Thursday, March 18, 2010

Foraker, Alaska chamber partner to provide insurance to small businesses
A small group health insurance program being offered to nonprofit organizations by Premera Blue Cross through the Foraker Group has now been expanded to include members of the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce, which are mostly for-profit firms.

Business Briefs

Chambers set luncheon schedules

FNBA chips in $10K for Soldotna Library expansion
First National Bank of Alaska (FNBA) joined the Friends of the Joyce K. Carver Memorial Library and their efforts to expand that facility, recently with a $10,000 dollar contribution. "Many things go into making a community; a place to worship, a town hall, schools, playground, a senior center, a hospital, and a library. That's why we want to be involved in the expansion and it is our pleasure to donate $10,000 to the Friends of the Joyce K. Carver Memorial Library," Charlie Weimer of FNBA, told the Soldotna City Council. "FNBA, their managers, clerks, employees, and everyone there are community minded. I have worked with them throughout Alaska and everywhere they are, they are always involved with the growth of community and local civic organizations. Not just Soldotna, but every community on the Peninsula and throughout the state, and we are proud to have them as our friends and neighbors," said Councilman Ed Sleater. Concurring with Councilman Sleater, Soldotna Mayor Peter Micciche said, "We are simply thrilled at First National Bank of Alaska's contribution and their faith and support of so many projects in our community. It's a strong way to kick off the campaign to expand the library, and we look at sharing with the efforts of the Friends of the Library to bring that project to fruition," said Micciche.

There I was, pedaling my bike down that old country road as fast as I could go. I had just completed my swimming lessons and had passed my test, so now I was finally released to go fishing, and in general, explore the world through the eyes of an 8 year old. My first assault on the outdoor world was at Bears Grass Creek which was a shallow, narrow creek that wound through the farming community and eventually emptied into the Eau Claire River.

Blazy Mall Olympics yield fun, food and matching grants
Those suffering from post partum Winter Olympics were treated to a pleasant afterhours cure at the Blazy Mall recently, thanks to the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce. "We try to make our monthly Afterhours business support groups bigger and better, and more fun each time. So this time we centered in on the aftermath of Olympic fever, and Donna's of Donna's Gifts at the Blazy Mall held the opening ceremonies at 5:00pm with an official torch lighting, and then Mug's had a coffee bean toss, and there were other games and events throughout the Mall. Frames and Things had a squirrel toss, and snow golf and premiered their new do-it-yourself framing shop at the Mall. Then upstairs the Kenai Watershed Forum had a water challenge that was quite a challenge indeed," Soldotna Chamber executive director Michelle Glaves told the Dispatch.

Baby MitzvahDiapers for little ones in need
A Mitzvah is at the heart of the Jewish Faith, it simply means a good deed from the heart, says Jackie Barsis of the Jewish Congregation of the Kenai Peninsula. "It means bringing relief to those in need. It could be in the form of an item, service or a word of honor and or encouragement. To Mitzvah or not to Mitzvah, is an opportunity we have to make God's creation a better place in our every day experience," she said. The Jewish Congregation of the Kenai Peninsula, Briat Elohim (God's Creation) which has been in existence since 1970, recently was the recipient of a grant from The Jewish Federation of America to provide a public service program for the Kenai Peninsula.

Kids & families claim prizes at Ice Fishing Derby awards celebration
February may be the shortest month of the year, but ice fishing anglers of all ages claim it's the best, thanks to Soldotna Hardware & Fishing's Annual Ice Fishing Derby. "It was the Derby that got me out ice fishing for the first time, but I was the one who really got hooked and this year we had three generations each catch fish. It's different than summer fishing; we talk to each other more." said one participant. Last week Brian and Scott Miller who created the Derby, invited all of this year's winners into their Soldotna store for an awards presentation. As a result of this invitation, the parking lot was packed, and the store isles were full of kids and families stepping up to claim their trophies, prizes, and pictures.

Annual season kick off sends anglers on hunt for kings and cash in Homer
The 17th Annual Homer Winter King Salmon Derby is a bit of a misnomer this year, the event will be held on the first day of spring.

Mrs. Gallo's Italian Egg Biscuits
cup (1 stick) butter, softened

Creme de Cocoa-White Chocolate Chip Biscotti
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

Bob's Crumb Cake
Recipe by Bob Rubenkonig, from "Loaves, Fishes & Favorite Dishes," a collection of recipes by First Presbyterian Church, Hilton Head Island, S.C., courtesy Nancy Bottone.

May coffee warm your soul: Coffee Break with all the trimmings
My coffee maker is programmed to grind and brew coffee automatically. The noise of grinding coffee beans wakes me up in the morning and the aroma of coffee brewing gets me out of bed. I love coffee so much that I break for coffee pretty much throughout the day, diluting the caffeine in regular coffee with coffee made from decaffeinated beans. Recent studies claim coffee to contain more fiber than orange juice and more antioxidants than blueberries. Studies also assert that coffee drinking can prevent Type 2 diabetes and help protect against Alzheimer's disease. While consuming large quantities of coffee is not recommended for any of us, experts contend that drinking coffee in moderation, up to 20 ounces a day, is not harmful. Coffee is immensely satisfying all on its own and becomes a social event when taken with extras like biscotti, cookies and cake. And, as a party alternative, a "coffee" makes it possible to entertain on a budget. While an assortment of snacks is nice at a coffee, including any one of those mentioned here, they certainly are not required. All you really need is the coffee -- and a moderate amount, at that.

Judge's decisions detrimental to families
Hooray for Dale McGahan's letter (Clarion, March 10) stating Judge Moran is "unfit to serve." I have been involved with this judge since 1996 and feel she needs to leave the bench. I have witnessed her ignore state statues, protect state employees that have lied on the stand, and make decision on those lies. My children have lost their sexual innocence because of her decisions. This judge is a grim reaper with a bloody scythe reaping sexual innocence. Woe to the families that enter her court.

Efforts in solving cold case murder appreciated
To all who assisted in our mother Toni (Thomas) Lister's murder trial we would like to thank you for all your hard work and the many hours you put into this case. To the cold case investigators Tim Hunyor and Jim Skogsdill who re-opened the investigation into our mother's unsolved murder, we thank you. To Pat Gullufsen, Katie Paakki and their legal team ... words alone cannot describe how grateful we are for your countless hours and dedication in bringing justice for our mother. To the witnesses, we want to thank you for your time and your contributions to this case. To the jury and the court we want to thank you for your hours and days that you spent out of your life to help bring peace, happiness and closure to our family. And lastly, to our extended family and friends who have stood by us through all of this and lent support or words of encouragement when needed. Each and every one of you has made a difference in the lives of the daughters of Toni (Thomas) Lister. It's difficult to really put into words and express how much your efforts mean to us. We never imagined after all this time that our mother's murder would ever be solved, as young girls we dreamed every day her murderer would be found and brought to justice. As teenagers, we still had hope, as adults we started to come to terms with the fact her murderer would get away with his crimes.

Shed burned, house saved
Ja-Net Raines was headed for her early morning shift at Lowe's when she spotted a fire near mile marker 16.8 of Funny River Road Wednesday morning.

Thefts, chase keep Soldotna police busy
Thefts and a high-speed chase kept the Soldotna Police Department busy recently.

Honor, remember: Sterling man promotes flag campaign
As a lifelong Marine brat and retired U.S. Coast Guard officer, David Caswell understands what it means to serve the country. He also recognizes the importance of honoring those who have sacrificed themselves for democracy.

Borough oil and gas assessment values up
Despite news about expected downgrades in local resource production, the Kenai Peninsula Borough's preliminary oil and gas assessments climbed from 2009 to 2010.

Two weeks to opening day: Kenai Walmart store getting its final finishing touches
They're doing some last minute tidying at 10096 Kenai Spur Highway.

Photo feature: Erin go bragh
Anna DeVolld passes out candy Wednesday afternoon to other children at the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Soldotna. The parade followed the Kenai Spur Highway through the center of town.

Photo feature: The other great race
Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker addresses the Kenai members of the Alaska Support Industry Alliance at its luncheon Tuesday afternoon. Citing the declining oil throughput of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, Walker champions a state controlled all-Alaska gasline from the North Slope to Valdez for energy and the economy. Walker is an Anchorage attorney, project manager/general counsel for the non-profit Alaska Gasline Port Authority and a lifelong Alaskan. "I'm not looking for a job," he told the Alliance. "It's time we have an option that doesn't involve politics as usual."

CEO: Wait for plan before protesting the mine
If you're going to protest, wait until there's at least a plan to protest, Pebble Limited Partnership CEO John Shively said Tuesday in a presentation on the proposed Pebble Mine at a Rotary Club of Juneau meeting.

Jean Carol Partch
Longtime Alaskan and Heritage Place resident Jean Carol Partch died Sunday, March 14, 2010 at Heritage Place. She was 78.

Mickey Jack Endsley
Longtime Nikiski resident Mickey Jack Endsley, 67, died Thursday, March 11, 2010 with his family by his side after a long courageous battle with cancer. He was 67.

Christopher Chadwick
Former Soldotna resident Christopher Chadwick, 32, died unexpectedly at his home in Columbus, Ohio on Oct. 2, 2009.

Cecil Lindsay
Former Kenai resident Cecil Lindsay of Bakersfield, Calif., died Saturday, Oct. 17, 2009 at his home due to complications from Parkinsons disease. He was 71.

'Crossing the Finish Line': Task force would help Alaska students finish their education
There is a disconnect in our education system. Other countries are steadily pulling further ahead of us in terms of having an educated population. By the year 2025, it's estimated that 50 percent of all jobs in this country will require a college degree. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, America and Germany are the only two OECD countries where the younger generation is actually less educated than the older generation.

Around the Peninsula

Prostate cancer support meeting today

Hard work makes for happy return
After graduating five seniors from last year's Soldotna boys basketball team -- the 2009 state champion runners-up -- earning back-to-back state berths was, well, unlikely.

Warriors top Stars in OT: SoHi misses return to finals
Wasilla defeated Soldotna 49-46 in overtime in a Class 4A boys semifinal state basketball game on Tuesday at Sullivan Arena in a rematch of last year's state semifinals. Wasilla faces off against West tonight at 9:15 p.m. with the state title on the line. SoHi takes on Northern Lights Conference foe Colony at 1 p.m. in the third-place game.

Knights topple Stars in overtime: SoHi plays more than 32 minutes in all 3 tilts
Matt Johnson needs a new pre-game speech.

Ready to rock: Kenai band hopes to revive local music scene
When people think of the central Kenai Peninsula, "mecca of rock" doesn't typically come to mind. Outdoor adventure? Yes. Fishing? Of course. But it's no early-90s Seattle during the grunge explosion.

Damon continues to thrill
'Green Zone'

Art Briefs

Youth art show seeks entries

What's Happening

Best Bets

Bears notch win
Johan Skinnars scored the game winner with 2 minutes, 29 seconds, left in the game to lift the Brown Bears to a 5-4 win over the Alexandria (Minn.) Blizzard on Tuesday in North American Hockey League action at the Soldotna Sports Center.

12-year-old Yamada rolls his first-ever 700 series
Congratulations first goes to Donna Rumley. Donna was inducted into the Soldotna-Kenai Women's Bowling Association Hall of Fame at the opening ceremonies of the 50th Annual Women's State Championship Tournament, which is being held at Alaskalanes.

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