Monday, November 22, 2004

NOW PLAYING: National Treasure
I gripe and I complain about the state of Hollywood all the time. Every week I spend at least 800 words whining about how the studio system is creatively bankrupt and that the MPAA is holding us all hostage with their marketing system of rating movies. But you know what? I can't blame them any more. I just got out of National Treasure, a sad, low-rent Indiana Jones knock off. The audience loved it! Who can blame the studios for putting out cheap, predictable pablum when we keep buying it? It's not their fault, it's ours!

Debate rooted in history
There is a remedial class in the history of American democracy being scheduled for this winter. Attendance is encouraged for all those who were outraged or grief stricken at the presidency of Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton or Bush (pick one or more). This will not be a critique of the First Amendment right to free speech or the benefits of well considered dissent. There will be no focus on truth, trust or tyranny. Instead, the class will consider some of the dilemmas which have faced American governance since the well documented intrigue and fighting over national unification in the late 1700s. It will also look at the pendulum of public opinion and how its swing is an essential gyro-like stabilizer for the compass of American progress.

Darwin's theory unsound
In the recent article, "Arguing the ape debate Alternate evolution theories in biology curriculum," the position taken by the Discovery Institute caught my attention. The Institute's Center for Science and Culture supports scientists studying intelligent-design theory, but opposes mandating it in schools because it is a relatively new concept.

Public school food unhealthy
Our peninsula public schools should take a lesson from the Montessori school and look into the food served at that school. The public school food served to our growing kids is appalling! Can't be any more expensive than throwing away half the food served to our public school kids. My grandson comes home from school starving because he knows the difference between good food and the preservative and salt-filled menu at public school.

Busch wins Nextel Cup
HOMESTEAD, Fla. Nothing could stop Kurt Busch from winning the closest championship in NASCAR history.

Busch the man to beat for NASCAR title
HOMESTEAD, Fla. Kurt Busch has been doing everything right in his bid for his first Nextel Cup championship. He now has one big hurdle to clear entering Sunday's Ford 400.

Land leased in oil, gas pursuit
Unocal, Marathon Oil and several other oil and gas companies leased 17 tracts in the Cook Inlet region owned by the Alaska Mental Health Land Trust during a bid offering Nov. 9.

Fire department program sets up area homes with safety equipment
A fire can engulf a home in minutes taking anything and everything in the structure with it, including human lives. But the Alaska Home Fire Safety Improvement Project aims to make sure that doesn't happen.

Unocal's field near Deep Creek expected to produce 20 million cubic feet per day
Unocal is all smiles about its Happy Valley natural gas discovery.

Nikiski gives Hope Sunrise EMS way to save more lives
A donation of two cardiac monitors from the Nikiski Fire Department will help Hope Sunrise Emergency Medical Services save lives, according to the EMS chief.

Soldotna car wreck sends 3 to hospital
Rain falling on an ice-covered Sterling Highway apparently led to a two-vehicle collision with injuries near Regal Interiors in Soldotna, stopping Friday morning rush hour traffic on the busy highway.

Little bridge costs come to $50,000
Soldotna City Manager Tom Boedeker incited disbelieving head-shaking and raised eyebrows with the news that the state of Alaska and the city of Soldotna see a roughly $50,000 difference in part of the funding of the bridge project due to begin this spring.

New Vista worker ready to take on Kenai project
Kenai's new Vista Grant employee, Andy Varner, is quickly getting an inside view of the city's inner workings.

A day for giving, taking care
Caregivers come in many forms, from children who have switched roles with their aging parents, to those caring for someone who is chronically ill, disabled or unable to care for themselves.

Cynthia Marie Perkins
Anchorage resident Cynthia Marie Perkins died Monday, Nov. 15, 2004, at her home. She was 46.

Marriage advocates warn divorce a bigger threat than gays
NEW YORK ''Protection of marriage'' is now the watchword for many activists fighting to prevent gays and lesbians from marrying. Some conservatives, however, say marriage in America began unraveling long before the latest gay-rights push and are pleading for a fresh, soul-searching look at the institution.

Bruised Democrats mull next step
WASHINGTON Outpolled, outmanuevered and out of power, Democrats are suffering an identity crisis.

House coalition leaders made the right move
Thumbs up to the Republicans and Democrats who tried to reach across party lines in the Alaska House of Representatives and build a coalition that would replace the GOP caucus. The bipartisan coalition was smacked down almost immediately as Republicans once again took control of the majority on Monday. The caucus system, with its closed-door meetings and punishment of members who vote against the party line, entrenches the powerful and robs dissenting lawmakers of what little leverage they might have.

Alaska lags behind on new 'economic freedom' rankings
With a draft document of the Kenai Economic Development Strategy recently unveiled, city officials, along with their colleagues in borough and state government, might want to compare notes with a newly released study by the Pacific Research Institute.

Among blessings to be counted: familiar aromas of family feast
Growing up on the South Side of Chicago, I learned at an early age that Daley Democrats could be as immovable as any conservative Republican, at least when it comes to Thanksgiving Day.

Johnson, Davis wed in Vegas ceremony
Jeni Johnson and Trevor Davis were married Saturday, Oct. 30, 2004, in the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The Rev. Darryl J. Wilson officiated.

Stuard, Driggers marry in North Carolina
Julie Stuard and Richard Driggers were married Saturday, Oct. 2, 2004, in an evening ceremony in Wrightsville Beach, N.C. The Rev. Penelope Morningstar officiated.

Soldotna couple volunteers to help hurricane victims
When Soldotna residents Len and Penny Malmquist made the decision to become volunteers for the American Red Cross, it was with the thought of putting their combined 47 years of experience in emergency medical and emergency management to use and to have an opportunity to travel.

Case, Queen marry in Maryland
Jennie L. Case and Russell Q. Queen were married Saturday, Oct. 16, 2004, at the Historic Wedding Chapel in Elkton, Md. The Rev. Frank Smith officiated.

Pate, Foster marry in California
Amy Pate of California and Charles "Charlie" Foster of Soldotna were married Saturday, July 10, 2004, in Lakeside, Calif.

Whittney and Joshua Tapley Michelle Cunningham Daniels and D.J. DanielsJulie and Dale Heckert Lisa Rochon-Martin and Jacob Martin Wendy and Mark Milligan

Community News
The following is a list of Soldotna Community Schools classes and activities beginning this week. It is printed as a reminder to preregistered participants.

Peninsula People
Area residents enroll in college

Don't dread making dessert it's as easy as pie
TOPEKA, Kan. Four out of five Americans have baked a pie, according to a recent survey conducted for Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crusts. The majority of those chefs 77 percent baked their first pie by age 29.

Community News
Doughnut fund-raiser scheduledRock-a-billy fund-raiser plannedCandy fund-raiser beginsCommunity Thanksgiving dinner setSoldotna Elks table tennis resultsLibrary plans December eventsIslands and Oceans

Thanksgiving Day tips for the kitchen-shy
The trouble with Thanksgiving is that it is a holiday that asks people who ordinarily don't cook to prepare a feast. Come on, how fair is that? The Pilgrims had it easy. They were about a half-an-evolutionary step ahead of cavemen. They spent most of their day thinking about that night's supper. Thanksgiving was just another meal. It was part of their routine.

My best friend
Deborah Lautt enjoys her first weekend in Alaska 11 months ago with her helper-companion dog, Ollie. Ollie has gone missing from their Island Lake home in Nikiski, but has been seen roaming with his companion dog, General, a German short-haired pup. Lautt would love to have Ollie back, and offers a reward for anyone who can return him. For more information, call Lautt at 776-3684.

Animal abuse also threatens kids
"One of the most dangerous things that can happen to a child is to kill or torture an animal and get away with it." Margaret Mead, anthropologist

Police dog bounces back from blindness
DULUTH, Minn. (AP) Newspaper readers were so touched by the story of a blind police dog named Timber that they paid for an operation to restore his sight.

Add holiday variety for good health
LUBBOCK, Texas Well, at least the turkey's healthy.

Community Schools program provides friendly way to learn
The picture of eight 18- to 24-month-old toddlers bursting gleefully onto the basketball court of a school gym is not what one typically conjures up as an image of night school, but that's exactly what can be expected during Toddler Time, one of a wide array of evening classes offered by Soldotna Community Schools.

Kards drill Stars
The Kenai Central High School hockey team squared off with Soldotna for the third time this season this one a North Star Conference affair and the Kardinals kept their record clean against the Stars, skating to an 8-0 win Friday at the Soldotna Sports Center.

Rockets' McGrady trips Clips in overtime
LOS ANGELES Tracy McGrady scored five of his 32 points in overtime, helping the Houston Rockets beat the Los Angeles Clippers 91-86 on Saturday.

Cowboy's Parcells, Redskins' Gibbs should retire
Let's not sugarcoat it: Bill Parcells and Joe Gibbs never should have returned to coaching and should get out as soon as they can to preserve their dignity and reputations.

Falcons, Vick tower over Giants
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. Michael Vick ran for 104 yards and threw two first-half touchdown passes to Alge Crumpler to lead the Falcons (8-2), spoiling Eli Manning's first start.

Detroit player-fan brawl: Ugly sign of violent times
Blame the frightening melee in Detroit perilously close to escalating into a full-blown riot on the players, the fans, the NBA and the times.

Sorenstam holds lead at ADT event
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. Instead of running away, Annika Sorenstam had to catch up Saturday.

UConn men open with victory
STORRS, Conn. Rashad Anderson scored 23 points and Josh Boone added 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead Connecticut to a 90-68 win over Buffalo in the season opener for both teams on Saturday night.

Buckeyes pull off upset of rival Michigan
COLUMBUS, Ohio Troy Smith barely got on the field for Ohio State earlier this season. After the Buckeyes' biggest game of the year, he had trouble getting off of it.

Eli era begins for Giants against Vick, Falcons
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. A day after being tabbed to start for the New York Giants, Eli Manning got some simple advice from the NFL's best QB, his brother Peyton:

Federer reaches Masters Cup final
HOUSTON (AP) Roger Federer won a record-tying 38-point tiebreaker after rallying from a 1-4 deficit in the second set to defeat Marat Safin 6-3, 7-6 (18) Saturday in the semifinals of the ATP Masters Cup.

Four players suspended for NBA brawl; police investigating
NEW YORK Indiana's Ron Artest, Jermaine O'Neal and Stephen Jackson, and Detroit's Ben Wallace were suspended indefinitely by the NBA on Saturday for taking part in one of the ugliest brawls in U.S. sports history, a fight with fans that commissioner David Stern called ''shocking, repulsive and inexcusable.''

Phoenix wins fourth straight
LOS ANGELES Amare Stoudemire overcame early foul trouble to score 33 points, and the Phoenix Suns beat the Los Angeles Clippers 122-111 on Sunday for their fourth straight victory.

League lays down law
Turns out Ron Artest, his Pacers posse and those few dozen fools in the stands who wanted a piece of them aren't the only people around the NBA who know how to throw a punch.

Homer hockey tops Skyview
The Skyview and Homer hockey teams squared off against each other Saturday morning at Kenai, with the Mariners notching a 5-3 victory.

Wright trips up Mosley again
LAS VEGAS Winky Wright did what he had to do, beating Shane Mosley a second time Saturday night to retain his 154-pound titles.

Wildcats declawed at hands of Cavaliers
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. Freshman Sean Singletary scored 15 points to help Virginia upset No. 10 Arizona 78-60 on Sunday.

North-South tests wrestlers' mettle
The North-South Invitational wrestling tournament team title went to South this year South Anchorage, that is and a trio of peninsula wrestlers claimed individual titles in the competition hosted by Soldotna High School Saturday.

NBA suspends 9 players for more than 140 games
NEW YORK Ron Artest was suspended for the rest of the season Sunday and two of his Indiana Pacers teammates must miss a total of 55 games for fighting with fans in a melee that broke out at the end of a game against the Detroit Pistons.

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