Monday, May 24, 2010

Community's values reflected in college
Earlier this month, I had the honor of joining other graduates in the Kenai Peninsula College graduation commencement ceremony. More than 250 students graduated -- receiving diplomas, certificates, and degrees -- through KPC campuses during the May ceremonies. I was proud to be among them and receive my degree as a member the second largest graduating class in KPC history, and the largest for the University of Alaska.

Great strides made at track meet
The annual Hershey Track and Field Meet sponsored by North Peninsula Recreation was once again a huge success. On May 13, approximately 250 participants from local schools came to compete in both running and field events at the Nikiski High School track. Thankfully this year we were blessed with clear skies for the duration of the track meet. As a result of the cooperative weather we had a stadium full of happy participants and fans. We were also graced with an abundance of helpful volunteers.

Officials: Give wildlife space
There might still be a nip in the air, but for area wildlife, spring has come. Moose have started to calve and bears have emerged from winter dens -- a reminder for people to give wildlife some space.

Small wildfire stamped out
A small fire ignited Friday afternoon on Kenai Wildlife Refuge land near Mile 46 of the Kenai River, serving as a reminder of the fire risk that comes with early spring on the Kenai Peninsula.

Birders flock to Kenai festival
Todd Eskelin was able to check one more bird off of his lifetime bird list Friday during the Kenai Birding Festival's birding float trip of the Kenai River: a blue-winged teal.

State incentives give a boost for Cook Inlet
The state has sharply expanded oil and gas exploration and development incentives -- mostly aimed at Cook Inlet -- hoping to inspire existing producers to invest more and to lure more independents to explore the area.

District shows improvement in reading, math, slips in writing
Early numbers from district's 2009-10 standards based assessment test scores show Kenai Peninsula students have improved their proficiency levels in reading and math, but have slipped some in writing.

Pebble supporters protest study
A last-minute line item for three-quarters of a million dollars in a $3.1 billion capital budget is stirring up a ruckus between the usual suspects.

Soap Box Derby: enthralls racers
After three years of racing and never placing, Austin Daly, 15, took home the first-place trophy -- $300 in gift cards -- for her gravity-powered finish on Spruce Street at Saturday's Kenai Rotary Soap Box Derby.

Agency issues warning letter to BP Alaska
A federal pipeline agency last month issued a warning letter to BP Exploration Alaska, finding "probable violations" in the company's handling of certain corrosion issues affecting its Endicott Pipeline.

Carlton Harvey Green
Carlton Harvey Green, 81 years old of Bracketville, Texas died May 13, 2010, in Uvalde, Texas.

Samuel Rowlette Joseph
Samuel Rowlette Joseph died Friday, May 14, 2010 at his home in Anchorage. He was 3 years old.

Marlena Lynn Crump
Longtime Kenai resident, Mrs. Marlena Lynn Crump, 52, died Thursday, May 20, 2010, at her home with her family by her side after a long brave battle with cancer.

Betty Lavern Pollreisz
Longtime Soldotna resident Ms. Betty Lavern Pollreisz died Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna. She was 78.

Term limits only limit voters' choices
Bill Smith, representing Homer on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly, has of late taken the lead on a number of issues, particularly as the body works through the borough's budget.

Illegal texters not hard to find, bust
COLUMBIA -- Critics of efforts to ban texting while driving in South Carolina say it will be difficult to catch offenders, but some authorities in states that have the ban say they have had little trouble.

No doubt, you've heard of aromatherapy. Maybe you or a loved one has even tried it, only to find that all the hype and medicinal claims were at best, questionable. Thanks to progressive studies conducted at the MAAMAS (Maternal Alliance Against Mediocre Aromatherapy Scents) Center for Scientific Research, there's now hope. Several years ago, it's founder, Dr. Emesis Pukis theorized that "common scents" were more likely to evoke powerful emotions and possess healing properties than the fancy-schmancy products currently on the market.

Have you had or are about to have visitors? Has a new addition to your family just arrived? Where in the world is your military person and what are they up to? Got a new graduate, dean's list student or an award-receiving youth? Do you have a news event, activity or fundraiser you need to let the community know about? Send it to us!

Hometown hero

SoHi baseball tops Palmer
PALMER -- Soldotna head coach Rob Quelland wants to get senior pitcher DJ Stilchen more work on the mound. But Quelland probably didn't anticipate needing to use Stilchen during back-to-back games of a two-day road trip to the Mat-Su Valley.

Hershey track results posted
The North Peninsula Recreation Service Area held its annual Hershey Track and Field Meet on May 13 at Nikiski High School. The meet is for those ages 9 to 14. There were 245 participants, coming from Nikiski North Star Elementary, Nikiski Junior High, Home School, Cook Inlet Academy, Grace Lutheran School and Aurora Borealis Charter School.

Wasilla baseball comes back to top Soldotna
WASILLA -- As Myrl Thompson watched Steven Steger smack a pitch deep over the left field fence during Soldotna's seven-run fourth inning Friday, the Wasilla head coach couldn't help but think of his team's 20-8 loss to Soldotna last weekend.

SoHi girls nab NLC crown
Soldotna's Sydney Goggia picked a great time to score her first goal of the season.

Kenai's Flanagan obliterates 400 record en route to 3 state wins
Kenai Central's Lierin Flanagan ran a 55.95 400-meter dash on Saturday at the state track and field meet at Lathrop High School, shattering the former record by more than a second. Bartlett's Andrea Crook set the previous record of 57.14 in 2006.

Stars finish 1-3 in Anchorage trek
The Soldotna softball team went 1-3 on a road trip to Anchorage on Friday and Saturday.

Soldotna girls punch ticket to state
Defense was the key to Soldotna's 3-0 win over Colony in Friday's Northern Lights Conference girls semifinal at the Kenai Sports Complex. With the victory, the Stars earned a trip to the state tournament for the second time in three years. SoHi missed state last year but went in 2008 as the NLC champs.

Oilers fill out roster
The Peninsula Oilers recently announced that Jeff Popick, Ryan Gebhart, Nate Theunissen, Stephen Piscotty and Tyler Grimes are joining the team.

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