Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Lending a helping stair
Athletes exiting a Bowing 757 airplane that arrived from Greenland were greeted by a foreign airport contraption in Kenai on Saturday, after equipment inspectors discovered that a functional set of stairs tall enough to reach the plane’s door were not available.

Ulu winners
Cross-country skiing Dene games Inuit Games Speed Skating

Wrestling with new rules
Team Alaska’s wrestlers managed to pick up wins and knowledge Monday during the opening rounds of Arctic Winter Games wrestling competition.

Speed skater has breathless finish
Determination pulled a speed skater to the finish line despite an asthma attack that caused her to collapse twice before finishing the race Tuesday.

Table your enthusiasm
Members of the Team Greenland and Team Yamal-Nenets table tennis teams speak very little English. Even so, Team Alaska has a much easier time hanging with Greenland and Yamal players away from table tennis than at the tennis table.

International media descend on Kenai Peninsula to capture Arctic Winter Games action
There are 1,900 athletes and coaches from nine regions of the world on the Kenai Peninsula for the Arctic Winter Games this week. That’s news. That’s why there are 218 members of the media here, to send that news back to their listeners, readers and viewers around the circumpolar world.

Focus on: Curling
· Goal of game: Slide a stone down a sheet of ice and have it stop near the center of a set of rings (called house), while your opponent tries everything tactically to stop you from achieving said goal. Bottom line: Game is honorable much the same as golf.

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.

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.

Alpine ambition

Friendship within their reach
Standing on the sidelines of the one-hand reach airplane event, Matt Anikina of Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories silently bobbed his head to 50 Cent blaring in his headphones and watched as his competitors dropped out one by one. As the defending Arctic Winter Games champion in the Inuit games event, Anikina had every reason to believe he would repeat as champion.

Alaska not bumped from volleyball play yet, despite challenges fielding boys team
Putting together a boys volleyball team in a state that doesn’t have boys volleyball at any level can be a challenge. Fortunately for Team Alaska, the Arctic Winter Games tournament includes five round robin games before medal-round play begins Thursday.

Pin trading is habit-forming part of Arctic Winter Games
With little more than a blank spot on the front of their jackets, Kenai Peninsula kids were introduced Monday afternoon to what easily could become a lifelong addiction.

Focus on: Snowboarding
· Goal of game: Giant slalom competitors race against the clock on a course set for speed. Bordercross combines aspects of freestyle and Alpine racing, with competitors navigating a giant slalom course with banked turns, jumps and other features. Slope-style is similar to halfpipe, but is performed in a series of jumps and stunts over obstacles in the terrain park. Halfpipe competitors try to score judges’ points in a half-cylinder-shaped course (much like ramps in a skateboard park) by performing tricks with perfect form.

Skill not sidelined in sidearm throw
To alpine skiers, the term “snow snake” is used to identify that imaginary serpent that hides mercilessly in the middle of a perfectly groomed ski slope, and deftly bites the tip of the unwary skier schussing by, causing the skier to fly up into the air and land on his or her noggin.

Mother prime figure in skater’s success
Kathy Turner first watched her daughter toddle around on ice skates when she was 3 years old, and over the 11 years since then has watched the young girl evolve into a graceful figure skater with dreams of one day entering the Olympics.

Tuesday Ulu winners
Alpine skiing Cross-country skiing Dog mushing Figure skating Gymnastics Snowboarding Snowshoeing Speed skating

Local artists to meet and greet AWG visitors at Frames & Things in Soldotna
Four artists, four shows, for four special days. Visitors from around the world during the 2006 Arctic Winter Games will have a unique opportunity to meet popular Alaskan artists. According to Brian Irwin of Frames and Things in Soldotna the idea was to provide a central location where visitors could engage in dialogue with some of our local artists. “The first day March 8th, we will be featuring Alaskan wildlife photographer John Ferguson. Thursday the 9th, Norma Daniels will be here with her exquisite Alaskan crafting of hand made detailed images of Gnomes, Santa’s, and Russian dolls. Then Friday from 3:00pm to 5:00pm Regina Mcabee will present her dazzling birch bark vessels shaped in a variety of free flowing forms. Then Saturday we’ll conclude the series just before the AWG closing ceremonies with the legendary Ed Tussey. Ed will be present to meet and talk with you and sign his work. If you enjoy meeting artists, Ed is one of the nicest people you’ll ever engage in conversation,” said Irwin.

In Sterling a chain saw is not just for cutting firewood
Underneath the bark of many of the beatle killed trees on the Kenai Peninsula is an animal or caricature waiting to come to life at the hands of Scott Hanson’s chain saw. Specializing in animals native to the arctic north, Hanson has created a one-of-kind carousel at his town of living trees and gift gallery in Sterling as well as many figures of bears, salmon and eagles that grace the entry ways of businesses and homes throughout Alaska. “I just gave it a try one day to see what I could do with my chain saw, and one thing led to another and now the chain saw is my main tool for all the work that I do,” says Hanson who only studied art in High School. Three years ago Hanson started sculpting with his chain saw in ice the same way, and since has won many awards and ice carving championships. Alaska’s cold winters and pure water forms ice quickly and densely giving it a slight glacial blue tint so clear that a person can read a news paper through a four-foot block of ice. During the Peninsula Winter Games in February Hanson crafted many figures in ice around the Central Peninsula with the hope they would last for the Arctic Winter Games. However, above average temperatures melted most the ice figures that ranged from leprechauns to figure skaters and angels.

Alaskan wines tempt the pallets of adventuresome connoisseurs...
It may take a while for Alaskan made wines to catch up to the Great Land’s reputation for big mountains, fish, bears and moose, but the Bear Creek Winery in beautiful Homer by the Sea is off to running start. Alaska’s climate may not allow for the cultivation of the Pinot Noir grape, but it does offer exceptional wild berry and rhubarb harvests. The idea of an Alaskan winery was the brainchild of Dorothy Fry and her husband Bill, “It’s actually a hobby gone very amuck,” laughs Fry when asked the most common question of where the grapes come from for their Bear Creek Winery, “It all started some 17 years ago when we were across the bay at Halibut Cove with friends at a pot luck and Dave Nixon brought some raspberry/rhubarb wine and my husband went nuts for it and making wine was something he had always wanted to do so 9 years ago we started making wine on our kitchen counter, and it’s just grown from their to where today our main problem is keeping up with the demand, it’s grown beyond our wildest dreams, we have had people drive from as far away as Fairbanks just to buy our wines,” said Dorothy.

Well the Trustworthy Derby is over for another year and I think perhaps it might have been the best derby ever. A lot of nice fish brought in by a whole lot of different anglers and plenty of smiling faces. My family and I never won any of the big fish categories despite spending a whole lot of time out fishing.

Blood drives run with support
The generous students and faculty at Kenai, Soldotna and Ninilchik high schools graciously hosted blood drives the week of Feb. 19. These community events were supported by the use of a van sponsored by numerous businesses and civic organizations from the Kenai Peninsula. One hundred twenty-nine people took time out of their busy schedules to donate blood. Thank you all.

Help appreciated in fuel spill matter
The Sterling Community Coalition Group would like to thank Rep. Mike Chenault and Sens. Ted Stevens and Lisa Murkowski for intervening in the Zip Mart fuel spill litigation on behalf of the affected property owners of Sterling.

Resources worth more
Here is a question I recently posed to the governor:

Organizers give warm thanks for support on cold day
The organizers of the second annual She Can Ski event extend a warm thank you to the following businesses and individuals for their support: Beemun’s, Wilderness Way, Lee Johnson, Skyview High School ski team, Peninsula Clarion, Gourmet Garden, KSRM and Kaladi Brothers. Also, many thanks for the support, time and energy of Paul Gutzler, Sherri Karnikas, Jeff Fox, Karen Brewer-Fair, Patti Berkhan, Betty Miller, Bill Holt, Pete Sprague, Tom Seggerman, John Harro, Jon Lillevik, Renae Merkes, Gail Moore, Sara Hepner, Dan Skipwith, Chris Banas, Paul Dale, Roger Boyd, David Gibbs, Doug Baxter and Ole Anderson.

Dental experience painful
My granddaughter had a very bad tooth ache and called several dentists locally and could not get care.

Reader: Actions earn Bush new title
Turning over control of some of our countries largest ports to a foreign government is just one more item in a seemingly endless line of blunders and mismanagement by the Bush administration. From lying to Americans to justifying starting a war with Iraq, lying to Congress about the true costs of the Medicare program, illegal spying on Americans and lying about that, complete lack of leadership during Hurricane Katrina, the War on Terra, burdening our country with massive unprecedented debt, the list goes on and on and on.

Reader: Labeling regs should remain under local, state control
Local regulations concerning the labeling of food must be retained. The federal government does not exist to pre-empt states’ rights and local laws. Everything the federal government touches has the unfortunate habit of becoming a plaything of large corporations for their exclusive use and profit to the detriment of the welfare of average citizens.

Gift hits right note with Kenai Performers
Thank you, Tesoro, from Kenai Performers for the wonderful and very generous donation of $1,000. With your assistance we have been able to purchase a beautiful new piano for the community playhouse. What a joy we will receive from the use of this piano in our performances, events and the many activities that go on at the playhouse.

‘Jellied’ halibut spreading
This week commercial fishermen geared up their boats to kick off the opening of the halibut fishery and soon will be followed by sport and charter boat fishermen, all in hot pursuit of this sweet, flaky-fleshed bottom fish. But not all halibut will be welcomed onboard charter boats or into the fish market.

Increase in phone bills will aid emergency response
It costs the Kenai Peninsula Borough much more to operate its emergency communications system than it receives from a surcharge telephone users pay as part of their monthly phone bills.

Hospital board nixes money for Health Centers facility
The Central Peninsula General Hospital board of directors denied a $50,000 grant request to build a new facility to serve the under- and uninsured, after the request drew strong opposition from physicians at a board meeting Thursday.

Antibear carts to dispose of trash foraging
Dumpster diving won’t be as rewarding for bears visiting Kenai this summer as it has been in the past, thanks in part to an Alaska Department of Fish and Game conservation program.

Study: Alaska feels greater impacts from global warming
Although the one-degree increase in the Earth’s overall temperature in the last 50 years may not sound like enough to work up a sweat over, it’s enough to trigger erratic weather patterns, extinctions and increasing sea levels.

Homer shooter took own life
A state medical examiner has determined that the man involved in a shootout with police at Homer Airport was struck several times by officers’ bullets, but died from a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.

Richard D. ‘Boomer’ Allen
Longtime Sterling resident Richard D. “Boomer” Allen died Sunday, Jan. 29, 2006, at his home, surrounded by his family, after a short battle with cancer. He was 72. A celebration of his life will be held in the spring in Sterling.

Around the Peninsula
Historical society to meet Bee keepers buzzing Ruffner to discuss kayak adventure Skyview to host parent night First aid classes available

Around the Peninsula
Skyview to host parent night Genealogical society plans events Amnesty International presentation slated Social Security reps to visit area Volunteer drivers needed Foster care, adoption workshops available Martial arts class offered

Northern Lights Conference Basketball Tournament at Colony High School

Experience not always on winner’s side in Snowshoe matches
There is a wide assortment of experience levels at the snowshoe competitions. Many participants have never been on snowshoes, some have family members that have competed previously while others have years of experience. However, since the snowshoes are the same length, width and weight, there is no equipment advantage when it comes to competitions.

Tuesday Ulu winners
Alpine skiing Cross-country skiing Dog mushing Figure skating Gymnastics Snowboarding Snowshoeing Speed skating

Greenland boys start strong
The Soldotna High School gymnasium was once again the scene of intense competition as Greenland and Nunavut junior males went head-to-head in soccer play.

Quilt Challenge ‘Release[s] the Spirit Within’ Local Artists
The excitement of the Arctic Winter Games coming to the Kenai Peninsula wove an idea for local resident, Pat Reese, owner of Robin’s Fabrics. Caught up in the enthusiasm, she asked an official if it would be possible to have a Games Quilt Challenge with an original design that depicted the Games’ slogan.

Yukon Boys slip past Nunavut on the hardwood
The Yukon boys basketball team snuck away with a 67-65 win Tuesday against Nunavut at Cook Inlet Academy in Soldotna.

Without bus transportation, the Games Would Stop
Saturday morning at approximately 8:10 a.m. with temperatures reported at 13 degrees, official Arctic Winter Game bus drivers in orange-transportation attire circled while waiting for the first Boeing 747 to arrive at the Kenai Airport.

College Spring Break in Alaska means subtracting sun, sand as students help AWG
Sun, Daytona Beach, frivolity, Ft. Lauderdale, beaches, and not a care in worldis what comes to mind when you think of Spring Break and college students. However, students from Alaska Christian College in Soldotna are spending their week-long vacation volunteering at the Arctic Winter Games.

Arctic Winter Games ceremony draws praise from participants and spectators
Kathleen Netser, Team Nunavut (soccer). “It was awesome. The best part was that I was there with all my friends and my brother. But I was too short to see the dancing.”

Yukon breaks into the games
The Yukon has a unique cultural contingent taking part in the Arctic Winter Games—a team of break dancers.

The ‘End of the Road’ beckons Games visitors via shuttle for Curling and culture
While Homer, Alaska is fondly referred to as “the end of the road” by locals and tourism brochures, during the Arctic Winter Games there is no end in sight as to what is happening at the other end of the Peninsula.

At the Opening Curling Ceremonies in Homer, an all-star line-up welcomes the competitors to the ice
The sound of bagpipes echoed throughout the Homer ice rink as Kenai’s Steve Adams blew “Scotland the Brave” to kick off Curling on Monday.

Home Sweet Home: A day in the life of a participant
The athletes and participants in the Arctic Winter games live in “villages” quite unlike the villages they call home in the Circumpolar North. However, while they may not look like home, almost all the comforts are available.

First wrestling dual of the AWG
The first wrestling duel of the Arctic Winter Games pitting Team Alberta North versus Northwest Territories on Monday wound up with Alberta pinning their opponents 98-20.

Good sportsmanship, not Ulu medal count, determines Hodgson’s Trophy winner
The Hodgson’s Trophy is given to the Arctic Winter Games contingent that demonstrates what Webster’s Dictionary defines as “a person (or persons) who can take loss of defeat without complaint, or victory without gloating, and who treats their opponents with fairness, generosity, courtesy.”

AWG Communications Command Center keeps everyone on the same page
From Girdwood to Homer, in the event of an emergency such as an earthquake, tsunami, volcanic eruption or even an avalanche such as the one that occurred last night at Mile 54 of the Seward Highway, communications are the key to responsiveness.

Indoor soccer kicks off with physically brutal game
Boys’ soccer kicked off in what turned out to be a very physical game Monday, with Northern Alberta eventually taking the contest with a 5-3 win.

Kicking up a storm in two-foot Inuit fashion
Once used for communication and a test of strength and endurance during the winter months in villages, the two-foot high kick has become one of the more popular events at the Arctic Winter Games.

Mushers test drive trail; find conditions good, but slow
The Arctic Winter Games dog mushers had their first official meeting Sunday after Saturday’s snowfall at the Peninsula Dog Track on Funny River Road, Soldotna.

Alyeska Resort yields gold and silver to Team Alaska women
Team Alaska took home gold and silver Ulus in the Arctic Winter Games’ Ladies Slalom competition Tuesday afternoon at Alyeska Resort.

Snow Snake event leads off Dene and Inuit Games
The Arctic sports are in motion and literally kicking into gear.

Alberta athletes show how The ‘Spirit Within’ is team spirit and doing your best
“It’s not all about winning, it’s more about doing your best; they all want you to do your best,” is how Curran Speager describes her fellow athletes on the Alberta Team.

Team Alaska hockey women ice victory with first win
In the first contest of women’s hockey in the 2006 Arctic Winter Games, Team Alaska was pitted against Team Northwest Territories, during early morning play at the Soldotna Sports Center. At the final buzzer, the score stood at 4-2 in Alaska’s favor.

Mt. St. Augustine: Games’ officials prepared to deal with mightiest opponent
About 120 miles southwest of the Arctic Winter Games headquarters, the Games most intimidating opponent could lie in wait. Rising 4,206 feet out of Kachemak Bay near Homer, looms Mt. St. Augustine, a volcano that has recently shown its “spirit within” by unleashing ash and clouds into the skies over the Kenai Peninsula.

Speed Skaters set new records in 500 meter races
Two new Arctic Winter Games speed skating records were set in 500-meter races Monday at the Soldotna Sports Center as a small yet exuberant crowd cheered them on.

Interactive video connects Homer media to briefings
Arctic Winter Games general manager Tim Dillon can’t be in two places at the same time. But he is able to deliver his daily media briefings to reporters in Homer, while actually being in Kenai. That’s because the “Coca Cola Media Center” is linked by interactive video technology to the Homer media center at the Kachemak Bay Campus of Kenai Peninsula College.

‘Discipline that lives with them;’ Senator Stevens says of Arctic Winter Games athletes
United States Alaska Senator Ted Stevens agrees with the many people who say the participants in the Arctic Winter Games could be our next Olympic athletes and his positive outlook for our young people is infectious.

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