Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Cold Stone opens to warm reviews
The weatherman wasn’t the only one clowning around on April Fools’ day in Soldotna. A couple of happy faces well known to children and adults of all ages, Capt. Burn-ee and E.D.I.T.H. of the Central Emergency Services showed up at the grand opening of the new Cold Stone Creamery store in Soldotna to share some smiles and taste their favorite creamery concoctions. Cold Stone is an international franchise store locally owned by Mick and Nikki Audette in partnership with Nikki’s parents Cheryl and Jack Page. Mick was raised in Homer and is an elementary school music teacher who brings his musical talents right along to his new ice cream parlor, “We were selected out of some 3,000 applications because of our love of music, entertainment is part of the Cold Stone franchise experience and we are having a lot of fun with it,” said Mick. “We make our ice cream on a 16 degree frozen stone slab fresh daily right here, it’s not brought in to us, we’ve inked a deal with Matanuska Maid for our sweet cream that we make our ice cream with so this is truly Alaskan ice cream from scratch and you add all the things you like with it that we have available which range from candy bars to fruit and nuts,” explained Audette.

Last HooRah! For AWG volunteers
More than 2,000 of the 2,800 some Arctic Winter Games volunteers gathered last week at the Soldotna Sports Center for one more memorable event, a final thank you and apparel trading party that was hosted by Agrium Kenai Nitrogen Products, “The community has been so supportive of Agrium over the years, that we saw this as an excellent opportunity to show our appreciation to all those who volunteer and work together to make this such a great place to live and do business,” said Agrium spokesperson Lisa Parker.

New fishing opportunities at Sea-of-I.A
As spring break-up continues on the Kenai Peninsula mother nature creates a myriad of new lake front opportunities that regularly are used for other services such as parking spaces. Becky Dwinnell and Kerri Nelson of Cook Inlet Academy (C.I.A.) off K-Beach Rd. decided to make the most of what, “The Lord hath made,” last week and donned life jackets and launched their Coleman fishing dingy to demonstrate the schools need for some asphalt. “Actually it’s a way of bringing some attention to our annual spring carnival fund raiser. This year we are trying to raise some money to pave the Sea-of-I.A. so that we can park here rather than go fishing. Last year at the carnival we raised enough to purchase a new piece of playground equipment that cost $23,000. It was a great success and the community really turned out to help us raise the funds, and again this year we are inviting everyone to come out and have some fun fund raising with us,” said Nelson.

Finalists selected to compete for cash in annual “Caring For the Kenai” competition
From more than 400 entries submitted in this year’s Caring For the Kenai (CFK) environmental and disaster preparedness awareness contest, a panel of eight judges from the professional community has selected twelve Kenai Peninsula Borough high school students to compete for over $16,000 in cash awards in the oral presentation phase of the CFK program sponsored by Agrium and Chevron.

This past winter I was lucky enough to catch a lake trout from Kenai Lake that weighed a little over 4 Lb. It was my biggest lake trout of the year and I even took a picture of it. I never got the chance to go to Crosswinds Lake where I love the chance to catch a trophy Laker. This was due to having knee surgery and then getting called back to work on the slope on the day I was given my release from Dr. Krull to return to work. Despite not getting to go to Crosswinds this year everything couldn’t have worked out better for me as my job at Doyon Drilling is the best job I have ever had.

Reader: Sales tax better than paying property tax
I was absolutely livid when I received my property assessments and saw what the borough is attempting to do to property owners, young and old alike.

Reader: Information is cure for concerns over building
In response to Sherrie Henderson’s letter to the editor April 3 (regarding a plan to build a facility to treat under- and uninsured patients): Miss Henderson, I’m sorry to hear your response. Unfortunately, you must not have been able to attend the public meeting March 28 at the Soldotna Sports Center, where all your questions would have been answered for you. If I can at any time talk with you on your worries, please call me. I will do my best to get you the information you need and discuss this matter with you.

Becoming an Outdoors Woman workshop benefits from support
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game recently hosted a Becoming an Outdoors Woman workshop at Victory Bible Camp in Chickaloon, Alaska. The 3-day workshop was attended by 135 participants which included classes taught by over 50 volunteer instructors from Soldotna, Anchorage, Palmer, Glenallen and Fairbanks.

Reader: Everyone trying to tell state what to do with resources
Now that famous economists Karl Marx and Rush Limbaugh have weighed in on how Alaskans should be compensated for our oil and gas, the issue should be perfectly clear to us all.

Mayor’s comment no laughing matter
The following statement was read into public testimony at the April 4 borough assembly meeting:

Borough should fix problem, not look to taxpayers for solution
Just a quick review. During my wage earning years I paid taxes on the monies earned. With some of what was left, I purchased some lumber and other materials to construct a home, and paid taxes on the cost of materials. The light at the end of the tunnel was that in the retirement years, my tax burden would be less at age 65. Now Mr. Williams wants to introduce a measure (to cap the senior property tax exemption. The proposed cap was rejected at the April 4 borough assembly meeting) that will mean if I can’t pony up that which I had not planned on, the government can take possession of my home. This is not what I wore Army green for.

Borough "peasants" should oppose "king's" money measures
A new king was recently elected as Borough Mayor. The new king sat on his throne and looked at his chests filled with gold. He summoned all of his subordinates to his alter, and as he glanced at the guillotine in the corner he told them. These chests do not have enough gold to pay homage to my greatness. You tax collectors go out and bring me more gold. First they went to all the young and strong people of the Borough and took gold from them and returned to the King. The king looked at the gold and laughed and said “You bring this small amount of gold to measure my greatness. Go out and get more gold.” “This will require you write a new law your greatness” stated one of the tax collectors. So the new king wrote the new law to go and take more gold from the old and from those who have fought to secure his kingdom. Will the peasants in the fields allow this so called great king to continually take or will they revolt and show their disdain for this new king that sits on his throne. The Nobels (Borough Assembly members) will have a decision very soon to make. To be a Nobel or a King in this borough takes the peasants approval. Would a Nobel King steal an old ladies purse?

How would pipeline through Canada help Alaska?
I have been reading a lot about how this pipeline through Canada will help the people of Alaska. I don’t get it if we take our gas and send it through Canada and they get all the jobs from the border on, which will happen,and all the industry it helps is in the lower 48 where do we the people of Alaska benefit? Would it make a lot more sense to run the pipeline through Alaska with spurs that serve the areas along the pipeline and let industry come to Alaska to get the gas,and keep the jobs here? It all most sounds like some of our elected officials have lost sight of who elected them!

Senior housing a better idea then empty hotel rooms
Discussions, plans and grant research under way for additional senior housing to be located near the old Wildwood Air Force Base concern many Kenai residents. A more logical place for this additional housing is near the existing senior facility for the following reasons: central location, nearby emergency services, existing new kitchen and dining room facilities, administrative personnel, paved streets, city utilities, a park and a recreational facility.

School system out of control
Over the last 56 years since I graduated from school, there has been tremendous changes in the world in almost every category there is.

Catch and release a "killer" sport
Well it’s that time of year again. Yup, it’s time to get ready for all those non-residents showing up for the spring catch and release cow moose hunt. For you folks that didn’t know about this, here’s the details. This hunt starts every spring, just before the cows start calving. The boundaries of the hunting area are as follows, west of Skilak Lake and within the Kenai River Special Management Area. Hunters get to go out on their ATV s (which are limited to 35 hp to protect the habitat) and ride up close to the cow moose.

Council ready to paint the town
As sure as blooming crocuses and tulips and oozing parking lot mud puddles are signs of spring in Soldotna, so are painting crews restriping crosswalks and turn lanes within the city.

Gross sales solid
For the second year in a row, gross sales in the Kenai Peninsula Borough topped the $2 billion mark, and taxable sales were up, as well, according to the borough’s latest look at economic data from 2005.

Soldotna man’s murder trial put on hold again
The murder trial of a 23-year-old Soldotna man has been delayed again after the defense requested more time for a competency evaluation.

Getting the word out
When word first went out telling of the devastating earthquake that hit Alaska in 1964, people Outside heard horrific reports about Anchorage and many held that the Kenai Peninsula was pretty much gone.

Stores seeing fake money
Local law enforcement officers are asking businesses to keep their counterfeit detection pens close at hand following a recent spike in the number of counterfeit bills discovered.

Cracked confidence
Editor’s note: This is part two of five in a series examining the lasting effect the 1964 Good Friday earthquake had on the Kenai Peninsula, especially the residents who lived through it.

CES responds to call, finds fellow medic
Paramedics and firefighters deal with tragedy, even death, on a regular basis. Understandably, though, it’s a little different when it’s one of their own.

Million at stake in CES issue
A longtime member of the Central Emergency Services board said a review of meeting minutes from late 2004 should demonstrate the board’s reluctance to participate in a deal to build the new emergency services building on Wilson Lane.

Spring kindles wildfire threat
A crosshatch of dead spruce trees could fuel hard-to-control wildfires on the Kenai Peninsula this summer if precipitation is low and temperatures high, Alaska wildfire experts say.

Joshua J. Rhoten
Soldotna resident Joshua J. Rhoten died Sunday, April 9, 2006, at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage. He was 30.

Carolyn Nicholas
Former Kenai resident Carolyn Nicholas, of Reno, Nev.,died Sunday, April 2, 2006 in Reno. She was 72.

Denton 'Gene' Backus
Sterling resident Denton “Gene” Backus died Saturday, April 8, 2006, at home. He was 43.

Embarrassing distinction: State shouldn't be known for highest rape, sexual abuse statistics
What should the prison sentence be for a rapist who lures a 5-year-old boy into a secluded area and rapes him? In Alaska, that sex offender served three years in prison. We wish this was the exception, but it is all too common.

Around the Peninsula
Running club registration opens Drama, debate, forensics show set Chili feed set to dish Spaghetti dinner fundraiser scheduled Miners set to dig in Easter egg hunt planned Tax relief dinner slated

Around the Peninsula
KCHS choir concert set Exxon Valdez public meeting added Depression screening available Labyrinth walking path opens Safety Day planning meeting slated Historical Society to meet Judge Cranston remembrance ceremony slated

A real Bulldog
Not much slows Nikiski senior Sarah Herrin down. Not motocross jumps, not basketball defenders, not test questions in school.

Service-learning program receives national award
The Kenai Peninsula College initiated a pilot service-learning program in Jan. 2004. Three years of funding for the start-up program—at $15,000 per year—was received from Community College National Center for Community Engagement by way of a grant (Supporting Actions for Engagement from Learn and Serve America.

Around the District
Boyle fundraisers continue District forensics results announced Aurora Borealis Charter Connections Home school Cook Inlet Academy IDEA Kaleidoscope School of Arts and Science Kalifornsky Beach Elementary Kenai Central High Kenai Middle Kenai Montessori Kenaitze Cuya Qyutanen Head Start Nikiski Middle-High School Redoubt Elementary Sears Elementary Soldotna High School Soldotna Elementary Soldotna Middle Soldotna Montessori Charter Sterling Elementary Sterling RurAL CAP Head Start Tustumena Elementary Wings Christian Academy

The hardest part of the day: getting out of bed, dressing
One might get the feeling that with so many things needing to be done it would be best just to stay in bed an let the world pass you by, for awhile at least.

Get your motor running
In the small gym at Soldotna Middle School, half the student body enjoys granola bars and juice and works on some fun activities involving numbers while principal Sharon Moock fires off questions requiring to students to add, subtract, multiply and divide. Some of the questions involve teachers’ ages and birth dates — much to the students’ delight.

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