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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Peninsula Clarion - Dispatch

Sun shines on family fun during Nikiski Days
The 21st Annual Nikiski Days was treated to a postcard perfect summer day last week as hundreds turned out for some old fashioned Family Fun in the Midnight Sun. According to Judene Van Cleave, president of the Nikiski Chamber of Commerce, some $6,000 worth of family prizes were given away thanks to the Nikiski Chamber of Commerce and their generous sponsors. The day included live music and age appropriate games for kids one through twelve with a free bicycle and helmet for each category. Everything fun from sponge throws to pony rides and volleyball delighted the youth from the Central Peninsula who gathered at the Nikiski Recreation Center. There were some 25 vendors and information booths that ranged from Nikiski Cheerleaders to the Fair Trade Coffee Federation and Peninsula Health Center.

Cultivating beautiful smiles for over thirty years
While there are many things that can wipe a smile off your face, Orthodontist Justin Moore of Soldotna has a passion for putting beautiful smiles on peoples faces of all ages. “It’s the first thing you see in the morning when you get up and the last thing you see at night, so a nice smile makes you feel good about yourself and confident so your whole life seems a little easier,” says Dr. Moore. Times have changed since only kids wore braces, “A lot of adults have always wanted straight teeth but perhaps their parents couldn’t afford it or there was no orthodontist where they grew up so now that the kids are out of the nest they still would like to have nice teeth for themselves and they’re coming in,” explained Moore. He admits that when he was first in dental school adults wearing braces was unheard of, “Then as we started doing more and more orthodontic work on adults we realized that adult teeth move and work just as quickly as kids teeth and a lot of times better because adults are more motivated, they always brush, they’ll wear two rubber bands when you tell them to wear one so we have to watch them to be sure they don’t do to much to make it go faster, but the maturity and motivation actually makes things work extremely well.”

BP Celebrates 30th Anniversary of TAPS at Soldotna Creek Park
Alaskans only have to think of their Permanent Fund Dividend check to come up with a reason to celebrate 30 years of black gold flowing through the Trans Alaska Pipeline (TAPS). British Petroleum (BP) officials said they were “Hungry for a celebration,” so they fired up their grills at Soldotna Creek Park on a beautiful Wednesday afternoon and invited everyone from the Peninsula to join them for burgers, hotdogs and chips. “Thirty years is always a big birthday to celebrate and we chose the warmest day to do it on,” said Steven Ramsay, BP Gas to Liquids Plant Manager in Nikiski. Ramsey lives in Kenai with his family and says things are going well at the GTL plant, “We’re proving out our main technology that converts the gas to liquids and that’s going pretty well and we are at the stage where we are looking for commercial projects whether that will be inside or outside Alaska,” said Ramsay. He feels that TAPS has another good 50 years of service, “Oil production on the Slope should pan out for the next 50 years and of course if we want to get the oil to market you need the pipeline.” Hundreds turned out at Soldotna Creek Park to enjoy the catered barbeque, music and some clowning around. “A great time was had by all, it was a perfect sunny day and if BP tried to have a picnic in Scotland it would most likely rain, so a day like today must prove we’re doing something right in Alaska,” added Ramsay.

Kenai Saturday market drawing more vendors and visitors than ever
Kenai’s Saturday Market, next to the Kenai Chamber Log Cabin and across from the Kenai Visitors & Cultural Center (KVCC), opened two years ago with 12 dedicated vendors. This year that number has nearly tripled with 33 full-time vendors registered to participate throughout the 2007 season that runs through September 15th, as well as many more part time vendors. The fee for participating in the Market is on a sliding scale according to Mya Renken, executive director for the Kenai Convention & Visitors Bureau, “It’s works out to be less expensive the more Saturdays the vendor is in attendance,” says Renken. “The program wouldn’t have been possible without a federally supported program of the Alaska State Department of Labor, Mature Alaskans Seeking Skills Training or MASST for short. We brought on Jan Stiers to work on creating the foundation of the Saturday Market. When she moved on to another job, we transferred Harold Piland into the position of Kenai’s Saturday Market Coordinator, which he has held since.”

Reader: Bill has hidden info
There is an amendment attached to the Immigration Bill (S.1348) that does not seem to be discussed in the media or to be common knowledge. It is called the real ID act — shades of George Orwell’s “1984.”

Reader: Big boys pull the strings
In reference to the letter from Arnold Oskolkoff (Clarion, June 19), why go after the little guy when it’s the big boys that are pulling all the strings? From the president down. How much whining do you think the Secretary of Agriculture gets from the big company lobbyists for Green Giant and others like them to look the other way so their crops can be picked and sent to market?

No motors allowed
Kenai River water and noise pollution problems solved: Effective Jan. 1, 2008, drift boats only entire the river. No gasoline motors allowed.

Oil Well opens to residents
Seventy percent humidity and wind speeds of five miles per hour allowed firefighters to get on top of the Caribou Hills blaze Monday. After fighting what appeared to be a losing battle for several days, firefighters were able to mop up 200 feet beyond the perimeter.

Clerk questions elected borough attorney query
The Kenai Peninsula Borough clerk needs a little more information before giving the green light to a petition seeking to have the borough attorney be elected rather than be appointed by the borough mayor.

Fixing ice damage a costly process
As winter gave way to warmth and breakup, the last of the ice released its grip on the Kenai River, revealing the true extent of the damage wrought by ice and flood.

Fire sparks plans
As residents venture back to their cabins and firefighters gain ground on the Caribou Hills blaze, emergency officials unveiled a plan that would ensure peoples’ safety while providing them with reliable information during emergencies.

‘It’s just hit or miss’
Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of stories examining the lasting impact of Kenai River flooding and ice jams this winter. Thursday’s story is on the impact to municipal structures along the riverbank.

Bears, burials, campers on tap
Bears, burials and whether to give free campers the boot are slated for discussion at tonight’s Soldotna City Council meeting.

Nikiski fire dept. in new hands
When operational issues within the Nikiski Fire Department brought Battalion Chief Doug Nightingale before Borough Mayor John Williams last fall, he offered to resign if it would help fix the problem. A 30-year veteran of the department, when the mayor asked for resignations from him, Assistant Chief Warren Isham and Chief Fred Swen, Nightingale just followed through on his offer.

Jean Earl
Nikiski resident Jean Earl died Sunday, June 24, 2007, at Heritage Place in Soldotna. She was 82.

‘Thank you for opportunity’: Representative Kohring explains reasons for leaving office
On Tuesday, June 19, at the chamber of commerce luncheon in Wasilla, I announced my resignation from the state House of Representatives, a body I served in for more than 12 years. The chamber gave me only five minutes to speak. Five minutes did not allow enough time to give a full accounting of why I decided to resign and the background for that decision. I believe this column gives a more complete narrative.

Around the Peninsula
CPCS board meets today LeeShore center plans meeting Breastfeeding class scheduled VFW set to sell

Around the Peninsula
Volunteers get their read on 4-H club seeks members Berry growers to meet Baseball game up to bat UCIDA to meet Kenai library plans Sunday closures Social Security reps to visit peninsula Unity run set to start Kids reading program continues

Sports Brief
Ben Sauvage and Linda Stennes won the 10-kilometer Homer Spit Run on Saturday in Homer. Sauvage had a time of 39 minutes, 8 seconds, while Stennes finished at 45:15.

Bucs end Oilers’ winning streak at 11
The Peninsula Oilers saw their season-opening, 11-game winning streak at home end with a resounding thud on Monday with a 7-1 loss to the Anchorage Bucs in Alaska Baseball League play.

Kenai Golf Report
Hello, Golfers. I wonder if everyone was as amazed and appalled by the pictures of the Caribou Hills fire as I was. I have spent a little time snowmachining in the hills and have been a guest in several different cabins, which have ranged in style and design from rather rustic to very nice. And while it is always sad to see the destruction of the property and belongings of our friends and neighbors, it is even more sobering to consider the risk of life and limb of all the people who are participating in the firefighting effort. We all know about the risks of fire this time of year and almost anywhere you look there is evidence of beetle kill spruce. This is a grim reminder to us all to be especially careful performing even the most simple of tasks. And we should be extremely grateful to all those people who are involved in the effort to control the Caribou Hills fire.

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