Monday, November 5, 2007

Exxon litigation outcome will be come clear in June
The U.S. Supreme Court is preparing to let Exxon off the hook for damages resulting from the 1989 oil spill in Prince William Sound.

River needs management plan, and it must be enforced
Almost everyone agrees the health (water, sediments, contiguous habitats) of the Kenai River is vital to the economy of the region. Thousands of Alaskans and nonresidents are attracted to the river annually by its salmon runs and world class rainbow trout.

A colorful scenario?
Look at the pretty lights on the Kenai River Bridge. Wow! Red, green, purple, blue, bump, bump!?

Bears still looking for easy meals
Wildlife biologist Jeff Selinger doesn't mind visiting a Kenai or Soldotna subdivision to dispatch a problematic brown bear. But when garbage, bird seed, unsecured freezers or pet food plays a role in the bear's presence, he'll tell you that removing the offending animal won't solve the problem.

Photo feature: Last look?
A feral turkey watches the traffic below recently in Cooper Landing. With Thanksgiving fast approaching, this bird may not be long for this world.

Soldotna man turns adventures into book
Charley Dunn, a Soldotna resident for 42 years, has experienced a lot since first coming north as a wide-eyed young man in 1966, and if a person could earn a college degree for storytelling, he would hold a Ph.D. for his gift of gab.

CERT -- Masters of disaster
If it wasn't supposed to be serious, it would have been funny. But as the cries of Paul Adams echoed through the hallways of Peninsula Grace Brethren Church early Saturday morning, few earthquake victims could keep a straight face.

Rules still apply
Alaska does not experience the dry, hot Santa Ana winds that annually contribute to catastrophic wild fires like those two weeks ago in Southern California, but with its millions of acres of forest, the threat of fire does not go away with the end of fire season.

Dalai Lama photo quest works out
His hopes resting on the slimmest of chances, local freelance photographer Ron Levy boarded an Oct. 15 red-eye out of Anchorage bound for Washington, D.C., in a quest for shots of the visiting Dalai Lama, who was in the nation's capital to receive the United States Congressional Gold Medal from President George Bush the next day.

Chuitna remains on list
Mark Glassmaker and his clients have taken advantage of the salmon run along the Chuitna River for 20 years. Taking anglers to one of the main tributaries of the river, he compares the size of the king salmon to those in the Kasilof and Kenai Rivers. But an open pit coal mine can change all that.

School board to scrutinize student volunteerism
A student community service program in Homer is due for closer scrutiny by the school board today as it may have implications under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

Me to you
The holidays are a time when many gifts are given, from the candy handed out to children on Halloween, to the offerings of food on Thanksgiving, to the exchanging of presents at Christmas, and several local Alaska Native organizations added one more day of giving this weekend as part of National American Indian Heritage Month.

Keith Arden Brail
Nikiski resident Keith Arden Brail died of cancer on Oct. 26, 2007 at the home of Paula and Wade Lacey in Anchorage. He was 60.

George 'Vernon' Porter
Longtime Alaskan George "Vernon" Porter died Saturday, Sept. 29, 2007 of cancer, surrounded by his family and friends at his home in Soldotna. He was 66.

Smokey needs some help: Wildfire education should be a priority wherever it's a threat
When I was growing up, every now and then my cartoons would be interrupted by Smokey the Bear telling me that only I could prevent forest fires. A few years ago, Smokey changed his catchphrase slightly to emphasize wildfires rather than forest fires, but the message is still the same.

Difference of opinion doesn't affect just Kenai
What a shame.

Nikiski Community News
Good day to all my Nikiski neighbors.

Soldotna Community News
If you've been wondering what it looks like inside the Peninsula Community Health Center (PCHC) building, here's your chance to check it out! Located at 230 E. Marydale and Tyee, behind the King Salmon Hotel, it will have a grand opening for the public from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday. There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony at 3 p.m., tours, giveaways and refreshments. Sen. Lisa Murkowski will be the featured guest. The building is a consolidation of Cottonwood Health Clinic, Central Peninsula Counseling Services, administration offices, WIC and Public Health.

Ninilchik Community News
If you have been involved with a fundraiser in Ninilchik, chances are Debra Henderson has worked tirelessly behind the scenes helping with a smile. Debra's parents, the late Jim and Carol Bock, first came to Alaska in 1957 to fish commercially when she was 2. Debra graduated from Ninilchik High School in 1973, worked and lived in Anchorage for nearly 25 years, then returned to Ninilchik in 1997. Her youngest daughter, Donna Rae Henderson, graduated from Ninilchik School in 2004. Now that her children are grown and are living in Anchorage, her life revolves around community service.

Around the Peninsula
Arthritis aquatics program offered Beekeepers all abuzz Mission dinner fundraiser slated Ninilchik community meeting set Youth clubs to meet KPC council meeting scheduled Road standards to be discussed Teens lead charge to stop smoking Women invited to take-a-break Cybersmarts! workshop set

Head Into the Glide Zone
Rain fell instead of snow, but Oct. 27 still marked the beginning of ski season on the Kenai Peninsula with the annual ski swap at Kenai Central High School.

Honoring veterans through the end of life
Americans across the country celebrate Veterans Day on Nov. 11, a special day of awareness to help all Americans understand the values, commitment, and sacrifices of our men and women in uniform. It is a time when we pay tribute to those who have served our country.

Hero of the Week
On behalf of our family I would like to thank peninsula communities that help us in the search of our son, Zackary, who ran away last week.

Cash for a cure
Pictured left to right, Soroptimist Co-President Kim Pyfer, Central Peninsula Hospital CEO Ryan Smith, Central Peninsula Hospital Health Foundation CPO Peter Brennan and Soroptimist Co-President Paula Rohloff pose with the $6,000 check Soroptimist International of the Kenai Peninsula presented to CPH to help area women with cancer. The fund is managed by the Central Peninsula Hospital Health Foundation.

Sterling Community News
A lot of you know that I grew up in Sterling. I moved out to Michigan in 1981, met my husband at college and we lived there until four and a half years ago.

Thankful for a mouthful
This moose calf was photographed recently in Soldotna is on his knees. Doing what? Praying? No, the calf was eating the leaves on the ground. It is easier to eat them kneeling, rather than standing up. Mama moose was close by, watching and eating tree branches.

Scouting out leaders
Boy Scouts from across the Kenai Peninsula converged on Cooper Lake on Oct. 22 to compete in a series of scout skills. Troops 151 of Soldotna and 568 of Seward (above) joined together and won the leadership staff. This award will be have to be defended in February at the Freezeree. The Tustumena District Boy Scout troops gather three times a year and compete in a series of scouting skills. Usually the competition is between patrols of scouts. A patrol is made up of between five and 10 scouts, and each troop may have several patrols. At this event there were four troops in the competition with a total of five patrols. The adult leaders created a patrol for the day and competed against the scouts on an equal basis. The troops for 568 Seward and 151 of Soldotna were small enough they joined forces for the event. Not only did they best the Troops 555 of Homer and 1616 of Soldotna, but they also beat the adult leaders. The scouts had to score points in a variety of skills. Each patrol was given a chicken, a potato and an onion to cook over a campfire. The judges scored each meal for taste and appearance. The patrols also had to complete a compass and a knot tying challenge. All the patrols did well in all the events, but the Frontiersmen took the prize with their patrol yell, once again proving that scout spirit is more important than skill. For more information about Boy Scouting on the peninsula, call Camille Vega at 283-1699.

Kasilof Community News
The Exxon Valdez lawsuit is going out with a bang. Supreme Court Justice Alito has recused himself because he owns $160,000 in Exxon stock. The remaining eight Supreme Court justices are eligible to hear the appeal. Six of them are Republican appointments. Last year the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said the justices of the Supreme Court are the most friendly to business that the country has had in years; an observation which may bode ill for plaintiffs. The appeal is a winner-take-all contest based on maritime law and scheduled to be decided by June. The question is whether or not shipping companies should be responsible for captain's actions. If Exxon wins, they pay with a goose egg. If plaintiffs prevail, they divvy up the largest punitive damages ever awarded. There is no middle ground.

Kenai Community News
Hello, Kenai! I'm baaaaack, and amazed to see that it's still autumn here. I thought for sure that you'd be covered with white. Isn't it tradition that the kids have to wade in snow to go trick-or-treating? Must be global warming.

Around the Peninsula
Historical society to meet Beekeepers all abuzz Pingpong continues Toastmasters to meet Women voters to gather Driver safety program offered Counseling association seeks members Gardeners to gather

Close encounters of the Kenai kind
I had been composing a formidable grumble regarding an issue that continues to irritate the hell out of me. A certain telephone company promised me DSL over a year and a half ago and now they're claiming it was impossible to do in the first place. Their stance has seriously steamed my chops but recent events have put the rant temporarily on hold. Trust me. I will revisit the subject very soon and share some customer service conversations that made less sense than Einstien trying to discuss quantum physics with a gerbil.

Gift of travel
On Oct. 6, the Alaska Young Marines were presented with a check for $2,000 from Alaska's Kenai Peninsula Chapter of Safari Club International. The funds were used to help finance the groups week-long trip to Washington, D.C., beginning last Friday. The Young Marines had saved enough money over the past two years to purchase plane tickets, but after purchasing four spotting scopes for Alaska troops in Iraq, they lacked the additional funds needed for the trip. Shown back row, left to right Paris Davis, Danyell Blom, Ian Dukowitz, Arrington Besetsny, Codie Williams, EJ Ismael and Chase Amador; middle row, left to right, Terik Dukowitz, Nataliyah Davis, Lillie Petrey, Makhail Wright, Skyler Petrey, Noah Ness, Andrew Blom, Tanera Dotson and Patrick Trent; front row, left to right, staff member Seth Payfer, commanding officer, Carol Lasky, executive officer, Tammy Whitaker, SCI board member, Larry Daly and SCI chapter President, Clifford Hugg.

Pet Photo: Best Friends
Paegan, a 3-year-old Great Dane, takes a break while on a walk with her owner Traci Knutson of Soldotna. "Besides being my hiking buddy, we compete in conformation, obedience, agility and rally. A lot of people don't think Great Danes can do obedience and agility because they're too big, too clumsy and not very intelligent. One thing I have learned is the more I try to do with her, the more she proves she is willing and able to do whatever I ask," Knutson said.

SoHi's Marey ends on high note
Culminating her final individual race of the afternoon, make that the last solo race of her high school career, Soldotna's Lyla Marey reached for the lip of the pool after the fourth lap of the 100-yard freestyle, removed her goggles and glanced in the direction of the electronic scoreboard perched high in the corner of Bartlett High School's swimming arena.

Nikiski netters return to state
The Nikiski volleyball team clinched its fifth straight trip to the state volleyball tournament on Saturday at Heritage Christian School in Anchorage by defeating Seward in the third-place game of the Southcentral Conference volleyball tournament.

Nikiski hockey matches last year's win total
After just one game, the Nikiski hockey team has equaled its win total from last season.

Skyview wrestlers take 2nd in Wasilla
Despite just one individual champion, the Skyview wrestling team took second place on Friday and Saturday at the North-South Wrestling Tournament in Wasilla.

Brown Bears take 2
For Kenai River Brown Bears coach Mike Flanagan, it's never too early to start thinking about the North American Hockey League playoffs.

Cunningham, Steger marry in Sterling
Stacy Cunningham and Scott Steger of Sterling were married in an afternoon ceremony Saturday, Aug. 11, 2007, at the Michel residence in Sterling. Dan Michel officiated.

Goggia, Pope marry in Utah
Kamilla Goggia and Jacob Pope of Sandy, Utah, were married in an afternoon garden ceremony Friday, Sept. 21, 2007, in South Jordan, Utah.

Johnson and Johnson announce nuptials
Jalanie Johnson and Nathan Johnson of Anchorage plan to marry in Hawaii in 2008.

Marshall, Handsaker marry in Kenai
Amanda Marshall of Wasilla and Cori Handsaker of Kenai were married Saturday, Sept. 29, 2007, in the reception hall at the Kenai Senior Citizens Center surrounded by 75 friends and family members. Joe Handsaker officiated, as a surprise for his son.

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