Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Debt quickly can kill joy of holiday giving
AUGUSTA, Ga. 'Tis the week after Christmas and all through the house, open presents are scattered, no room for a mouse.

Ownership change temporarily closes area Burger Kings
The fluorescent tubes that normally back light the menu behind the counter of the Burger King in Kenai Plaza blazed as usual Tuesday afternoon, however, the menu had been taken down, the doors were locked, and no one was home.

FedEx to buy Kinko's
MEMPHIS, Tenn. FedEx Corp. agreed to buy copy-shop chain Kinko's for $2.4 billion as the shipping giant attempts to extend its reach into retail markets and gain ground on rival UPS.

Gas board doesn't want to follow open-meetings, purchasing laws
JUNEAU (AP) The board of a new state agency that wants to build a multibillion-dollar natural gas project is pressing to be exempt from state open-meetings and purchasing laws.

HEA to reduce rates beginning in January
Electric bills for Homer Electric members could be reduced up to 11 percent over the next two years beginning Jan. 1.

Business Briefs
Area chambers set scheduleLocal businesses to support food bankForest Service moving ahead with Ketchikan sale

Host Society selects Loren Smith to manage 2006 Arctic Winter Games
Loren Smith is a newcomer to the Kenai Peninsula, but before the opening ceremonies for the 2006 Arctic Winter Games (AWG) begin, he'll be a very familiar friend to nearly everyone on the Kenai Peninsula.

New location mixes sweets with memories
Kathy Waterbury's Candy Bouquet, formerly at the "Y" strip mall in Soldotna has relocated to the remodeled former location of Randy's Ramada and moved in with a new creative business know as A Misty Memory, owned by Misty Schoendaller.

English to Inupiaq Alphabet, "Just Like That!"
Seward born DJ Blatchford is an Inupiaq who believes that good things happen "Just Like That!" the title of her first book, which includes native legends, poems, recipes, and English to Inupiaq Alphabet.

New year's crystal ball not clear on gas prices.
There was a time in the Cook Inlet when an exploration well found gas, it was closed in and considered a dry hole. Today the major interest in lease sales for the Inlet and Kenai Peninsula is to find additional natural gas reserves.

Getting Lucky at the Lucky Puck helps young hockey players
Kids who love to play hockey are the real winners at the Lucky Puck Pull Tab salon at the "Y" strip mall in Soldotna. Proceeds from the gaming operation benefit the Kenai Peninsula Hockey Association according to Jana Vinzant, store manager and hockey mom, "I love hockey and I love kids. This really does help, we support all the kids in the Hockey Association and try to lower costs for all those who want to play hockey," said Vinzant. Pull Tabs are a game of chance where you can spend a dollar, and possibly win as much as $500.

Art Briefs
Photo contest heldPratt Museum closed for maintenanceArtists soughtHoliday tradition keepers wanted for TVKids' art classes offeredDance classes slatedSubmissions for artist roster wantedPainting group to meetAlaska photographers wanted for show

Original flicks like 'Nemo' beat out tried-and-true sequels
LOS ANGELES The gang from ''The Matrix'' got a lesson in virtual reality, Hollywood style, from a cartoon fish and a jaunty pirate in a year that left many sequels to tried-and-true franchises trailing in the wake of original movies.

Edie Brickell has first new album in a decade
NEW YORK Edie Brickell has a mischievous smile on her face when the singer says she's a little jealous of her children's musical ability.

Awkward book raises some vital issues
This book could be titled "Sneaky Things That Should Worry You." It's an odd volume that scores low on readability but high on relevance.

What's Happening
Best BetsEvents and ExhibitsEntertainmentUpcoming EventsFilmsDown the RoadAnchorage Events

As community grieves for officer, may it seek to forgive violence
I personally did not know Officer John Watson. Why it was his shift on Christmas night that this tragedy occurred, no one will probably know. I assume he was just doing his job like so many officers across our country.

Even those who now live far away, mourn with community of Kenai
To the people of the Kenai Peninsula: Every day I look forward to reading the news provided via the Peninsula Clarion online edition. It always gives me an opportunity to dream and remember the people of the Kenai-Soldotna area that my wife Adele and I love so much. The news of people doing things together, helping others when they are in need and picking up the pieces of their lives when disaster strikes.

Officer Watson, others deserve to know they are appreciated
I am writing this letter in the light of the recent death of John Watson, a policeman for the city of Kenai. I did know John personally and utilized his help professionally in my job. He was a fine man and did his job well. He had a ready smile and shouldered the burdens of great responsibility well. The city of Kenai and its citizens had a great employee and man.

Drivers recall favorite presents
ATLANTA Although most NASCAR drivers and officials have reached a level of fame and fortune few of us can even aspire to, they have not forgotten simpler times, when a single Christmas gift brought them the richest memory of all.

It's time for some New Year's resolutions
ATLANTA Resolutions and a new year offer the hope, however faint, of change. But like most idealistic promises, they prove to be nothing more than wishful thinking.

Teams already preparing for 2004 season
ATLANTA Dan Shaver got the 2004 racing season up to full speed last weekend by posting the fastest lap at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the Feb. 7 Advance Discount Auto Parts 200 for the ARCA Re/Max Series.

Wallace gets new crew chief
ATLANTA Larry Carter accepted one of the toughest jobs in motorsports Monday when he agreed to be Rusty Wallace's new crew chief.

Newsmaker: Jerry Nadeau
Driver Jerry Nadeau, who suffered a serious head injury in a racing accident May 2 at Richmond International Raceway, continues to make progress. The 33-year-old native of Danbury, Conn., talks about his ongoing recovery and how blessed he feels to be home for the holidays.

Newsmaker: Kurt Busch
The 2003 season was a mixed bag for Kurt Busch. He won four races, but struggled to gain acceptance on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series after his well-publicized run-in with Jimmy Spencer. Busch won three of the final five races in 2002 to finish third in the points standings, then he won two of the first 10 races in 2003 to become one of the favorites for the championship. Although he won two more races later in the season, he also had 10 finishes out of the top 30 to fall to 11th in the final rankings. He talked about making the best of a bad situation and what he hopes to accomplish in 2004.

Area retailers ring up healthy holiday sales
Area retailers reported healthy sales this holiday shopping season, with slow returns over the weekend.

No serious flu complications reported here
Of the 26 lab-confirmed influenza cases reported at Central Peninsula General Hospital since Dec. 8, none has come with serious complications.

Rain takes chill off holidays
A succession of lower-pressure systems that began blowing out of the west late last week slammed into a high-pressure ridge anchored over central Alaska that had been keeping temperatures cool and skies clear, according to a specialist with the National Weather Service.

School district gets through tough year
2003 was a nail-biter for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District. It was a year of close-calls, near-misses and narrow victories. It also was a year of transition.

Forster indicted for murder
A Kenai Grand Jury on Tuesday indicted David S. Forster on five criminal counts, including the Christmas Day murder of Kenai Police Officer John Watson.

Peninsula residents help each other out
A look back at the headlines of 2003 could paint a dismal picture of the last year.

Hotel capitalizes on Alaska's ice, snow and talent
Chena Hot Springs Resort, long a hot spot for winter tourism, came up with a new way for visitors to chill in style: the first ice hotel in the United States.

Top news: Shootings, weather, natural resources
2003 on the Kenai Peninsula was a year of stark and often tragic contrasts. The year began with the fatal shooting of a Nikiski man by Alaska State Troopers. It ended with the Christmas night slaying of a Kenai police officer in the line of duty. Officer John Watson's funeral will take place today at the Renee C. Henderson Auditorium at Kenai Central High School.

Funeral procession for slain officer begins at noon Wednesday
The funeral for Kenai Police Officer John Patrick Watson, who was killed Thursday in the line of duty, will be held Wednesday at 1 p.m. at Kenai Central High School in the Renee C. Henderson Auditorium.

Borough landfill becomes winter resort for eagles
They're baaaaack. Bald eagles have once again returned en masse to the borough landfill in Soldotna as part of their seasonal pattern of movement.

June A. Moore
Kenai resident June A. Moore died Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2003, of a sudden illness at the home of her daughter in Filer, Idaho. She was 73.

Ruth Idell Bedwell
Soldotna resident Ruth Idell Bedwell died Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2003, at her home in Soldotna. She was 49.

John Patrick Watson
Kenai Police Officer John Patrick Watson died Thursday, Dec. 25, 2003, in the line of duty. He was 43.

Mary Louise McGarry
Kasilof resident Mary Louise McGarry died Saturday Dec. 27, 2003, at home in her sleep. She was 86.

Good intentions may be downfall of nation
This nation's immense generosity may yet be its undoing.

Presidential candidates bank voters will tune in to TV shows
WASHINGTON Democrats running for president complain they can't fully explain their views on foreign policy, health care or national security in debates featuring all nine candidates.

Looking back and ahead to 2004
To close out 2003, here are some scattered observations and predictions, all based on the same assortment of public opinion surveys this column discusses each week.

Dean, Clark lead Democrats in raising funds
WASHINGTON (AP) Aided by aggressive Internet campaigns, Democra-tic presidential candidates Howard Dean and Wesley Clark raised the most money in the final quarter of 2003, according to preliminary estimates.

Missile defense plans, presidential race can't be ignored by Alaska
National missile defense has yet to surface as a major issue in the presidential campaign, but there are signs it might gain some increased attention. Alaskans should take note, given that their state plays a central role in the present missile defense program.

Attack on Stevens' investments unfair
Sen. Ted Stevens was unfairly attacked (recently) by the Los Angeles Times.

Around the Peninsula
Basketball registration deadline todayBlood bank to remain open todayPublic health sets holiday scheduleSeaLife center open on New Year'sKenai Historical Society plans meetingGardeners lecture series to beginDog classes slated at PenDOG

Around the Peninsula
CES is collection point for food bankAssistance available for commercial fishersKDLL to hold electionsWomen's outdoor workshop slated

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

Gymnast still winning, setting goals at age 57
LOCKPORT, N.Y. Talking to Shirley Beecher, you can forget she is 57, forget she is a grandmother, forget she is a cancer survivor.

Senior Briefs
What activities are available for our area seniors

Tice to return as Vikings coach
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) Mike Tice will be back as coach of the Minnesota Vikings next season.

The year in sports: 2003 marked by scandals, glory and thrills
Deliciously scandalous, terribly tragic, and occasionally comic, the sports world in 2003 boiled over with stories of murder, rape, drugs, cheating, gambling, boozing and buffoonery.

Knicks hit 15 treys in win over Magic
ORLANDO Frank Williams made four of New York's 15 3-pointers Monday night in a 114-86 rout of the Orlando Magic, the Knicks' third straight road win.

All guts, no glory for career scout teamer
ORLANDO, Fla. Patrick Croffie still remembers the day he almost ALMOST got a chance to play.

Senators stymie Bruins
BOSTON Martin Prusek stopped 24 shots and Todd White scored an unassisted short-handed goal in the first period Tuesday night in the Ottawa Senators' 3-0 victory over the Boston Bruins.

Ol' ball coach turns in his clipboard
WASHINGTON Steve Spurrier's resignation was as confusing as his offensive strategy, adding another dysfunctional day to the recent history of the Washington Redskins.

Tales from the tour
Never judge a golf season by first impressions.

No. 1 UConn thumps UMass 91-67
HARTFORD, Conn. Ben Gordon scored 34 points, going 7-of-8 from 3-point range, to lead No. 1 Connecticut to a 91-67 victory Massachusetts on Tuesday night.

O'Neal, Artest, Pacers spoil James' party
CLEVELAND LeBron James had the wrong guys show up for his party.

Red Raiders sink Navy
HOUSTON Navy was no match for Texas Tech's air force.

Francis ties for fourth on all-time points list
RALEIGH, N.C. Ron Francis tied for fourth on the NHL's all-time points list with a goal and the Carolina Hurricanes finally solved Buffalo's Mika Noronen, beating the Sabres 2-1 Monday night.

Nebraska wins in Alamo Bowl
SAN ANTONIO Bo Pelini tried something a little different in his one-game audition to become Nebraska's next head coach.

He's been earning it ever since
Great college coaches usually make serviceable pros and that's about all.

No. 2 Blue Devils cruise
DURHAM, N.C. J.J. Redick scored a season-high 22 points, and freshman Luol Deng added 18 Monday to lead No. 2 Duke past Davidson 88-54.

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