Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Community welcomes home National Guard members
It was a happy homecoming weekend for National Guardsmen serving from the Kenai Peninsula, it was an emotional weekend as families in service to America reunited with our returning warriors at the National Guard Armory in Kenai, and it was a privileged weekend as all Veterans joined with federal, state, and local dignitaries to express appreciation for those willing to defend the United States of America. “I am so proud of the people of the Kenai Peninsula and the way the welcomed home their warriors, it made you feel good all over. You have much to be proud of this weekend and there is no where else I’d rather be than here standing with you celebrating a job well done, and equally important was the celebration of the families and community that supported them. The people here that embraced those families, whether sending care packages, or helping keep the snow clear from their driveways and other tangible support while the soldiers were away. It’s so important as well to say thank you to those families who support our service men and women so that they can do the job that our country has asked them to do,” said U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski.

One thing that I have watched some people do all my life is skimp and save everything they can just so they can have a good retirement. They never go on any vacations or spend the money to enjoy life while they are young. Every cent they can save is stashed away for that magical time called retirement. Then in some cases by the time they retire they are too crippled up or not in good enough health to enjoy life any way. In other cases some people never live long enough to retire at all. Others seem to be on a mission to save so that they can leave each of their children a huge nest egg so instead of doing those special things they have always wanted to do they simply stay home and save their money. Nothing can tear up a family faster then a good squabble over money or an estate. I'm here to tell a few of you that my advice to you is enjoy those things in life while you can. Don't wait thinking that you will have plenty of time after you retire. If going to Yellowstone Park has always been on your dream list then go to Yellowstone. Giving your children a gift of money will not make them love you any more when you’re gone than you spending that same money on doing the things you have always wanted to do.

Boys and Girls Clubs celebrate 20th Anniversary on the Peninsula
There was steak, crab, and delicious barbeque beef, there were senators, legislators, mayors, kids and clowns all enjoying carnival games, putt-putt golf, and radio controlled racing cars. It was the annual auction and fund raiser for the Boys & Girls Clubs on the Kenai Peninsula and the turn out was the greatest ever according to Boys & Girls Clubs of the Kenai Peninsula president Peter Micciche, “We geared our 20 year milestone around the adults having fun, we created a carnival theme with games of chance and folks won some great prizes while supporting the Boys & Girls Clubs like they have been faithful in doing through the years,” said Micciche.

Fall banquet goal to pave the sea of CIA
In 1973 a bush pilot school teacher in Illiamna moved his family to the Kenai Peninsula and started the first private Christian school known as Cook Inlet Academy (CIA) in the basement of the old Soldotna Bible Chapel. His name was Chuck Crapuchettes and today his eldest son Chuck Kopp is following in his father’s footsteps as Cook Inlet Academy school board president. Kopp also serves as Chief of Police for the City of Kenai. “Having been raised in this school since the 4th grade I feel like the education I was given here, the relationships I formed with teachers and friends have brought me to where I am at in my life today and I realize I’m indebted to those who have gone before me and provided this opportunity for me, there is incredible strength in this school family” Kopp told the Dispatch at the CIA annual Fall Fundraising Banquet last week.

The future arrives as new Community Health Center opens
The opening of the new Peninsula Community Health Center was heralded last weekend as the arrival of the future for medical care where physical and mental health issues will be served at the same facility. “I committed to being here six months ago because I wanted to stand with you for the ribbon cutting of an incredible community health facility. A facility that is being looked to as a national model for future health care, now one would think that the integration of mental and physical health at one facility would not be such ground breaking news and we’d like to think that this is what is in place elsewhere in the country, but what you have here at the Peninsula Community Health Center (CPHC) is actually visionary in its outlook and I think the people of the Peninsula are very fortunate to have these health care services for the mind and the body merged under one roof , and you can be proud that the future indeed is already here on the Kenai Peninsula. It’s great to be back home!” said U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski.

Community earns kudos from Friends
The Friends of the Kenai Community Library board have many thanks to extend to the community and businesses.

Courtesy, respect , self-control obviously not part of curriculum
Recently students on the Kenai of all ages had the opportunity to attend a concert by the UAA Wind Ensemble in the Renee C. Henderson Auditorium. Unfortunately less than 100 students actually attended. This may have been a blessing considering that those who did attend (mostly third through fifth grade) had no clue how to act at a fine arts performance.

Kick-off party a 'Hoppers' success
The Caribou Hills Cabin Hoppers annual kick-off party was another success this year with over 200 people in attendance. With a change of venue, we held our gathering at the Soldotna Elks lodge after hosting it at the Kenai Armory for several years.

E-waste recycling goes well
Congratulations and thank you to everyone who participated in the Electronics Recycling Event on Nov. 3. We collected 7,500 pounds of electronics to be recycled. That's 3.75 tons of devices not buried in the landfill or not stored in closets and basements.

Bookkeeper to serve 5 years
The Kenai bookkeeper who pleaded guilty to embezzling thousands of dollars from Salamatof Seafoods and other Kenai firms was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in jail with five years suspended.

Photo feature: Yeeeeeeeeeah!
Logan Parks, 11, lets out a yell as he descends the sledding hill at Soldotna Middle School last weekend.

Kenai names fire marshal
Despite receiving a relatively short notice when his fire marshal became the fire chief in Nikiski, Kenai Fire Chief Mike Tilly did not have to look too far for a replacement.

Employment still steady
The summer's good employment news continued for the Kenai Peninsula Borough's economy right through September, according to the latest figures from analyst Jeanne Camp.

Students build skills with robots
JUNEAU When Dave Patterson asked the audience at the opening ceremony of the Juneau Robot Jamboree, "Who had their robot fall apart during their trials?" nearly every small hand in the audience went up.

Fish and Game lauds biologist
When it comes to how the Kenai River fishery should be managed, often the only thing two different user groups can agree on is that a third user group is entirely wrong. As such the Alaska Department of Fish and Game personnel responsible for the fishery's management have to have some pretty thick skin.

Thompson Park roads on docket
Because the Thompson Park Subdivision is one of the most heavily populated areas in Kenai that does not have paved streets, the city administration feels it would be a good place to spend some of the $880,000 it has in grant funding specifically earmarked for roadway paving.

Preschool closed for repairs
What's taken a Ashley Bulot-Hanson five years to build was trashed in just a matter of hours Sunday.

KSRM to light 'Fuse'
Starting on Thanksgiving Day, radio listeners and lovers of rock music will have a new choice in the central Kenai Peninsula.

Love INC celebrates 20 years of helping people
When Love In the Name of Christ opened its doors in November 1987, meeting the needs of the poor primarily meant getting them a meal. Now, as Love INC celebrates its 20th anniversary, Executive Director Ingrid Edgerly says the basic need for most of her clients is a roof over their heads and enough of a leg up to get them back on their feet.

Bending over backward
Fresh snow burdens branches in the Kenai Mountains recently. Forecasters are calling for flurries today and snow, heavy at times, for the Thanksgiving holiday. As much as six inches of accumulation is expected Thursday.

Adoree Ann 'Acy' Correia
Longtime Kasilof resident Adoree Ann 'Acy' Correia died Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2007, of breast cancer in Portland, Ore. She was 69.

Nita Lynn Metcalf
Soldotna resident Nita Lynn Metcalf died Monday, Nov. 12, 2007, at Providence Medical Center in Anchorage. She was 58.

Claire T. Schilling
Lifelong Alaskan and Kenai resident Claire T. Schilling died Sunday, Nov. 18, 2007, at her home. She was 40.

Thanksgiving facts, figures
In the fall of 1621, the religious separatist Pilgrims held a three-day feast to celebrate a bountiful harvest, an event many regard as the nation's first Thanksgiving.

Around the Peninsula
Fish and Game AC to meet Girls robotics team forming Chamber announces Christmas celebration Women voters to meet Raffle fundraiser set Cameras, photo printers sought Kids reading program continues

Around the Peninsula
Vendors sought for bazaar Cameras, photo printers sought High school art contest continues Cookies by the pound available Raffle fundraiser set

Thanksgiving dinner cost on the rise
As consumers pay more at the gas pumps, skyrocketing energy costs have also driven up the cost of this year's Thanksgiving feast, according to several new studies released prior to the holiday.

Am I Really Hungry?
We often eat when we're not hungry. One reason may be that many of us can't recognize when our bodies need food.

'What's for breakfast?'
Thanksgiving is perhaps the best example of a day when breakfast is not the most important meal.

Stars beat Mariners
Soldotna senior Clayton Glick recorded a hat trick and added a pair of assists and freshman Sean Endsley had two goals and an assist in leading the visiting Stars to an 8-2 victory over Homer on Tuesday.

Skyview wrestlers defeat Soldotna
Eddie Buffington may be considered the second-best 189-pounder in the state by, but the Skyview senior has done his fair share of heavy lifting this season, too.

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

SoHi takes a ride
Soldotna High School teacher Mr. Schneider and his advisory class are shown in this Nov. 12 photo taking a hay ride as a class activity. For the past three years SoHi students participated in the class that is designed for them to work on homework, discuss school issues and read. The administrators goals are to get information to students, help students with homework and enhance academic improvement.

Two heads are better than one
The writing prompt was "Dinosaurs come out to play," but it was Redoubt Elementary School sixth-grade teacher Krista Arthur who seemed to be a ball in play, bouncing from student to student during reading class Nov. 13.

College association puts out an all call for members: Kenai Peninsula College
As the old saying goes, the proof is in the pudding. Common interpretation for those not familiar with the phrase is summed up as "results are what count." Kenai Peninsula College will be testing the "pudding" to gauge community interest in supporting a KPC Alumni Association.

Signs of gratitude
Kalifornsky Beach Elementary School student Shawn Wright works on a poster that was displayed for the homecoming ceremony for returning soldiers Nov. 10 at the Alaska National Guard Armory in Kenai. Wright is a third-grader in Mr. Vedders' class. The entire class designed posters. Vedders said, "The students completed this project with all of their heart, staying in from recess and working on the banners every spare minute they had. Mr. Felchle sent out an e-mail encouraging students to make welcome home signs. He told us how much the posters meant to him when he returned from serving in the Middle East. Several students know what it means to have their parents away for extended periods of time because their parents commercial fish, work on the Slope, or work in mining camps. When students heard that some of our soldiers were away from their families for 18 months, they jumped into action. I basically had to get out of their way and let them take care of business. This is an incredible group of kids."

Writer: Newcomers need to respect Alaska's resources
Fishing on the Kenai Peninsula is something many residents are familiar with. It's not just a hobby, a vacation or a pastime, for some it's how they make a living.

Sports Brief
Soldotna's Jerry Norris and Soldotna's Bob Waite each won their division in the Alaska State Seniors Open Championships, held Oct. 20 and 21, and Oct. 27 to 29, at Park Lanes in Anchorage.

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