Thursday, December 23, 2010

North Pole: From homestead to Christmas wonderland
NORTH POLE -- Every kid knows that Santa, his eight tiny reindeer, and a whole cadre of elves live in the North Pole.

Business Briefs

Chambers take holiday break

Preserve your body and the environment discover ionized water
One molecule of oxygen and two of hydrogen and you have the mystical component of all life as we know it: Water. But all water doesn't seem to be created equal and some is even wetter than others according to Jeff Mastre who recently came to Alaska to start a Mennonite church and distribute an alkaline water ionizer known as Kangen Water. "It seems I've had Alaska in my heart ever since I could read the word. Growing up I'd grab and read about everything I could about the outdoor life of Alaska and its glaciers. I love to fish so Soldotna was a natural landing place for us," said Mastre in an interview with the Dispatch.

New place for fun and games "ICONS 907" opens in Kenai
With kids home from college for the holidays and local schools on winter break, there is the likelihood that parents may here that familiar complaint, "There's nothing to do around here!" is now mute thanks to the opening of a new establishment called "Icons 907." The business is the inspiration of Art and Kristina Goolsby, owners of Midway Auto located on the Spur Highway. The new business, Icons 907, is located next to Malston's across from the Kenai Visitors & Cultural Center in Kenai and is dedicated to, and for, Alaskans. The walls of the newly remodeled nearly 5,000 sq. ft. facility are lined with many photos and bios of Alaskan Icons like Jay Hammond and Ted Stevens that are linked to the state's area code for all of Alaska, hence the "907" portion of the business' name. "We saw the need in our community and jumped in to make it happen, but not just for kids, Icons 907 is a smoke-free, non-alcoholic fun place for all ages. The icons are pictures of local people and events that have made this such a great community to live in," said Art.

CPH Auxiliary hosts Christmas Tree competition
For the third year in a row the Central Peninsula Hospital (CPH) Auxiliary has sponsored a Christmas tree trimming competition between the hospital departments. "This year the various departments like Housekeeping, Registration, Central Peninsula Family Practice, and Radiology for example - were all provided with a tree to decorate in any creative manner they felt like. And their results, about 15 to 20 trees, are all here on display in the reception area of the hospital," explained CPH chief executive officer Ryan Smith.

CIA Carolers a very welcome Holiday tradition
'Tis the season of Holiday traditions, and for the last two decades residents of the Central Peninsula have looked forward to the joyful sound of the youthful voices from students at Cook Inlet Academy (CIA) spreading the spirit of the season. "One of the exiting parts of teaching at CIA is taking the preschooler's, as well as kindergarten through 2nd graders, Christmas caroling each year," says Beck Dwinnell, a teacher at CIA. affectionately known as "Miss Becky."

Lobster Pie
1 1/2 sticks butter

Lobster Bisque
For the mirepoix

More Lobster in the New Year
In a recessionary economy it may be immoral to mention the word 'lobster,' but someone was overgenerous this Christmas and presented me with two pounds of flash frozen fresh lobster tails. He must have recalled my promising to make lobster bisque or lobster pies if somebody would spring for the ingredients, so we've worked it out in trade, my labor for his lobster. He also remembered my endless gushing about the quality of lobsters coming from the cold waters of the north Atlantic, so he splurged on the best of the best -- firm-textured, sweet-tasting, snow-white lobster tails from Maine. Cold-water meaty lobsters from Maine will cost more than the less-substantial warm water lobsters of the Caribbean or Latin America, but when you're planning a celebratory event where the food is as important as the occasion, don't set yourself up for disappointment by choosing a product of poorer quality. Large lobster tails are more expensive than smaller ones, but even small lobster tails are costlier than whole lobsters. When shopping for a lobster to make a particular recipe, it can be difficult to judge just how much meat a lobster will yield, so as a guide, know that one eight-ounce lobster tail will yield about one-half cup of lobster meat and a one-pound lobster will give you about two-thirds cup of meat. Whether you consider lobster an expense too naughty to ignore or a taste too nice to forget, many of us, including me, have celebrated Christmas and some of the happiest occasions of life with it. May your Christmas and the new year ahead be filled with many lobster days -- too plentiful to count, too numerous to eat.

Yes, Soldotna, there is a Santa Claus
As my daughter and I were walking through Fred Meyer, buying the last things for Christmas, a man with a little smirk approached me and stuck out his hand. So I shook it and he slipped me a $20 bill and said "Merry Christmas." Wow, was I speachless.

Ideas on improving elections
I agree with Dean Hill that the current primary balloting system is frustrating. However, by state statute, a political party has the right to close its primary, and the Republicans chose to do this. If they wanted to exclude the majority of Alaskan voters, they could even restrict the primary to registered Republicans only. That is their right. They feel that it is the privilege of Party Animals to choose their pack Alpha males/females.

Who wants coal for Christmas?
Not most of us, but if we don't want it, we better speak up. PacRim coal is gonna give us just that.

'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' protected all service personnel
My son serves in the military and after a lengthy discussion I am convinced our lawmakers have demonstrated poor judgment by repealing "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy.

Kenai discusses city wish list with legislators
Area legislators met with the Kenai City Council members for a work session about projects and issues the state lawmakers will tackle in 2011 in Juneau.

Photo: Brighter days ahead

Alaska high court throws out Miller claims
JUNEAU -- The Alaska Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a lower court decision in the disputed U.S. Senate race, saying the state correctly counted write-in votes for Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

The rush is on: Holiday shoppers make season for Peninsula merchants
The Christmas rush is on at local businesses.

DUI arrests down, problems persist: Fatalities resulting from alcohol-related accidents remain steady
The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently released a report claiming that the state of Alaska has seen a "significant drop" in its residents' rate of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

Council fast-tracks king bycatch regs
Regulatory measures to reduce chinook salmon bycatch by Gulf of Alaska pollock trawlers were advanced for expedited analysis at the December meeting of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.

Photo feature: Picture perfect
Valerie Pierce photographs her son Travis among the Christmas lights in Kenai's Leif Hansen Memorial Park on Tuesday evening. Travis is home for the holidays from studies at Valley City State University in North Dakota.

Thomas D. Coury Jr.
Sterling resident Thomas D. Coury Jr. died Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010, at his home, after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 69.

Loraine Lucille O'Connell
Longtime Alaskan and Kenai resident Loraine Lucille O'Connell, 88, died Sunday, Dec. 19, 2010, at her home in Kenai.

Around the Peninsula

Donate those used books

Around the Peninsula

Women's cancer support group meets

Poet's Corner

Bob's Sled

'Legacy' glitters, but is it gold?
"Tron: Legacy"

What's Happening

Events and Exhibits

Holiday Photo: Santa's Toy Shop

Art Brief
Kenai River Council on the Arts is calling metal and wood artists to exhibit in the 5th Annual Sculpture Exhibit with the theme of "Heart and Soul," on exhibit for the month of February, at the Kenai Fine Art Center, 816 Cook Ave., Old Towne Kenai. Artists may submit up to three pieces. Call 283-7040 or check out our website at kenaifinearts.com for more information. Deadline entries is Friday, Jan. 28, 2011, 5 p.m.

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