Kenai's comprehensive plan too important to leave to a few
Dear Friends and Neighbors of Kenai,
Our city is embarking on the development of a new comprehensive plan. I trust that you have all received the city's mail-out invitation to participate in this process on Saturday at 8:15 a.m. Besides the doughnuts, you have good reasons to attend, participate and/or send a friend to participate and keep you informed.
You may be wondering: What is a comprehensive plan, and why should it concern me?
As the mail-out city invitational brochure says "the new plan will guide future city decisions about land use and public improvements." The comprehensive plan will look at many aspects of city development, including: land use plans, transportation plans, public facilities, airport, administrative and planning and zoning procedures.
Please let me explain how this document has been vitally important to me and my neighborhood in the past, and why I am so concerned about its development in the present (for the future).
The past plan recognized the diversity and uniqueness of our neighborhoods. The city's zoning code builds on that concept by allowing for a variety of land uses identified as "zones." In 1984 my neighborhood -- CHAAMPS or MAPS -- chose a specific zoning code, Rural Residential I, and petitioned the city for rezoning to that level of protection and identity. The planning and zoning commission and the city council honored our request, so we, at our choosing, became a more identifiable neighborhood with specifically defined development parameters.
A few years later, the city advertised for public participation in developing a "land use table." At that time, I was an uninformed citizen with regard to what a "land use table" was, and mistakenly thought it was a statistical document of present land uses for reporting to government or grant agencies. I did not attend nor participate in the development of that "land use table."
Not long after the city developed that "land use table," our neighborhood faced a challenge to its nature and our desired development (that we thought we had protected through zoning). In developing our defense, we realized that the "land use table" was part of the zoning code and had, in fact, changed our zoning.
Trust me, ignorance was not bliss! That "land use table" was an extensive, multi-page document that listed each zone and each type of development that was permitted, not permitted or that could conceivably be permitted (conditional use).
The comprehensive plan is a major driving force behind our land use development (land use table), public facilities development, etc. The plan is like a mission statement, goals and objectives for our city, all rolled into one comprehensive, critical document.
Public participation is vital. Please don't let a few individuals make these critical decisions for you. Generally, "the few" don't want to make those decisions without you -- but are often left with no choice except to decide for you, what "they think" you want. Without your participation, you are playing Russian roulette with our city's future. Our future is too important for that.
Please join me, a concerned, active citizen, and your city representatives on Saturday from 8:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Kenai Senior Center. Come for the doughnuts -- stay to participate in deciding our city's future.
Concerned Kenai citizen, friend and neighbor
Hospital top heavy on management; it should be run through borough
This may sound like I carry a dislike for the Central Peninsula General Hospital. I do.
Because the hospital is the only game in town, it treats the people of the community like it is not important to receive quick and immediate treatment. My wife has been in pain for a week, and just because she and I didn't receive proper instruction from the X-ray department on the treatment, they put her off.
It seems that they only do this type of X-ray in the morning hours. What a way to run a business -- hang in there until we are ready. It's not their body that is in pain. This will make it a week that she has to endure pain; this is like shooting in the dark as this may not necessarily show what is wrong with her.
Anyone who has ever visited the emergency room will tell you some real stories about the care for a common cut or toothache; it could take over three hours, usually more for treatment and diagnosis.
What makes me really mad is they would like to build another hospital or remodel this one, which has been remodeled many times. I think the hospital is a little top heavy on management and paper work. When you have more employees working in the offices and only about 40 beds at the most, and nurses working to support this type of overload, it puts a strain on them and us.
I am for taking the hospital back and running it through the borough. Just about the whole wing of the hospital that used to be the drug rehab has been converted to offices, and now they have started a drug rehab quite a distance from the hospital. Good thinking.
Raymond P. VinZant
Here's hoping Afghanistan will see U.S. troops in honorable light
On Aug. 2, 1944, World War II pilot Lt. Houston Lee Braly's squadron attacked a camouflaged Nazi train near the city of Remy in northern France. As the squadron was strafing the train and on the fifth pass, the entire train exploded with a massive jolt. The train was filled with Nazis and nitroglycerin.
The blast was so massive that it literally blew the wings off Lt. Braly's aircraft and he impacted in a local farmyard.
Lt. Braly's story appears to have ended there, but it only shifts to after the war, when surviving members of his squadron traveled back to Remy to investigate Braly's crash site.
They found that a French teen-ager named Maria recovered Braly's body and carefully wrapped him in his own parachute and hid him from the Germans. She broke the German curfew to bury him at night and marked his grave with his propeller.
Many French defied the Nazis, risking their own lives and, in many cases, died to protect fallen American pilots, even if they were dead. The French saw our dead Lt. Braly as an American who gave his life so that they could live.
We can only pray that our troops will be viewed by Afghanistan as Americans who are willing do the same so that they and the rest of the world may live free of terror.
Nazi terror -- like Osama bin Laden terror --may rise out of the shadows of a perverted mind, but, in the end, the world will see the same truth that teen-ager saw in that farmyard.
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