Tuesday, July 21, 2009

BP Community Picnics mark 50 Years in Alaska
Nearly 5,000 Alaskans joined BP in celebrating 50 years of statehood and commemorating BP's 50th year in Alaska recently. At one of three BP community picnic events that were held statewide, the Kenai Peninsula area played host to our celebration on Friday, July 10 at Soldotna Creek Park.. At this local event, 1,000 folks turned out for free barbequed hamburgers, hotdogs, and all the trimmings. Additionally, there was live music from the outdoor bandstand, and lots of free prizes, fun and games for all the kids. This was the third community celebration that BP Alaska has sponsored in as many years in the central peninsula area. The first was to celebrate 30 years of production from Prudhoe Bay. Last year the event was a career fair designed to increase awareness of job opportunities in the oil and gas industry for the next generation. And this year was to celebrate the golden anniversaries of Alaskan statehood and BP's 50th year in the Greatland. "It's a great chance to say a big thank you to the community and our people who live here," Dawn Patience, director of Public Affairs for BP told the Dispatch, "We have 250 BP employees that live here on the peninsula and even though most of them work on the North Slope, this is their home and community. So it gives them a chance to come out, as well as celebrating our 50th year in Alaska" she concluded.

Kenai Kranker trains for extreme hand cycling race
For the last 24 years, the most extreme hand cycling race in the world has been held right here in Alaska. Sadler's Alaska Challenge, now in its 25th year, will be starting for the first time in its history from Seward, Alaska this year, and will draw a group of athletes from all over the world. Athletes representing 8 different countries, including 4 gold medalists who competed at the Paralympics Games in Beijing, China last year, will participate. Originally the race was held from Fairbanks to Anchorage, but this year's course will begin its 257-mile trek from Seward.

In my early childhood I grew up learning how to fish the many different species of fish in the upper Midwest. Two of my favorite types to catch were muskies and northern pike. These are the top two predatory fish found in west central Wisconsin, and perhaps throughout most of the world. In most of the rivers, lakes and streams of the Midwestern U.S., you will find muskies or pike and they co-exist with all other species of fish. These fish bite on almost anything, are fun to catch. They are also great on the table once you learn to master boning them out to prepare boneless.

Kenai Kennel Club rises to the challenge of new location
For many years, the Kenai Kennel Club's summer dog show has been held at the Skyview High School campus. It is a venue for the 200-some canine owners who travel from all over Alaska and the lower 48 with their trailers, tents, luxury campers and kennels to compete in the popular event. Skyview is a secluded setting that doesn't border residential neighborhoods and is situated perfectly for the outdoor dog show. But this year, wild fires broke out on the Kenai Peninsula. The week of the show, Kenai Kennel Club show director, Sherrie Petty, got a call. Thursday morning just before they were going to start their set-up at Skyview for the show, informing her that they would have to relocate the show to Soldotna High School because Skyview was going to be used as a staging area for the fire fighters. "We hadn't started setting anything up yet, so we started a mass calling across the state to notify exhibitors of the location change. And then made calls to the vendors and the folks with the port-a-potties. But our club does its own set up, so it wasn't as traumatic as it could have been. We had great cooperation and help from local Soldotna businesses that put notices of location change on their reader boards and we took signs up to Skyview. So it actually went well, aided by the network of Blackberries and cell phones, no one got lost," said Petty.

Thirsty Thursday at St. Elias Brewery
It all started when local real estate broker, Jean Anne Henry's son, Zack, turned 21 and his wife gave him a home brewing kit for his birthday. "That's where it all evolved from," says Zack, who built the St. Elias Brewing Co. with his father. "Ten years of home brewing, then I ended up going to school and learning the science of it all and how to do it professionally. I then worked at a brewery in Nashville, Tennessee for two years before coming up here and building this place with my dad," he explained for the Dispatch. It's said that Vitus Bering might have missed discovering Alaska if it hadn't been for the mountain now known as St. Elias. "Legend has it that Bering saw the peak sticking up above the clouds so we thought it deserved some recognition. It is the second highest peak in North America, second only to Denali, so that's why we named our restaurant the St. Elias Brewing Company," said Henry.

Fish and Game ready for sockeye run timing
With about a month left in the commercial fishing season, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is right where it wants to be -- at least in the Kenai River.

Emergency order: Dipnetting expanded
Due to a strong return of sockeye salmon into the Kasilof River, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has issued an emergency order to expand the area open to dipnetting.

Food Bank appreciates support
The Kenai Peninsula Food Bank would like to thank MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger for their continued support in funding our programs. For the past 10 years, the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank has applied for and received grant money from this generous organization. MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger is the only American Jewish organization whose sole focus is combating hunger. MAZON (Hebrew for "food") is dedicated to inspiring, educating and mobilizing American Jews in support of ending hunger wherever it exists, strengthening the impact of domestic and international hunger relief programs through grant making and advocating for public policy that values and promotes self-reliance.

KRSA comments miss the mark
In a recent three-part KTUU-TV feature on Cook Inlet's salmon wars, Kenai River Sportfishing Association's Ricky Gease said, "Not that the commercial industry here isn't important but it's in the shadow of a giant here." Well, that's just not so. KRSA's relentless, well-funded, politicized push for more salmon into the Kenai and other Cook Inlet rivers at the expense of Cook Inlet's gill-net industry is misguided at best, disingenuous at worst.

City of Kenai gets future view lots for $7,000
The city of Kenai may soon own some of the best view lots on Cook Inlet -- and for the low, low price of $7,299.

Let it rain: Wet weather keeps Shanta Creek fire from growing
Thanks in large part to the recent rainy weather, the Shantatalik Creek fire hasn't grown in the past 72 hours, remaining at 13,151 acres.

'Get outside and get dirty': Kenai National Wildlife Refuge summer camp begins today
For many kids, summer is a time to take part in camps to explore the outdoors, and the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge has two sessions of a summer camp geared toward not only just getting kids interested nature, but also teaching them about it.

Premier child care provider honored
At Lil' Britches Child Care in Kenai, a veteran in the world of child development can be found. With more than 26 years of experience in the field, Linda Campanella knows what it takes to care for children, and she was recently honored by state legislators for offering kids her best.

Moratorium could force some elderly out of assisted living
Some Kenai Peninsula senior citizens could find themselves out on the street in the not-too-distant future while state and federal assistance administrators work out their differences in the care older Alaskans are receiving.

Four rescued from capsized boat
A close call doesn't begin to describe the experience four men from Anchorage faced Monday morning when their boat capsized while they were dipnetting on the Kenai River.

Dipnet disaster averted: Rescuers save 4 men from capsized boat
A close call doesn't begin to describe the experience four men from Anchorage faced Monday morning when their boat capsized while they were dipnetting on the Kenai River.

Patricia Anne Hartley
Longtime Homer resident Patricia Anne Hartley died Sunday, July 19, 2009, at her home in Homer with her family by her side. She was 63.

Mayor, manager or both?: Former deputy borough attorney has another solution
I have been a supporter of having some form of borough manager for many years. I worked at the Kenai Peninsula Borough 1984-1994, and by the end of my tenure, it was evident to me that the borough had grown too big to be managed by a single elected official, especially by one who had little to no experience in running a very large company, like the borough.

Around the Peninsula

Seniors open children's library

Around the Peninsula

FASD workshop today

Pet photo
Rascal Zimmerman doesn't fool around when he scouts out a place to take a nap. However, folks may have to do a double-take when they first spot him at the home of Gary and Paula Zimmerman in Nikiski. Kind of makes you wonder what he's dreaming about, doesn't it?

Oilers top Miners, snap 6-game skid
The Peninsula Oilers snapped a six-game losing streak by defeating the Mat-Su Miners 3-2 on Sunday in Alaska Baseball League action at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai.

Heaven sets new state mark: Soldotna swimmer cruises in 200 fly
Winter Heaven, who will be a junior at Soldotna High School during the upcoming school year, broke a state swimming record from 1993 at the Final Fling in Homer on July 10 and 11.

Twins take 2 on road
The American Legion Twins took a pair of conference games on Sunday in Anchorage to give them a shot of confidence as they prepare to try and equal or better their runner-up performance of a year ago at the state tournament.

Sports Briefs

Kenai Central physicals will be held Saturday

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