Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Gebhardt returns home with healthy team and his second Iditarod Humanitarian Award
In the year 2000 Paul Gebhardt of Morning View Kennel in Kasilof was only one team away from becoming the second Iditarod Champion from the Kenai Peninsula. This year, after becoming separated from his team and being lucky enough to catch up to them, he finished only two teams away from becoming the third Iditarod winner from the Kenai. As his colleagues would agree however, regardless of where they place, any musher who has claimed the Iditarod Humanitarian Award is an Iditarod Champion indeed, and Paul Gebhardt has been chosen for that honor twice. In the history of the Last Great Race, only four mushers have won the Humanitarian more than once. Additionally, Gebhardt has placed in the top twenty 6 times, and in the top ten 4 times. He has the fastest time from Safety to Nome and has won the Golden Harness Award for his great lead dog, Red Dog.

It's Brown Bear Awareness Kick-Off Week...
With bears beginning to stir from their dens throughout Alaska, the Kenai Brown Bear Committee (KBBC) is launching a campaign designed to decrease the number of bears killed in defense life or property through public awareness. “Our committee’s main mission is to raise awareness and to let people know that there are some primary attractants out there that can lead to some bad encounters with bears,” says committee member John Czarnezki, Kenai Peninsula Borough resource planner. The KBBC is an offshoot of a recent public planning process that resulted in the Kenai Peninsula Brown Bear Conservation Strategy. The KBBC was founded in 2004 and represents interests as diverse as tourism, hunting, fishing, conservation, and government agencies. According to Czarnezki it’s not just rural residents that need to be concerned, “Bears live across the entire Peninsula, so it’s important that everyone pay attention and take precautions to keep those easy meals unavailable especially right now as the bears start becoming active and are coming out of hibernation hungry.”

Project Grad 3-years and going strong on the Peninsula
Project Grad is a nonprofit K-16 school reform model that is currently underway across the country and started in Alaska on the Kenai Peninsula three years ago. The mission of the program is to ensure a quality public education for all children, increase high school graduation rates and prepare graduates to be successful in college.

"The Crossing"a new place for gathering
A new restaurant at a very familiar location opens in Soldotna this week. The landmark site of a former homestead cabin across the Soldotna bridge that became a popular watering hole known as the “Night Watch”, was re-built and called the Tides Inn will open Thursday as “The Crossing.” The owners, Scott and Cherie Curry, purchased the property last December and since the first of the year have been working round the clock remodeling the structure to prepare for a spring opening. The results are an Alaskan elegance and comfortable ambiance unrivaled anywhere on the Kenai Peninsula. “We’re very proud of the way it’s turned out, it’s been a major effort. A lot of people have worked really hard and the results have exceeded our expectations,” commented Cherie.

Outdoors
Most of you know how strong I feel about teaching our children how to hunt and fish and to live off the land. I feel just as strongly about sharing what we harvest with our elderly and others who are in need. With that in mind, I’d like to share a story with you that happened some 30 years ago in Augusta, Wisconsin.

Mayor works for people, not other way around
Domestic terrorist (Clarion, March 26)? Mr. Mayor, perhaps you should review what this country was founded on.

Reader has confidence in elected officials
I have confidence in John Williams, the borough mayor, Gary Superman, my representative and the elected assembly to make the correct decisions concerning borough business.

Legislators earn applause for standing up to big oil
It is time for a reality check. Big Oil will not walk away from Alaska because oil taxes are raised to a level compared to other countries in the world. Nor can they take the oil fields with them if they leave. If Big Oil wants to give up its leases, there will be plenty of smaller oil companies prepared to step in and pay increased taxes to earn the huge profits available.

BP numbers don’t add up
BP is lying again, now they are trying to provide cover for the Republican governor and Legislature with BP adds in the Alaska newspapers so they can screw the people of Alaska with a new oil and gas tax and gas line scam. BP’s “flack” did not bother to check what they were saying, 17 billion barrels of recoverable light oil, on March 24, the anniversary of the wreck of the Exxon Valdez, against what they had said on March 23 when BP’s ads stated that an improvement of 1 percent in the recovery of the discovered oil on the North Slope would result in an additional 400 million barrels of light oil or a total of 40 billion barrels of recoverable light oil. That excludes the 20 billion barrels recoverable heavy oil. 40 billion barrels down to 17 billion in one day; maybe the “flack” could not multiply by 100.

Exxon lawsuit should be election issue
Today (March 24) is the 17th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. In 1989, Exxon was the 17th largest entity in the world. Since the merger with Mobil, the combo company is now larger than Saudi Arabia. Thousands of litigants are deceased. Oil remains under the rocks in the Prince William Sound. The state seek more damages while Exxon continues to dodge their debt to 10,000 fishermen (33,000 claimants total).

Reader’s will is to use resources for Alaska’s benefit
Will of the People (Letters to the Editor, March 22): If you think it’s the will of the people to lock up Alaska, I think you are sadly mistaken. The will of the Democratic Party to punish Alaska for the strong will of our Congressional Delegation and getting the environmental votes is not the will of the public. To leave our children without a means of garnering a living in a land of plenty, just to appease someone’s ideology is not the will of the people. To watch our natural resources hauled south without any value added process is foolish.

Friend was Santa, comedian, blessing
Many people can tell a joke that makes their audience laugh. Few people can cause the audience to laugh in anticipation of the punch line, even before the punch line is delivered. Many people can pretend to be Santa Claus, but few people are so convincing that they can persuade adults, as well as children, that he does, indeed, exist. Many people are good sales people, but few people can sell just about anything and make the buyer feel good about buying it!

Language cuts protested
About 15 Native Alaskans, some speaking in Sugt’stun, joined more than 100 people from Russian villages at Monday’s school board meeting protesting cuts in language classes proposed by the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District.

Paint job eyed for Kenai Rec Center
With spring weather knocking on the door, the Kenai Recreation Center may get a fresh coat of paint if the Kenai City Council approves.

Mixing zone ban bill hearing today
A measure that would continue the practice of banning pollution in Alaska’s freshwater spawning areas is scheduled for a teleconferenced hearing in the House Resources Committee this afternoon.

Evanoff named assistant marshal
Fifteen years ago, when Sam Evanoff's co-workers talked of serving as volunteers on the Soldotna Fire Department, he became interested.

Agrium looks for more gas
Agrium USA is looking for more natural gas in an effort to prolong its North Kenai operations beyond October, according to spokesperson Lisa Parker.

Man indicted after Ninilchik River death
A 39-year-old man has been indicted on manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide charges in connection with the death of a Ninilchik woman last November.

CES marks busy year with new faces, stations
One year ago, Chris Mokracek became the new chief of Central Emergency Services, and what a year it has been.

Local bills move along
State lawmakers have spent a considerable amount of time in recent weeks on landmark oil and gas production tax bills, but though that subject has dominated committee work in both the Senate and House, other pieces of legislation are navigating the committee process.

Jacob Mlynarik
Anchorage resident Jacob Mlynarik died March 31, 2006, at the Mary Conrad Center in Anchorage. He was 83

Dorothy "Dotty" W. Van Orman
Longtime Clam Gulch resident Dorothy “Dotty” W. Van Orman died Tuesday, April 4, 2006, at her home. She was 77.

Denise Marie (Bullard) Smith
Soldotna resident Denise Marie (Bullard) Smith died Friday, March 31, 2006, at Central Peninsula General Hospital in Soldotna. She was 39.

Keeping bird flu grounded: Domestic birds need protection from avian influenza
If you are a domestic bird owner, you are the first line of defense against an outbreak of Avian Influenza. Like other viruses and bacteria, Avian Influenza can spread quickly between birds.

Playing with the future: Legislature's changes to tax bill hurts consumers, Cook Inlet
The Alaska Legislature currently is considering changes to a Petroleum Production Tax (PPT) under House Bill 488 and Senate Bill 305, which, at today’s prices, would more than triple production taxes on the oil and gas industry.

Around the Peninsula
Biathlon club to host reception Recycling group to meet again Nursing topic of session Senior housing groundbreaking set Voters convention scheduled Safety Day planning meeting slated Drama, debate, forensics show on tap Wildlife preparedness training set

Around the Peninsula
Section name change sought Volunteer firefighter meeting today Wildfire preparedness training set

Well-intentioned, but is implementing a wellness policy practical?
According to Yahoo! Health, the rate of obesity in the United States has more than doubled for preschoolers and adolescents in the past 30 years, and it has more than tripled for children ages 6 to 11.

Summer, fall, scholarship registration available
Online and walk-in registration for the Kenai River Campus summer session opens Monday. Classeswill be offered at in-state tuition rates for everyone. The summer class schedule is available at kpc.alaska.edu.

Around the District
Boyle fundraisers set Scholarship offered Aurora Borealis Charter Connections Home school Cook Inlet Academy Grace Lutheran Kaleidoscope School of Arts and Science Kalifornsky Beach Elementary Kenai Central High Kenai Middle Kenaitze Cuya Qyut’anen Head Start Mountain View Nikiski Middle-High Nikiski North Star Elementary Redoubt Elementary Sears Elementary Skyview High Soldotna High Soldotna Middle Tustumena Elementary

Leadership program uses history to inspire next generation
While many students on the Kenai Peninsula used their spring break as a respite from homework, Morgan Wensley, a sixth-grader at Kenai Middle School, actually took on more work — all in the name of better international relations.

Teenager tells of anorexia recovery
Standing in front of Duncan Wannamaker’s health class earlier this month, Hallie Hudson looked like an average 13-year-old girl. She wore fashionably torn jeans and a bright blue top. Other than an occasional nervous gesture — tucking her shoulder-length brown hair behind an ear or putting her hands in her front pockets — she spoke confidently.

2 Nikiski fighters compete at AFC
Nikiski’s Mae Osborne, 36, and Josh Colby, 24, both fought in Alaska Fighting Championship events at the Sullivan Arena in Anchorage recently.

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