Tuesday, May 2, 2006

All my life I have loved to garden and tomatoes have been one of my favorite plants to grow. Growing beautiful ripe tomatoes in the Midwest is pretty simple; however up here in Alaska it gets much more involved then simply sticking the plants in the ground and wait to harvest a beautiful crop. Here on the Kenai Peninsula you need to use a greenhouse because of our late springs as well as cooler temperatures. Then you need a way to keep them from freezing on those extra cool nights that sneak in long after it has gotten warm enough to get your plants started.

Local help from a generous industry
After selling their Nikiski refinery and most of their Alaskan interests some twenty years ago, Chevron last year returned to Alaska in a big way when they purchased Unocal. Returning with Chevron is the company’s commitment to supporting the local communities where they live and do business. Last week at the Kenai Chamber of Commerce regular noon luncheon meeting, Chris Myers, Cook Inlet Field Superintendent for Chevron presented Jane Stein with a check for $25,000 for the Kenai Peninsula Foundation, “This represents monies that Chevron is committing to the local community and funds that can be dispersed to local entities in smaller amounts. We are not set up to contribute small amounts for individual projects, so the Kenai Peninsula Foundation fits a niche for us so that we can contribute to the community and have it distributed with no overhead so that all the money goes directly to meet the various needs of the community,” said Myers.

Agrium’s Blue Sky project nears Phase II
Until Agrium was able to secure a continued supply of natural gas last year they had announced that the plant would shut down in October 2005. With the news that they had been successful in acquiring a continued supply of gas through October 31, 2006, came the additional announcement that Agrium had begun a Blue Sky project to study the feasibility of building a plant that would continue to produce ammonia and urea from coal. The project would use proven coal gasification technology to transform Beluga coal into feedstock for Agrium’s Kenai Nitrogen Operation complex and would allow for the continued long term operation of the Kenai facility. Even with the supply of natural gas acquired last year, the plant had to shut down operation in January to free up supplies for domestic use. Something that has never happened before in the plants nearly 40 year history.

Have fries will travel...
With cost of fueling your car or truck approaching $3.00 a gallon, many people are looking for ways to reduce the costs of fuel without cutting down on their transportation needs. Basement mechanic Mike Arnold of Soldotna has come up with an alternative that he says is getting him about 400 miles to a gallon of diesel fuel in his vintage VW Rabbit, “I get about 4,000 miles on a 10gallon tank of diesel in the summer and about 3,000 miles in the winter, so I don’t pull into gas stations very often,” says Arnold.

Great Alaska Pizza Co. opens in Soldotna
The Great Alaska Pizza Co. is now open in Soldotna and living up to their reputation for great pizza at a great value offering their “Fresh -N-Fast” large pizza with pepperoni or just cheese for only $8.88 all day, every day, according to franchise owner Cheri Logan. “I have really been overwhelmed and pleasantly surprised by the welcome we have received from folks in Soldotna and Kenai. I personally truly enjoy the community and have been quite overwhelmed by how open and supportive everyone has been to us,” said Logan.

Find new solutions to illegal immigration problem
Re: The Illegal Immigrant Problem

Borough tax exemption cap unfair to seniors in cities
The state mandates a $150,000 property tax exemption for seniors and disabled veterans, however, the Kenai Peninsula Borough has allowed those living outside of the cities an unlimited property tax exemption. This excessive exemption is costing the borough and the taxpayers over a half million dollars and is climbing. All residents must make up this shortfall. It is grossly unfair to load this burden on us.

Experienced biologists weren’t asked to KRSA meeting
Recently, Kenai River Sport Fishing Association (KRSA) held a meeting to define research priorities for the Kenai River. The purpose of that meeting was to set research priorities for the spending of millions of federal and state tax dollars directed to KRSA by Ted Stevens. The executive director, Mr. Ricky Gease, stated that KRSA was bringing together land use managers and research personnel familiar with the Kenai River to set these research goals.

Reader: Alaska deserves more for its oil
I’ve been listening and seeing all the oil companies ads (how much money are they spending along with lobbying in Juneau) on don’t tax us or we may leave or spend less. Many years ago the similar debate was waged on the economic limit factor (elf) and I remember an ad with the lights going out on the BP building representing that they may leave if taxes went up and thought why don’t the just leave then. This time they have stooped so low to even threaten the non-profit groups that they would cut funding even though they are making considerable more money now and would continue to even with a tax increase.

On taxes and the difference between politicians, grizzlies
Re: April 12 letter from Mr. Bennett Sr., Subject: Sales Tax v. Property Tax.

Consider ramifications of sportfishing industry
The recent flurry of activity by the Kenai River Sportsfishing Association makes me uncomfortable. It appears to be an attempt to further politicize Kenai River Management and polarize various “stake holders.” Yes, the “Tides are Changing” in Cook Inlet (voices of the Peninsula — Ricky Gease). The report (or rather I should say the interpretation presented) is an attempt to effect resource allocation. Like any hired mouthpiece, Ricky Gease can and does spin statistics to whatever end he desires.

Soldotna council sees ’07 budget, sets hearings
As expected, the Soldotna City Council on Wednesday got its first look at the city’s budget for the coming year and scheduled public hearings on the budget for May 10 and May 24.

K-Beach repairs lack money
Motorists on Kalifornsky Beach Road between Bridge Access Road and Kasilof will most likely spend another year bumping along the rutted, hole-strewn roadway.

Assembly floats idea for taxing big ships’ value
The owners of commercial, nonfishing vessels of 100 feet or more would pay borough personal property taxes based on the values of those vessels rather than the flat tax currently imposed if an ordinance on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly’s agenda for tonight’s meeting in Seward becomes law.

Fast track
There was a blur of blue and gold this past weekend at the Peninsula Center Mall in Soldotna, as scores of Cub Scouts were revved up for the Tustumena District Pinewood Derby.

Burned cars clutter Kasilof beach
Torched and illegally dumped vehicles near the mouth of the Kasilof River have spring beach-goers hot under the collar.

Hospital sees staff changes, drop in surgeries, admissions
In his last report before being officially appointed chief executive officer of Central Peninsula General Hospital, the top finance officer gave a rather grim report of the hospital’s March numbers.

Charter school growth up to school board
The board of education is slated to look at whether or not to allow the expansion of Kaleidoscope Charter School when it meets at Seward High School tonight.

Pup gets seal of approval
Employees at Pacific Star Seafoods in Kenai are always looking to land a huge haul, but not the kind they got last Monday when a baby elephant seal washed ashore.

Teen dies in car crash
A 14-year-old Sterling teen was killed in a car crash Saturday night in Sterling.

Cody Geesey
Sterling resident and Soldotna Middle School student Cody Geesey died Saturday, April 29, 2006, from injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident on the Sterling Highway. He was 14.

Rita Monica Sipary
Soldotna resident Rita Monica Sipary died Saturday, April 29, 2006, at her home surrounded by her family and friends. She was 70.

Vena McKune Rowley
Former Kenai resident Vena McKune Rowley died Tuesday, April 25, 2006, in Fountain Valley, Calif. She was 93.

Sustainability on the Kenai: Now more than ever farming in Alaska needs to be supported
After eight months of public outcry, testimony, phone calls and letters to congressional delegates and to the USDA and its Farm Services Agency asking for a transparent public process to examine the “Restructure Plan” that will close three of the four County Offices in Alaska, “the Kenai Peninsula Chapter of the Alaska Farm Bureau is circulating a petition to recall the FSA Executive Director and the Chair of the FSA State Committee.” (see the Alaska Farm Bureau “Update” March 2006 newsletter.)

‘Click It or Ticket’ not just a slogan: Officers would rather write seat belt tickets than see someone dead
Enforcement of Alaska’s seat belt law entered a new phase on Monday. This is the date the state’s tougher new seat belt law went into effect. “Click It or Ticket” is more than a slogan in our community. It’s a reminder that the seat belt law is strictly enforced in and around Kenai/Soldotna.

Club News
Refuge set to clean up Open house geared for dog owners Class reunions set Farm Family nominations open SeaLife Center offers day camps Host families sought Kids activities sought

Around the Peninsula
Kids activities sought Salmon celebration slated Genealogy class set KCHS after-grad committee to meet Open house geared for dog owners DARE track meet slated Tree sale set to branch out Host families sought Medicare Part D assistance available

Potato late blight and the home gardener
Editor’s note: The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Office on Kalifornsky Beach Road in Soldotna prepared the following article on potato late blight disease.

Peninsula People
Caring for the Kenai winners announced

Around the Peninsula
Kids activities sought 911 advisory board to meet Basketball clinics set Sears carnival fundraiser set to entertain KPC seeks council reps Kenai shorebird festival takes wing KPBSD programs committee to meet

Work of Heart
Sterling Head Start opened its doors in 2001 and serves eligible, low-income families in the Sterling and Soldotna areas at no cost. It serves families with children ages 3 but not older than 5 by Sept. 1.

Dependable finisher
Whether it’s in the classroom or in athletics, coaches and teachers don’t have to worry about Skyview senior Jesse Kloote being in the right place at the right time.

Soldotna boys, Homer girls notch victories
The weather, featuring a wind that had some corner flags nearly dipping and touching grass at times, made it apparent outside soccer was being played Monday at Soldotna Middle School.

Senior Activities
Soldotna Nikiski

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