Thursday, June 25, 2009

Preparing for the big Kenai Library Book Sale
Friends of the Kenai Community Library are busy collecting, sorting and categorizing books, DVD's, videos, puzzles and other items that will go up for sale this weekend at the State Office Building in Kenai. "Old timers know the building as the old Kenai Courthouse, it's the red brick building next door to the Library," says Kari Mohn, book sale chair for the Friends of the Library. "We have more books this year than we have ever had and for those who may not know the book sale is held every year and after the sale whatever remains is given away and we start fresh so this is an entirely new selection of books that have been donated by the community that will be up for sale and we are thrilled with what we have this year. We received a lot of paperbacks as well as hardbacks in like new condition and we also have wonderful jigsaw puzzles that have never been used and totally unopened which will also be at the sale," explained Mohn while she and other Friends of the Library were busily preparing for the sale last week at the Economic Development District building.

Whenever I have a list of chores in front of me to get done generally nothing fires up my crew any better than a promise to take them fishing. I had a pretty long list of things that we needed to finish which included three stumps to dig out and several other projects around the yard. Digging out spruce stumps is no big chore if you have the proper equipment like a backhoe.

19th Annual Kenai River Festival draws thousands to Soldotna Creek Park
A picture perfect day greeted the 19th Kenai River Festival and the community responded with record breaking attendance and Run for the River numbers. According to Josselyn O'Connor of the Kenai Watershed Forum, the organization that coordinates the Festival, she counted over 3,000 Saturday alone plus a record 225 entries in the Run for the River, making conservative estimates of over 5,000 visitors to the two day event. Molly Watkins successfully defended her title in the Women's 5K for the third year in a row. (For complete Run for the River results visit The Kenai Watershed Forum (KWF) stepped up as organizers of the event some 10 years ago and it has grown every year since returning to its original staging site along the Kenai River in Soldotna three years ago. The Kenai River Festival is a festival unlike any other in the state of Alaska. "It's a time to reflect on the importance of the Kenai River in our lives; to celebrate its great recreational, economic and educational opportunities; to learn how we can take care of the River; and understand our part in the survival of the Kenai River," explained KWF Executive Director Robert Ruffner. "This event is centered around educating our children on the benefits of taking care of the Kenai River and our watershed. By incorporating inspirational and educational activities in a fun environment, we have fun and learn at the same time," he said.

Global Food Alaska Conference "Wild" successFrom harvest to market
The second biennial Global Food Alaska conference and trade show was hosted on the Kenai Peninsula last week. According to Robin Richardson with the Global Food Collaborative in Anchorage the purpose of the event was to bring together Alaska's supply chain of food, beverage and agriculture products to meet directly with buyers and be able to collaborate on opportunities so that Alaska is on the leading edge of competitive food producers in the world. Richardson believes there are many areas where Alaska can successfully enter the global market, "Certainly in our commercial seafood industry we are already in the global market place, but I feel there is a lot more opportunity in the way of value added and ready to eat products. It's a wild fishery and a fixed quantity so its a premium product and we need to be making the best value from that and doing more in our quality control," Richardson told the Dispatch, "But I also think that areas that hold future promise for Alaska which are yet to be tapped are nutraceuticals or what I call agri-products, items that can be made from the bounty of our land and marine resource. One example is the fish oil product that is made by Alaska Protein Recovery in Juneau and marketed in Costco that is made strictly from wastes at seafood processing plants," said Richardson. The trade show and conference was not only a chance for suppliers to meet with buyers, but to listen to them, "One half of each of the days was dedicated to listening to what's important to buyers with the idea being to be very market driven," said Robinson.

Veterans Parade supports our troops and celebrates Old Glory
Until last year June 14th, Flag Day had gone somewhat uncelebrated on the Kenai Peninsula. That was when Ken Lancaster got together with Herb Stettler of VFW Post #10046 and National Guardsman Will Schwenke to organize the first Veterans Parade in Soldotna to honor our returning troops. "It's just about showing our community support for our veterans and service men and women and what they've done for us as a free nation," said Lancaster. According to Lancaster there were about 60 participants in this year's parade down Binkley Street with perfect weather conditions. During the parade it was announced by Soldotna City Mayor Peter Micciche that National Guardsman Will Schwenke was not only marching in the parade but had become a grandfather for the first time early that morning. "It's a grand and glorious day for a parade," called out Schwenke

A vegetable that acts like a fruit: Best rhubarb has slim stalks and a bright, cherry-red color
Rhubarb's long stalks, also called ribs, are inedible raw and range in color from bright cherry red to light pink. It is best to purchase rhubarb that is deep red in color (indicative that it's less tart than lighter-hued rhubarb) and with thin stalks (signifying its tender age).

Rhubarb Trifle

Fresh Rhubarb and Strawberry Sauce
1/4 cup orange juice

Do 'We the people' need an assembly?
I attended the recent borough assembly meeting. I learned that the assembly wants to change the form of government we now have in the borough. One assemblyman, Mr. Gary Knopp, proposed this change to see if the voters choose to change from an elected official running the day to day business of the borough to one appointed by the assembly.

AP article doesn't tell the whole story
The Associated Press article published in your newspaper ("Funds to shut nuclear energy fall short," June 17) was a sensationalized depiction of the current status of decommissioning funds for U.S. nuclear energy facilities.

Kenai man shot: Gun accidentally discharges; partygoer struck in lower leg
A party got a little out of hand early Sunday morning when a Kenai man was accidentally shot in the lower leg.

Disclosure laws top Soldotna agenda
The Soldotna City Council has public hearings and action slated for three ordinances at tonight's meeting, scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

On the road again?: RV lots report slow start to season
A dozen white motor homes clogged the Kenai Holiday gas station parking lot Monday morning, giving locals a rare glimpse at the kind of caravan that has been conspicuously missing from the summertime scene so far this year.

Play ball!: Frontier hosts 6th baseball event
"Play ball!"

Redoubt still steaming
According to the Alaska Volcano Observatory, seismic activity on Redoubt remains low but above backgorund levels, as of Tuesday evening. A steam plume continues to be visible above the new lava dome.

Rats gone, but birds found dead
There are no more rats on Rat Island, but the massive effort to rid island, located in the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, appears to be a bittersweet success, as a large number of gull and bald eagles were found dead recently.

Photo feature: Up in smoke
Central Emergency Services responds to a report of an Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities' dump truck on fire inside one of the DOT buildings at its facility on the Sterling Highway south of Soldotna on Monday afternoon. The truck was a total loss, with the engine and cab of the vehicle suffering the most damage. The cause of the fire is under investigation. The Kenai Fire Department also assisted on the call.

HEA rates stable -- for now: Future is unclear, but diversification, conservation part of solution
First, the good news: As of July 1, Homer Electric members will see a decrease in the base rate charged for energy. This rate is the major component of the blended rate members pay for electricity and includes the cost of operation and maintenance along with the fixed cost of purchased power for the cooperative. In a filing with the Regulatory Commission of Alaska, HEA has requested a decrease in the base rate, from 13.545 cents a kilowatt hour to 13.296 cents a kilowatt hour. This decrease, although minimal, is the first decrease in the base rate since 2003.

Around the Peninsula

School computer sales scheduled

Photo feature: Sister act
The cast of "Sisters" rehearses at the Kenai Performers Playhouse in Kenai Wednesday. The production is part of the Kenai Performers' Summer at the Playhouse program and features a cast of students in sixth through 12th grade. The "Sisters" cast includes Madison Cunningham, Alyeska Krull, Elan Krull, Selia Butler, Sawyer Gillilan, Rhea Shirnberg, Acacia Fisher, Jamie Fenton, Samantha Vandenburgh and Anna Nisler. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m. General admission is $10; senior and student admission is $8. Last week's performance, at right, featureing students in grades one through six, was "Contests at Cowlick."

Junior Clinic a success
Hey there, golfers, how's it swinging? We got the rain that Gordon had been wishing for and all we need now is more sunshine to go with it. I hope the sprinkles did not put too much of a damper on your Father's Day festivities and all you daddies out there had a wonderful day -- it is definitely well deserved.

Oilers close road trip with loss
Anchorage starter Garret Carruth tossed six scoreless innings and the Bucs benefited from a two-out, two-run error in the fifth inning in handing the Peninsula Oilers a disappointing 3-1 loss Tuesday night in Alaska Baseball League action at Mulcahy Stadium in Anchorage.

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