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Peninsula residents keep old promises and make new ones

Posted: Sunday, December 31, 2000

One year passes; a new one begins. With the passing go resolutions made when the year was young and commitment was strong. Some leave a mark. Others barely scratch the surface. And with Jan. 1, hope dawns anew.

Kenai Peninsula residents reflect on promises made, the difference those resolutions made to themselves and their communities and the promises they've already made for the year ahead.

"You know, when you get to my age, you're just quite content if you can manage to get through each day, I'm grateful for how good I feel," said Kenai Peninsula Borough assembly member Milli Martin, 63, of Homer.

Martin, who is familiar to peninsula residents for the years she served on the borough school board, also has her sites set on the future.

"I have a resolution to see as much of this beautiful state as I can in the years I've got left," Martin said. "I got into the Brooks Range for the first time this last year. Into (the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge). I did a river-rafting trip and got into the middle of the Porcupine Caribou Herd migration. It's very special. It's wonderful for the soul."

Kenai firefighter John Harris also spent time in the mountains this year. One in particular: Denali. Although weather kept him and his companions from reaching the mountain's 20,320-foot peak, the experience left its mark on resolutions for the Year 2001.

Harris described past resolutions as "all the standard ones, being a better person, less judgmental, more positive, things like that."

His plans for the year ahead are anything but standard.

"I'd like to make three big climbs this year," he said.

Denali is at the top of his list, with Mounts Redoubt, Iliamna and Spurr right behind. And he said that off in the distance, Aconcagua, the 22,831-foot tallest peak in South America, is calling his name.

For Joe Gallagher, his job as public outreach coordinator for the Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council defines resolutions in more ways than one.

"When you say 'resolutions' to me, I'm so geared to the job that I think of resolutions in terms of work or the city of Kenai," said Gallagher.

Small wonder. Besides his regular workday, Gallagher commutes 85-miles each way from his Homer residence to his Kenai office. Spending a couple of nights a week with friends on Kalifornsky Beach Road helped decrease windshield time, but stopped short of preventing his recent automobile accident on the icy surface of Bridge Access Road.

"I'm fine, but the old Suzuki took a beating," he said.

Looking ahead, Gallagher turned the accident into resolutions for the future.

"If I had a resolution it would be for dry roads between here and Homer 12 months a year," he said. A second resolution, "to be a better driver," may be more within his reach.

Joanne Collins, a 20-year Anchor Point resident, said she made a resolution a couple of years ago that has impacted her life.

"I resolved to get involved in the community and to help out where I could," she said. "That (resolution) has been really important to me. It taught me a lot more about the people in my community. I got to know a lot of different people. It made me feel good about some of the things that I've done."

As well she should. Collins serves as executive secretary for the Anchor Point Chamber of Commerce and director of the community's visitor center. As chair of one of five active peninsula advisory planning commissions, Collins and her fellow commissioners interact with the borough on matters relating to community land-use planning and public land management.

Mayme Ohnemus, or "Agent Ohnemus" as the peninsula resident was dubbed by Gov. Tony Knowles for her work with Cooper Landing's Sexy Senior Dumpster Cleaners, said resolutions don't work for her, but her long list of achievements said otherwise.

"I always have such good intentions," she said. "They're good for about a day and a half."

Ohnemus, who also served as president of Cooper Landing's community club for three years, may be shortsighted when it comes to personal resolutions, but she definitely has perfect long-range vision in terms of her community.

Under her leadership, the seniors' successfully recycled their efforts to pick up trash at three borough solid waste transfer sites into cash totaling more than $150,000, which is being used to expand the community club.

The group's hard work recently caught the attention of Phillips Alaska, who has promised to deliver a new truck to the seniors next spring. Ohnemus also reported the Alaska Department of Transpor-tation recently presented the Cooper Landing seniors with a grant that will cover 80 percent of the bill for a brand new handicap accessible van and the group has been approved for a pre-development feasibility study for senior housing.

Judy Warren, a 36-year Sterling resident and five-year director of the Sterling Senior Citizens Center, said one of her long-standing resolutions is to get more organized.

"And to spend more time on the things that are most important in my life rather than getting sidetracked on the things that keep me busy but aren't important," Warren said.

Under "most important," Warren listed family and church.

Borough Mayor Dale Bagley said he and a friend had just been discussing resolutions.

"Most resolutions seem to get broken, so we don't make them," Bagley said.

He did, however, confess to focusing on one close to home.

"Every Jan. 1, I look at my waistline and wish it was a little thinner."

Like Bagley, Liz Kruzick of Ninilchik admitted that making annual resolutions seemed an exercise in futility. However, one of Kruzick's Christmas surprises has changed her mind.

"We opened a Christmas package and out popped buttons that said 'grandma-to-be' and 'grandpa-to-be.' They made us cry," said Kruzick of her and husband Mark's gift from son Matthew and daughter-in-law Corinne.

"Our love for our kids is grounded in family," Kruzick said. "And then we accepted Corinne as part of our family. And then all of a sudden, we turned around and they gave us this big surprise."

The parents-to-be live in Oregon, where Matthew is stationed in the Coast Guard.

"This year is more important and special to both of us. This is a big deal," Kruzick said of how she and her husband view the Year 2001.

"Now we see the next step in life. This year, Mark and I are going to be good examples of grandparents."

By McKIBBEN JACKINSKY

Peninsula Clarion

One year passes; a new one begins. With the passing go resolutions made when the year was young and commitment was strong. Some leave a mark. Others barely scratch the surface. And with Jan. 1, hope dawns anew.

Kenai Peninsula residents reflect on promises made, the difference those resolutions made to themselves and their communities and the promises they've already made for the year ahead.

"You know, when you get to my age, you're just quite content if you can manage to get through each day, I'm grateful for how good I feel," said Kenai Peninsula Borough assembly member Milli Martin, 63, of Homer.

Martin, who is familiar to peninsula residents for the years she served on the borough school board, also has her sites set on the future.

"I have a resolution to see as much of this beautiful state as I can in the years I've got left," Martin said. "I got into the Brooks Range for the first time this last year. Into (the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge). I did a river-rafting trip and got into the middle of the Porcupine Caribou Herd migration. It's very special. It's wonderful for the soul."

Kenai firefighter John Harris also spent time in the mountains this year. One in particular: Denali. Although weather kept him and his companions from reaching the mountain's 20,320-foot peak, the experience left its mark on resolutions for the Year 2001.

Harris described past resolutions as "all the standard ones, being a better person, less judgmental, more positive, things like that."

His plans for the year ahead are anything but standard.

"I'd like to make three big climbs this year," he said.

Denali is at the top of his list, with Mounts Redoubt, Iliamna and Spurr right behind. And he said that off in the distance, Aconcagua, the 22,831-foot tallest peak in South America, is calling his name.

For Joe Gallagher, his job as public outreach coordinator for the Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council defines resolutions in more ways than one.

"When you say 'resolutions' to me, I'm so geared to the job that I think of resolutions in terms of work or the city of Kenai," said Gallagher.

Small wonder. Besides his regular workday, Gallagher commutes 85-miles each way from his Homer residence to his Kenai office. Spending a couple of nights a week with friends on Kalifornsky Beach Road helped decrease windshield time, but stopped short of preventing his recent automobile accident on the icy surface of Bridge Access Road.

"I'm fine, but the old Suzuki took a beating," he said.

Looking ahead, Gallagher turned the accident into resolutions for the future.

"If I had a resolution it would be for dry roads between here and Homer 12 months a year," he said. A second resolution, "to be a better driver," may be more within his reach.

Joanne Collins, a 20-year Anchor Point resident, said she made a resolution a couple of years ago that has impacted her life.

"I resolved to get involved in the community and to help out where I could," she said. "That (resolution) has been really important to me. It taught me a lot more about the people in my community. I got to know a lot of different people. It made me feel good about some of the things that I've done."

As well she should. Collins serves as executive secretary for the Anchor Point Chamber of Commerce and director of the community's visitor center. As chair of one of five active peninsula advisory planning commissions, Collins and her fellow commissioners interact with the borough on matters relating to community land-use planning and public land management.

Mayme Ohnemus, or "Agent Ohnemus" as the peninsula resident was dubbed by Gov. Tony Knowles for her work with Cooper Landing's Sexy Senior Dumpster Cleaners, said resolutions don't work for her, but her long list of achievements said otherwise.

"I always have such good intentions," she said. "They're good for about a day and a half."

Ohnemus, who also served as president of Cooper Landing's community club for three years, may be shortsighted when it comes to personal resolutions, but she definitely has perfect long-range vision in terms of her community.

Under her leadership, the seniors' successfully recycled their efforts to pick up trash at three borough solid waste transfer sites into cash totaling more than $150,000, which is being used to expand the community club.

The group's hard work recently caught the attention of Phillips Alaska, who has promised to deliver a new truck to the seniors next spring. Ohnemus also reported the Alaska Department of Transpor-tation recently presented the Cooper Landing seniors with a grant that will cover 80 percent of the bill for a brand new handicap accessible van and the group has been approved for a pre-development feasibility study for senior housing.

Judy Warren, a 36-year Sterling resident and five-year director of the Sterling Senior Citizens Center, said one of her long-standing resolutions is to get more organized.

"And to spend more time on the things that are most important in my life rather than getting sidetracked on the things that keep me busy but aren't important," Warren said.

Under "most important," Warren listed family and church.

Borough Mayor Dale Bagley said he and a friend had just been discussing resolutions.

"Most resolutions seem to get broken, so we don't make them," Bagley said.

He did, however, confess to focusing on one close to home.

"Every Jan. 1, I look at my waistline and wish it was a little thinner."

Like Bagley, Liz Kruzick of Ninilchik admitted that making annual resolutions seemed an exercise in futility. However, one of Kruzick's Christmas surprises has changed her mind.

"We opened a Christmas package and out popped buttons that said 'grandma-to-be' and 'grandpa-to-be.' They made us cry," said Kruzick of her and husband Mark's gift from son Matthew and daughter-in-law Corinne.

"Our love for our kids is grounded in family," Kruzick said. "And then we accepted Corinne as part of our family. And then all of a sudden, we turned around and they gave us this big surprise."

The parents-to-be live in Oregon, where Matthew is stationed in the Coast Guard.

"This year is more important and special to both of us. This is a big deal," Kruzick said of how she and her husband view the Year 2001.

"Now we see the next step in life. This year, Mark and I are going to be good examples of grandparents."



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