Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Outdoors
I never had the opportunity to do much canoeing as a young man, mainly because we never owned one. My father loved fishing but since he could not swim, he wanted no part of climbing into a canoe. He did however make sure that us kids all went to swimming lessons each summer. Unfortunately for me, it was while attending those swimming lessons that I can the closest to drowning in my life!

Redoubt Readers Hear a Who on Dr. Seuss's 106th Birthday
Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, may have passed away in 1991, but his birthdays are more popular today than green eggs and ham, especially at Redoubt Elementary School where for the last six years or so Sharon Hale has coordinated a school wide celebration of the favorite author of children's books. The idea is not just to honor the famous author, but to further one of his life time goals of teaching children to love reading. "It's actually become part of a national campaign sponsored by the NEA known as Read Across America, but for me it's because I love Dr. Seuss and doing crazy things like this that brings community members in to read to the kids," said Hale. Again a theme that is said to have inspired Dr. Seuss's writing because he wasn't happy with the limited books that were written for children or suited for adults to read to children.

Oiler Gusher returns500 fans induct 1st Hall of Famers
Like the return of salmon to the waters where they were born, the Peninsula Oilers have returned to their annual Gusher, an event that for years promised the coming of summer and Alaska League Baseball for the Kenai. The popular event, once held at the Kenai National Guard Armory, was discontinued after nine eleven when the Armory was closed to public events. "I am thrilled with tonight's success after nearly a decade absence of the celebrity Gusher. One of the things that have been a goal of mine since arriving in 2006 was to bring the Gusher back, and when the Oilers Board of Directors met to discuss this, I said lets take it a step further and add the 1st annual Hall of Fame induction to the event," said Shawn Maltby, Oiler General Manager. "There are so many pioneers that started the Oiler program here and brought it to where it is today, that we thought it was time to recognize them and some of the great ball players that have come through here and had successful careers on and off the field. The Oiler Hall of Fame was certainly long overdue and there will be no shortage of inductees in the future, as we have had some well known major leaguers play and coach for the Oilers," added Maltby. First inductees to the Oiler Hall of Fame for their organizational support were Dick Morgan, Dwain Gibson, and Judy Buffington.

KCHS Juniors get up close to careers during Job Shadow day
Last Wednesday was Job Shadow day for juniors at Kenai Central High School (KCHS). Sponsored by the Kenai Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with the Kenai Rotary Club and a myriad of local business hosts and supporters, the Job Shadow program is now in its 16th year. According to Tina Baldridge, Kenai Chamber executive director, there were over 100 student participants in this year's Job Shadow who spent half a day experiencing the real world in a career which was of interest to them. "We had 13 students shadow different departments at the Central Peninsula Hospital, five students at the Kenai Police Department and about 15 students in the oil & gas field with various companies such as Tesoro and Marathon. Other students selected broadcasting, journalism, and cosmetology," said Baldridge.

Kenai Peninsula Construction Academy graduates ready to work
Training Alaska's future work force and providing skills for those in need of jobs is a challenge taken on by Bob Hammer and the instructors of the Kenai Peninsula Construction Academy. Last week Hammer and company officiated over the Academy's graduation celebration and pizza party. "This is the third year we've had classes through the Construction Academy where we've been able to give basic carpentry, electrical, plumbing, and welding classes. Our student turn out was really good this year and our goal, as always, is to not only teach them a skill, but to help get them all employed. We've had some good partners again this year with the Department of Labor, the AGC, and the Construction Education Foundation of the State of Alaska," said Hammer. Hammer says that while the job market in Alaska as in the lower 48 is in somewhat of a slum, he believes that a major construction project such as a gas pipeline will happen eventually. When it does, their goal is to have Alaskans ready to fill those good paying jobs so that they won't have to go workers outside of the state.

Guacamole
3 ripe Haas avocados

Amazing, Appetizing, Avacodos: At their peak from March to May
Avocados do not ripen until they are harvested, so the vast majority of avocados we bring home from the market a stone hard and not ready for eating. If you want to eat an avocado the day it is purchased, it should have a little "give" when gently squeezed. If it still has a stem, flick off a bit with your finger. If it comes off without difficulty and is green, your avocado is ripe -- if the stem is brown, your avocado is overripe. In addition, do not purchase avocados that "rattle," a sign that the pit has pulled from the flesh and is overripe. The best way to ripen avocados at home is to place them in a brown paper bag. Stored at room temperature, avocados will ripen in about two to five days, at which time they may be used right away or refrigerated, for up to one week. The back of a spoon will mash a ripe avocado quite well, but a potato ricer turns it into velvet. For slicing tasks, a knife works fine, or use one of those clever avocado tools for creating perfect avocado wedges in one fell swoop. Avocados are in peak season from now until May, and prices are good. If you've never seen what the inside of a ripe avocado looks like up close, slice into one first chance you get. You'll call its enormous pit "amazing" and the creamy fruit, "sublime."

Bourbon-Pecan Cake
1 (18.25-ounce) box Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe white cake mix

Heart-Healthy Cream of Avocado Soup
2 cups sodium-reduced chicken broth

Random act of kindness appreciated
My name is Alyssa Rosin I am a senior at Soldotna High School and have lived in this town my entire life. On the date of Feb. 25 I absent mindedly left my wallet in Soldotna's Fred Meyer parking lot. It takes an honest person with good morals to return a wallet full of money such as mine, and someone in this community did! Thank you very much for being such a model citizen and it's good to be reminded just how great the people in this small community are. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that all my money, identification and blank checks were still in place, it truly was a blessing. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart. I very much respect a person such as yourself.

An oldie but goodie
Regarding all the commotion about all the automobiles being recalled because of design and mechanical problems, even the Government runs General Motors now: I purchased a car in 1948 for $400 dollars that took me all summer helping construct a Roller Skating Rink. It was a 1929 Model "A" Ford Coupe with a Rumble seat; it had the standard equipment, that is three pedals on the driver's side of the car. The left one was the clutch peddle which when pushed on, would let you shift gears. The same way with the second pedal except that was the brake peddle. The third and most important one was the foot feed and pushing it at increased or decreased amounts determined your speed, again it was spring loaded (no computer chips involved).

Beach access decision past due
Regarding the Nikiski beach public road, it looks like Judge Moran doesn't have to fear either the state or the borough because their attorneys don't want to ruffle her feathers. So what's the hold-up, Judge? Is it the right and freedom of Americans to have their beach back, or are you going to sell them out?

Op-ed piece informative
Thank you for publishing "'Faces of Aces' or 'Fleecing of Alaska'?" by Ray Metcalfe (Clarion, March 4). The information on the details of BP, Exxon, and Conoco-Phillips deals with Iraq is clear evidence to me that the oil companies are getting a great deal on our Alaskan oil. Previous news and international reports have suggested this was true. The actual dollar comparisons of oil company profits on Iraqi oil and Alaskan oil convince me that the oil tax, ACES, assessed by Alaska is more than fair to the oil companies.

Too old for CPH?: Consultant critical of hospital's governance structure
Central Peninsula Hospital's governance structure is "nonsensical," "antiquated" and "Byzantine," according to a leading health care organizational consultant. That has hospital and borough officials contemplating major changes, including the possibility of the borough selling the facility.

Man arraigned on drug charges
A 41-year-old man pleaded not guilty Tuesday to felony charges alleging he possessed and intended to sell heroin and crystal meth.

Skies prove friendlier: Weather, avalanches make driving sketchy
Two avalanches on the Seward Highway north and south of Girdwood Tuesday morning closed the road from Anchorage to Girdwood and points south for most of the day and created a minor bump for local airlines.

Raise a glass!: Sterling man honored as Beerdrinker of the Year
Bill Howell is this year's Miss America of beer.

HEA candidates announced
Five candidates have thrown their hats into the ring for the Homer Electric Association Board of Directors' election.

John Daniel 'Dan' Murray
Soldotna resident John Daniel "Dan" Murray died Thursday, March 4, 2010 at Queens Medical Center in Honolulu. He was 73.

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