Fair time on the Kenai Peninsula is almost here. It's fun to see super-sized Alaskan vegetables, drool over tantalizing baked goods and check out the prizes awarded.
One of Soldotna's own, Martha Merry, has been the department champion for the past two years in fiber arts. This talented lady has spun wool from her own sheep and knit beautiful shawls for her prize-winning entries. She is a woman of many talents and interests.
She first became involved in spinning when her daughter was in 4-H and began raising sheep for fiber (she didn't like raising her lambs to be killed) and sold fleece. After her daughter grew, Martha continued raising the sheep. She learned how to spin wool on a spinning wheel from Barb Kraxberger, who also brought Celia Quinn from Homer to teach classes. Martha processes and spins the wool herself. It takes about one and a half to two hours to spin a four-ounce skein. She enjoys spinning for the slow pace and how nice and calming it is.
With a smile, she says, "I tell people I do not spin straw into gold, I'm lucky to get wool into yarn!"
Martha originally hailed from the Midwest. She was born in Shaker Heights, Ohio. In 1948 she and her parents, Rusty and Larry Lancashire, moved to Soldotna and homesteaded. She attended Kenai Territorial School, later named Kenai Central High School, which she graduated from. She also graduated from the University of Alaska with a degree in education. She taught at Monroe High School in Fairbanks, substituted, and later became certified as a Montessori preschool teacher. She taught for several years in addition to having her own preschool in Soldotna.
She is married to Don Merry, who is an accountant, and owns Pinnacle Tax. She has seven children and one stepdaughter, Robert, James, Erin, Martha, Amy, Samuel, Gabby and Tamara, and 10 grandchildren.
This summer she has kept busy with her organic garden full of berries and vegetables. Due to all the rain, she composted bails of hay and cooked a buffalo roast in it.
For the past three years she has been studying at Kenai Peninsula College to be certified in computer electronics. She is the electronic lab aid at KPC.
"Electronics is fascinating. It's really interesting how these little electrons do so many things," she said.
Music is another passion and she has been taking piano lessons for seven years from Natasha Vaisenberg, originally from Moldova. Being with Natasha she developed an interest in Russian. Gregory Weissenberg, who teaches, helped her learn more.
"It's great having Russian speakers around to learn from," she said.
Martha's motto, "Seek truth, do your best and do it every day," stems from an opportunity she had in high school to hear a Nobel peace prize winner give advice at a summer science training in Anchorage. She certainly seems to have applied it in her own life.
Other Soldotna News
Soldotna's newest residents debut
* Julia Ross and Alan Horstman Jr. of Soldotna announce the birth of their son, Haedyn Jacob Horstman, at 10:49 a.m. Wednesday, June 27, 2007, at Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna. He weighed, 8 pounds, 9.5 ounces and measured 19.5 inches.
He joins siblings, Hilary, Annie and Caeton Horstman. His grandparents are Jan and Roy Cross of Kenai, Lamont and Ann Cray of Fairbanks, Ron and Gina Ross of Kenai, Kevin Kay of Soldotna and Alan and Carol Horstman of Lebanon, Ore. His great-grandparents are Opal Horstman of Kalispell, Mont., Joseph and Marge Ferrari of Santa Maria, Calif., and David and Lynda Scott of Delta Junction.
* Anne Cichoracki and Alexander M. Schwartz of Soldotna, announce the birth of their daughter, Lydia Anne Schwartz, at 4:04 p.m. Wednesday, July 11, 2007, at home. She weighed 10 pounds and measured 21 inches.
She joins siblings, Joseph and Matthew. Her grandparents are Michael and Karen Schwartz, Francis Cichoracki and Raymond Cichoracki. Her great-grandparents are Doris McKinley, Jewell Schwartz, Marie Towne and Marcella Cichoracki.
* Caitlin Martin and Adam Wyant of Soldotna announce the birth of their daughter, Scout Louise Wyant, at 1:16 p.m. Thursday, May 24, 2007, at Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna. She weighed 7 pounds, 4 ounces and measured 19.5 inches.
Her grandparents are Lou Martin and Gary Martin of Soldotna and Kim Salacina of Newaygo, Mich., and Calvin Wyant of Fremont, Mich. Her great-grandparents are Thomas Shatney of Hisperia, Mich., Calvin Wyant Sr. of Fremont, Mindy Wyant of Fremont, Carol Shatney of Hisperia, Mich., Dorene Manka of Soldotna and the late Ted and Amy Grainge.
Hepner named to president's list
Soldotna resident Daniel Hepner was named to the president's list at Valley City State University in Valley City, N.D. To be named to the list students must have complete at lest 12 semester hours and have maintained a 4.0 grade point average.
Shoemaker named to dean's list
Amy Shoemaker of Soldotna was named to the dean's list at Linfield College in McMinnville, Ore. To be named to the list students must complete 12 grade credits and be in the top 10 percent of their class. Shoemaker is a junior.
Wyatt named as merit scholar
Soldotna High School student Thomas J. Wyatt was the recipient of a National Merit University of Southern California scholarship. Wyatt plan to study film.
USDA food program offered
Kate's Play and Learning World in Soldotna announce its participation in the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program. Meals will be made available to enrolled children at no separate charge without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. For income eligibility requirements, call 260-3863.
Lions club raffle picks winners
Winners in the Soldotna Lions Club recent raffles are as follows: Glenn Smith won the 450 Marlin; George Hall won the 12 Gauge Over/Under Shotgun; Nicki Eschleman won a barbecue; Daughn Carpenter won a Mykel's Restaurant gift certificate; and Donna Van Lone won a $100 gas card from Tesoro.
The raffle proceeds fund the club's scholarship program for area high school graduating seniors and Kenai Peninsula underclassmen.
Progress Days parade winners
The winners in the 47th annual Soldotna Progress Days parade "Something for Everyone" are: Grand overall Credit Union 1; business Sonshine House, first place, and Arctic Fox Espresso, second place; organizations Grace Lutheran Church and School, first place, and Apostolic Assembly of Jesus Christ, second place; marching group KDLL Lawn Chair Marching Group, first place, and Kenai Peninsula Soccer Club, second place; automobile Gregory Bartlett, first place, and Kevin Campbell, second place; bicycle Cook Inlet Academy, first place, and Kenai Neon Sign Company, second place; Horse Soldotna Equestrian, first place; and individual The Viking Ship of Longmere Lake, first place.
Car show awards given out
Winners in the Bill Banta Memorial Show and Shine held in conjunction with the 47th annual Soldotna Progress Days celebration are: People's Choice Mike Szajbler; Sponsor's Choice Teresa Matranga; Longest Distance John and Yvonne Peterson of Wasilla; and Bill Banta Memorial Award Best of Show Mike Szajbler.
Donations for soldiers wanted
The Peninsula Yellow Ribbon Club is in the process of making thank you gift baskets for returning soldiers and Marines. Community members interested in donating a gift, a gift card or making a thank-you card for the baskets may call Bill and Carol Keller at 262-0492 or 394-1072. Arrangements can be made to pick up donations.
KPC council seeks members
Kenai Peninsula College is seeking community members to serve on its college council. The 15-member council serves as an advisory board to the college director and advocates for the interests of the college to the community and Legislature. Members serve three-year terms.
Those applying for positions will be asked to attend the 6 p.m. Sept. 13 council meeting at the Kenai River Campus in Soldotna to discuss their qualifications with the council. Applicants may submit a letter of interest and resume by Aug. 17 to: College Director, Kenai Peninsula College, 34820 College Drive, Soldotna AK 99669. For more information, call 262-0318.
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