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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The River City supports our troops and lights up for the Holidays
Yellow Ribbons were the theme of this year’s Soldotna Tree lighting celebration, “In addition to our traditional Christmas tree that we light with a star at the top, we have one tree with only yellow lights on it and tonight we added 26 yellow ribbons each with the name of someone from our community who is serving in the military. The community and media has been wonderful in getting the word out and in the last eight days we went from having ten names to 26 names that we are honoring on our Yellow Ribbon Tree. We want everyone serving in the military to know that their home town is behind them and is praying for their safe return,” said Soldotna Mayor David Carey. After distributing all 26 ribbons to volunteers of all sizes, Mayor Carey asked Soldotna Chamber of Commerce intern Nate Gallagher and friends to do the official honors of plugging in the Christmas tree in front of the Central Emergency Services building across from McDonalds. Then the yellow ribbon volunteers, some climbing on shoulders of family or friends tied their ribbons to the Yellow Ribbon Tree.

Emergency Supply Kits ready for Low Income Seniors
Borough Mayor John Williams offered thanks to volunteers and sponsors at a special “Thank You” event last week at the new KPB Emergency Response Center. Through the efforts of the Borough Citizen Corps more than 200 basic emergency supply kits have been assembled for distribution to low income senior citizens, according to Citizen Corps Coordinator, Glenda Landua. Landua who coordinated the local effort says, “The distinction between victim and survivor is that a victim feels he or she is subject to a situation over which they have no control. A survivor on the other hand has regained a sense of control and is able to meet the demands of whatever difficulty confronts them. A victim is passive and dependent on others; a survivor is able to take an active role in efforts to help themselves and their community recover from disaster.”

Outdoors
At the end of my trip to Texas I realized despite being so many miles apart Texas has a few similarities to Alaska mixed in with a bunch of direct opposites. Yes, they are the two biggest states in the United States and while Alaska is the most northern state in the U. S., Texas is one of the most southern states. They both have oil fields including off shore oil producing platforms. Texas generally is known for its hot humid weather while Alaska is known for its cool to arctic weather. It is interesting to note that while we were there a “Blue Norther” came through one night and we just about believed we were back in Alaska. Texas has spiders, snakes, and turtles while Alaska seems to be content just getting along with spiders. Texas has more people in one city then Alaska has in the whole state despite being twice as big as Texas.

Bikers trade helmets for Santa Hats
For motorcycling enthusiasts the only thing as fun as riding their bikes in Alaska is pushing a shopping cart through the toy department at Fred Myers. According to Dennis Bible, district director for the Gold Wing Riders Association (GWRA), the toy shopping spree is in its sixth year, “This is a continuing program. We have four GWRA chapters in Alaska and they are all participating in similar Christmas programs in their area where they help out kids and give back to their local communities,” explained Bible while selecting specific Angel Tree requests with his wife Sue.

Donna’s Country & Victorian GiftsWhere it feels like Christmas all year long
For more than two decades Donna’s Country & Victorian Gifts at the Blazy Mall in Soldotna has been a holiday shopping tradition, a place where the aromas and friendly spirit of the season is truly felt all year long. It all started when Donna Schwanke opened her first gift shop in Sterling next to the Chevron station. A couple of years later in 1984 Donna moved her small shop into the Blazy Mall in Soldotna where she set up at the front counter of the Mall. Since then her unique displays and rooms filled with specialty gift items seem to permeate and beautify the entire lower level of the Mall. “I don’t just come here to shop, I come for the shopping experience,” commented a customer, “My mother use to bring me here when I was a little girl and she would say that it made her feel like she did when she went shopping with her grandmother. You can’t just rush through Donna’s, one pretty item leads to another and then to a whole room filled with beautiful things you want to spend time looking at. I don’t care how long you spend shopping here or how many times you return, you always see something different.”

Community dug in to dinner theater
I would like to thank the community theatergoers for supporting out third Annual Mystery Dinner Theater Fundraiser performed by the Kenai Performers and dinner prepared and served by the Kenai Senior Connection.

Quilts bring smiles to young faces
Each year members of the Kenai Piecemakers quilting group bring beautiful quilts for the children residing in shelter.

Boy who lost belongings shows how to be grateful
I had the honor this year of spending Thanksgiving Day with someone who is very special and a Hero to me. I was reminded that no matter what happens in life there is always something to be grateful for. My heros name is Colton Sterling.

Volunteers make safety a high priority
We would like to thank the many individuals, organizations and businesses who contributed to our Emergency Kit Campaign. The campaign, which began in September as a National Preparedness Month activity, ends this month with the distribution of 230 basic emergency kits to organizations around the peninsula who serve the low-income elderly. The kits contain AM/FM radios, first aid kits, alert whistles, personal hygiene supplies, can openers and other basic items.

Quilts bring smiles to young faces
Each year members of the Kenai Piecemakers quilting group bring beautiful quilts for the children residing in shelter.

Volunteers make safety a high priority
We would like to thank the many individuals, organizations and businesses who contributed to our Emergency Kit Campaign. The campaign, which began in September as a National Preparedness Month activity, ends this month with the distribution of 230 basic emergency kits to organizations around the peninsula who serve the low-income elderly. The kits contain AM/FM radios, first aid kits, alert whistles, personal hygiene supplies, can openers and other basic items.

RAC to form subcommittee
The proposal to create a Kenai Peninsula-focused federal subsistence advisory committee has died, but the Southcentral Alaska Subsistence Regional Advisory Committee voted to give peninsula tribes, communities and fishing groups an alternate means by which they can offer advice on local subsistence.

Disaster declaration frees federal funds
President George Bush signed a disaster declaration Dec. 8 for the Kenai Peninsula Borough and other areas hit by severe flooding in October, releasing much-needed federal funds to state and local recovery efforts.

Finances, flights smooth out for Era
The bumpy flights between Kenai and Anchorage may be over now that Era Aviation is about to emerge from bankruptcy.

Photo Feature: Lights out
The sun sets behind a cloud hanging above Cook Inlet recently. The weather forecast for the central Kenai Peninsula is calling for cloudy skies through the rest of the week.

Cell tower put on hold
Not unlike many municipalities around the country, Soldotna has found itself at the center of a controversy over the siting of a cell phone tower.

Teacher on way to Antarctica
Allan Miller, a teacher from Sterling, has arrived in Punta Arenas, Chile, and has started posting updates on the Oden Expedition to McMurdo Station in Antarctica.

Barrels dumped in Nikiski
Alaska State Troopers and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, not to mention the Salamatof Native Association, are keen on discovering who dumped 11, 55-gallon drums containing who knows what on association property near Escape Route Road in Nikiski.

Hospital looks to update strategy
Central Peninsula General Hospital Board members generally agree their hospital could accomplish more with a plan to improve its strategic plan, or at least the process by which the plan is created and implemented, said Tom Boedeker, the board’s vice president.

Woman tries to shoot trooper
A Soldotna woman was arrested on an attempted murder charge Saturday after she pointed a loaded pistol at an Alaska State Trooper and pulled the trigger several times, according to troopers.

Margaret Hodgson
Homer resident Margaret Hodgson died Sunday, Dec. 10, 2006, at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage. She was 81.

Ida Mahle Sigler
Lifelong Alaskan Ida Mahle Sigler died Thursday, Nov. 30, 2006, at Heritage Place in Soldotna after an extended illness. She was 84.

Margaret Hodgson
Homer resident Margaret Hodgson died Sunday, Dec. 10, 2006, at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage. She was 81.

Around the Peninsula
Immunization clinic postponedPrescription drug benefits to be discussedHoliday tea to be servedCancer fundraiser set to climbPhotos with Santa availableWriters' night needs authors

Around the Peninsula
Coping with holidays to be discussedSoldotna bridge construction to be discussedPrescription drug benefits to be discussedSpaghetti dinner set to dishHoliday concert set to entertainNikiski dance set to swingFundraisers for cancer victim beginTurkey shoot takes aim

Fowler makes All Star Rodeo Team
Jacob Fowler of Soldotna was chosen to the Wrangler High School All Star Rodeo Team recently. It is the second year Fowler has made the team.

Area athletes boost UAA cross country
Seven area athletes helped the University of Alaska Anchorage cross country team to a successful season in 2006.

Nikiski girls edge Cook Inlet
The Nikiski girls outscored visiting Cook Inlet Academy 15-7 in the fourth quarter en route to a 52-38 victory on Tuesday night.

Skyview senior was cut from 8th grade hoops team
Don’t get Skyview volleyball coach Sheila Kupferschmid wrong. She’s not about to complain about ready-made players.

Keener plays hoops for George Fox
Lindsay Keener, a 2006 graduate of Kenai Central High School, is a freshman point guard on the George Fox University women’s basketball team. George Fox plays in the Northwest Conference in NCAA Division III and is located in Newberg, Ore.

Photo Feature: Learning from the inside out
From left, Tyler Frates, Nico Castro and Kyle Foree enjoy some hands-on learning during a fish dissection with Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist Patti Berkhahn at Mountain View Elementary School in Kenai last week.

Unique view of launch offered at Challenger Center
Mission Control was filled with cheers Saturday as the space shuttle Discovery rocketed into orbit.

Photo Feature: Skull session
Mountain View Elementary fourth-graders Amanda Anglebrandt, left, and Hannah Nusbaum examine a bear skull during an Alaska animals presentation by Kenai National Wildlife Refuge staff.

11 shopping days left: What’s in your wallet, and what’s in your heart?
Christmas is quickly approaching and with only 11 shopping days left, many shoppers are desperately swiping credit cards and emptying out already light wallets for last minute gifts.

UAA Chancellor’s competition nets research grant
It has become known on campus that Cathryn Pearce, associate professor of history, has a passion for researching maritime history. Specifically, Pearce has focused her research efforts on the “enduring myth of Cornish wrecking.” Earlier this semester, Pearce gave a public lecture on the subject as part of the KPC Showcase Series.

Diabetes prevention class moves upstream
Thanks to students in the Soldotna High School wood shop, participants in a diabetes prevention program at the Dena’ina Health Clinic in Kenai aren’t being left up the river without a paddle.

Around the District
Christmas breakReynolds fundraisers beginSchool district looks for input on budgetCalifornia class collecting letters for soldiersAntarctic expedition updates onlineWomen’s award offeredArt contest beginsAurora Borealis CharterConnectionsCook Inlet AcademyGrace Lutheran SchoolKaleidoscope School of Arts and ScienceKalifornsky Beach ElementaryKenai CentralKenai MiddleKenaitze Cuya Qyut’anen Head StartMountain View ElementaryNikiski Middle-High SchoolNikiski North Star ElementaryNinilchik SchoolRedoubt ElementarySears ElementarySkyview HighSoldotna HighSoldotna MiddleTebughna SchoolTustumena ElementaryWings Christian Academy

Photo Feature: Service with a smile
Melissa Friemering has been a very important part of the successful Intensive Java Joint at Soldotna Middle School.

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