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Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Yankees, Red Sox, Angels to pay luxury tax
NEW YORK - The Boston Red Sox got an extra bill after winning the World Series.

Frontier Community Services Bring Toys for Tots all year long
While that jolly old guy in the red suit has finished his house calls with bags of toys for another year, the trained professionals at Frontier Community Services will continue to call on families with bags of toys throughout the New Year. It's part of a program known as Early Intervention Services for children from birth to 3 years of age living in the Central Kenai Peninsula and Aluetian/Pribilof Islands that may be having challenges in one or more areas of development. "We go to homes where children are experiencing developmental delays or may be at risk of developing delays and we create a home program for them and their families in the home," Linda Leveque, Frontier Community Services Early Intervention Educator, told the Kenai Chamber of Commerce recently.

Lovely weather for a sleigh ride together...
It's not just your great grandmother who has nostalgic memories of holiday trips in a one horse open sleigh. For the last 12 years C&C Stables of Sterling have been making those sleigh ride memories for folks of all ages here in the local area. Last week Connie Davis and her partner and daughter Carley of C&C Stables were offering rides at Sweeny's in Soldotna in their custom one horse open sleigh behind King, probably the most photographed Clydesdale in Alaska.

Local Youth Work Together to Help Troops
Local peninsula resident, Jenna Randall, who is currently serving as the second runner-up for the Miss Pre-Teen Alaska pageant, participated in the recent Salon-A-Thon benefit that was held at the Peninsula Center Mall. Along with the assistance of Denise VanDyke, and Dustin and Anthony Randall, these youth stepped up to the plate and entertained children attending the Salon-A-Thon with face painting and balloon art. Having uncles that are currently serving in Iraq was a big motivation for Jenna's involvement, along with her three co-horts. They were also assisted with the face painting by Brooke Jasky-Zuber. Over $4000.00 was raised to benefit the troops. Their names were omitted from the 12-22-04 Dispatch story that highlighted the fundraising event.

John Watson PFD arrives special delivery
KPD Chief Chuck Kopp, hugs Kathy Watson during special presentation at Kenai Chamber, #07, 08, 18, It's been a year since the tragic event that took the life of Kenai Police officer John Watson. The Kenai Chamber of Commerce at their last meeting of the year 2004 dedicated the program in memory of Officer Watson and the community's loss last Christmas Eve. Lt. Governor Loren Leman came in from Juneau for the special meeting to personally deliver a check to John's wife Kathy in the amount of last year's Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD). Last spring, Kathy learned that John would not be eligible for last year's PFD due to the fact that he was killed 6 days before the end of year 2003, "When Kathy contacted me last spring, she said this isn't fair, and I agreed with her, but according to the rules of the Dividend, he was not eligible. So at my request, a group of generous Alaskans including Rep. Chenault and Sen. Wagoner raised the equivalent amount of last year's PFD, and it was my privilege to present Kathy with a check for that amount today," said Leman. The Lt. Governor added that he would certainly support legislation to change the rule to allow for special situations in the future that might occur regarding the wrongful death of a public servant.

Grinch spotted at the Fitness Place...
According to unreliable sources last week, the Grinch was unable to steal Christmas from a group of power pacers in Lisa Duke's spinning class at the Fitness Place in Soldotna. Duke says that the Grinch has been showing up during her last class, before the night before the night before Christmas for the last several years. This year however, she was assisted in warding off the mean Mr. Grinch by her sister's trusty reindeer beagle, which actually lost a few pounds during the class. Lisa has been a Power Pacing instructor in the local area for more than six years and has become famous for getting her pupils to laugh and have a fun time while melting off unwanted cellulite.

Now Playing: The Aviator/Finding Neverland
Awards season is upon us again, with the major studios and independents flooding the market with weighty biopics and tear-jerking dramas. Right up there on the screen is anything and everything you ever wanted to know about such varied figures as Ray Charles and Che Guevara, Howard Hughes and Fat Albert. And, as is customary, many of these films will not be playing on the Peninsula for fear that the movie-going public isn't sophisticated enough to "get" them. The two films we'll focus on this week will require a trip to Anchorage, or whatever metropolis you happen to be near, but have no fear, Fat Albert is showing at a theater near you.

Trucks Series vet ready for move to Nextel Cup
Travis Kvapil, the 2003 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion from Janesville, Wis., was hired earlier this month to replace Brendan Gaughan at Penske South Racing for the 2005 Nextel Cup Series season.

NASCAR Notes
Car owner Gibbs not sold on ChaseChase or BCS: Which system is better?NASCAR pleased with transition in 2004

2004: A year of change
The just-completed 2004 racing season will forever be remembered as the year of change in NASCAR.

Kenai
Merry New Year's, neighbors. Here's hoping you enjoyed the joys of the holidays and are looking forward to 2005, which is nearly upon us. I find this time perfect for reviewing the memories of this swiftly passing year.

Soldotna
Hi, neighbors. As I continue with a holiday break from my column until Jan. 11, I want to remind community members who have information to put in the column that they need to 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.

Ninilchik
Hi, neighbors. Though someday time shall be no more, right now we are the creatures of time. Our lives are lived and geared to minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years.

Kasilof
Greetings from a festive Kasilof. I hope your Christmas was a happy and memorable occasion. Like many, I am basking in the post-holiday glow of a warm family experience and coasting into a new year with the optimistic visions of a youngster.

Nikiski
Good morning. Something to keep you grinning: "A smile is cheer to you and me. The cost is nothing - it's given free. It comforts the weary - gladdens the sad. Consoles those in trouble - good or bad. To rich and poor - beggar or thief, it's free to all of any belief. A natural gesture of young and old. Cheers on the faint - disarms the bold. Unlike most blessings for which we pray, it's one thing we keep when we give it away." - Apples of Gold

Sterling
Hi, neighbors. Alaskans nearly always open their hearts and homes to friends, friends of friends and people who become friends to share their holidays including Christmas dinner. Even people who have family nearby may receive an invitation to share Christmas with neighbors.

Cooper Landing
My husband, Larry, was reminiscing about Christmases past the other day and was telling me about Butch, the pet moose, at Sportsman's Lodge when Larry was living there in the late 1960s.

Senior housing opens new doors on peninsula
As more and more senior citizens choose the Kenai Peninsula as the place to spend their sunset years, their increasing housing needs are being met, and their choices are becoming more varied.

Proposed change for Cooper Landing has good, bad points
Fish and wildlife biologists on the Kenai Peninsula say the proposed Juneau Creek alternative for the Sterling Highway Miles 45 through 60 project likely will have significant impacts on both fish and wildlife in the area.

Medical costs, other factors pose financial burdens for area seniors
There are many ways for senior citizens to save cash, but tracking down those discounts can be a little more intricate than just clipping a coupon.

Smokers stock up before tax hike hits
Jack Dean, cashier at Lucky Raven Tobacco in Soldotna, has doubled the amount of Camel Light cigarettes he usually buys in the last couple of days. He is not the only one. Dean said customers have purchased up to four times the amount of cigarettes they usually purchase of late.

Kenneth Paul May
Longtime Soldotna resident Kenneth Paul May died Monday, Dec. 27, 2004, at his home of cancer. He was 71.

Larry Kenneth Stangeland
Funny River Road resident Larry Kenneth Stangeland died Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2004, at his home. He was 73.

Super Bowl will bring political, entertainment, sports stars to town
It's not every day a city achieves world prominence and takes a place among the world's household-name municipalities. But in 2005, Jacksonville, Fla., will go from being just another nice city with warm weather to the center of the world's attention, at least for a day

Recount shows state's voting system is sound
Across the nation - and in fury on the Internet - questions about the integrity of the Nov. 2 presidential election persist and probably will for months, if not years, or at least until the losing party reclaims the White House. In Alaska, there was also some concern, though not widespread, that the result of the U.S. Senate race between Sen. Lisa Murkowski and former Gov. Tony Knowles was flawed.

Abortion battle rages in Mississippi
JACKSON, Miss. - Outside are protesters, praying or proffering pamphlets with grisly photos. Inside, young women sit quietly in a room furnished with a TV set and a gumball machine, waiting for their appointments at Mississippi's only abortion clinic.

Bold agenda could lead to big success
Though the war on terrorism and democratizing and stabilizing Iraq and Afghanistan will continue to occupy much of President George W. Bush's time, it's also clear he intends to make more time to deal with domestic issues in his second term, particularly those issues he campaigned on.

Asian disaster could change course of long-running conflict
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Two of the world's longest-running civil wars are being fought on land devastated by Sunday's earthquake and tsunamis. In one conflict, the tragedy showed hopeful signs of bringing the two sides together; in the other, it appeared to be hardening the divisions.

Around the Peninsula
Basketball league registration beginsSoldotna dog club offers new classesFish and Game committee to meet

Around the Peninsula
Used book sale plannedBeekeepers meeting plannedDiabetes support group to meet

Senior Menus
What's on the menu this week for our area seniors

Elderly psychiatrist says he no longer feels bulletproof
TEMPLE, Texas - After spending three months in Iraq, it's not memories of the 120-degree heat or sounds of distant explosions that haunt psychiatrist Paul Hill.

Senior Briefs
What activities are available this week for our area seniors

Tales from the tour
With so much focus on technology, Vijay Singh used rather primitive tools in his search for a swing that made him the No. 1 player in golf.

No luck for the Irish at Insight Bowl
PHOENIX - Derek Anderson and Oregon State finished off Notre Dame's dreary season with a 38-21 beating of the Irish on Tuesday night in the Insight Bowl.

Armstrong keeps winning
AUSTIN, Texas - Even by his lofty standards, Lance Armstrong's return to the mountaintop in 2004 was pretty special.

Are defending champs good enough to win another SuperBowl?
They don't have the league's best record and they won't have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Soldotna's Tuter named head coach at UC-Irvine
Soldotna native Molly Tuter was named interim head coach of the NCAA Division I University of California-Irvine women's basketball team Monday.

U.S. wins at World Junior Hockey Championships
GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) - The United States matched Switzerland's four-goal outburst in the third period for a 6-4 victory Monday night in the preliminary round of the World Junior Hockey Championship.

Desperate Rams beat Eagles
ST. LOUIS - The Rams desperately needed a win and played like it. The Eagles desperately wanted to stay healthy and played like it.

Sorenstam chosen AP Female Athlete of the Year
She won early and often, and often by overwhelming margins. She won on four continents - in Australia, Sweden and Japan and in six of the 50 United States. She won a major, the most money and a remarkable 10 times in just 20 starts worldwide.

Do playoff teams have an obligation to try?
On the final Sunday night of the 1988 season, Phil Simms sat in his New Jersey home watching the Los Angeles Rams thrash the San Francisco 49ers 38-16, putting the Rams into the playoffs and knocking Simms and the Giants out.

Illinois stays unbeaten
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Deron Williams scored a season-high 23 points and had seven assists to lead top-ranked Illinois to a 105-79 victory over Longwood on Monday night.

Record is great, but titles will be Manning's measure
The big question won't be answered until the playoffs begin and even the NFL's biggest control freak is helpless to do anything thing about that at the moment.

Fresno State nips Virginia in OT
BOISE, Idaho - Paul Pinegar shrugged off midseason criticism and kept throwing for touchdowns.

Gonzaga notches upset
OKLAHOMA CITY - With his team's best player limited by an ankle injury, J.P. Batista came off the bench to lift No. 12 Gonzaga to another big upset.

O'Neal, Wade power Heat
MIAMI - Shaquille O'Neal scored 31 points wearing protective padding over sore ribs, and Dwyane Wade added 27 as the Miami Heat beat the Atlanta Hawks 116-102 Monday night to set a franchise record with their 12th straight victory.

James leads Cavaliers to victory over Hawks
ATLANTA - LeBron James had 40 points, nine rebounds and seven assists to help the Cleveland Cavaliers defeat the Atlanta Hawks 111-102 Tuesday night for their third victory in four games.

SoHi boys open tourney with win
The Soldotna High School boys basketball team opened the Holland America tournament in Sitka with a win Tuesday, defeating Lumen Christi 62-41.

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