Tuesday, December 14, 2004

New Postmaster for Kenai..
For the last 15 years Laurel Pickering has served everyone's postal needs at the Kenai Post Office, and now she is the new Post Master and looking forward to serving in her new position. "I've worked hard to achieve this position and I'm very excited about having this new job," said Pickering. Laurel received a warm welcome Wednesday at the weekly Kenai Chamber of Commerce luncheon that included several floral arrangements. Pickering takes the helm in the middle of the busiest time of the year for the Postal Service, but didn't seem a bit worried, "We sent out an excellent mailing on tips for the holiday season that included how to prepare your packages and what kind of tapes are best and additionally we have a wonderful on line system called Click-N-Ship, where you can down load and print your own postage and just drop your package off without standing in line to get it metered, and even request a package pickup on line," said Pickering

Local nurseryman & builder cuts gems from around the world...
Dan and Ron Sexton moved to the Kenai Peninsula with their families over 30 years ago. They left the fast lane of a thriving custom built camper business in Southern California for the more tranquil Alaskan lifestyle. Master carpenters, the Sextons went to work as contractors shortly after settling in the local area. They constructed many custom built homes and commercial buildings in the local area, one of which was the former Gottschalks or Lamonts store building in Soldotna. After their success as contractors, the Sexton brothers became interested in building and operating greenhouses and eventually founded Trinity Greenhouse on K-Beach Rd, where they quickly earned a reputation for offering the highest quality flowers, plants and shrubbery.

CIA Carolers spread Holiday cheer
For the last fourteen years, Beck Dwinnell, fondly known as Miss Becky at Cook Inlet Academy (CIA), has spread the spirit of Christmas in the local area with her group of pre-school through 3rd grade students. "This is always an exciting time of the year for our kids, they love telling others about Christmas and singing for them," said Miss Becky as she prepared the 50 some carolers to spread some holiday joy through the halls at Central Peninsula General Hospital (CPGH). The young voices start preparing for their well coordinated tour about a month in advance, "It takes a lot of help from the parents, but they look forward to it as well and really enjoy the smiles it brings to those who hear the children sing," said Dwinnell.

Local songwriters take APRN awards...
For the last ten years the Alaska Public Radio Network (APRN) has been giving special recognition to Alaskan song writers by sponsoring the annual Song of the Year awards. This year two winners of the statewide competition are both from Kasilof. Shannon Darling was the awarded the best over all song of the year in the country category, and Kelsey Shield's entry was given the under 18 years of age song of the year award. Darling says she has been writing music since she was 13, but had never entered her work in a competition before, "I've been playing in Alaska for about 20 years with Vickie Tinker and Bonnie Nichols mostly and have led music in my church for some 13 years, but this actually was the first recording I've ever done. I was inspired to write the song a little over a year ago when my son left Alaska to head to Austin, Texas to turn the music world up side down with his band," said Darling. The lyric of the song is about a mother encouraging her son while her own heart is being pierced.

Study: Video games better than tranquilizers at keeping children calm before surgery
TRENTON, N.J. -- Letting children play video games on a Game Boy in the operating room before undergoing surgery can help relax them better than tranquilizers or holding Mommy's hand, researchers say.

Yellow LIVESTRONG bracelets just the beginning
CHICAGO -- Jennifer Longley wears her yellow bracelet in honor of her many relatives who have had cancer, including a grandfather who lost his tongue and voice box and an aunt who died of ovarian cancer.

UA administration spending bringing system to its knees
What is happening at Kenai Peninsula College is an example of what is wrong with the entire University of Alaska system -- ever expanding administration at the expense of services to students.

Community support for Guard enables soldiers to serve
Strong National Guard units are a reflection of our communities. In Alaska, we recently sent 130 members of one unit off to training and eventually to Iraq. I would like to personally thank the families and employers who have made this transition possible3 SFC Schwenke -- Peninsula Job Center; SFC Zimmerman -- Kenai Peninsula School District/Nikiski High School; SSG Fite -- Era Aviation; SGT Felchle -- Kenai Peninsula School District/Kenai Middle School; SGT McGrane -- High Speed Gear; SPC Lay -- Rent-A-Center; PFC Shangin -- Kenaitze Indian Tribe; SSG Brendible -- Active Guard; SPC White -- Active Guard.

Light parade was right not to include religious images
In response to the article of Dec. 1 entitled, "Light parade left religion out of Christmas season," I want to say that I was glad to see that there was no reference to the "religious" aspect of what is known as "Christmas." As it is a man-made holiday and not truly one that Jesus the Christ, himself, would participate. I feel that it was appropriate. For the first time I could enjoy the Parade of Lights for what it truly represents: a gathering of friends and strangers to help break up the soon-to-be "monotony of darkness."

Porter's work appreciated by Clarion readers outside
Although we have never met, I would like to let you know that from the great state of Texas, I read the online edition of your newspaper every day. I would be lost without reading it! What an outstanding job I am sure you have done for your paper and your community.

DA's office uses grand jury tactic to charge innocent people
Your writer apparently did not see the disingenuous nature of June Stein's response to the issues of the "rest of the story" being told to the grand jurors.

Soldotna Elementary's food drive a hearty success
This November, Soldotna Elementary made something wonderful happen. They held a food drive. It was a huge success, brining in more food than they had ever hoped for. Classes competed against one another in weekly contests. Prizes were awarded. Everyone got involved and showed their enthusiasm, but more importantly, their willingness to give. I would like to thank the PTA for sponsoring this worthy event, the teachers and staff for getting the students excited and involved and the students and their families for being so very generous this holiday season.

Albertson was a true friend; she'll be missed
I lost a friend Nov. 23 and her name is Wendy Albertson. In a way I didn't know her well and in other ways I knew her real well. I knew her character and it contained integrity, and that's all I needed to know. I knew I could trust her, and she knew she could trust me.

Problems with retirement systems due to many causes
It's not uncommon to hear private sector grumbling about the benefits and retirement packages for public employees. Fiscal problems in their retirement system (PERS/TERS) are becoming a major state issue. It's not fair for the private sector to consider public pay rates separately from their retirement benefits as though public employees deserve one but not the other. Retirement account contributions are no less a part of one's salary then the monthly take home pay. Our problem now is that the promises to pay retirees a certain amount and cover health care are rooted in three assumptions that have lost some validity —life expectancy, medical costs and rate of return on retirement fund investments.

Hi, neighbors. Last week, Sterling Elementary School had its holiday program, and I am told it was fabulous. Mick Audette organized a wonderful program with the fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders. Thanks to the people whose invaluable assistance helped make the program possible — Billi Ingles, Mary Daigle, Beth Braxling and Debbie Clonan.

Colder temperatures and more snow make it seem a lot more like Christmastime. Hopefully, the Christmas spirit is aglow in your heart and home this week.

Happy holidays, neighbors. There's something magical about this time of the year. It seems like there's an undercurrent of excitement in the stores, of expectation and anticipation. In each of the shoppers there is that quest for the perfect gift, and what adds the excitement to it all is that we're also shopping for the element of surprise. While shopping is tedious to some, it's a delight to others, who revel in the hunt for that special item that will bring emotion to the receiver of the gift. Believe me, it would bring delight to this shopper if I could figure out what to get anybody, surprise or not. Maybe I don't start early enough.

Seasons greetings. I will be taking a holiday break from my column until Jan. 11. Community members who have information to put in the column may e-mail it to Nan Misner at the Clarion at nancianna.misner@peninsulaclarion.com, fax it to her at 283-3299 or drop it off at the Clarion at 150 Trading Bay Road in Kenai. The deadline to get your information in by is 5 p.m. Thursday. Call Nan if you have any questions. In the meantime, I'll be relaxing — I hope.

Cooper Landing
Everyone is invited to attend the Christmas potluck Saturday night beginning at 6 at the community hall. This is a family night sponsored by the Cooper Landing activity divas.

Hi, neighbors. If your house is like our house, it's full of activity and endeavors at keeping secrets. Yes, we're in the mode of doing those traditional special things in preparation for the special birthday that is celebrated world wide.

Good morning. Something to put you in a festive mood: "Christmas is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas." — Dale Evans Rogers

Easy pickin's
A raven samples trash from the back of a pickup truck in Kenai last weekend. Winter brings higher numbers of the birds to town, where food is easier to find.

Flu season just getting under way
Flu season has only barely begun in Alaska and health care experts still recommend getting immunized to ward off the bug -- an option that became available to many more Alaskans this week.

Sinclair named area Parks head
Jack Sinclair has been named the new Kenai-Prince William Sound area park superintendent for the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation. Sinclair will oversee all of the park operations within the state's largest park management area, encompassing more than 60 park units ranging from the Valdez-Thompson Pass area, across Prince William Sound and throughout the Kenai Peninsula.

Reading program bound for change
The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District has a higher student enrollment projection for next year, and that means more decisions on what to do with the increase in funds. The board has been discussing a number of options as to the placement of those dollars resulting from the added students.

Winter storm dumps on southern peninsula
As much as fall looked like spring on the lower Kenai Peninsula last week, it looked like the dead of winter when folks in Homer arose Monday morning to find six to eight inches of snow in their driveways and huge flakes accumulating at a rate of a couple of inches an hour or faster.

Residents find outlets for holiday overload
Up to your tonsils in tinsel? About to go batty over hanging bulbs? You're not alone.

CPGH elects board members, new VP
The Central Peninsula General Hospital Inc. Board of Directors on Thursday elected three board members and a new vice president. Rick Ross, who already is a board member, will take over the vice president position for the remaining one year of Steven Hoogland's term.

Greg D. Corner
Longtime Kasilof resident Greg D. Corner died Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2004, at his home. He was 55.

Herrick Alfred 'Al' Poore
Longtime Alaska resident and homesteader Herrick Alfred "Al" Poore died Friday, Dec. 10, 2004, at home attended by his family. He had lived for 16 years with Huntington's chorea which finally contributed to his death.

Ridge's Homeland work worth praising
... (Tom) Ridge resigned as director of Homeland Security, and probably is sleeping well at night for the first in a long time. ...

Law should hit back against 'basketbrawlers'
Michigan law is now taking a punch at the celebrated basketbrawlers whose fights in the stands and on the court did so much last month in Detroit to tarnish the image of the National Basketball Association.

Japan must move to protect itself
In the aftermath of World War II, most Americans probably slept a little easier knowing that Japan had adopted a pacifist constitution. Much has changed in the past 60 years, however.

Community News
Holiday decorating contest deadline todayHoliday sports camp setSoldotna Elks table tennis results

Around the Peninsula
CPHC seeking new membersInternet health workshop plannedFish and Game to meetHelp for commercial fishers availableLifeguard training offeredCommunity dance plannedFamily New Year's Eve party set

Community Schools
The following is a list of Homer and Soldotna Community Schools classes and activities beginning this week. It is printed as a reminder to preregistered participants. For more information, call 262-6768 for Soldotna or (907) 235-6090 for Homer.

Peninsula People
Howarth receives academic award

Renee Ayer and Micheal GagnonJennifer and Steven ChamberlainElaine and David Inman Jr.Catherine Plankel and Scott ByerlyRoxanna Porter and Martin PettingaleAna and Brad Thornton

Around the Peninsula
Caregiver training set 'Toy and Joy' application deadline Friday Senior citizens to host Santa Library sets holiday schedule Boys and Girls Club to host Santa Senior service board meeting set

Dog found in Denton 1,600 miles from Washington home
FLOWER MOUND, Texas (AP) -- Snowbirds from the north are a common sight in Texas, but Carla is a different breed altogether.

Senior Menus
Home Senior Menus for the following: Homer Kenai Nikiski Seward Soldotna Sterling

Senior Briefs
Senior Briefs for the following areas: Homer senior, Friendship centers Kenai Nikiski Seward Soldotna Sterling

Chill Miller ices second Cup GS
VAL D'ISERE, France -- Bode Miller put his go-for-broke style temporarily in check Sunday and won a World Cup giant slalom for the second time this season.

Photo feature: On the run
Bryan Worner makes a snowboard run down the bluff in Kenai last weekend. Increasing snowfall is improving conditions for winter recreation.

Skyview's Wehrli ready to fly
Sometime down the road, Tyler Wehrli is hoping his career will take flight. But for now, the Skyview High School senior, who hopes to eventually become a pilot, has his feet firmly on the ground as he chases another goal — that of Alaska state wrestling champion.

NHL owners prepare counteroffer
NEW YORK — The NHL reportedly will reject the latest proposal from the players' union that was meant to end the lockout and salvage the season.

Chief beat Titans in wild one in Music City
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — It wasn't quite as dramatic or significant as the Music City Miracle. The Kansas City Chiefs will take it just the same.

Iverson's season high leads Philly
PHILADELPHIA -- Allen Iverson scored a season-high 40 points and Marc Jackson had 20 of his season-high 28 points in the fourth quarter, leading the Philadelphia 76ers to a 107-101 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday.

Peninsula Sports Briefs
Kardinal skaters undefeated in ValleyMustang girls race past KenaiWolverines bumped from state tournament

Stanford no treat for San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO -- Freshman Candice Wiggins scored 22 points and also had four steals, two assists and a blocked shot, and Stanford remained unbeaten.

Miller wins slalom in Italy
SESTRIERE, Italy — World Cup leader Bode Miller won a slalom Monday to join Marc Girardelli as the only men to win races in all four disciplines in a season.

Shaq nets 40 in win over Wizards
MIAMI — Shaquille O'Neal scored a season-high 40 points, and the Miami Heat overcame the loss of leading scorer Dwyane Wade to beat the Washington Wizards 106-83 Monday night for their fifth straight win.

Pedro picks Mets over Red Sox, Lee dealt to Brewers
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Pedro Martinez picked the New York Mets over the Boston Red Sox, and the Chicago White Sox dealt Carlos Lee to Milwaukee for Scott Podsednik and a reliever on Monday as baseball's annual winter meetings finished with many top stars still searching for teams.

After nailing Target, Woods aims for future
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Tiger Woods won his final tournament of a difficult year.

A losing team could make the playoffs
In 1982, the NFL season was shortened to nine games by a strike, and the playoffs were expanded to 16 teams, including a pair that went 4-5.

Ex-Irish coach heads to Washington; Notre Dame, Stanford also make moves
SEATTLE -- Tyrone Willingham has agreed to become Washington's third head coach in four seasons, just two weeks after being fired from Notre Dame.

Manning, Colts buck Texans
HOUSTON -- Peyton Manning broke one of Dan Marino's touchdown records, just not the one everybody has been talking about, as Indianapolis clinched its second straight AFC South title with a 23-14 win over the Texans on Sunday.

Duke's Coach K joins 700 club
DURHAM, N.C. -- Mike Krzyzewski celebrated his latest milestone in style, sitting on the bench while being serenaded with chants of "700!" by the Cameron Crazies he helped create.

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