Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Redoubt Elementary serves up green eggs and ham
Dr. Seuss may have been dead for the last 17 years, but his legacy of fun and joy of reading has never been more alive as it was last week at Redoubt Elementary School where a community read-a-thon celebrated the famous author’s 104th birthday. Perhaps the 20th century's most famous author for children, Dr. Seuss wrote and illustrated nearly 50 books of quirky children's verse during his lifetime that became popular to the baby boomers that today enjoy reading his lyric rhyme aloud to a new “Cat in the Hat” generation, many of which are their grandchildren.

Since I grew up in Wisconsin I grew accustomed to a whole lot different fishing than we are generally accustomed to here in Alaska. I have spent a lot of time fishing nearly every species of fish that is found in the upper Midwest. Crappies, bluegills, sunfish, perch, bass, northern-pike, walleye pike, bullheads, and musky’s were some of the more popular fish found on our table. It really did not matter if we fished in the summer or winter as long as we had fresh fish to eat.

Nikiski Chamber works magic at Awards Night
The Nikiski Chamber of Commerce (NCC) is alive and well thanks to a little magic and a renewed commitment from its members. Just a year ago the question of dissolving the Nikiski Chamber and perhaps merging with the Kenai Chamber came before the Nikiski board of directors and under the leadership of Judy Van Cleave, Scott Hamann, JW Johns, Debby Kassik, Erich DeLand, Mike Chenault and others the decision was made to continue the Nikiski Chamber ramping up the value of the organization to their membership and community. At their Annual Awards Banquet last week a capacity crowd gathered at the Challenger Learning Center of Alaska to celebrate that commitment, the successes of last year, and to honor outstanding individuals and businesses within the Nikiski community. “The people of Nikiski are just the greatest people in the world as far as I’m concerned,” incoming NCC president Scott Hamann told the Dispatch, “They packed in here tonight and opened their hearts and wallets not only to help fund our scholarships but to really cheer on the people who have stepped up and served this community for so long. I believe in Nikiski, when I go out and talk with people, myself included, they are excited about the future of Nikiski, we have some major projects on the horizon and we are a great place to live and raise a family, so in the future when people look at the Kenai Peninsula they’ll be looking at Nikiski and our Chamber will be here to help make that bright future happen,” added Hamann.

Appalachia, Here they come
Judy Hepner and her dog Buddy are on their way to Georgia to begin a 2,174 mile hike to Maine along the Appalachian Trail in hopes of bringing the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation closer to a cure, as well as raising some funds for DreamPower Animal Rescue. “I’m walking for the Research Foundation because my family has a history of Diabetes and it affects millions of people around the world, and Buddy is hiking for Animal Rescue because he was a pound puppy. DreamPower provides adoption services for not only cats and dogs, but horses, ferrets, rabbits, and the like! They also offer educational programs and health services for the animals in their care,” explained Judy.

River City Rotary funds KPC Read to Your Baby program
There is evidence that reading out loud to your baby promotes healthy emotional relationships between parents/caregivers and young children. Research shows that babies who were read to regularly starting at six months had a 40% increase in receptive vocabulary by the time they were eighteen months of age. Babies in the study who were not read to had only a 16% increase in receptive vocabulary. For several years Diane Taylor at Kenai Peninsula College has headed up the Read to your Baby project as part of the colleges overall Literacy Program, “We deliver bags to the new moms in the hospital that contain a board book, information on how to turn your TV off and read out loud to your baby, and other materials that encourage parents and caregivers to promote literacy from infancy on up,” said Taylor.

Donations appreciated
On behalf of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District's Students in Transition/Homeless Program, I want to recognize and thank Dr. Harry Cotler for his most generous donation of five desk top computers, a printer and a palm pilot. Your contribution to the academic success of our homeless students is greatly appreciated.

Many make fundraiser a success
Sterling Head Start and the Sterling Community Club would like to thank our community for the tremendous support that was shown for our sold-out annual fundraiser Feb. 23.

Teenager's column sparks another teen's encouragement
Concerning Brittany West's Verbatim column on Feb. 12, I am an 18-year-old Christian teenager. I am sad to hear about your situation. I completely understand that you would not feel ready to have a child and be a mother. I would feel the same way. I am especially relieved that you did not abort your child because of this, but want to be a loving parent and give him a good home. That was certainly a good decision.

Baby opinion
In a couple of months, Gov. Sarah Palin will have a baby girl. I understand that she is going to name her daughter Lyda Green Palin.

Round 1 for roads today
The latest effort to codify improved borough road standards gets the first of two scheduled public hearings tonight before the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly.

Borough mayor mulls mill cut
Increasing property values and new assessments should boost tax revenues this year, administration officials say, but it is still unclear if the borough's tax levy will be cut again.

Retiree complex could sprout in spring
Ground breaking could come as early as April on a planned unit development for retirees if Soldotna City Council members concur with project approval already given by the Planning and Zoning Commission.

'Just like home, only better'
A couple months ago, Virginia Penson paid $100 a month for taxi rides to and from the Soldotna Senior Citizens Center. Two months ago, Pearl Burton scaled a flight of stairs to reach her apartment. Now, the two are neighbors, and everything they need is on the ground floor, just a few steps from their doors.

Assembly to look at speed limit law
Current borough code includes a mechanism by which groups of residents can request special speed limits to restrict vehicle velocities in neighborhoods.

Photo feature: Shading eye dog
Connor sports a pair of "Doggles" while waiting for his human, Kate Gelinas, to finish checking her mail at the Soldotna post office last weekend. "They keep the bugs and rocks out of his eyes," Gelinas said, adding that he's been wearing them for a couple years.

Youth of the Year dances her way to top
Quiana McElroy doesn't tell a story, she dances it.

Disclosure vs. privacy
Why should a Kenai Peninsula mayor be required to report the amount of her husband's Social Security check?

Wes Nedele
Sterling resident Wes Nedele died Monday, March 10, 2008, at his home. He was 73.

Tips on healthy eating
Working out is just part of the weight loss puzzle. In order to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle, a proper diet and nutritional plan is a must.

Herb Roasted Leg of Lamb
1 (5-7-pound) leg of lamb, with bone or boned and rolled

Rosemary and Garlic New Red Potatoes
3 pounds new red potatoes

Around the Peninsula
PFLAG to meet Autism to be discussed Caregiver meetings offered Fundraiser set to aid accident victim T-200 meeting slated CIRCAC to meet March of Dimes walk planned KCHS class of '88 reunion on tap

Lemoned Asparagus with sauteed Almonds
1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and of equal size for even cooking

First signs of spring: Lamb, potatoes and asparagus
Despite the lingering effects of wintery weather in many areas around the country, the first signs of spring have started to emerge, reminding us that from here on in it will just get better and better.

Around the Peninsula
Women invited to take a break Seniors host open house Pop Warner to meet After-school clubs set Little League registration continues Community dance set Spaghetti dinner fundraiser planned Seniors plan Easter activities

Sports Briefs
Area skiers get solid start at JOs State basketball brackets announced

Scholarships provide students opportunities for aid: Kenai Peninsula College
Spring time is prime time for applying for scholarships for the next academic year. Current or prospective college students and high school seniors should be actively pursuing the large variety of scholarships available.

Around the District
School board meetings slated Spring break next week School section takes a break 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

Teen takes teachers' lessons to heart; plans to give back
The quote, "The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen nor even touched. They must be felt with the heart," came from someone who made a difference in the world Helen Keller.

Order in the court -- sort of
High school students appearing in court can either be a very bad thing or an extremely valuable one.

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