Wednesday, July 15, 2009

"Wet Down & Push In" CES Christens New #1
A brand new Engine #1 is officially in service at Central Emergency Services (CES) in Soldotna. The official engine dedication, traditionally known as the "Wet Down and Push In" ceremony, happened under smoke laden skies last week at CES in Soldotna. The rare dedication allowed public officials and community members to see the newest in fire fighting apparatus and technology. "This was a first for CES to dedicate a new piece of apparatus, and was also an opportunity for us to thank the taxpayers of this community for providing us with great life-saving and fire fighting equipment," said CES Chief Chris Mokracek. As the old engine #1 was decommissioned ("Pushed Out" to make room for the new engine) there was an air of nostalgia among the fire fighters whom the engine had served well for the past 23 years. "The old Engine #1 served us well running over a hundred-plus calls a year, tallying more than 2,200 responses. It'll go out to auction now and hopefully will continue to serve other communities in the future," said Mokracek.

Karlene's welcomes Massage Therapist Jody Forcum
For many years, Karlene's Acupuncture and Day Spa has built a reputation for innovative approaches to health care. Now in her beautiful location on Marydale in Soldotna, Karlene is proud to welcome licensed massage therapist Jody Forcum specializing in Tuning Fork Therapy and Lymph Drainage. Born in Pisa, Italy to a U.S. Military family, Jody has lived all over the world. She served in the U.S. Air force until she was honorably discharged in 1985, and decided to pursue a new career in health therapy, graduating from The Edge School of Massage in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Jody moved to Soldotna with her husband, Rick, last summer and is continuing to pursue certification in Acutonics Sound Healing and Oriental medicine.

Picture perfect for Historic 4th of July in Kenai
It's been 50 years since Alaska has celebrated America's birthday as the 49th State and according to those who still can recall all of those past celebrations the weather for the 4th of July parade in Kenai has never been a more perfect day than last Saturday. "Oh my gosh!" exclaimed City Mayor Pat Porter, "I think somebody up above knew we needed an absolutely perfect day to honor the State of Alaska and it is here today. Just look how excited all the children are for this beautiful day," she added. Echoing Porter's enthusiasm was the Mayor of Soldotna, Peter Micciche. "We're here not only to honor our country and our state on its 50th anniversary, but my family is here to wish the people of our sister city Kenai a wonderful 4th of July. And the weather just couldn't be any better," said Micciche, whose father visiting from Florida drove the Micciche family down the parade route in new Stanley Ford Mustang convertible.

During a recent visit to the west side of Cook Inlet, I ventured into a forest that was full of huge, dead, beetle-killed spruce trees. Most of them still stood there tall and proud but the bark had pretty well fallen off, leaving them looking ugly and alone. There was no green left on any of them just the ugly reddish brown color that clearly indicates the tree is dead.

KRSA hosts 16th Annual Kenai River Classic
Kenai River Sportfishing Association (KRSA) concluded its 16th annual Kenai River Classic last week, with participants departing for home with a renewed understanding of why the Kenai River is worth preserving. Funds raised at the annual fishing event through participant and sponsor fees, as well as auction proceeds, will be used for habitat restoration, angler access and education, fisheries management and research, and other conservation efforts on the Kenai River and additional South-central Alaska watersheds.

Summer Pudding

No-bake berry delight: Sue Ade offers fruit-filled summer pudding recipe
Fruit filled no-bake summer pudding has a taste as pleasing as its name.

How to care for fresh berries
Choose plump, fragrant berries without bruises, mold or rot. America's favorite berries, in order of preference, are strawberries, followed by blueberries and raspberries.

What are the implications of the Kensington ruling?
The U.S. Supreme Court has just ruled it's "legal" to allow the Kensington gold mine near Juneau to dump its mining waste into Lower Slate Lake, recognizing the waste will kill all the fish -- and who knows what effects the heavy metal pollution will have on any animals or birds drinking from or living in the Lake? Shame on the U.S. Corps of Engineers for permitting this action, and shame on the U.S. Supreme Court for its stamp of approval.

Health care stakes too high
In my opinion, good health, healthy eating, physical activity, mental activity, health care, health education and research are vitally important to the quality of our lives and the success of our nation. At 9 a.m. this morning I obtained a colonoscopy that showed me to be free of colon cancer. Seven years ago, I was diagnosed with colon cancer and had surgery to remove the cancer. As a result of excellent medical care I am here today, all 6 feet, 190 pounds, and 76 years. The latter happened because our leaders designed a Medicare and an excellent retired teachers health care program. Here and now those programs are working successfully for me and a lot of other Americans.

Out of this world experience: Local UAF students participate in NASA program
Indescribable. Unlike anything else. Too unique for words.

Kenai may get 5 lots for $7,000
Kenai has found itself in the enviable position of possibly picking up five city lots for a song.

Sterling Highway crossing may become safer in Soldotna
It soon may be a little less daunting to cross the Sterling Highway in Soldotna thanks in part to action taken by the city council Wednesday night.

Shanta Creek fire still growing: Fire managers to meet with Funny River folks
Fire managers will meet with Funny River Road residents tonight to provide an update on the Shanta Creek wildfire, which has burned more than 13,000 acres of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge between Tustumena Lake and the community of Funny River.

Cook Inlet oil back online: Cook Inlet Pipe Line Company, Chevron shoot for mid-August restart date
Cook Inlet Pipe Line Company announced Monday it plans to resume operations at its Drift River Terminal and Trading Bay facilities by mid- August, which have been shut down for several months due to the eruption at Mount Redoubt.

Kasilof blackout: Community loses power for 12 hours
There are minor power outages and then there is what occurred in the Cohoe Loop area on Sunday night, as a blackout lasting more than 12 hours left residents in the dark with freezers full of fish thawing and milk in the fridge souring.

Photo feature: Beauty
Dwarf fireweed, sometimes called river beauty, blossoms along a riverbed in Kachemak Bay State Park earlier this month. For an audio slideshow featuring wildflowers and music from Kenai's Maria Allison, visit

Around the Peninsula

MediCare to be discussed today

Around the Peninsula

Penny rally planned

Pretty dogs, pretty flowers
Shown left to right, Zoe, Mocha, Glory and Cole. Zoe and Cole are shelties, owned by Janice Coker of Homer and Mocha and Glory are Australian Shepherds, owned by Debora Donahue of Happy Valley.

Follow the leader
Sarah Brown of Anchorage leads her dog, Twist, a flat-coated retriever, during a conformation event on Sunday, as part of the Kenai Kennel Club hosted American Kennel Club dog show held this past weekend.

Fancy that!
Fancy just loves the great weather we are having! Fancy is 1-year-old and belongs to the Flake family of Soldotna.

McCarthy throws 1-hitter for Panners
Mike McCarthy was completely cognizant of what was transpiring around him.

Much ado about golf
Happy July, golfers, and hasn't it been freaking wonderful? The weather continues to wow both residents and visitors. Our dear friends from California, Bob and Peggy Fischer, are here for Bob's annual fishing frenzy and are thoroughly enjoying themselves. I am looking forward to golfing adventures here and elsewhere with Peg while my better half and Bob scare the fish. On Monday, Peg endured her first (and last) halibut charter, a rather "unsettling" experience to say the least. Ladies, don't forget there's a Beginning Clinic coming up next week, July 20-24 from 6 to 8 p.m. daily. The fee for the clinic is $50 and clubs are available if you do not have your own.

This time, Oilers top Panners on wild pitch
What goes around comes around.

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