Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Six decades and counting
The first of the “Baby Boomers” turn the big six-oh this year, and while they are no longer recognizable by their long hair and bell bottom trousers, other things certainly do set them apart, things such as their commitment to serving their communities and helping others when asked. One such boomer, Norm Blakeley and his wife Barb were honored this spring by Nancy Murkowski with a First Lady Award for their volunteer efforts. So it was no surprise when Barb announced a party for Norm’s 60th birthday that hundreds turned out to wish him 60 more. “I couldn’t understand all the traffic heading back toward Anchorage on a Saturday afternoon, then I turned off for Norm’s house in Sterling and so did everybody else, I had to park a half mile away and hike in to his house. Princess Tours should have provided a shuttle bus,” said a friend.

Valerie Mackie anxious to begin her People to People adventure
Valerie Mackie of Soldotna has been selected to represent the Kenai Peninsula and Alaska as a People to People ambassador in Europe this summer. Now in its 50th year, the People to People International (PTPI) program was founded by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956. “I still like Ike and am grateful for this tremendous opportunity,” Mackie recently told the Soldotna Rotary Club. According to Mackie the purpose of the program is to enhance international understanding and friendships through educational, cultural, and humanitarian activities involving the exchange of ideas and experiences directly among peoples of different countries and diverse cultures. “Since its inception, nine U.S. Presidents have served as PTPI's Honorary Chairman including our current President George W. Bush. The organization has reaped benefits from the talents of countless individuals who have supported the ideals set forth by President Eisenhower. Among the early leaders working with President Eisenhower were J. C. Hall, the founder of Hallmark Cards, Walt Disney, Bob Hope and approximately 100 other remarkable individuals from industry, academia, and the arts,” reported Mackie.

Funny how it is that whenever you go out fishing here in Alaska you always seem to learn something new or see something different. A few days ago I had a boat full of people on Elephant Lake and found the fishing to be very slow at times and it was rather hard to locate the fish. I don’t use a fish locator so I have to find them the old fashioned way, either fish my old holes or drift till I found a school and then throw out the anchor and hopefully the boat stops right over them. Not real scientific but the method does seem to work.

Liquid sunshine dampens not Kenai River Festival spirit
The Kenai River has become a signature of Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, and for the last 16 years, the Kenai River Festival has become a signature event for learning, celebrating, and appreciating nature’s hand writing. The hallmark gathering became so popular it was expanded to a two day event several years ago. This year the festivities got underway with a 5-kilometer run through the streets of Kenai and finished up under soggy skies with the original tunes of Bunny Swan-Gease. In between there were hundreds of activities focused on the next generation to inherit the bounties of the Kenai River. From the Kenai River Sportfishing Association “Hooked on Fishing” rod and reel give-a-way for kids, to interactive story tellers that came from as far away as New Mexico and local puppeteers that performed shows written about the Kenai River, it was a great weekend for the family. There was face painting, knot tying, and space rockets, earth quake houses, un-caged live predatory birds, and a host of activities, “It was an exciting time for kids, and rain didn’t dampen our spirits a bit, the event is designed to teach our children to enjoy and take care of the river for future generations and it was a great success,” said Josselyn Burke, of the Kenai Watershed Forum. The Forum is the coordinating organization for the festival.

New Nikko Garden means sunshine and Sushi
For more than twenty years Thomas Shin has been in the restaurant business. Last November he bought the former Golden Dragon restaurant on the Kenai Spur Highway in Ridgeway across from Alyeska Sales & Service. Shin then decided to make over the Golden Dragon into a full service Asian restaurant featuring an international buffet and Sushi Bar. The fruits of his efforts are now available for all to experience at the all new Nikko Garden. “People today are more interested in foods that will increase their overall well being, foods that are healthy as well as fresh and flavorful. So for the last ten years we have searched for a variety of Asian dishes that will satisfy those choices,” said Shin. The Nikko Garden offers a full Japanese menu, Sushi bar, and a blend of Chinese and Korean selections.

Donations help fundraiser rock on
On behalf of the families, staff and individuals of Hope Community Resources Inc., we would like to thank the following businesses for their support of our second annual Rock and Roll for Hope fundraiser: Kaladi Brothers, Coffee Roasters, Grant Aviation, Wells Fargo Bank, Allen and Peterson, Trinity Greenhouse, Blockbuster Video and Body, Mind and Spirit.

Seniors shine with help of support
We would like to extend a sincere and enthusiastic thank you to the following individuals and businesses who supported the Soldotna High School class of 2006 after-graduation party. Their generous donations of money, prizes, food, time and talent insured that the event was a safe and fun send-off for our graduates.

Many make more time for seniors
The Forget-Me-Not Center would like to thank the many people and businesses that support throughout the year what we do to give seniors challenged by health problems an active day. Enormous appreciation goes to First National Bank for generously granting us $4,000 for window blinds and activity equipment. Now people can sit and enjoy their noon meal without being blinded by the low winter sun, and the seniors have several new games to choose from. First National Bank employees also cleaned our garden area and got everything ready for the winter months.

Gas line proposal just doesn’t flow right
More awful down sides to the governor’s proposed gas line contract are now coming to light. The state would take enormous unnecessary risks, shift huge profits to oil companies and take away our fundamental constitutional rights. The contract:

Board of Game decision needs to be shot down
To judge from their recent decisions, we have an Alaska Outdoors Council-controlled Board of Game demonstrating a smug contempt and a Department of Fish and Game exhibiting an incredible arrogance for believing Alaskans want a program in which year after year wolves and eventually bears will be shot from the air or pursued by snowmachines until exhausted all in the name of intensive management, a concept so unworkable that when initially broached in the mid-1990s, F&G testified against it.

Poor service not the standard at Stevens’ office
It was with dismay that I read Joann Odd’s June 5 letter to the editor (Clarion). I expect those who contact my office to be treated with respect, and Ms. Odd’s experience is not representative of how my staff interacts with constituents.

Baseball clinic strikes out on expectations
This letter is in response to the free Peninsula Oilers baseball clinic that was held June 9.

Smolt migrate without help from hatchery
From 2003 to 2005, migrating smolt populations supporting the Kasilof River sockeye fishery grew in size and number, but 2006 could mark a step backward for the smolt populations. The number of smolt found migrating out of the river’s sockeye nursery, Tustumena Lake, hit record highs in 2003 and 2005 and smolt sizes, measured in 2003 and 2004, showed a large increase over long-term averages.

Council gets look at trail project
A number of vehicles pulled off to the side of the road is usually a good indication a wildlife specimen is nearby, but a new project may soon give people a better method of finding wildlife around Kenai.

Business takes 'AIMM' at Kenai
A Texas-based industrial pipe- and tank-cleaning company, AIMM Technologies, which conducts business around the world and counts members of Alaska’s petroleum industry among its customers, has established an office in Kenai.

Burial issue lives
Talks about building a cemetery in Soldotna have quieted considerably in the past five months, but the desire to have a final resting place for its dead is very much alive.

Soldotna council student rep hops to it for cash
The Soldotna City Council typically does not require the local citizenry to dance for their supper or jump through hoops to get action, but one person was jumping for a favor last week.

School repairs on the cheap
A $2.588 million bond package that could be headed to Kenai Peninsula Borough voters this fall would make the borough eligible for state reimbursement payments covering 70 percent of the costs of four school repair projects.

Freezers net gains
Jeff Elkins watched from a beach near the mouth of the Kasilof River as his son-in-law removed a sockeye from their set gillnet early Saturday afternoon. The tide was retreating back into Cook Inlet and Elkins and his son-in-law, Ben Linford, thought they had picked the net clean earlier in the morning, but discovered a straggler while straightening the net.

Trip yields big catch
An 11-year-old boy suffering from bone cancer got his wish when the zing of his reel announced he had hooked a king salmon in the Kenai River last week.

Victor A. 'Vic' Segura
Lifelong Kenai resident and Alaska Native Victor A. “Vic” Segura died Friday, June 16, 2006, after a short battle with cancer at Central Peninsula General Hospital in Soldotna. He was 65.

Minnie Graham Keating
Soldotna resident Minnie Graham Keating died Friday, May 19, 2006, in her sleep at Central Peninsula General Hospital in Soldotna. She was 89.

Around the Peninsula
Weir tour date changed Quilting on the Kenai coming up Sterling seniors cook up good time Center offers domestic violence info Meeting set on Holt-Lamplight gas service Market space offered to school kids Teen Center offers summer camp

Around the Peninsula
Russian River Sanctuary opens Summer solstice festival jams today Quilting on the Kenai coming up Ninilchik fair needs workers Market space offered to school kids Historians to meet Skyview gears up for dogs Does Chugach Electric owe you money?

Sports Briefs
Honer, Rooper win five-miler Twins go 2-2 on trip

Area hockey player makes Arctic Stars
Kasilof’s Jonas Perletti, 11, is one of 15 hockey players from Alaska selected to play in the USA International Hockey Cup in Blaine, Minn., which will be held Thursday though Sunday.

Monarchs avoid Oilers sweep
The Lake Erie Monarchs avoided a sweep by defeating the Peninsula Oilers 4-3 on Monday at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai.

Sports Brief
The Kenai Peninsula Racing Lions-Circle Track Division hosted races Saturday at Twin Cities Raceway.

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