Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Northcountry Fair turns the corner on 25
Before Safeway and Fred Myers lured shoppers to Soldotna, Northcountry Fair opened their doors at the “Y” to provide specialty kitchen, quality gift and hand-made items that weren’t available anywhere else. Twenty five years later Liz Schmitt and her Northcountry Fair now in its new location in Soldotna continues to provide the unusual and unique that brings shoppers from all over the Peninsula again and again. “Liz keeps immaculate records and even though we are computerized these days, we still have all the paper records and the other day a customer came in who received a wedding gift from us over 15 years ago and needed a replacement. Before I could find her on the computer, Liz found the paper record with the design number and was making out the replacement order,” said Schmitt’s assistant Kristin Wood.

Several times in my lifetime I have found myself with very low paying jobs or worse yet no job at all. Then there are times when it just seems like you never really have any extra money at all. I have nearly always worked at something from early childhood on. Often times I was able to work on farms that required doing very hard work even as a young boy but making very little money.

Vintage Pointe community celebrates 15th Anniversary
Vintage Pointe Manor, one of the most lovely, ideally located independent living facilities in Alaska, celebrated its 15th anniversary last week with an open house and party at the Kenai Senior Center. According to Rachel Craig, executive director for the Center, the City of Kenai is very proud of the facility and hoped that the open house would help to correct the misperception that Vintage Pointe is a place for those who require assisted living or nursing home services, “I’m not sure where that image came from, we’ll even get inquiries from doctors offices for assisted living, but it’s not what we are at all. Vintage Pointe Manor is an independent living complex for our seniors. You have to be able to live independently in order to move in. That doesn’t mean that once you move into the facility and the time comes that you need home health care, of course you may have them come in, but we don’t provide those services. We are not assisted living and we are not a nursing home, we are strictly independent living not any different than any other apartment housing for seniors in the community. We do however, have the advantage of being connected to the Senior Center where residents can participate in activities with their peers simply by walking down the hall,” explained Craig.

Pumpkin art squashes other mediums
Nothing seems to decorate for Halloween and the harvest holidays quite like a carved pumpkin, and there are many of those around the community thanks to the Kenai Visitor & Cultural Center Community (KVCC) Halloween Family Fun day last week. Over 50 pumpkins were donated compliments of KVCC board member Ray Ortiz, of the Alaskan Lodge. “We had a huge turn out today probably close to 200 costume wearing kids and family members and they did some great carvings and had a ton of fun cleaning carving and winning prizes at the cake walk,” said Natasha Ala, KVCC programs and exhibit manager. “I carved my pumpkin to look like a Jack-o-Lantern, but I don’t know why it’s called that,” said Jackie.

Greasing up with Southcentral Title Agency
Getting with the costume theme spirit of Halloween, Southcentral Title Agency, known to the Great Pumpkin as “Joe’s Diner,” went all out last week. Straying from the traditional witches and vampires, Joe Rogers and the hometown team at Southcentral Title went for the Danny Zuco, Grease look complete with bad Sandy and the Pink Ladies. Rogers and crew recreated a movie set like atmosphere and invited the community to come by for photo ops in their Halloween attire and enjoy some good cookin’ at Joe’s Diner. “It was ah alright, we like it, yeah if you know what I’m saying. We got the Pink Ladies and my Greasers backin’ me up and of course my one and only true love Sandy,” said Rogers, remaining true to his Zuco impersonation.

Fundraiser raises level of success
On behalf of the Kenai Chamber of Commerce, we wish to express our appreciation to all of those in our community who participated in and attended our annual beer and wine fundraiser. The event was the most successful ever, and the proceeds will allow the chamber to provide many activities in the future for all to enjoy. The next Kenai chamber event will be the Christmas Comes to Kenai celebration on Friday, Nov. 23.

Donations for picnic appreciated
I would like to thank our area businesses for the donations to the annual All-Veterans Picnic that was held Sept 29, and also to the volunteers, who gave of their time for this annual event. The list is too long, but you know who you are.

Efforts go a long way on fun day
On behalf of the patrons of the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center, I would like to extend our gratitude and thanks to everyone who made Saturday's Halloween Family Fun Day such a success. First, many thanks to Ray Ortiz with The Alaska Lodge for donating the pumpkins. It made the event for many families. A great big thank you to the Kenai River Brown Bears and their mascot, Grizz. We're looking forward to seeing you next year! Thank you to Benjamin Schliefman for carving the first pumpkin totem in the history of the center. Your talent amazed all of us.

Reader: Veterans memorial should be added to park
On Oct. 28 I read the article on the "proposed plans" on the concept design for the Soldotna Creek Park.

Ice jams to be discussed at winter series
Few property owners on the banks of the lower Kenai River will forget last winter's ice jam. When the lake behind Skilak Glacier drained, dislodging the ice that plugged it up, the jam took out boat docks and fishing ramps downstream.

Service project gets approval
Seen as a test of the school site council waiver process, the Homer High graduation waiver request was unanimously approved Monday by the Board of Education.

HEA eyeing small-scale hydroelectric projects
Homer Electric Association is eyeing the feasibility of at least two small-scale hydroelectric projects within its service area, but one possible source of financing is currently blocked by federal law, according to the president of HEA's board of directors.

Troopers identify body found on Kalgin Island
Alaska State Troopers identified a man whose body was found on Kalgin Island on Oct 13 at 1:13 p.m. An autopsy revealed that Tony Vo, 22, of San Luis Obispo, Calif., drowned, but how his body got on the island is still a mystery.

Photo feature: Puppy love?
Carolyn Unger's cat Baby, watches the neighbor's dog Rusty, through a window as Rusty eyes Walnut Avenue on Monday afternoon in Kenai. "I think Baby's in love with Rusty," Unger said.

Kenai Rec Center deal up for renewal
Before giving its final approval, the Kenai City Council will conduct one more public hearing tonight on extending the Recreation Center management contract with Boys and Girls Clubs of the Kenai Peninsula.

Higher oil tax pitched
The base tax on net profits from oil would rise from the 22.5 percent rate under the current Petroleum Production Tax to 25 percent under a version of the Alaska Clear and Equitable Share bill passed out of the House Resources Committee Sunday.

Bad smell wafts over city
The acrid smell of rotton eggs wafting through Soldotna sent many residents to their phones, but it wasn't an enormous gas leak that prompted the calls to Central Emergency Services.

Bright night light
The brightest comet in more than a decade dramatically appeared in the night sky last month, and astronomers are at a loss to explain it.

Global classes seek local help
Whether speaking about a community, a nation, or the world, it is hard to deny that we are all related when it comes to the production, distribution, exchange and consumption of goods and services. The Junior Achievement (JA) program is dedicated to educating young people on the ways to succeed in this global economy, but they need help.

Chenault: Oil tax session might extend
Rep. Mike Chenault said Monday he is willing to see the special session extended if it means reaching a deal on a new oil tax law.

Ardin Gale Freestone
Soldotna resident Ardin Gale Freestone died Saturday, Nov. 3, 2007, at his home in Soldotna after a long illness. He was 43.

Clear and equitable: Plan gives state what it deserves for oil valuation
"The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality."

Healthy Bites
Do you eat whenever you're anxious? Is food one of the few things that makes you feel better? If so, you may have been conditioned to turn to food for comfort.

Jane's Chili
Courtesy "Tables of Content Service, Settings and Supper"

Around the Peninsula
Fish and Game advisory meeting set Recycling group to meet again Love INC. hosts anniversary party Holiday bazaars begin Beta Sigma Phi tea planned Crooners sought Caregiver Appreciation Day set Fish and Game to meet Habitat re-opens application period Donations sought for military personnel

The Making of a Cookbook
When a cookbook is filled with cherished recipes from people we care for, whether from a church or the community we live in, it becomes something more than a cookbook.

How to Purchase Cookbooks
"Loaves, Fishes & Favorite Dishes" may be purchased through 2007 for $16 (while supplies last), plus shipping and handling, if you wish to have the cookbook mailed. Note cards and prints of artwork are available. For more information, call (843) 681-3696, or contact Nancy Bottone at

Sour Cream Cornbread
Courtesy "Tables of Content Service, Settings and Supper"

Around the Peninsula
Ninilchik community meeting set Recycling group to meet again Youth clubs to meet KPC council meeting scheduled Kids craft fair Saturday Teens lead charge to stop smoking Driver safety program offered Public health plans one-day closure Counseling association seeks members Soldotna seniors open gift shop Hospice open house set

Sports Briefs
Earning five pins and six forfeits, the Mariners defeated the visiting Bulldogs, 66-15, in a dual meet at Homer High School on Tuesday night.

Community college financial aid workshop set
There will be a free, public workshop on financial aid for college students today at 7 p.m. at the Soldotna Sports Center. The event is a collaboration between counselors and staff from area high schools, Kenai Peninsula College and the Alaska Commission on Post Secondary Education. Mary Ellen Havens from the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education will be the featured speaker.

Looking back brings writers present into better focus
This school year brought new changes for my family. My older brother, Micah went off to college for the first time.

School Daze
Principal Sharon Moock and Assistant Principal Sarge Truesdell have been focusing on reducing tardies this school year. Whenever students are in the halls, so are they, calling out reminders and encouragement to students to make it to wherever they're going on time. They also bought clocks to carry with them that count down the amount of time left, to the second, before class begins.

Around the District
School board meetings slated College financial aid workshop set Title VII meeting set Aurora Borealis Charter School Connections Grace Lutheran School Kaleidoscope School of Arts and Science Kenaitze Head Start Kenai Alternative High Kenai Central High Kenai Middle Nikiski North Star Elementary Ninilchik School Redoubt Elementary Skyview High Soldotna Elementary Soldotna High Soldotna Middle Soldotna Montessori Charter Sterling Elementary Tustumena Elementary Wings Christian Academy

Sports Brief
Nikiski High School graduate Sam Hill, 30, finished 29th in the New York City Marathon on Sunday with a personal-best time of 2 hours, 29 minutes and 28 seconds. Hill's time was the fifth-fastest by an American this year in the race and also led a group of 18 Alaskans. He also was the first American from out of New York State to finish.

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