Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Agrium serves seniors one more time
For more than 25 years Central Peninsula Seniors have been treated to a Pre-Thanksgiving Day dinner compliments of the largest value added industry in Alaska, the Urea/Ammonia fertilizer plant in Nikiski. The best that anyone can remember, before the Kenai Senior Center opened and when the plant was owned by Collier’s the tradition began with the first dinner being served at the Kenai Elks lodge. When the Kenai Senior Center was built the volunteer tradition continued as Unocal took over operations of the facility and when Agrium purchased the plant at the turn of the century. However, with the closing of the facility due to shortage of natural gas last week was most likely the last Senior Thanksgiving dinner of its kind served by the Agrium employees, “We’re all glad to be here doing this today, as it’s our way at Agrium of saying thanks to these folks who have been long standing community members and have given so much of their lives to making this a great community. We’ve always loved this event because it’s our way of giving back to those folks and saying thanks for all they have contributed,” said John Averill, Agrium Safety Supervisor.

Making Holiday shopping memories at Donna’s Gifts
Once again the season of nostalgia is here and with it a new opportunity for making lifetime memories. Most everyone can recall a holiday shopping experience with their favorite Grandparent, Aunt, Mom or Dad. The trip to the city, the lights, sounds, smells, foods, and anticipation of what Christmas day would reveal. The actual gifts may have been long forgotten, but the shopping experience lasts a lifetime. Here on the Central Peninsula Donna Schwanke of Donna’s Country & Victorian Gifts has been making those special memories for generations.

If you have never worked on the frozen North Slope it would most likely be hard for you to understand just what life on the slope is really like. Before you even try to understand the slope life you first must imagine that each day after work you don’t return homeyou go to a camp or to a motel type place each day for 2 solid weeks.

Bush pilot flying high
Hollywood continues to be interested in the Alaskan mystique and opportunity for extreme adventure. Several major motion pictures recently have featured Alaskan scenes and now a Nikiski bush pilot, Michael Litzen is being considered for a new reality TV series pilot produced by GRB Entertainment headquartered in Sherman Oaks, California. “I was contacted this summer about the show that is to be produced in the spirit of The Deadliest Catch, which many people may be familiar with, except this would be on bush pilots. I was contacted by Christian Robinson, the development producer for GRB and asked to shoot an audition for their pilot series. They became interested in the audition when I told them that I had extracted a pilot from an aircraft wreck earlier this year, so I get the feeling they are interested in showing the risks and dangers of bush pilot flying that we are familiar with here in Alaska, but is pretty much unknown elsewhere,” Litzen told the Dispatch.

Local Wildlife Refuge opens for Holiday tree cutting
For 13 years Kenai National Wildlife Refuge (KNWR) manager Robin West has been opening the Refuge for personal use Christmas tree cutting on the Friday after Thanksgiving, “As in the past people have the opportunity to go most anywhere on the Refuge to cut a tree, except in the Headquarters area and along Ski Hill Road, and we also ask that you are a minimum of 150 feet off any road, trail heads, camp grounds or any water bodies, lakes, or streams before you cut your tree,” West told the Dispatch. According to West there is easy access off Funny River Rd. once you past the Refuge sign, “Another good place is at the end of Marathon Rd. where the oil field starts you can park at the end of the road there and hike up along the power line where there are a lot of little trees along the right of way that will eventually will be cut anyway so that’s a good place to find a nice tree,” said West. As far as forest management and the impact on global warming West points out that the cutting of smaller trees can actually be beneficial, “Trees are very beneficial in taking carbon out of the atmosphere and producing oxygen for us to breath, but on a small scale basis actually removing some of the small trees that are crowded together allow the other trees to grow larger and be more healthy and can be good forest management,” he said. West also cautions that there are still a few bears up and about due to the warm weather so that it is best to keep the family dog on a leash when Christmas tree hunting, “And it’s also trapping season so there are snares and traps so it’s best to keep your dogs close at hand,” added West.

Reader offers compromise on Soldotna bridge lights
I am replying to the letter written by Viveca Draper in Clarion paper on Nov. 13, which she asked for others' opinion. Personally, I think the lights on new Soldotna bridge are beautiful, original and different.

Salvia should not be condemned
Earlier this year, SB 38 was submitted to our Legislature, which would add Salvia Divinorum to the state's list of scheduled (controlled) substances.

Past efforts don't go unnoticed
I am speaking on behalf of many local agencies, nonprofit groups, schools, churches, families and students. We stand together to express our appreciation to Alaska Bikers Advocating Training and Education (ABATE) members for their contributions to our community at Thanksgiving time.

Reader: Lights obstruct view of the Kenai River
I am writing this letter in response to the question regarding the lights on the new Kenai River bridge.

Junk vehicles fees waived
For the past few months, the Kenai Peninsula Borough's Solid Waste Department has waived normal fees and limits in its effort to encourage disposal of junk vehicles around the borough.

To ski, or not to ski?
One question facing the Soldotna City Council tonight may find its answer in the unusually warm and snowless winter the central Kenai Peninsula is experiencing.

Assembly might quit phoning it in
Having absent members participate in Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meetings by telephone ought to be prohibited except in cases of emergency, says Assemblyman Pete Sprague, who has proposed banning the procedure.

Kenai council OKs plan one for library addition
As one of the top priority capital improvement projects being considered by the city of Kenai, the public library expansion alternative number one received unanimous support of the city council last week.

Photo feature: Lighting it up
Rocky Smith installs decorative LED lights on the front his Preferred Plumbing and Heating business in Kenai last week. He said he was thankful that the weather had warmed up for the job.

Photo feature: School's out
William Johnson runs the slick sidewalk to the bus following a day in the eight grade at Nikiski Middle/High School. Forecasters are calling for a chance of snow today.

Oil, gas tax will boost revenues
Alaska legislators have approved increases in state oil and gas production taxes, a move expected to boost state revenues by an additional $1.63 billion this year.

Dale R. Lindsey
Longtime Seward resident Dale R. Lindsey died Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2007, at home. He was 71.

Around the Peninsula
Get connected Books sought for soldiers T-200 committee meeting slated Arts, crafts fair Saturday Historical society to meet KCHS blood drive set Band concert, dessert auction scheduled Gardeners to gather School district committee members needed Women voters to meet Deadline looms for art contest Women's basketball league forming

Sarah's Applesauce
Adapted from a recipe found on

Hanukkah lights the way
In about a week's time, Hanukkah, the eight-day Jewish festival of rededication, will begin.

Around the Peninsula
Caregiver support group to meet Toastmasters to meet Used book sale planned Car seat check up slated Trapping, snaring clinic Saturday Vendors sought for bazaar Fundraiser makes sweet offer Cookies by the pound available Raffle fundraiser continues

Potato Latkes
  During Hanukkah, it is tradition to eat food, such as latkes, that has been fried in oil, which is symbolic of the oil that miraculously burned for eight days when the Maccabees rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem. Enjoy latkes with sour cream or apple sauce. Photo by Sue Ade/Morris News Ser 2 pounds russet potatoes (about 4 medium potatoes)

Healthy Bites
Physical activity is very important to maintaining good health and also helps to burn calories. Many people don't realize how easy it is to burn calories by adding physical activity to their daily routine.

Chicken Liver Pat
1 pound chicken livers, washed, trimmed and patted dry

Sports Brief
The Stars' JV team defeated the visiting Bulldogs, 6-0, on Tuesday night at the Soldotna Sports Center.

'Tis the season to give
Peninsula Optional High School students dished out a helping hand Nov. 19 in the form of Thanksgiving food boxes for families in need in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District.

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

KPC spring registration opens online Monday: Kenai Peninsula College
The year is rapidly coming to a close and Kenai Peninsula College will finish the current semester Dec. 15.

Writer looks his future in the eyes -- sees pushups
Five hundred chanting teenagers stood in the Naval Academy's auditorium, dedicated to one single chant. As a U.S. Navy Midshipman approaches the podium, the chanting disappears and the 500 sit and become attentive.

Frankenstein lives
The Soldotna High School drama department under the direction of Mike Druce will put on a production of the horror thriller "Frankenstein 1930" at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday at the school's auditorium.

Hakkinen to begin World Cup season
In the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, 14 of the 15 medal positions in men's biathlon went to athletes from Germany, Norway, France and Russia.

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