Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bethlehem Revisited returns to College Heights Baptist Church
Last year for the first time in Alaska the ancient city of Bethlehem came to life at the College Heights Baptist Church on K-Beach Rd during a three day program called Bethlehem Revisited. It was the inspiration of Becky Moore who had experienced a similar pageant in Texas and was led to create one for Alaska. Moore estimated that about 5,000 people attended the event last year which far exceeded her expectations, "I was praying for around a thousand so God did amazing things," she said. "We didn't want the experience to be like an outdoor theatre performance, but more like actually stepping back in time 2,000 years and walking the streets of Bethlehem, shopping for food, buying wares, seeking shelter and perhaps even running into Joesph and Mary," explained Moore.

Local Rotary Clubs ring in the season with service
It's that time of year when you might see your local banker, doctor, lawyer, boss, or insurance salesman standing by a Salvation Army Kettle ringing bells or singing carols. For the last several decades members of local Rotary Clubs have participated in a friendly competition to see which club can raise the most money during the holiday season to support the services of the Salvation Army. To foster the rivalry Craig Fanning, Salvation Army envoy created a traveling "Bell Ringing" trophy upon which he engraves the winning clubs name annually, "Through the years the Soldotna Club has dominated, but Kenai took it away a few years ago and they are determined this year to raise at least one dollar more than Soldotna, but don't count out the Kenai River Soldotna Club, they are the newest club, but continue the faithful tradition of helping us out by volunteering to stand at our Kettles," said Fanning.

Keeping the lights burning on the Kenai
Every year between the end of November and the end of December, Jewish people around the world celebrate the holiday of Chanukah, the Festival of Lights. Chanukah begins on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev, but the starting date on the western calendar varies from year to year. The holiday celebrates the events which took place over 2,300 years ago in the land of Judea, which is now Israel.

Designer trees raise funds for Non-profits at KVCC Auction
Once again the elegance and professionalism of the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center (KVCC) was underscored this season by a display of holiday wonder achieved by a variety of community volunteers. An event started last year by KCVB executive director Natasha Ala to spread the holiday spirit, beauty, and benefit local service organizations. "There were 23 nonprofit organizations who participated in the 2010 Christmas Tree auction - now in its second year," said Ala. "What is great about this event is that it is an opportunity for folks to get creative and develop an idea, or a design, that they use for the theme of their trees. Some organizations relate the theme of their tree directly to the mission of their organization, such as the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) tree which was loaded with over $800 of decorations and gifts all relating to the theme of disaster preparedness, while the Kenai Watershed Forum tree was all along the theme of Teddy Bears. Folks were able to make silent auction bids on their favorite trees or buy a ticket and enter to win one of the trees that were available through the ticket raffle," she said.

Photo feature: Kenai Peninsula Food Bank receives donation
The Walmart Foundation and the Alaska Advisory Council recently awarded the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank $25,000 through the State Giving Program. Funds will be used to enhance daily Food Bank operations in the warehouse and Fireweed Diner. The Kenai store daily donates salvageable food items to the Food Bank which acts as a clearinghouse for 67 member agencies located throughout the Peninsula and distributes donated items through the Emergency Food Program and Fireweed Diner.

A few of my favorite things: A Swirling Bundt, a Pink Pie Dish and an Everlasting Pan

Looking for a Gift

Help for future builders
The Career and Technical Department of the Kenai Peninsula School District would like to say thank you to Adam White at United Rentals for donating one of the company's forklifts to our construction academy project.

Book sale contributed much
I'd like to thank Triumvirate Theatre for allowing our nonprofit organization full use of their facilities and profits from the sales of books on Dec. 11. Ferdinand Center for the Creative raised over $500 that day, which will go towards building an education center in the Philippines for young adults who can't afford art school, and for the education and feeding of children living on the streets. To Joe Rizzo, Chris and Carla Jenness, thank you so much!

'You are not forgotten'
All of us are so very busy preparing for this coming Thursday afternoon and the beginning of Christmas break! No school, Chrismas shopping, preparing to travel and be with our families for Christmas.

Gas storage facility safety debated: Board hears request to add condition to permit
The Kenai Board of Adjustment is considering Vincent Goddard's appeal of the City of Kenai's conditional use permits for a proposed natural gas storage facility off Bridge Access Road.

Online safety added to curriculum: District schools to try out i-SAFE program
This spring some students in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District will get the opportunity to pilot a program on Internet safety education.

In the spirit of giving: Christmas drive makes holiday special for area families
For some students in the Kenai area, Santa is Pat Vinison, the owner of the Albatross Restaurant and Lounge.

Photo: Ripples

George Edward Sarchet
Former Peninsula resident George Edward Sarchet died Dec. 13, 2010, of congestive heart failure at Heritage Place, in Queen Creek, Ariz. He was 82.

Nelda Ruth Garrett
Soldotna resident, Nelda Ruth Garrett, 61, died Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010, due to natural causes at Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna.

Bertie Lee Schneider
Kenai resident Bertie Lee (Williams) Schneider passed away peacefully Dec. 9, 2010, in Soldotna. She was 81.

Charlotte Marx
Former Soldotna resident Charlotte (Char) Marx died Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010, in Redding, Calif., with her family by her side, after a courageous battle with lung cancer. She was 62.

Helen M. Wiltsie
Sterling resident Helen M. "Bunny" Wiltsie died Friday, Dec. 10, 2010, at her home near Sterling. She was 66.

Alaskans deserve fair share of oil revenue
Alaskans deserve a fair share for the oil produced in this state. Alaska's Constitution says all Alaskans own our oil in common, and it should be developed for our "maximum benefit." We also need to encourage production, and jobs. That's something the Army Corps of Engineers didn't help with when it blocked needed oil development in the National Petroleum Reserve this year. The truth is that achieving both goals is complex, and if we want strong production and a fair share of oil profits so we can fund our schools, roads, public safety and savings, we need to put aside the sound bites of campaign season.

Around the Peninsula

Fish and Game advisory board meets

Around the Peninsula

Nikiski pool, waterslide vacation hours

Pet Photo: Friends forever

Kards skate past Stars
Jacob Iverson scored midway through the second period to lead the Kenai Central hockey team past Soldotna 1-0 at the Soldotna Sports Center on Tuesday.

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