Saturday, October 1, 2005

Torgerson: Bridge a needed project with state funds

VinZant says $1 million doesn’t go far in today’s market

Superman: Sales tax increase tough but valid decision

Williams: Prop. 4 could jeopardize timely improvements

Oberts: Bed tax probably inevitable but unfair to visitors

Candidate views: Raymond VinZant, Borough Mayor
In 1981, my wife Violet and I moved to Alaska. After searching the west coast for a decent place to raise children we finally found Alaska, a beautiful place to call home.

Candidate views: Edward Oberts, Borough Mayor
The Kenai Peninsula is my home. I was born in the clinic in Soldotna before there was a hospital. My father, Mike Oberts, homesteaded in Sterling in 1953 and worked many local construction jobs through the Labor Union. My mother, Teresa, came to Alaska to help build the Catholic Church in Soldotna where she met dad. She decided to stay in the area and taught at the old log cabin school in Sterling until they married. In 1954, my uncle, Leo Oberts homesteaded along the Kenai River in Kenai. He owned and operated Leo T. Oberts Insurance for many years. My two brothers, John and Gary, are still living in the area with their families.

Candidate views: Gary Superman, Borough Mayor
The homepage of my website, supermanformayor.com, in bold lettering states a primary theme of my campaign: “Local government is where the rubber meets the road. We are the ones who must still provide the basic services of education, public safety, waste disposal etc. As the state continues to offload many of its historic funding obligations to the local level, we face the challenge of continued delivery of services communities need and desire as we grow and progress into the 21st century.”

Candidate views: John J. Williams, Borough Mayor
The borough is at a major crossroads. The economy continues to change. Oil production continues to decline and additional large quantities of gas necessary to fuel our local industries are several years away. Our elected officials along with we citizens must redefine government and its role as a Second Class Borough. We must all ask ourselves what it is that is most important to the larger number of people.

Six seeking borough’s top spot
Editor’s note: Candidate columns and answers to a Clarion questionnaire can be found on pages A-4, 6 and 7 in today’s paper.

Candidate views: John Torgerson, Borough Mayor
I have always had an uncompromising commitment to full funding for our schools and, as a state senator, co-sponsored SB 36, which brought $2.7 million of new, reoccurring funds to our schools. I will be an effective fighter for our children and help work with our legislators to establish an accurate area cost differential for our schools.

Superman speaks at Nikiski chamber
With the Kenai Peninsula Borough municipal election days away, Gary Superman is focusing on a theme he says is a cornerstone of his campaign — that raising the borough sales tax one percent was a good idea.

Washington anglers awash in steelhead, salmon
KLICKITAT, Wash. — Like blood pumping from a giant heart, the year’s last pulses of steelhead and salmon are spreading from the Columbia River and into tributaries. The fish are running in every direction, and so are the anglers.

Skyline an ideal destination for autumn hikers
Fall’s here, and for many that means that it’s the best hiking season of all.

Prop 4 doesn’t paint pretty picture
Picture this: Your loved one is in the emergency room of our hospital, in critical condition. The doctor needs an MRI to determine the extent of internal injuries. But the MRI machine is broken, cannot be repaired and a new one costs more than $1 million.

Bed tax not the answer
I expect you probably know someone or have someone in your neighborhood who operates a bed and breakfast. That B&B owner is a perfect example of the proverbial duck, appearing gentle and placid gliding on silken waters, while underneath those feet are paddling like crazy.

Use of renewable resources should take priority over short-term profits
I am writing in response to the piece entitled “Pebble Prospects Looking Good” (Clarion, Sept. 18).

Reader opposes Prop 3
Should the state construct a bridge to Funny River?

Prop 5 a menace for schools, community
Doesn’t any limitation on borough revenues dangerously threaten sufficient money for schools?

Pebble profit would go to foreign country
Northern Dynasty Minerals, Ltd. mouthpiece, Bruce Jenkins, seems to becoming more and more distraught over the fear mongering, ill-informed and ignorance spouting rhetoric of the(his self-proclaimed) “fringe element”. He proclaims that the “fringe” is notcontributing factual information re: the proposed Pebble mining project.

Reader not ready to offer open check for new bridge
The Funny River bridge project deserves a resounding “no” vote from Kenai Peninsula Borough voters.

Even best-case scenario not good for Pebble Mine
Having lived through the entire life cycle of five large open pit mines in Montana, all of which caused serious water pollution problems, I thought Alaskans should compare the best and worst case scenarios for the proposed Pebble mine.

Father’s experience is sad tale of Katrina aftermath
Thank you very much for printing the harrowing article (“Lending a helping hand” published Sept. 15) of my father’s experience in Charity hospital. The concern and worry, not to mention panic that enveloped my self and brother during this period of time was unimaginable. The disgrace in my fellow man is only further demonstrated by my father’s tale of premature babies being turned away at gunpoint. The difficulty in understanding how extreme the circumstances were out there when Katrina hit were only further aggravated by many of my co-workers telling me it wasn’t that bad out there and the news was exaggerating. This turned out to be a fallacy. If people can’t understand the severity of a situation, even when given stories, I believe it is a gift that columnists and editor’s find it a good thing to print actuality. My father is an amazing man who stood his ground to help others. If only others would observe this and act likewise, then I think the outcome from Katrina’s wrath would have been much different. I appreciate you enlightening people to a half of the story of Katrina that perhaps before they were not privy to. Once again thank you for choosing to involve yourself.

Soldotna closes skate park
City officials threw up their hands in bewilderment over continuing vandalism and reports of drug abuse at the Soldotna skateboard park, and ordered the attraction closed.

Mixing zones to get review
Public response to a controversial set of proposed changes to state water quality standards appears to have given state environmental officials second thoughts about how or even whether to permit mixing zones in salmon streams.

Lumber shortage looming?
Gene Rabung is bracing for what he says is going to be a bad deal.

Blight threatens peninsula potatoes
For the third season, a fungal disease known as late blight — the Irish potato famine disease — hit potato growers in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley.

Photo feature: Angling into autumn
Fishermen try their luck for silver salmon on a cold, foggy mornign on the Kenai River near Sterling agaisnt a backdrop of fall colors earlier this week.

Vicki Annette Thompson
Longtime Kenai resident Vicki Annette Thompson died Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2005, at Central Peninsula General Hospital in Soldotna. She was 56.

Proposition 4 lets voters decide with super majority
I have heard and read a number of misstatements and misconceptions about borough taxes, funding and ballot propositions that, as a former borough employee, I believe should be addressed.

Whatever you do, get out and vote
Come Tuesday, voters from around the Kenai Peninsula Borough will again have the opportunity to have a direct impact on the lives of themselves and their fellow community members.

Swan survey evokes visions of change on the Kenai
I recently participated as an observer on an aerial survey of trumpeter swans on the Kenai Peninsula. The survey was part of a larger statewide aerial survey that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducts throughout Alaska for trumpeter swans every five years.

National park fees on the rise
BILLINGS, Mont. — Many tourists will pay more next year to visit Western national parks such as Yellowstone and Glacier.

Around the Peninsula
PTA fund-raiser beginsKPC holds community film nightChurch holds rummage saleCIRCAC to meetToy donations soughtScouting books, uniforms soughtPopcorn fund-raiser beginsPool available during school hoursHurricane relief fund-raiser setHospice training announced

Church Briefs
Church holds rummage saleNikiski Bible study, Sunday school slatedRevelation class beginsCatholic inquiry classes beginChildren’s program offeredFall Bible classes slatedSoldotna Bible study continuesClothes Quarters openBible study group to meetBible study class continuesKenai church to start 2 morning services

Goodness gracious: One word still works, even after 720 uses
The school year is well under way and going well. We can applaud the efforts of both staff and students for a job well done. A lot of progress in learning important lessons will be gained.

Cold Weather Classic a blast
As our roving reporter, June Stuckey is working hard trying to get her deck finished for winter, she has transferred this responsibility to yours truly, Pat Cowan.

Soldotna, Kenai square off
This time of year always seems to be about Red Sox-Yankees and Kenai-Soldotna.

State’s best take to Tsalteshi Trails
The state’s top runners will gather at Tsalteshi Trails behind Skyview High School Saturday for the State Cross Country Championships.

Shared pain: Eagles hurting physically, Chiefs hurting emotionally
Donovan McNabb is hurt. So is David Akers, who kicked last week in extreme pain. McNabb will play with his injuries this week, Akers won’t.

White Sox clinch AL Central
DETROIT — Paul Konerko homered to back Freddy Garcia and lead the White Sox over the Detroit Tigers 4-2 Thursday, clinching Chicago’s first AL Central title since 2000.

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