Thursday, March 6, 2008

Business Briefs
What's new in your business? Chambers set schedules New business products offered Business reopens Robinson named new director of physical medicine Business workshops offered Children's cooking workshops offered

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.

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.

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.

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.

‘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.”

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.

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.

Can-do spirit helps food bank
Delightful slides, dancing, dollars and donations. We got it all with the recent "South Africa: A World in One Country" event at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center. Thank you to Greg and Jan Daniels for taking us with them around the world and for their generosity in requesting that the admission be a donation to the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank in the form of high protein food or a monetary donation.

Support keeps dancers moving
Peninsula Artists in Motion (PAM) Dance Company's Winter Ball held Jan. 26 was a fabulous success. Thank you for the support from our arts-minded community and all of the people who attended. PAM's mission as a nonprofit organization is to cultivate dance on the peninsula; with live music provided by Bob Ramponi's Alaska Swing Co., we kept two dance floors filled with ballroom dancers.

Reader: Time to talk is now for the salmon's sake
Each year fewer permit holders bother to put their nets in the water. Some blame low prices for salmon, high fuel costs of the thousands of tons of farmed salmon being dumped onto the American markets each year. Commercially, this is a statewide phenomenon that grows economically worse for commercial fishing families each year. Together with sport, subsistence and personal-use fisheries it is a never-ending recurring nightmare.

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.

Homer charter school won't get more space
Despite Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Superintendent Donna Peterson's recommendation that Fireweed Academy be given an additional classroom at West Homer Elementary School, and after multiple attempts at motions to do just that, the school board Monday night finally just said no.

City mulls course
If the city of Soldotna does not purchase Birch Ridge golf course when its owners retire in the not too distant future, the likelihood of Birch Ridge remaining as a golf course is in question.

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.

Focus on the future
In the 10 years he has been president of the University of Alaska, Mark Hamilton said 100 new programs have begun, 85 of which are in the two-year and under, work force development subject areas.

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.

Roy James Evans Jr.
Nanwalek resident and Alaska Native Roy James Evans Jr. died Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2008, at his home in Nanwalek. He was 47.

State must diversify for jobs: Mining can play an important role in the future of Alaska
Mining is a growing industry in Alaska, bringing family wage jobs to Alaskans, paying substantial taxes to state and local governments and forming important partnerships with private landholders, such as NANA and Calista corporations. Estimated 2007 economic impacts of Alaska's mining industry recently were released in a report prepared for the Alaska Miners Association by McDowell Group Inc., a well-known economic consulting firm with offices in Anchorage, Kodiak and Juneau. This report can be downloaded from

Around the Peninsula
Community talent show planned Rotary raffle offers hope Democracy to be discussed Excellent teachers sought SoHi welcomes eighth-graders Scholarships offered

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

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.

Nikiski girls set for Grace
Ward Romans knows precisely what it takes to qualify for the state tournament. He just won't come out and say it.

Ninilchik boys defeat Nikolaevsk
Tyler Sutherland netted a game-high 20 points, including 16 of his team's 21 points in the third quarter, in leading the Ninilchik boys to a 60-24 victory over Nikolaevsk on Wednesday in the opening round of the Peninsula Conference tournament at Cook Inlet Academy.

NLC tournament promises high drama
Northern Lights Conference girls basketball is back.

King's Highway runs through Kenai
"Camino Real," plays at 7 p.m. on Friday and 2 and 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Kenai Performers' Playhouse in Old Town.

Poet's Corner
Tears Slowly Streaming Down my face,

Take a song, make it your own
The jazz/cabaret week will begin with lessons and classes held in Soldotna High School's green room, starting on March 16 with a meeting at 7 p.m., followed by five afternoons and nights of lessons from March 17 through 21. The week will end with a Gala Concert at The Crossing Restaurant in Soldotna on March 22.

'Semi-Pro' is no 'Major League'
Will Ferrell has carved out a pretty comfortable niche for himself playing loveable buffoons at the top of their game, whatever that game may be, from news anchor to ice skater. I'm sure it seemed like a perfect fit when the idea came along for him to play Jackie Moon, owner, coach and power forward for the Flint Michigan Tropics. After all, loveable basketball buffoon is obviously next in line.

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