Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Your own meat cut the way you like it at AK Custom Meats
Many successful hunters this fall have become acquainted with Avery Hansen at the all new AK Custom Meats next to Soldotna Trustworthy Hardware on the Sterling Highway. That's because Avery is not only a very successful hunter himself, but also a second generation meat cutter and processor. "I grew up in Washington state, where my father had a meat processing house. We did things liked smoked turkeys, prime rib, and sausages. I moved to Alaska and was a fishing guide for eleven years. Then I got tired of that, and decided to go back to what I know how to do. I decided to open AK Custom Meats in Soldotna to meet the needs I saw here for another wild game processing house and specialty meat shop," Hansen told the Dispatch.

Power-filled tips highlight HEA's first Energy & Conservation Fair
Homer Electric Association's (HEA) Energy and Conservation Fair held last week at the Challenger Learning Center in Kenai was huge success according to HEA spokesperson Joe Gallagher. "We had a larger turn out than we anticipated. The goal of the fair was to let our local vendors, who have a great deal of knowledge about energy saving devices, distribute this information to HEA members at one location. By all accounts from vendors and visitors, we achieved that goal. The response we received was so encouraging, that we hope to turn this into an annual event. Energy conservation is important to HEA, and the bottom line is that it can save our members money," said Gallagher. The following weekend, HEA hosted the same event at the Islands & Ocean Visitor Center in Homer.

November is National Hospice Month
Appropriately, the month of the year in which all 50 of the United States will celebrate Thanksgiving, has also been designated as National Hospice Month. While the term Hospice Care conjures up thoughts of death and dying, here in Alaska, Hospice of the Central Peninsula will be going out into the local community with homemade cookies and flyers to show their appreciation for our doctors, nurses, and health care providers. "It is true that Hospice will accept a case when a person is considered to be in their last six months of life. However, sometimes a person in Hospice care does make a recovery in which case Hospice will simply and happily close the case," Gail Kennedy, bereavement coordinator at Hospice of the Central Peninsula, told the Dispatch. While most people have heard of the wonderful organization of Hospice, a lot of people aren't exactly sure what Hospice does, and if and when they should be called. So Hospice volunteers plan to be increasing awareness of those issues during National Hospice month says Kennedy. "We're going out to speak at schools and colleges, and anywhere we're invited, to unveil what Hospice truly means and what services we provide in the community. We want the term Hospice to become something friendly and not scary," she said.

Bliss Hair Design by Barb
The popular hair stylist, Barb McMahill, has recently opened her own salon known as Bliss Hair Design, in Soldotna next to The Music Box on the Spur Highway. "It's just never too late in your life to do something new," said Barb, "After many years on the peninsula at other salons, I felt that at this time of my life, it was time to step out on my own and do what I love, in an environment that I love - working with my clients privately one on one," she said. McMahill has captured a unique atmosphere at her Bliss Hair Design studio that blends feelings from the past, with the contemporary comfort of modern furnishings. "In my mind's eye, I wanted to create peaceful surroundings. So I brought in some of the things that have brought me peace in my life from my home. I had my parent's favorite wing-back chairs shipped up, and re-covered in a contemporary fabric from the sixties. I added some things from my home to incorporate a sense of warmth and freshness, combined with the nostalgia of things that are timeless," explained Barb.

Cranberry-Pepper Jelly Relish
1 cup fresh cranberries

Fruit and Nut Cherry Salad
1 (16-ounce) can pitted dark sweet cherries, undrained

Cranberry Sauce Grand Marnier
4 cups (16--ounces) fresh cranberries

Turkey Tips
The biggest problem with turkey is keeping the lean breast moist. The breast, which cooks at a different rate from the tough thighs and drumsticks, is ready when a thermometer inserted into the thickest spot away from the bone registers 165 degrees Fahrenheit, and the dark meat isn't tender until it reaches at least 175 degrees. Some cooks have embraced brining as the best way to ensure moist white meat. But a brine also adds unnecessary sodium to the meal, and not everyone likes the taste of a brined bird. A better solution is to shield the turkey breast with aluminum foil to deflect the heat away from the area and slow the cooking. Before the turkey goes into the oven, cover the entire breast area with aluminum foil. During the last hour of the estimated roasting time, remove the foil so the breast skin can brown.

Time to be grateful and enjoy: This Thanksgiving, pass the turkey and relish the relish
Buy fresh cranberries now. Not only are they at their delicious peak, but they can be frozen right in the plastic bags they are sold in for use throughout the year. And, as far as holidays food go, cranberries are as versatile as they come.

Pioneer plans to drill in inlet: Cosmopolitan field could be producing in 5 years
Drilling operations are returning to the Cosmopolitan oil field in Cook Inlet and the site could be producing oil within five years, Pioneer Natural Resources officials said on Tuesday.

Fewer students getting H1N1 influenza vaccine
Numbers from the first three mass dispensing clinics for the Novel H1N1 influenza vaccine at area schools are down from what emergency officials were anticipating.

Stamp of approval: Volunteers aid veterans philatelically
Thirty-five years ago, Livingston, Texas, resident Virginia "Cy" Turner had a cousin -- a veteran of World War II -- who had a stroke. She tried to help his recovery in any way possible, but she had no idea assisting him would launch her on a volunteer path that would last the rest of her life, in Texas and in Kenai.

Photo feature: Speedy delivery
Living up to the U.S. Post Service's motto, mailman Seamus Conner, 32, works through below-zero temperatures Monday afternoon, delivering the mail on the corner of Oak Avenue and Maple Drive in Kenai. Forecasters are calling for cold and clear weather with possible snow on Saturday.

Photo feature: Deep un-freeze
Sonny Byrd of Soldotna 'Y' Towing and Pipe Thawing hooks up an arc welder to thaw frozen water pipes in Kenai on Tuesday afternoon. He said this month's cold snap has left him busy. "The frost has gone down fast this year because there's no snow," he said. "The snow works like a blanket."

Lisa W. Boulette
Lynden, Wash., resident Lisa W. Boulette, died Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2009. She was 45.

Best Friends
Meggean Bos of Soldotna said, "Here is a picture of Hank, the beagle, tuckered out and ready for his

SkyHi wrestlers defeat Kenai, Nikiski
Both Monica and Hannah Hutchison went for an arm bar, both executed the move and both won by pin Tuesday night as the Skyview wrestling team defeated visiting Nikiski, 43-24. The Panthers then handled Kenai Central, 60-15, in a dual immediately following their win over Nikiski.

Wenatchee tops Bears
The league-leading Wenat-chee (Wash.) Wild defeated the Kenai River Brown Bears 3-2 on Tuesday night at the Soldotna Sports Center in front of 324 fans.

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