It was great to see so many patriotic folks lining the streets of Kenai for the Fourth of July Parade on Monday. There was plenty of red, white and blue, flag waving and celebration throughout the Kenai Peninsula marking our significant day of independence as a nation.
But what happens now that the floats are gone, the flags are rolled up and everyone has gone back to work?
Do we only take our patriotism seriously once a year?
We shouldn't. And we don't have to. There are many ways to become more involved in our community, from joining a service area board to running for public office.
Yes, these things take time away from our already hectic schedules, but there are benefits. We can have a say-so in how our community grows and the direction it takes. We can take pride in knowing we are making a difference.
No doubt there are challenges facing the peninsula in the future, but what better way to get involved than to make sure the steps taken are upward.
All too often, election ballots list one or no candidates, especially for service area boards. Boards in the Kenai Peninsula Borough include Central Emergency Services, the Nikiski Fire Department, North Peninsula Recreation Area, Anchor Point Fire and Emergency, Kachemak Emergency Service Area, Central Kenai Peninsula Hospital, South Peninsula Hospital, Nikiski Senior Service Area and Lowell Point Emergency Service Area. From Nikiski to Homer to Seward, there are seats on every one of these boards up for election in October.
If you have higher aspirations, the borough mayor seat is open, as are three assembly spots, three on the Kenai City Council, two on the Soldotna council and for Soldotna mayor.
That isn't to say those who are in those seats now aren't making a difference, but this country was founded on the ability to make choices.
Elections aren't the only way to get involved. There are boards for planning and zoning, beautification, libraries, hospitals, parks and recreation and airports. In Kenai, you can pick up an application from the city clerk or download one from the city's Web site (www.ci.kenai.ak.us/index.html). In Soldotna (www.ci.soldotna.ak.us/citygov.html), send a letter to the mayor, saying who you are and why you're interested. For information on borough boards (www.borough.kenai.ak.us/default.htm), contact the mayor's office.
The filing period for any elected office on the peninsula is from Aug. 1 to 15. That still gives you time to think about your options.
However, if you're not ready for the long-term commitment, you still can get involved by attending meetings and being informed about what's going on in your neighborhood. Each of the above Web sites lists meeting dates and times for the assembly, councils and boards.
If you're still wanting to do something, join an organization that has the community's best interest at heart. There's Crime Stoppers, Red Cross, Kenai Peninsula Food Bank, the LeeShore Center, church groups all kinds of ways to make a difference. The Kenai Peninsula is facing the future. It's up to us to make sure it's moving forward. The choice is yours.
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