Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Here comes the Soap Box Derby
Anyone attending parades, Chamber of Commerce or Rotary meetings on the Kenai Peninsula recently has become keenly aware that the inaugural Soap Box Derby is speeding to Kenai. Planned for May 11th, the big race will offer Peninsula youngsters ages 10-17 an opportunity to compete for a qualifying spot and the chance to represent Alaska at the 70th annual All-American Soap Box Derby Championship in Akron, Ohio this summer. Under the local sponsorship of the Kenai Rotary Club, youth will compete in downhill, gravity-powered racers that they build themselves with the help of an adult. The All-American Soap Box Derby is a premier youth and family oriented racing program in the U.S. and an official Youth Initiative of NASCAR. Established in 1933, the Soap Box Derby is an American tradition. The Kenai race to be held on Spruce Street in Kenai will be one of 450 races held across America this season. “It comes down to a kid going down a hill in a car he or she has made themselves and having a blast,” said Derby coordinator Randy Daly, of HiSpeed Gear in Kenai. Daly, who was a Derby racer in his youth, says Soap Box racing is coming back to Alaska and for the first time on the Kenai Peninsula, “Back in the ‘70’s when I was growing up they had races in Anchorage out behind the airport, but of course that’s someone’s neighborhood now. So we’re bringing a certified event to Kenai so ideally we can send some kids to nationals,” added Daly.

Repair funds ready, river ice is not
As massive chunks of ice continue to choke the Kenai River, property owners and city officials prepare to undertake re-construction of docks, stairs, and walkways destroyed in the January ice flood. “Soldotna is the best fishing place in the world. Now we seem to be the coolest place in the world with all the ice that remains, which in some places is upward of 16 to 18 feet along the river banks. That’s preventing us from seeing some of the places we know will need addressing,” Andrew Carmichael, Soldotna City Parks Director, told the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce last week.

Sweet new location for the Candy Bouquet
One of the Easter Bunny’s favorite supply centers, the Candy Bouquet in Soldotna, has moved to a new location. Formerly located on the Spur Highway, the new Candy Bouquet has renovated the space formerly occupied by the Old Gray Mare antique shop on the Sterling Highway. With Mother’s Day right around the corner Candy Bouquet owner Barbara Larion is excited about the new location that she continues to share with the scrape-booking store known as a A Misty Memory, “Everyone tells us they really like all the additional space, but it’s really just the lay out of the store and it is really working well for us,” said Larion. The Candy Bouquet specializes in exactly what the name implies bouquets of luscious candy as beautiful as any floral arrangement, “We use primarily cellos and gourmet chocolates for the bouquets, but we have candy bars and we can add special touches to the bouquet to make it special for whatever people prefer and it doesn’t have to be only candy, we can use lipsticks or toys for kids, things that adults enjoy and just about anything you like to customize the bouquet with sweet thoughts,” Larion told the Dispatch.

Corey Davis sleds out of his father’s footsteps
Scott Davis and the family owned Davis Block & Concrete Company of Soldotna have become synonymous with snow machine racing in Alaska. After finishing second last year by one second, Davis again re-claimed the 2007 Iron Dog championship with his partner Todd Palin, tying him for the most Iron Dog wins ever. “There was probably more satisfaction winning this year then ever, I had a dry spell not winning since 1999, and as I age and see that my total years was more than the second place teams ages combined you perhaps enjoy the victory a little more,” said Davis. Scott has been running the Iron Dog since 1984 and after his win this year in Fairbanks he announced he was retiring, but now he says that announcement may have been premature, “The thought of not running again just isn’t setting too well with me, I love to compete and I love the challenge of building a snowmobile and making it last the course. I was in better physical shape than ever at the end of this race, so I may reconsider. I don’t have to make my mind up right away, so I told Todd to let me enjoy my time off and I may reconsider,” Davis told the Dispatch.

Game management has been an ongoing problem throughout the country for many years and one that I’m sure will be an ongoing controversy for many years to come. Recently in California, a 70-year-old man was attacked in a state park by a mountain lion and severally mauled while his 65-year-old wife frantically fought the huge cat off her husband. California is one of those places where they made it illegal to hunt or trap mountain lions. Now common every day people are in danger because no game management policies are in place to protect those wanting to use our state and federal parks.

River’s death getting closer?
The death of the Kenai River is very close on the horizon. It’s all about money, but it is only temporary money. The people in power politics, do not like us old fogies talking about history in the past, and I want to say that every river and every ocean fishery that has been controlled and taken over by the guiding industry has ruined the areas.

Support makes course go smoothly
The events committee of the Tsalteshi Trails Association would like to thank the following individuals for donating their time to help coach beginning and intermediate skiers in the recent Tsalteshi Trails Skills Series: Alan Boraas, Jim Bennett, Penny McClain, Dave Feeken, Jodi Knutson, Gigi Banas, Laura Pillifant, Bill Holt, Char Harvey, Carly Reimer, Dan Harbison, Steve Miliron and Soldotna High School skiers Ryan Sanders, Jasmine Clock and TJ Earll.

Reader questions response
On April 3, you printed a letter by Robin Michel of Bayport, N.Y., blasting your editorial (March 9) for stating that to not believe in God is a “conscious choice.”

Reader: What are the ‘powers that be’ doing?
When all the in-house and state feuding and bickering is over, just what are our “Powers That Be” doing to keep our trans-Alaska oil pipeline flowing? That’s right folks, the big boy paying your bills is about to dry up!

Reader questions comment
After reading the article “Mountain View principal draws support” (Clarion, April 4), I was stumped by a comment at the end of the article. Dr. Anderson said, “... I’m surprised (Mr. Dawson) hasn’t put a quash on this in the interest of the kids.”

Unions provide good jobs
Union jobs in Alaska are better jobs. A union worker earns more money than a non-union worker, is more likely to have employer-provided health insurance and is four times more likely to have a pension. Unions are family friendly.

Money shouldn’t be everything
Regarding the article April 3 about Romney’s political fundraising. It is no wonder our choices for presidential choosing are so limited when it appears only those who can beg the most money have a chance. This makes it a given that any candidate will be the pawn of the wealthy or large corporations.

Ferry service needs more users to keep it afloat
Recently, I was able to convince the Senate Finance Committee to restore $2 million to the governor’s reduction in the Alaska Marine Highway System’s (AMHS) Operating Budget. This funding will reinstate six weeks of much needed ferry service to Kodiak Island, Homer and Seldovia next winter by the MV Kennicott.

Tea party fundraiser is exclusionary
I was reading through Around the Peninsula and saw that the ABC Crisis Pregnancy Center is having a fundraiser. Now there’s a cause I can support. I’m pro-life and would be more than happy to participate in a fundraiser that promoted alternatives to abortions. I’m very happy that we have a local Crisis Pregnancy Center to offer guidance and support to woman with unwanted pregnancies.

Deadline to change studded tires extended
What a difference a week makes.

Wandering Soldotna wise men resurrected on Easter
As many Christian people heard again this past week, Jesus Christ rose from the dead on Easter and reappeared to his disciples.

Snowmelt causes flooding
Runoff from melting snow and ice is meeting still-frozen culverts and inadequate ditches and causing localized flooding in parts of the Kenai Peninsula this week as breakup proceeds in earnest.

Mayor ready to veto sign law
As indicated two weeks ago, the mayor of Soldotna will veto an ordinance governing the construction and placement of freestanding signs in the city’s commercial district.

Breakup is here, summer’s not
A week ago, the Kenai Peninsula seemed frozen solid, roads and driveways sported glacial cover rivaling the last ice age, and all but the fiercest diehard snowmachiners were deep in that lingering “When’s-it-gonna-get-hot?” winter funk that attends early spring in Alaska.

Road standard changes to have public review
Proposed revisions to the borough’s road standards now before the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly could result in safer roads that cost the borough far less to maintain, according to the Road Service Area Board.

Willie Mae (Faulk) Bowen
Longtime Kenai resident Willie Mae (Faulk) Bowen died Saturday, April 7, 2007, of cancer surrounded by her family at home. She was 80.

Around the Peninsula
Alaskan items sought for troops Ping pong offered Boraas to discuss Native history Seniors host steak fundraiser ABATE hosts biker show Rowing clinic available Talent show ready to entertain

Otho B. ‘O.B.’ Culley
Longtime Soldotna resident Otho B. “O.B.” Culley died Sunday, April 8, 2007, at Heritage Place in Soldotna. He was 88.

Around the Peninsula
Bear baiting clinic offered Good News Clubs to meet PFLAG to meet Carnival fundraiser set for fun KCHS touring choir set to sing Peaceful people to meet Ping pong offered Kids activities sought Seniors host steak fundraiser Sock hop set to bop Refuge to host fun day Spaghetti fundraiser set to dish

Around the District
Aurora Borealis Charter Cook Inlet Connections home-school program Grace Lutheran IDEA Home-school Kaleidoscope School of Arts and Science Kalifornsky Beach Elementary Kenai Central High Kenai Middle Kenaitze Head Start Mountain View Elementary Nikiski North Star Elementary Nikiski Middle-High Redoubt Elementary Soldotna Elementary Sears Elementary Soldotna High Soldotna Middle Soldotna Montessori Charter Skyview High Sterling Elementary Tustumena Elementary Wings Christian Academy

Cameras help students focus on writing skills
ATHENS, Ga. -- Seventh-grader John Hewlett loves a challenge, which is why math is his favorite subject at Hilsman Middle School.

Senior year turns out to be a busier than expected time
My expectations and stress level for my senior year weren’t necessarily high, but I figured I’d coast through it with a minimum amount of problems. Before the year began, I had expectations for it to be a fun experience with few challenges. The schedule I chose in August hasn’t changed at all the entire year and to my disappointment, lacks excitement. Without many options to choose from in our small school, it’s hard to find a satisfying agenda.

Michigan school opens up gender divide
HOLLAND, Mich. -- At Holland’s Jefferson 4-5 Elementary School, Kylee McManus doesn’t like to play kickball with the boys -- and it’s not because of cooties.

Nicholas-Silvira takes walk on Wild side
He made first team all-Northern Lights Conference at guard and linebacker at 5-foot-10, 180 pounds. He made boxing and cage fighting appearances in Anchorage under the moniker Sepa “The Separator” Nicholas-Silvira. Now he’s made the Alaska Wild, Anchorage’s new arena football team.

Fay comes a long way
As a freshman, Skyview senior Melissa Fay had made the varsity volleyball team. Then she took a vacation, never caught up on her studies, and was academically ineligible for the conference tournament.

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