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Friday, May 23, 2008

What'cha gonna do if the ban goes through?
How would you like to receive a $27,800 tax bill from the State of Alaska for your family of four? After all, that happens to be your fair share of the state budget! Thank God for Prudhoe Bay, eh?

Hostile property tax alert
If you have not noticed, please take a moment to shock yourself by looking at your most recent borough property tax assessment. It is only going to get worse as the borough has decided to increase their frequency. The most recent reduction of the mill rate seems heroic at first glance, only to realize it is removed from aggressive over-assessments of our family homes and raw property.

Safety first
The Clarion's front page photo on Tuesday has me dumbfounded. It should have been labeled "What's Wrong With This Picture?" A local guide is taking a boatload of young children out on Johnson Lake fishing. The children are all wearing flotation vests. Is the guide? Anyone who has lived in Alaska for any time at all, much less a fishing guide, knows that accidents happen in the blink of an eye. Water in Alaska lakes is notoriously cold, especially in spring right after the ice goes out. Winds come up, weather changes, perfectly "safe" boats sink for no obvious reason. Could that guide help those children to shore if an accident occurred? Or would he be helpless himself thus leaving them without an adult who can think or act in their best interest? I don't know if the spare seat in the front is for the gentleman pushing the boat off, but he doesn't appear to be wearing a flotation device either. Let's all t hink about what we are doing, and the modeling we are doing for our children when we do not follow simple safety rules. It won't be long before, as with seat belts, we will be legislated into wearing floation devices on the water because we are too stubborn or stupid to think we need them. For everyone out there who thinks we have "too much" government in our lives now, here is a chance to sidestep the problem. Its the same concept as putting on an oxygen mask first in an airplane. You can't help anyone else if you are helpless. When going out on the water, any water, or even a dock into deep water, take the necessary 30 seconds to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

Sonar count starts on Kenai River
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game's sonar site is up and running at river mile 8.6 of the Kenai River. The official count began at 12:01 a.m. on May 16 and as of Tuesday, a season total of 226 king salmon have passed the site.

Pact gives public access
An agreement reached this week will allow the public to access Nikishka Beach this summer, but exactly when is unclear.

Soldotna public library's history shared, preserved
One advantage to having a relatively short history such as that of Alaska is many of those who made the history are still around.

Photo feature: Kicking back

Library has fishing rods to lend
The Kenai Community Library staff are hoping kids will take the bait as they launch a new Fishing Rod Loaner Program this summer.

King fishing season kicks off
Deep Creek, Anchor and Ninilchik Rivers will open to king salmon fishing Memorial Day weekend for the annual three-day fishing frenzy, but as is typical for this time of year, unfavorable fishing conditions await anxious anglers.

Kenai Lowlands provide marginal habitat for expanding marten
For the last two years I have been studying the behavior and distribution of American marten on the Kenai Peninsula. As this project draws to a close, I would like to sum up what I have learned about these interesting creatures.

Book release party planned
The Kenai Watershed Forum is hosting a book release party to celebrate the completion of Sterling naturalist Domique Collet's new book, "Insects of Southcentral Alaska." The book includes detailed descriptions of local insects as well as roughly 700 photographs.

Around the Peninsula

Health center plans holiday closure

All eyes on Bartlett's air Jordan
Soldotna High School has two pretty good throwers in seniors Ryan Shelton and Paige Blackburn.

Kenai, SoHi, Homer boys gain semifinals
Kenai coach David Landry wouldn't discuss the details of his team's shootout against Wasilla.

Kenai, SoHi girls get wins
Over the course of the season, the Soldotna girls have grown accustomed to scoring in bunches.

Church Briefs

Garage sale fundraiser planned

Enjoy the benefits of believing, receiving
Are we there yet? Has spring finally sprung? When the rhubarb starts to poke out of the ground and the robins appear, we have hope.

Birch Ridge Golf Report: Memorial Day, golf go well together
Memorial Day weekend is almost here. Why not make golf a part of your celebration as you remember all those who have served and continue to serve our country giving us the freedom to enjoy a round of golf in such a beautiful setting as Birch Ridge Golf Course? I recently read an article about soldiers in Iraq finding unique ways to "play golf" amidst the mortar rounds and sandstorms and was again reminded of how blessed we are to live in a place where we have the choice to play golf. So as you tee it up, remember to say a prayer for our troops and say "thanks" for keeping us safe and protecting our freedoms.

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