Wednesday, October 24, 2007

In 1978 I began my career in the oil fields of North Dakota. We never had any safety meetings at all back then nor did I ever hear about anyone flunking a drug test. In fact I never even heard of anyone taking a drug or alcohol test back then. Today here in Alaska we have a much different oil field than the one I started in some 29 years ago. Not only are we blessed with modern day equipment like air slips, iron roughnecks and pipe spinners, we also have a heated pipe shed to work in. The technology in Alaska today with directional drilling is among the finest in the world. Besides modern day conveniences we also have a fantastic safety program here in Alaska. We begin each day with a safety meeting and have several other opportunities throughout the day to discuss other safe work practices for each job we are doing.

Chamber pie auction sails to success
It would appear that the price of calories has hit an all time high on the Central Peninsula. Two weeks ago at the Kenai Chamber of Commerce wine and beer tasting event Kenai Mayor Pat Porter’s cinnamon rolls for a year brought in $10,000, then last week at the “Sail Away” Soldotna Chamber Pie Auction, the average price bid per dessert for some 47 entries was nearly $1,000 with the Vera Horwarth Scholarship pie bringing in nearly $6,000. “When some people come to our pie auction for the first time and see bidding starting at $500 and pies going for a thousand dollars or better they wonder what’s going on,” said Soldotna Chamber executive director Michelle Glaves, “But it’s a great event and the one that funds all of our scholarships plus a lot of other Chamber activities. Here’s how it works, we sell each pie to the highest bidder, and each gourmet dessert has a number and at the conclusion of the auction we draw from a variety of prize packages each with an average value of $700 and this year the final two numbers drawn won a South Texas Beach vacation and a Princess cruise for two, so it’s the kind of event where everyone ends up a winner and without the outstanding community support we receive for this event and all our volunteers it just couldn’t happen,” explained Glaves.

Politicians join families in welcoming home Alaska Army National guardsmen
Alaska Congressman Don Young joined Senator Lisa Murkowski last week at Camp Shelby, Mississippi where they welcomed back the 586 members of the Alaska Army National Guard’s 3rd Battalion, 297th Infantry. The guardsmen have been successfully serving as security forces in northern Kuwait and southern Iraq since October 2006, guarding camps and convoys heading into Iraq. They are comprised of residents from 80 different communities across Alaska including Anchorage, Fairbanks, Kodiak, Soldotna, Kenai, Nome and many Native villages.

Through the looking lens
For the last 17 years Stacy Johnson has been the lady behind the camera that has made those special moments in our lives look as good as we feel about them. A professional photographer with a talent for unique posses and warm lighting Johnson’s images say more than the traditional year book or class photo. Known as the Picture Lady, Stacy is now working her magic from her home in Soldotna, “The little kids would come up to me in the store and say ‘Hey you’re the Picture Lady’ and it was easier to just say yes to them and it just kind of stuck as the kids grew up, so now I enjoy it and am having fun being creative from my home which I now call Picture Lady Photography,” Johnson told the Dispatch. Johnson said she decided to start her home studio because she didn’t want to give up her passion for taking pictures but wanted the freedom of having her own business and being able to spend more time at home with her husband and family.

Applying the scientific method to caring for the Kenai
For the last 17 years the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District has participated in a unique community educational partnership known as Caring for the Kenai (CFK). A contest that challenges high school students to respond to the question, “What can I do, invent, create or improve to better care for the environment on the Kenai Peninsula or to improve the area’s preparedness for a natural disaster?” Over the years students have earned over $90,000 in cash awards for their efforts and $60,000 has been distributed to participating classrooms for educational supplies and technology, according to program officials. “This year we’re seeing the children of the kids we gave the CFK assignment to in the early years of the contest, so the next generation is coming through now and getting the assignment their parents dealt with 18 years ago,” said KCHS science teacher Rick Frederic, who was the first science teacher to utilize the program as a classroom assignment.

Accident response makes man proud of hometown
My life has been a good one so far. I was born in Kenai, grew up in Nikiski and graduated from Kenai Central High School. I have a loving wife and two beautiful daughters. I am now contributing to my new hometown as a member of the Palmer City Council. I am so proud and grateful for each and every one of these things.

State needs to focus on challenges ahead
With all do respect Gov. Palin, does a farmer continually focus on the harvest, without stopping to nurture the soil?

Governor needs to straighten out tax mess
An oil company ad said Alaska has the highest petroleum tax in North America. I felt r-e-a-l bad.

Culture of corruption should be disclosed
Do you really think the public interest is being served (or even considered) when high powered politicians are sipping vodka and smoking cigars with defense contractor lobbyists during the Kenai River Classic?

Task force visits potential sites for Soldotna cemetery
Looking at a list of possible sites for a city cemetery or seeing the sites on an aerial photo can give one a sense of where the site is and its relation to neighboring properties and geographic features, but without actually getting up and going to the site, one is left flat as to the feel of the spot.

Family escapes early fire
Hearing one's daughter yell, "Mom, fire!" is not a very pleasant way to start the week.

Head-on collision injures 2
Two motorists were seriously injured Tuesday afternoon in a head-on collision that shut the Kenai Spur Highway for 1 1/2 hours.

ACT files suit of its own
The Alliance of Concerned Taxpayers filed suit in Kenai Superior Court on Monday naming the Kenai Peninsula Borough and the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District as defendants.

Work zone
Anyone passing by the corner of the Kenai Spur Highway and Main Street in Kenai has undoubtably noticed a new look to the old hotel on the corner.

Hearing over election set
The Kenai Peninsula Borough will respond by Friday to a lawsuit filed by a voter over the conflicting results of the Oct. 2 municipal election that three winning assembly incumbents denied their seats because of the success of a term-limit ballot proposition.

Sterling Highway repair up for more debate
The state of the Sterling Highway from the Fred Meyer hill to Mackey Lakes Road is slated for more talk tonight as the city of Soldotna irons out its capital projects wish list to be sent to Juneau.

Web site bashes Stevens
U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens has misused his public office and can no longer represent Alaska effectively, Alaska Democratic Party officials said Tuesday as they announced the launch of a new Web site devoted to shining a light on the senator's record and his alliances.

Morris Lee Porter Sr.
Longtime Nikiski resident Morris Lee Porter Sr. died Thursday, Oct. 18, 2007, at Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna, from complications resulting from an automobile accident in September. He was 87.

Jerry Earl Rogerss Sr.
Longtime Kenai resident Jerry Earl Rogerss Sr. died Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2007, at the Alaska Regional Hospital in Anchorage. He was 72.

Doris June Oglesby
Longtime Soldotna resident Doris June Oglesby died Thursday, Oct. 18, 2007, at Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna. She was 84.

Tom Beatty
Homer resident Tom Beatty died Sunday, Sept. 30, 2007. He was 38.

A step in the right direction: Legislature needs to pass bill before Pebble Mine moves on
I am the state Representative for House District 36, which includes Kodiak as well as the Lake Iliamna region, the area of the proposed Pebble Mine project. I have just returned from hearings related to the Pebble Mine held in my district, as well as the surrounding area. I stayed around after the hearings for about a week because I wanted the opportunity to talk with people personally about the project rather than just hearing from those willing to speak at a public forum.

Cosmic journey
TOPEKA, Kan. Tess Wilson is happy to report she doesn't glow in the dark. The 17-year-old Topeka High School senior, spent her summer tending to and eating tomatoes she grew from second-generation seeds, which were obtained from tomato plants grown from seeds that spent several years exposed to cosmic radiation.

Come out of your shell
In culinary language, the word "shellfish" includes crustacea and mollusks.

Healthy Bites
Diabetes exists in three forms: Type 1, or insulin dependant, Type 2, or non-insulin dependant and gestational.

How to boil and clean a lobster
In a large, heavy kettle pour enough water to cover the lobster. Add 1 tablespoon of salt for each quart of water in the pot and bring to a boil.

Clam and Oyster Chowder
3 medium leeks (white and pale

Remoulade Sauce
1 cup mayonnaise

Crab Cakes
1 pound jumbo lump crab

Japanese-Style Panko Fried Shrimp with Dipping Sauce
12 large shrimp, peeled

Around the Peninsula
Electronics recycling to be discussed Public comment sought on park Book sale fundraiser slated Sports gear swap scheduled Community Harvest, Halloween carnivals slated

Around the Peninsula
Lung screenings available at CPH Recycling to be discussed today Skyview pool plans 2-day closure T-200 committee to meet Elks host Halloween event

Skyview grapplers take down SoHi
Soldotna's football team may have won its second consecutive small schools state championship 11 days ago, but the Stars' wrestling team is still feeling the effects.

Sports Briefs
The Homer volleyball team earned a key Northern Lights Conference victory over visiting Skyview on Tuesday. The Mariners claimed a 25-21, 14-25, 13-25, 25-20, 17-15 victory over the Panthers to improve to 5-4 in the NLC. Skyview is now 4-5.

Writer seeks to overcome Internet complexion
I believe teenagers invest too many hours on the Internet. There is a line to be drawn between reasonable and ridiculous, and the line has been crossed umpteenth amount of times in the lives of most teenagers.

Back to nature
A classroom with no walls? No ceiling? No desks?

Around the District
Aurora Borealis Charter Connections home-school IDEA home-school Kalifornsky Beach Elementary Kaleidoscope School of Arts and Science Kenai Central High Kenaitze Head Start Mountain View Elementary Ninilchik School Nikiski Middle-High Nikiski North Star Redoubt Elementary Sears Elementary Skyview High School Soldotna High Soldotna Elementary Soldotna Middle Sterling Elementary Tustumena Elementary Wings Christian Academy

'Bong Hits' tests free speech
Google "Bong Hits 4 Jesus," and links to 923,000 pages discussing the landmark Supreme Court case pop up. At the bottom of the second page is a game that promises to educate high school students about their rights to free speech.

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