Saturday, April 22, 2000

Senate passes $50 head tax on cruise passengers
JUNEAU (AP) -- A $50 head tax on cruise ship passengers who enter Alaska waters passed the Senate on Thursday, less than a day after the proposal surfaced in a late-night committee hearing.

Strong earthquake near Adak
PALMER(AP) -- An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.3 was felt strongly in Adak Thursday evening, according to the Alaska Tsunami Warning Center. No injuries or damages were reported on the island

State reports jobless rate down in March
JUNEAU (AP) -- It's springtime in Alaska and, as usual, the state's unemployment rate is heading down.

State agency's farmed salmon gaffe irks lawmaker
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Rep. John Cowdery, R-Anchorage, wants to privatize the work being done by the state Division of Trade and Development, and a gaffe that occurred at a South Korean hotel isn't helping the agency any.

Smith named new director of UAF Geophysical Institute
FAIRBANKS (AP) -- There's a new director at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute and the search team didn't have to go far to find him.

Questionable entries reported on maintenance record of crash plane
SEATTLE (AP) -- Questionable entries have been found in maintenance records for an Alaska Airlines MD-83 that crashed Jan. 31, The Seattle Times reported Friday.

Wildlife initiative ban headed for ballot
JUNEAU (AP) -- A constitutional amendment banning ballot initiatives dealing with wildlife passed the Senate on Thursday and will go before voters in November.

First snow geese of the spring back in Southcentral Alaska
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The snow geese are back, and they probably will be flying overhead or feeding in area wetlands over the next few weeks.

Lottery official: Ice still a long way from going out at Nenana
FAIRBANKS (AP) -- It's still anybody's guess when the ice will go out on the Tanana River. But one thing is certain. The jackpot for this year's Nenana Ice Classic is a record-breaking $335,000.

Kenai assembly delays action on land suit
KENAI (AP) -- Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly members voted this week to postpone action on Mayor Dale Bagley's attempt to get more key recreational lands for the borough to subdivide and sell. The assembly is about evenly split on whether to support Bagley's lawsuit appealing the Kenai Area Plan.

Two Alaska schools evacuated, attendance down at others as Columbine anniversary passes
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings was a busy time for Alaska school authorities, security guards, and police. At least two Alaska schools were evacuated, and some parents in Anchorage kept their children at home Thursday in fear of possible violence.

Man sentenced for selling illegal cable boxes
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- An Anchorage man was sentenced Thursday for selling illegal cable boxes, federal prosecutors said.

House rejects constitutional amendment restricting judges
JUNEAU -- By one vote, the state House has rejected a proposal to bar judges from changing proposed constitutional amendments.

State gets first profit check from Endicott
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The state has collected its first share of profits from the North Slope's Endicott oil field, the Knowles administration said Thursday.

Bounty hunters acquitted of assault
SOLDOTNA (AP) -- Three bounty hunters accused of assault and trespassing were acquitted Thursday afternoon by a Superior Court jury that spent just two hours deliberating after a trial that lasted nearly two weeks.

Stevens pops top in Energy Dept. hearing
FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Sen. Ted Stevens lit into Energy Secretary Bill Richardson in Washington, D.C., recently for delays in releasing federal money for a coalbed methane project near Chignik.

House rejects school construction amendments
JUNEAU -- The state House has rejected amendments to its version of a school and harbor bonds bill that would have put more money into rural Alaska and paid for college classrooms in Juneau instead of a covered walkway in Anchorage.

Two men charged with child-porn distribution
ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Two Anchorage men were indicted this week on charges of distributing child pornography, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

Ketchikan sailor, dog rescued
JUNEAU (AP) -- An injured Ketchikan sailor and his dog were rescued by the Coast Guard Wednesday about 30 miles south of his hometown.

Seward school to build ship bridge simulator complex
SEWARD (AP) -- The Alaska Vocational Technical Center here has signed a contract to build a $1.7 million ship bridge simulator complex, officials said.

Around the Peninsula
Petting farm, pony rides offered in SoldotnaSpecial Olympics bake sale SaturdayNinilchik Fair organizers to meetYoung Marines host banquetCongressman Young coming to SoldotnaTool repair offered at SoHiShot clinics canceledTeleconference will aid grieving children

Community Calendar
The Community Calendar lists events and meetings of nonprofit organizations. Deadline for submissions is noon the preceding day. To have your event listed, or to change any information, call 283-7551 or fax 283-3299.

Legislature restores funding for threatened parks
The Alaska Legislature heard the message that state parks are important to Alaskans. A House-Senate conference committee last weekend restored the $280,000 in cuts the House had proposed in the state Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation budget, and then some.

Controversial trial closes with complete victory for defense
David B. Cameron, Seth I. Oehler and Ronald L. Williams had been waiting a long time.

Schools budget request answered
Tuesday, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly unanimously approved the school district's budget request. But the education budget is anything but simple, and it gets more difficult every year.

Two die in 2-car wreck
A two-vehicle accident at Mile 37.5 of the Seward Highway, just north of the Sterling Highway cutoff, claimed the lives of two men and injured two others on Wednesday.

Photo feature: Easter moose
The Easter bunny rides into Soldotna on the moose statue at the William and Lorna Bunch residence on Marshal Drive recently.

Board accepts bylaw change
A broad look at community health care needs soon could be back on the agenda of the elected board that advises on the Central Kenai Peninsula Hospital Service Area.

Leonard O. Stormo
Longtime Clam Gulch resident Leonard O. Stormo died Wednesday, April 19, 2000, at his residence. He was 70.

Goldie Mae Lichti
Longtime Alaska resident died Tuesday, April 18, 2000, at the South Peninsula General Hospital in Homer. She was 94.

Oil, gas spending aimed at stretching production
Unocal's Cook Inlet oil and gas operations are not presently for sale, the company says, and its capital program aims to slow natural declines in production.

Forcenergy plans big boost in production
Cook Inlet oil production could nearly double in the next few years if Forcenergy Inc. finds the reserves managers hope for on its Redoubt Shoal prospect.

Arco banking on National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska
It remains to be seen whether Arco Alaska Inc.'s National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska leases will bring another boom in construction for the Natchiq Inc. yard in Nikiski.

New company could be world's largest nitrogen products maker
The Canadian fertilizer company that plans to buy Alaska Nitrogen Products in Nikiski began in 1992 as a spinoff of Cominco Ltd. -- owner of the Red Dog Mine near Kotzebue.

Some hanging on for long haul
Doing business in the Russian Far East has been a roller-coaster ride for Alaska investors.

Unocal: Borough's biggest taxpayer
Kenai Peninsula Borough officials say Unocal is by far the borough's biggest payer of property taxes.

Alaska partners look west
This may be the year that business opportunities for Alaskans blossom in the Russian Far East. But no one is willing to bet the farm.

Marathon fuels customers in Alaska, Japan
Marathon Oil Co. ranks among Cook Inlet's top producers of natural gas, with production last year averaging 140 million cubic feet per day.

Platform upgrade, North Slope improvements planned this year
Phillips Petroleum Co. plans a $30 million upgrade to its Tyonek Platform on Cook Inlet following renewal of its license to export liquefied natural gas to Japan.

Refinery's future hangs in balance
Tesoro Petroleum Co. has averaged a 3 percent return on capital employed in Alaska, and that is unacceptable, said Ron Noel, vice president of Tesoro Alaska Petroleum Co.

Russian Far East oil fields: On the brink of a major boom?
For years Alaskans have been talking about the promise of Sakhalin's oil and gas fields, but production is little more than a trickle.

Natchiq pursuing projects for Nikiski site
It has been a quiet winter at the Natchiq Module Assembly Site in Nikiski.

Nikiski operation boosted by 30 years of investment
Tesoro built the Nikiski refinery in 1969, with an initial capacity to process 17,500 barrels of Cook Inlet crude per day.

Animal activists seek ban on trapping in Northwest
OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Since the days of Captain James Cook's arrival in the 1770s, fur traders have set traps throughout the Pacific Northwest and sold the pelts of wild animals to markets around the world.

Synopsis of services provided by federal, state and local government agencies
Here is a rundown of the Kenai Peninsula's major government services, the number of employees and costs within the borough:

Kenai Arts and Humanities Council, Peninsula Art Guild, artists, craftspeople making most of e-commerce
In a community where the economy has traditionally been based on the oil and gas industry, the arts are often overlooked as a cog in the wheel that drives our prosperity.

Theater idea gains steam in Kenai
Another public-private partnership to spur economic development in the city of Kenai is on the minds of Mayor John Williams and the arts community.

All roads -- and runways -- lead to home for new airport manager
Rebecca Cronkhite loves to fly. And despite the fact that she spends every day at the Kenai Municipal Airport, she never has time to.

Nonprofit organizations fuel peninsula economy
Having a major impact on the Kenai Peninsula's economic profile are more than 200 nonprofit organizations. With assets and incomes worth millions of dollars, they focus on a wide area of topics including health, education, recreation, culture, the environment and religious interests.

Reasons for flying changing with times
The trend is downward.That's the word from Rebecca Cronkhite about traffic at the Kenai Municipal Airport. However, that downward trend doesn't mean there aren't bright spots on the horizon.

Top 10 borough taxpayers 1990 & 1999

Entrepreneurs profit, consumers love the convenience, but loss of sales tax revenue concerns some
Just a few years ago, the Internet was a sparsely populated community of nerds. Today, grandmothers are "surfing" the World Wide Web looking for just the right baby blanket.

Top 10 Kenai taxpayers 1990 & 1999

Top 10 Soldotna taxpayers 1990 & 1999

Telling times ahead for Kenai Peninsula
The coming decade may be a telling time for what has consistently been billed as the state's most economically diverse region. There are dark signs, but also bright opportunities.

Future projects spell big bucksx
Tally the projects, and there is a lot of money being spent in the Kenai Peninsula Borough.

KPC, AVTEC offer opportunities close to home
Education does not end at age 18. Adults adapting to the changing employment scene of the 21st century can upgrade skills at post-secondary schools on the Kenai Peninsula.

Employable skills training takes its place in classrooms alongside standard academic fare
Add "resumes" to the list of the basic "three Rs" taught in school.

Government remains potent economic force
Problem or solution, burden or asset -- different people on the Kenai Peninsula see different things when they look at government.

Former resident joins Baptist mission board
Aliro and LaRissa Hall Silva have joined more than 4,800 Southern Baptist International Mission Board workers in sharing Christ throughout 163 countries and among 336 ethnic people groups.

Religion Briefs
Conference set at Kalifonsky centerSolFirst sportsmen's banquet plannedChurch plans meeting for women

Churches schedule special services
St. Francis by the Sea Episcopal ChurchApostolic Assembly of Jesus Christ Kenai Grace Brethren ChurchKenai Christian ChurchSoldotna United Methodist ChurchUnited Methodist Church of the New CovenantSoldotna First Assembly of God Church North Kenai Baptist ChurchStar of the North Lutheran Church

Scholars disagree over path Jesus took
JERUSALEM (AP) -- Remnants of a biblical-era staircase jut from the landscaped lawn at the base of Jerusalem's Old City wall. Today, the steps go nowhere.

Reports: Remote Malaysian state passes law against deviant teachings
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- A remote northern state has become the first in Malaysia to impose a law to curb deviant teachings among Muslims by detaining offenders in rehabilitation centers.

Growing pains mark sport fish industry
Sport fishing and associated businesses such as bed and breakfasts an

Big changes sweep booming retail industry
Economists say booming tourism, population growth and a growing tendency to shop locally have made retail trade the fastest growing sector of the Kenai Peninsula economy.

Couple finds business keeps life in balance
With two businesses, loads of community involvement and a large family, Dave and Sharon Keating of Soldotna strive to give back to the community that contributed to their success.

Commercial fishers ride out changes
While explosive growth has marked the sport fishery on the Kenai Peninsula in recent years, Cook Inlet commercial fisheries have largely been a reliable and steady source of income for the Kenai Peninsula.

Subsistence issue may mean more change
Fish have been the lifeblood of the Kenai Peninsula since people first began arriving here.

Sportfishing by the Numbers
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game does not count fish taken by sport anglers, but it does track days of angler effort expended on the waters of the Kenai Peninsula.

Diversity key to success for Ninilchik processor
In the storm-tossed world of making a living off the sea, a Ninilchik seafood processor has managed to keep afloat.

Commercial Fishing by the Numbers
Commercial fishing statistics for Cook Inlet during the later half of the 1990s. All statistics provided by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Riding out the storm
After several stagnant years in the real estate market in the early 1990s, gains have been made in more recent years.

Spruce bark beetle spurs timber industry
Thanks to the infamous spruce bark beetle, the Kenai Peninsula led Alaska's timber industry during the 1990s.

Who, what, where, why and how of tourism
Where are visitors to the peninsula going while they're here

Peninsula seeks to redistribute some of summer's crowds to slower months
If the Sterling Highway seems crowded in the summer, the explanation is simple. It is crowded.

Cat and 'Dawg fight at Skyview
After a month of hiding out and practicing in gyms, on hockey rinks and at beaches, competitive varsity soccer hit the peninsula at full bore Thursday with all 12 peninsula teams seeing action.

Sabres bounced by Flyers
PHILADELPHIA -- The Buffalo Sabres' post-Stanley Cup lament last season was No Goal. This year, they're out of the playoffs because of no goals.

Skyview, Kenai, Soldotna weather track conditions
The Soldotna boys and the Kenai girls earned high school track and field wins at Skyview High School Thursday, a day when just getting around the track proved to be a challenge.

Former Panther notches peak performance
Jason Feeken had an inauspicious beginning to his collegiate cross-country skiing career.

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