Friday, December 24, 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

Thanks for helping our seniors enjoy the holidays
At the beginning of December Soldotna Little League put up a Christmas tree in their bingo and pull tab store and asked me if I knew of any senior citizens or family caregivers who might need gifts this year. Because of that incredible idea, several agencies across the Peninsula collaborated and came up with a list of items needed by isolated and/or home-bound seniors, seniors with no families around, as well as seniors and family caregivers who just needed a little extra cheer this holiday season. These agencies were Access Alaska, Frontier Community Senior and Disability Services, Kenai Senior Center, Seward's Mountain Haven nursing home, Nanwalek Health and Human Services, National Family Caregiver Support Program and Nikiski In-Home Senior Services. Stars were hung on the Christmas tree listing items needed, and thus began the First Annual "Senior Star Christmas Tree."

Generosity appreciated
On behalf of the 15 recipient families of our Soldotna Elementary Christmas Kindness program, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the following community contributors for their very generous giving: Chevron, Tesoro, Soldotna Elementary PTA, River City Books and Three Bears. Also, I would like to thank our many individual contributors (staff, parents, community members). Your generosity has allowed these families to enjoy the true spirit of the Christmas season.

Anti-Methodist sentiment is selfish and wrong
This week we learned that the founding father of Tea Party Nation, Judson Phillips, prays for the end of the "socialist" United Methodist Church. He ridicules the church for promoting health care for all and smears us for fighting for economic and social justice. He thinks our attempts to halt climate change are misguided and our efforts to end global poverty are futile. Apparently, anything Methodists do to aid the least of those in God's kingdom is viewed as an offense by the "me-first" Tea Party.

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.

Seniors' trust fund gets a boost
Soldotna Senior Center would like to thank First National Bank Alaska for their very generous donation to the Center's Endowment Trust Fund. First National Bank Alaska has been a vital partner of the Endowment Trust Fund since its inception 14 years ago. The center would also like to thank Mr. Charles Weimer, First National Bank Alaska, Soldotna Branch for his dedication and support of area seniors. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.

Repeal of DADT marks the end
The repeal of Don't Ask-Don't Tell marks the destruction of yet another moral pillar upholding America. Indeed, it may be the last pillar before total collapse.

Not home for the holidays: Base offers help for families of deployed soldiers
Deployments are always hard on military families.

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.

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.

Homer count notes record number of birds
A record number of Homer birders documented a record number of birds at the Christmas Bird Count last Saturday.

Photo: Brighter days ahead

Almost a silent night: Soldotna council gets limited feedback on proposed ordinances
Just one person per proposal spoke up about Soldotna's proposed animal control ordinance or Envision 2030 comprehensive plan at the city council's Wednesday meeting.

Making light of it: Septic pumping truck gussied up for holidays
There was a solstice surprise waiting for drivers on Kalifornsky Beach Road this week. A Peninsula Pumping septic truck is taking a break from the sewage business to light up the road at the darkest time of the year.

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.

Yes, Virginia: A classic tale for the holidays
Editor's note: For several years on Christmas Eve, the Peninsula Clarion has reprinted this famous editorial written by Francis P. Church. It first appeared in the New York Sun on Sept. 21, 1897.

Taking the Plunge: Kayakers claim first known descent of Douglas Island falls
JUNEAU -- It's one thing to enjoy a leisurely sea kayaking experience in Southeast Alaska, but it's another thing entirely to stare down the barrel of a 20-foot drop on upper Fish Creek in an 8-foot kayak.

Refuge Notebook: Retiring refuge ecologist predicts a dry future for the western Kenai
For the last 17 years I have been privileged to work on a 2 million-acre natural laboratory at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. While most Refuge Notebook readers probably enjoy this wonderful resource for its wildlife and recreational values, I have enjoyed it as a place to study natural processes like insect outbreaks, forest fires, and climate change impacts.

An Outdoor View: Just like the ones I used to know
Someone recently asked, "If you could live during some period in the past, when would it be?" I thought long and hard, but couldn't come up with a better period than the one I've lived through.

Around the Peninsula

Donate those used books

Around the Peninsula

Brain injury group invites call-ins

What's Happening

Events and Exhibits

Poet's Corner

Bob's Sled

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

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 for more information. Deadline entries is Friday, Jan. 28, 2011, 5 p.m.

Church Briefs

'Epic Win' coming for New Year's Eve

Voices of Religion: The most important day of the year: This one
On this "winding down" day of 2010, we're still alive; making it, for you and me, the most important day of the year. What shall we do with it?

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