Posted: Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Hello, neighbors.

The first time I wrote that phrase was in November 1991. Little did I know what I was getting into. I more or less inherited this column from Marian Nelson, with encouragement from Mavis Blazy, when I had only been in Alaska for a mere two years.

I was still dumbstruck with amazement at my good fortune to have actually made the move here and was still in the exploring stages of getting to know my incredible new home town. Everything about the Kenai Peninsula awed and delighted me and made me feel like a kid again. I still feel that way. This column was an incentive to really get to know the personality of this community.

Independence Day festivities are less than a week away. This year the theme of the Fourth of July celebration is "The Spirit of Dipnetting on the Kenai." I hope some of our local and visiting fishers will have entries in this year's parade, which starts at 11 a.m.

Anita Necessary is the committee chair this year, and grand marshals are Helen and Doyle Carlson. Helen was recently made Alaska Mother of the Year and is a perfect choice for grand marshal, as she is married to a man who has been a ship builder on the peninsula for many years.

Plans for the festivities include a Rotary Club breakfast at 8 a.m. on the green strip, with vendor booths from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and entertainment at 12:30 p.m. There is still time and room to enter your float, car, bike, horse or organization in the parade. Just call the chamber at 283-7989 for details. Be sure to wear your patriotic colors and join in with the fun of this annual event. It's a great place to meet your neighbors.

The annual Friends of the Library book sale is July 7 through 9 at Kenai Community Library. The hours will be from 10 a.m.. to 5 p.m., with the sale ending at 2 p.m. Saturday. If you would like to help with the sale, donate books, tapes, CDs, video tapes or anything else of a bookish nature, call Megan O'Neill at 283-8462.

If you have been missing the Hobby Shop, it has relocated from the building on Kenai Spur Highway and Caviar street two blocks west to the former Gallery 45 location across from the visitors center. It's not gone, it just migrated.

Did you know there is a bird in Alaska that flies in excess of 250 mph? That there is a beetle whose blood is patented for use as an ingredient in ice cream? These amazing facts and other tidbits about Alaska's life forces are part of a natural history presentation, "Damon's Alaskan Frontier," being shown every day at 5 and 7 p.m. at the Kenai Landing theater by Damon Bowen.

He is a former state and federal field-research biologist and local resident currently presenting his fast-paced and humorous overview of the complex diversity of Alaska wildlife.

If you haven't been out to Kenai Landing, what an interesting place it has become. What was once a fish processing plant has become an artist-friendly mecca, full of shops and restaurants.

This is an example of how vision and imagination can recycle classic old structures and breathe life into them again.

Happy birthday today to Rachel Day, Ashley Johnson and Jeanie Sadler; Wednesday: Leitha Smith, Don Oberg and Nathanial Porritt; Thursday: Fiocla Wilson, Doug Anderson, Jackie Oberg, Joe Egner, Erin Lockwood and my eldest grand-daughter, Megan Hansen; Friday: Gary Ennis; Saturday: Richard DeMello and Colleen De Herrera; Sunday: My daughter-in-law, Jocelyn Hansen; and next Tuesday: my son, Dallas Hansen, Matt Quiner and Beth Mishler.

Happy anniversary to Dan and Hara Hansen on Thursday.

I'd like to express my gratitude to all my readers and contributors from over the years. I have appreciated every single person who called, e-mailed, faxed, phoned, sent or chatted with me in a store or on the street about their news and loved sharing your items of interest with our neighbors. Thanks to my editors over the years for their patience with my typos and late deadlines. Most of all, thanks to my hero for all the zillions of times he's rescued me and prevented me from taking a hatchet to my computer in the middle of the night.

Allow me to leave you with my favorite article of faith: "... If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things."

God bless you all, and thanks.

Joan Hansen can be reached by phone at 283-5872 or by email at

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