during last month’s Peninsula Winter Games (PWG).

Games security a top priority
Security for the 2006 Arctic Winter Games has been two years in the making, involving the FBI, Homeland Security and local law enforcement. “The plan has been set in motion and we’re ready,” said John Lucking, Jr., Soldotna chief of police and Games security co-chair.

AWG volunteer training session draws huge crowd
Meeting the needs of the thousands of athletes, performers, and guests gathered on Kenai Peninsula for the Arctic Winter Games is no easy task. Making the job easier are the 2,800 volunteers who will assist in every aspect of the Games’ operation. More than 1,600 of those volunteers attended a two-hour training session February 18 at Kenai Central High School.

Local College Welcomes Team Alaska with Pizza Feed
Nine buses loaded with Team Alaska athletes descended on Kenai Peninsula College Friday night for pizza and drinks. Sponsored by the college and University of Alaska Anchorage, the pizza was furnished by Pizza Boys and the drinks were donated by Coca-Cola.

Age doesn’t matter when you’re part of the team
Joel Hanthorn of Fort McPherson, Northwest Territories, is one of approximately 2,000 athletes participating in the Arctic Winter Games this week.

Visitors Center Hosts Cultural Events
The Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center is hosting a variety of free events and activities this week, celebrating the Arctic Winter Games and life in the North.

Arctic Winter Games downhill ski racer shares flashback
Excitement about the Arctic Winter Games sparks unexpected conversations in unexpected places. Take for instance an innocent ride to the hospital in a TransCare hospital shuttle bus, and who should be driving but Michael Thompson, a former down-hill ski-racer who participated in the Arctic Winter Games held in Eagle River, Alaska in 1996.

Soldotna Sports Center Skaters
The Arctic Winter Games brings not only athletes from the circumpolar north, but also performers of all ages.

Nations worship together
Arctic Winter Games coaches, athletes and members of neighboring congregations gathered Sunday for a praise and worship service at the Soldotna High School auditorium. The crowd of about 70 people, representing four of the nine contingents here for the Games, clapped and sang to lively praise songs.

Team Alaska gets a special welcoming surprise
Hours of time, donations from organizations across the state, and volunteer effort went into preparing 400 “goodie bags” for Team Alaska’s at Kenai Peninsula College.

Peninsula athletes small in number, mighty in spirit
Athletes from the Kenai Peninsula generally compose a small percentage of representative Alaskan players. Only a small handful from the Kenai Peninsula competed in the 2002 and 2004 winter games; however, Peninsula residents have been ardent and enthusiastic competitors nonetheless.

Medical volunteers provide 24/7 care across the Peninsula
Arctic Winter Games athletes can rest comfortably knowing that a team of well-trained medical professionals will be on-hand around the clock in case they fall victim to an accident or illness.

Massive media gathering
More than 200 media professionals, including representatives from the Russian Television and Radio Broadcasting Company, were on hand at the media brunch Sunday to learn more about the Arctic Winter Games and how they might cover them.

College Opens Doors to Free Internet Access for AWG Visitors
Kenai Peninsula College has opened its doors to Arctic Winter Games visitors who want to access their email accounts or surf the Internet during the Games.

Arctic Winter Games Cauldron to be lit Sunday night
The focal point of the March 5 Opening Ceremonies for the Arctic Winter Games will be the lighting of the cauldron. Its flame will burn throughout the week, as a symbol of spirit of the Games.

Arctic Winter Games begin with athletes’ arrival on Kenai Peninsula
The Artic Winter Games literally landed at Kenai early Saturday morning as the first in a long line of jumbo jets set down at Kenai Municipal—now International—Airport at 12:01 a.m. with the first arrivals from Alberta North. Every out-of-state athlete, coach and interpreter landed in Kenai with the exception of the Smi contingents, who were bused from Anchorage.

Spectacular Opening Ceremonies “Release the Spirit Within” the Kenai Peninsula
Nearly 4,300 people heeded the call to “Release the Spirit Within” and participated Sunday night in the official Opening Ceremonies of the 2006 Arctic Winter Games at the Soldotna Sports Center.

Local Organizations Make Arctic Winter Games Green
Four organizations and companies with a “green” attitude are working together to ensure the Arctic Winter Games trash does not wind up in the borough landfill.

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