Tuesday, August 1, 2006

MDA Live Ride raises money and thrills for motorcycle enthusiasts
It is said that there are more motorcycles per capita in Alaska than in any other state in the Union. During Progress Days in Soldotna that number more than triples as bikers from Anchorage, Wasilla, and even Fairbanks sign up to help raise funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA)by riding from Anchorage to Soldotna for a day fun biking events. It all started eight years ago when Barry Matteson the owner of the House of Harley in Anchorage, Kenai Peninsula Harley Davidson, and Denali Harley Davidson came up with the idea of sponsoring a ride from Anchorage to Soldotna that would feature a live radio broadcast from the back of a Harley along the way. The riders would rendezvous at the Soldotna Harley store for a barbeque and music festival and then return to Anchorage. As the event grew in popularity so did the money raised for MDA. Last year during the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon the MDA Live Ride presented Lewis with a check for $47,000. “Our goal was to break the $50,000 mark this year, and they’re over there counting as we speak, and money is still coming in and the girls are still washing bikes, so it’ll be a couple of days before we have our final tally, but it’s looking good,” said Matteson.

Legacies of progress, a tribute to a River City
Cloudy skies and weak sockeye returns didn’t deter what seems to have been a record year for visitors at the 46th Soldotna Progress Days last weekend. The event which originated as a weekend to celebrate the progress of a community founded by homesteaders in the land of the Dena’ina has become a targeted tourist destination date. According to Shanon Hamrick, executive director of the Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council, visitors are looking to events when planning their trips, “In our competitive destination marketplace, events such as Progress Days help spotlight what makes our Kenai Peninsula communities special. Events are an increasingly important tool to the visitor industry. They draw people to areas they may not have otherwise visited, and they help show communities in their best light.”

McDonalds employee retires with honors after 23 years
After twenty three years of faithful service to the patrons of the Golden Arches, Sherry Spence has decided to launch into a new career, “I’ll be moving to Seward to attend culinary school. This is a new adventure for me, it’s a career I have wanted to pursue since I was a teenager, so after 40 years I’m going back to school to learn something new in the culinary arts,” Spence told the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce. Spence was honored for her service by Peninsula McDonalds owners Scott and Dena Cunningham, “Over her 23 year career with McDonalds Sherry has worked under three different owners here on the Peninsula, Bill Pargeter, the Moocks, and us, and we wanted her to know she has been appreciated and that we wish her the best with her future endeavors,” said Cunningham. The Cunningham’s presented Spence with 23 years of McDonalds employee service pins as a framed award and a special McDonald cookie jar in honor of her future career in the culinary arts.

Alexander Valley Wine Maker pairs his best at the Crossing
At the top of the Baby Boomers ten most popular retirement fantasies are of course fishing in Alaska, and wine making in California. Recently a veteran winemaker from California combined those two fantasies into a wonderful pairing at The Crossing in Soldotna. Rick Sayre is the director of winemaking for the well known Rodney Strong Vineyards in Sonoma Valley, California, and was welcomed to Alaska by Alaska Distributors of Anchorage. The Vineyard was founded in 1959 by Rodney Strong, one of the pioneers of the modern wine industry in California, and a fourth generation California agriculture family. For Sayre becoming a wine maker was not a retirement dream, but a passion, “It was a long haul, I’ve been doing this for 37 years and I got to tell you the first 10 was a lot of blood sweat and tears, shoveling tanks, weighing trucks, crushing grapes. It’s really been only the last 15 years that I’ve had the enjoyment of getting credit for what I’ve done and getting out on the road and sharing my passion with other people, and that is the joy to me because I love wine, I love sharing it with good company and talking about what makes a wine so enjoyable to share,” said Sayre.

Working on the North Slope is not my favorite place to be; however my window in my room on the Doyon 141 camp has been one of my favorite spots on my time off work. I have watched wildlife either directly below my window or out across the tundra on many occasions. One time I saw arctic fox tracks on the snow but never saw the arctic fox during that two-week hitch. Several weeks later I finally spotted him directly below my window heading across the tundra away from our camp. I spotted him several other times wandering around our location and under the pipeline. Once these fox started changing colors from winter white to summer brown they became much easier to spot. They seem to have no regard for the activity on J pad in Kuparak at all as they wander under the pipeline and through out the location with little regard for the vehicle traffic or the many people who work here.

In fishing, things have changed
My grandfather, like many local old-timers, would be greatly disgusted with this terminal fishery and the whole ball of wax the Board of Fish has rolled.

Couple grateful for help
We would like to give our heartfelt thanks to the following organizations and people; Cathy Lopeman of CPGH, Soldotna, and the Polaris Cancer Fund, Providence Hospital- Anchorage, Lynett Knapp-Patient Navigator, cancer therapy doctors and nurses, the technicians and receptionists, Providence house staff, and last but certainly not least, the American Cancer Society for all their help and information, also all the volunteers. There is no way to fully express how grateful we are to everyone.

Borough picture not so rosy
I feel compelled to respond to Ron Long’s recent letter: “ACT saving voters from themselves, of their money” (Clarion, June 26). Frankly, I was shocked that another elected borough official resorted to name-calling rather than addressing the facts regarding the Alliance of Concerned Taxpayers and the borough’s

Reader predicts future headline
With this year’s poor sockeye return becoming big news, I would like to predict the future headline of the big story in our paper around Aug. 17. The headline will be something like this “REDS MAKE LATE SURGE” after the “sonar” numbers trickle down to near nothing by Aug. 1, they will suddenly start climbing and we will have 50,000-plus entering the river each day by Aug. 11.

Definition not clear
The one question that I don’t think has really been answered satisfactorily yet, is what the current Republicans believe the word “conservative” actually means. Some people claim they’re good old Republican “conservatives,” and I know that meets with the approval of many folks. But what does it mean?

Voter explains decision
Friends ask why I support Sarah Palin for governor. Here’s why:

Hospice appreciates help
How often it happens an opportunity for Hospice of Homer (HOH) to say thank you for the abundant support received from diverse and generous people and organizations.

Exemption should stay as it is
It is wrong for the Kenai Peninsula Borough to consider taking away from seniors their homeowners property tax exemption.

Battle over cruise tax goes to voters
Alaskans will decide at the polls Aug. 22 whether to impose new taxes on the cruise ship industry, with proceeds going to enhance services and infrastructure to accommodate the growing industry.

Man dies in rollover
An Anchorage man died Saturday after his truck crashed and burned in a ditch in Soldotna.

Borough set to accept, appropriate road grants
The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly is expected to introduce an ordinance Tuesday to begin the process of appropriating $1.8 million in state funds for local road improvements.

Photo feature: Ahhhh, that’s better
A young brown bear scratches an itch while sitting in a patch of wild geraniums alongside the Russian River earlier this month. Visit the Clarion’s Web site at www.peninsulaclarion.com to see a multimedia slide show featuring this bear and its sibling.

Terminal fishery roils users
Commercial fishermen un-happy with the Kasilof Special Harvest Area fishery say it is lawless, raises safety issues and provides unequal fishing opportunities and have pleaded with resource managers to ensure that it be improved or that a better alternative be found for the future.

Bid to end daylight-saving time OK’d
Lt. Gov. Loren Leman certified an application for an initiative petition Tuesday that could lead to a ballot measure exempting the entire state of Alaska from daylight-saving time.

Open and closed
Dipnet fishermen got their last shot at catching some Kenai sockeye Monday after the Kenai run improved and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game reopened the fishery just 13 hours before the end of the river’s dipnet fishing season.

Photo feature: All the king’s men
Anglers work the Kenai River for king salmon near the Warren Ames Memorial Bridge in Kenai earlier this month. The Kenai River king season is scheduled to close tonight.

Assembly to address spending
Several ordinances accepting and appropriating state funds will be on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly’s agenda Tuesday.

New relocation guide touts Soldotna
Alaskans and Outside residents who may wish to move to Soldotna should find their questions answered more easily after a visit to the city’s Chamber of Commerce from now on.

Ralph Eugene Allen
Kasilof resident Ralph Eugene Allen died Saturday, June 29, 2006, at Central Peninsula General Hospital in Soldotna. He was 80.

Daniel Boyd Gillespie
Longtime Soldotna and Sterling resident Daniel Boyd Gillespie died Friday, July 28, 2006, at Central Peninsula General Hospital in Soldotna with his family by his side. He was 62.

Peninsula Reflections
The bittersweet story behind Kenai’s tiny Cunningham Park began in 1945 when Martha Cunningham came as a bride to Kenai.

Around the Peninsula
Pipeline comments sought Agrium continues live fire training Volunteers sought to build Car seat check ups set Deadline for fair quilts looming

Around the Peninsula
Agrium continues live fire trainingTeen center hosts summer campGenealogy classes availableSafe Sitter courses offeredKPBSD plans Title VII meetingVendors, bands sought for summer festivalHistorical society to meetGolf tourney set to swingFairgrounds work day slatedVBS set for SterlingSelf-defense class offeredVolunteers needed for runCaregivers support group to meet

Peninsula People
Progress parade, car show awards announced

Heroes of the Week
Couple grateful for rapid responseIn praise of his wife

Photo feature: Practice makes perfect
Members of Central Emergency Services recently spent three days training with their new extrication and rescue equipment. Firefighters and rescuers are shown using the Rescue 42 Composite TeleCrib Strut System during a simulated car crash at the Peninsula Landfill in Soldotna. The system will be a part of the equipment carried on Rescue One, CES’s newest rescue and extrication vehicle. Personnel also received training with hydraulic cutting tools, combi-tools, the jaws of life, spreaders and mini-cutting tools.

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Sports Briefs
Nikiski football starts practice todayOilers get 5 All-ABL nods

Sockeye fisheries reopen
With the low end of optimum spawning escapement met on late-run Kenai River sockeye, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced the reopening of a number of fisheries on Sunday.

Sports Briefs
Racing Lions hold motocross event Twins set to open play at state

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