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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Outdoors
How many times have you ever heard someone say, "I never saw that before or that is unique!"? You could drive around Soldotna and Kenai and count a hundred moose easily in less than a weeks' time and think nothing of it. But throw in one white one and people would drive for miles just to see it and take pictures of it. The white one has four legs, two ears, two eyes, and a big nose just like all the others but just because it is a different color it becomes unique in the eyes of the viewer.

Have yourself a local shopping Christmas
According to unofficial reports more shoppers on the Peninsula seem to be buying locally and shopping more vigorously this year. The annual Kenai Arts & Craft fair reported 30 year record crowds and sales from their vendors and many local merchants are reporting sales either equal to or 10% greater than last year. "We sold out of our Aqua Globes the first few days we put them on sale and quickly re-ordered, but they're going fast again," said Paul Miller of Soldotna Trustworthy Hardware. "It's a good season for our chocolates, boots and warm slippers, that's our most popular item this time of year and they're going well with the big shopping days for us still ahead," said Mike Sweeney of the Working Man's Store. Steve Beeson of Beemun's agrees that business is good this year. The Peninsula Center Mall has the Peninsula's largest indoor snowman on display surrounded by local vendor booths offering Alaska made gift items through the holiday season.

Power filled plays make spirits bright
Once again this weekend those wishing to experience some holiday cheer through live theatre will have a couple of options thanks to thespians of the Triumvirate Theatre. In Kenai the Funky Monkey is offering dinner theatre with Joe Rizzo's production of Charles Dickens classic "A Christmas Carol," and at the Triumvirate Theatre in Soldotna the super comedy of heroic proportions "Insane with Power," will have shows Friday and Saturday night starting at 7:00pm. "The play by Scott Haan is set in a mental institution where all the patients believe they have super powers which range from believing they can turn on and off the lights by clapping their hands, to being able to read other peoples minds and having super speed and control over the weather," said Insane with Power director Angie Nelson who also directed "You know the old Slaying" mystery comedy earlier this year.

Miss Becky's CIA carolers tour Soldotna
For more years than she likes to remember Becky Dwinnell, fondly known to her students at Cook Inlet Academy (CIA) as Miss Becky has brightened the Central Peninsula with the joyous sounds of children caroling songs of the season, "It's awesome, the kids love it and this year more than ever the people of the community seem to be really enjoying the children singing. The kids really like singing for the elderly, those who are hospitalized, or maybe just shut-in or frail, and you can see them brighten and get happier with each song. This community supports us throughout the year and this is our chance to give back a little and say thank you with our smiles," said Miss Becky.

Lytle creates underwater Polar bear encounter
So there you are in your scuba gear during an underwater arctic dive and suddenly a polar bear joins you from his ice shelf above. That's the image captured by Kasilof artist Pat Lytle in an original multi-layered acrylic piece she calls "Ice Bear." "The depth of ice and how it reflects color has always fascinated me, not only can you see the surface face of ice but you can see through the many layers and I had always wanted to create something that had that the same visual depth, so I came up with the idea of painting on multiple layers of clear acrylic panels," Lytle told the Dispatch.

What's cooking?

Meatball Soup (or in German, Kloppssuppe)

2008 holiday cookies: Bake with good luck and good cheer with some of the best of the best
A big thanks to the cookie bakers who entered the Blufton (S.C.) Today Holiday Cookie Contest, our third. It was difficult to select a handful of winners and finalists from the treasure trove of 50 outstanding cookie entries received, but, oh, what a gift they are.

2008 Cookie Contest Finalists

Simonelli's

Bus drivers deserve fair compensation
The Kenai Peninsula Borough has highly trained professional school bus drivers and attendants. Parents should know that their kids' school bus driver's driving record is blemish free, they have no criminal record. They posses a CDL B and school bus endorsement, current CPR/first aid.

Readers ask that park location be reconsidered
Is is possible for the Soldotna City Council to reconsider putting the playground in Soldotna Creek Park?

Obama deserves our support
A writer in your Dec. 10 issue states: "I find it a little obscene that with the tough economic times the nation faces that President-Elect Obama has the gall to spend $30,000 on a ring for his wife and that he is enrolling his children in the most expensive private school in Washington, D.C."

Reader asks about mine
Nobody over on this side of Cook Inlet wants a coal mine in their backyard. It would forever change the scenery and lifestyle we enjoy so here.

Ladd Landing lease should be reconsidered
I'm a commercial fisherman in the Northern District of Cook Inlet. Many local setnetters make a living off the incredible salmon resources near the proposed Chuitna coal strip mine on the west side of Cook Inlet.

Spending good for the economy
This is in response to a reader's displeasure with Obama's spending (Clarion, Dec. 10). An individual's income is relative, and the fact he is stimulating the economy is a good thing.

Kenai receives good news: Proposed state budget includes $8 million for city
The governor's proposed state budget for next year has some good news for Kenai -- $8 million worth of good news, in fact.

One for the road?: Impaired drivers a danger on peninsula's highways
Editor's Note: This is the first in a three-part series looking at the issue of impaired driving on the Kenai Peninsula.

Fire, smoke damages Clam Gulch house
A fire swept through a vacant seasonal home Saturday afternoon in Clam Gulch.

Accident sends 3 to hospital
A three-car accident shut down the Sterling Highway east of Soldotna for 40 minutes Monday afternoon.

Beetle battle over?
Mayor Dave Carey announced this week that he is prepared to all but end the borough's participation in the decade-old Spruce Bark Beetle Mitigation Program and its effort to rid strategic areas of dead spruce.

Suit filed over discharge permit: Trustees for Alaska says EPA manipulated, falsified Cook Inlet data
The Environmental Protection Agency repeatedly manipulated and sometimes falsified discharge data to justify its June 2007 decision to increase the amount of toxic pollution 19 aging oil and gas facilities could legally dump into Cook Inlet, alleges a suit filed in federal court Monday.

KRSMA curious about HEA plans
The Homer Electric Association made a presentation to a curious Kenai River Special Management Area Advisory Board on Thursday.

Green light: Soldotna to pursue land deal
Soldotna City Council members emerged from an uncharacteristically brief executive session last week, giving the city manager the green light to negotiate the purchase of land to accommodate an expansion of the city's public library.

Photo feature: Glowing
The setting sun reflects in windows at Vintage Pointe Manor senior housing above the Kenai River flats last weekend. Next week the short days of winter start getting longer after the winter solstice passes Sunday.

Karol N. Lampman
Longtime Soldotna resident Karol N. Lampman died Sunday, Dec. 14, 2008, at Heritage Place in Soldotna with her family by her side. She was 80.

Around the Peninsula
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Car seat checkup slated

Around the Peninsula

Caregivers to meet

Nikiski girls defeat Cook Inlet Academy
Nikiski on Saturday proved it can come from behind to win.

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