Cooper Landing

Posted: Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Good morning.

Jack Britton was surprised a couple weeks ago with the gift of a halibut charter and presents with a fishing theme. Jack drives the Cooper Landing seniors' van Mondays for dumpster site clean ups, Wednesdays to Soldotna and other occasional trips.

The seniors can't find enough words to express their appreciation, according to Mayme Ohnemus who thumbed through a thesaurus for inspiration. The trip to Hope with lunch at Kent and Melanie's Bowman's Bear Creek Lodge and Caf was planned with Jack driving the bus as usual. Helen Gwin, Gene Craig, Agnes Schmitz, Martha Brewer, Dean Birmley, Florine Velker, Carla Britton and Mayme were Jack's passengers.

They were met at Bowman's by Al and Pat Fleetwood, Jim Richardson and Ann Miller from Hope. Jack was slightly overwhelmed by his fans when the gifts were presented.

"I like what I do," he said.

Florine Velker, from Oregon is visiting her sister Alice Puster. Alice was a well-known photographer in Anchorage for around 30 years. She worked as a staff photographer for the Anchorage Daily Times and with such notables as Ann Fox Chandonnet.

After her retirement and move to Cooper Landing, Alice continued for several years to photograph and video tape community activities and events such as the construction of the community hall addition and the annual softball tournaments.

Kent and Melanie Bowman are former Cooper Landing residents who cooked at several local places. They put on the softball tournament play off day dinner in 2003 and their Mexican chicken dinners netted $1,000 for the community club.

Thanks to Duane and Mayme Ohnemus and Jan Mitchell for doing the spring cleaning at the community hall and policing the grounds April 12.

Brearley Wilson, Pinkie Richardson, Martha Brewer, and Mayme Ohnemus, who call themselves the diabetic babes met their support leader, Ruth Clare, for lunch in Soldotna on April 15. The four women took a class on diabetes from Ruth through Central Peninsula General Hospital and continue to meet occasionally for fun and encouragement.

The community is gearing up to spring into summer action. Most businesses, the museum and the chamber of commerce's information center are opening in May. Already we see drift boats in the river and horses with riders along the highway.

The other topic of conversation is gardening with many people tending seedlings and planters in greenhouses, garages and basements. Mayday tree leaves are opening, rhubarb is popping up and Ron Gravenhorst has a landscaping project started at the library with Bill Fort helping.

People in Moose Pass, Cooper Landing and the surrounding area were getting ready for the summer season in 1939 too, according to Lois Allen's Moose Pass Miner newspaper May 12. "The putting to work of extra men (10 in the Moose Pass section), unloading of ties and other equipment along the Seward to Mile 63 stretch of the Alaska Railroad, indicated that the Portage Bay ghost has been done-in. All of Kenai Peninsula has cause to rejoice."

Allen wrote about property improvements underway, the moving of mink pens, and operations beginning on mining properties and fishing.

"Dr. Bannister of Seward and Leonard Hopkins an Anchorage business man, met in Moose Pass yesterday and left for Russian river to spend the weekend fishing. Jo Docian has caught the record Rainbow trout so far for 1939. From Russian river it is 35 inches long." Russian River rainbow fishing doesn't open now until June 15, I believe.

Remember when community clean up also meant taking care of the dump? In 1972, the community club had Forest Service special use permits for the refuse area, cemetery, and building and was required to keep them all in good condition.

In a May 1972 letter to Jerry Winkler the community was asked to pick up windblown debris, burn and cover existing trench and dig a new one and fence the trench. (This must have been Sexy Senior Dumpster Cleaner Agent Ohnemus' initial training.)

Thirty-two years ago this month, Cooper Landing got its first ambulance. Maurie Amundson was the ambulance squad president in 1973 and he drove the "fully equipped GMC Lifesaver into the yard at Hamilton's Place."

Other members of the Cooper Landing Volunteer Ambulance and Rescue Squad, as it was called then were: Jackie Radisch, Irene Winkler, Ed Painter, Skip Oberg, Gary Woodburn, Judd Fowler, Dodie Wilson, Gary Ault, Jerry Norris and Daniel Smith.

Mona Painter can be reached by phone at 595-1248 or by email at

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