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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tannenbaum cutting on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge
On November 30th, the popular opportunity for area residents to harvest their own Christmas Tree returned to the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. According to KNWR Ranger Rick Johnston, there are stipulations on the tree cutting program. Trees are free for personal use with a limit of one per household.

Shopping locally is a community Holiday tradition
Whether the holiday is Thanksgiving, Quanza, Chanukah, or Christmas, all holidays are filled with extra warmth and appreciation when a gift, card, or grocery item when it is purchased from a business in your local community. These are the businesses that employ folks you know, trust, and build fellowship with throughout the year. The owners of local businesses are the people who have invested in, created jobs for and are here to serve our community and make it the great place it is to live. They are the ones who are able to contribute to scholarship programs for our kids, sponsor sporting, cultural, and charitable events and they do it because this is where they do business and earn their livings. Nobody does customer service better than your locally owned business. Shipping and handling fees have already been paid and you save a long drive over hazardous winter roads.

Santa and Mrs. Santa Claus light the Soldotna Tree at CES
While the sub zero temperatures that pushed the mercury to its lowest point in the season did cause the cancellation of the hayrides scheduled for the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce' annual holiday celebration held Dec. 1st, it didn't deter families from turning out by the hundreds for the big event. To the delight of children young and old, Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived with sirens blaring and lights flashing from atop the Central Emergency Services (CES) big ladder truck and quickly went to their first order of business, officially lighting the living Christmas tree in front of the Soldotna station. Then as quick as wink, the Jolly Ol' Elf was inside the station where the air was filled with the aroma of hot cocoa and cookies. But Santa didn't even pause to take a taste of the free treats, and instead he went straight to his work of hearing the children's wishes. First in line was 6-year-old Brayden Hansen who was quickly joined by his younger brother and sisters. All children who sat on Santa's lap went home with a pre-holiday gift bag provided compliments of the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce and local sponsors.

Kenai Watershed Forum gets help for new summer camp
Planning for summer while enduring these long, cold Alaskan nights may be very beneficial, especially if you're looking for a very fun, practical and educational gift for your child or grandchild this year. Recently the Kenai Watershed Forum (KWF) announced plans for a new fun and inspirational summer day camp that will be led by KWF's educational director Dan Pascucci. "We are so excited that KWF is launching a summer day camp for children in 2011.

Mocha Pecan Cookies
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

Bleu Cheese and Dried Cranberry Cocktail Cookies
"My weakness in life is cheese, and I love wine and think a cookie can be interpreted as a savory treat just as easily as a dessert! Each is all about mixing the sweet with the savory.

Bake the Season Merry with Winning Cookies from Baking Champs
It's a sweet time when baking enthusiasts gather to celebrate the win of championship cookie bakers. On Saturday, Bluffton's Harry & David store was the venue for awards presented to first place winners and finalists of the 2010 Bluffton Today Holiday Cookie Contest. Courtesy Harry & David, first place winners in the three cookie categories of shaped, molded rolled, refrigerator and no-bake cookies, bar cookies and drop cookies, received a gourmet food basket and finalists, a congratulatory ribbon and cookie cutter. Although this year's event competed with the Bluffton Christmas Parade, first place bar cookie winner, Valerie Best, was able to attend, with husband, Jason, and children, Collin (7), Laura Grace (5) and Jonathan ( 3) cheering Best's win for "Sugar N' Spice Pumpkin Praline Bars" and "Coastal Christmas Cookies," a drop cookie runner-up. Contest winner, Charlotte Ward, was there, too, garnering the runner-up bar cookie spot for "Christmas Jewel Cookies." With Charlotte's husband, Lew, looking on, Charlotte was also recognized for years of cookie wins, one for every year since the competition began in 2006. Other cookie bakers are on top again, too, with first place drop cookie winner Cris Richardson's "Orange-Walnut Delights" backing up her 2007 first place win in the bar cookie category, as well as wins in 2008, for a first place drop cookie and a second place shaped cookie. Tracey Nadeau wins as runner-up for the second year in a row in the shaped category with "Bleu Cheese and Dried Cranberry Cocktail Cookies," the competition's first and only savory cookie entry. Lois Willig and Caroline Kennedy are also multiple winners. Finishing as finalist in the bar cookie category in 2008, Kennedy scored once more as finalist in this year's competition with shaped "Mocha Pecan Balls." Lois Willig, a first place winner in 2006 for a bar cookie and again, in 2007, for a drop cookie, placed this year as finalist in the bar cookie category for "Candy Bar Bar Cookies."

Teater Tots (no bake sweet tea vodka cookies)
"My inspiration for this recipe was an old rum ball recipe that I have had for many years. I make cookies for our neighbors and friends for the holidays so I decided to come up with a more modern, low country cookie that is also very easy to make."

Sale pending on Kenai trailer park
A Kenai mobile home park could be reincarnated as a low-income, modular housing subdivision with its currently pending sale to an Alaska Native corporation.

Needed: Alaska health care workers
To keep up with the ever-expanding needs of Alaska's quickly growing senior population, Alaska will need to find ways to train and retain more local health care personnel, contended speakers at an Anchorage Chamber of Commerce luncheon Nov. 29.

Collision closes Bridge Access
A rear-end collision temporarily closed traffic on Beach Access Road Tuesday morning. Kenai police said the collision occurred about 8:30 a.m. when a Toyota pick up driven by Soshanna Leavey, 24, was stopped to make a left turn. The pickup was struck from behind by a Honda Pilot, driven by Derek Hanson, 42. Police closed the road until both vehicles could be towed away, and the road opened shortly after 9 a.m. The collision caused minor injuries. No citations were issued Tuesday morning, and the crash remained under investigation.

Church work hits unexpected obstacles
The Holy Assumption of the Virgin Mary Russian Orthodox Church is in full throes of reconstruction.

Sterling woman is not a crook: Case of mistaken identity resolved with authorities
Kathleen Haley wants everyone to know that she's not a suspect in an illegal drug ring anymore.

Photo feature: Afternoon hike
Steve Battershall mushes his dogs Sugarpie, Sara, Molly and Harley across the Sterling Highway bridge Saturday during an afternoon outing. He said he's been mushing the dogs through Sterling for years.

Around the Peninsula

Christmas bird count coming

Around the Peninsula

Open house, bazaar, bake sale on tap

Daisy Mae, supervisor
Attached is a picture of 14-year-old Daisy Mae, who belongs to Linda and Daryl Vitzthum, Nikiski. Daisy is Linda's supervisor . . . she makes sure Linda's working and not goofing around!

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