Daily Archives: April 11, 2012
By Jenny Neyman
Six candidates are vying for three seats on the Homer Electric Association Board of Directors. Ballots were mailed to HEA members March 30 and are due back by May 2. Members may also vote by attending the annual meeting at 6 p.m. May 3 at Homer High School.
Candidates were asked the following 10 questions. Their responses are below.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
2. Why are you running?
3. What are your top three priorities for HEA that you would like to advance by being on the board?
4. What do you think of the proposed Grant Lake hydroelectric project near Moose Pass?
5. What do you think of the rate-restructuring plan that went into effect in January?
6. What do you think the future of power generation for the peninsula should be, and how should we get there?
7. Name two things you think HEA does well?
8. Name two things you think could be changed or improved?
9. Why do you think you’re the best candidate for the position?
10. Is there anything else you would like members/voters to know about you?
Almanac: Water crash douses hope for survival — Tustumena Lake swallows plane after pilot misjudges horizon line
Editor’s note: This is the second of a three-part story about a 1965 Cordova Airlines crash into Tustumena Lake. Last week began with the aftermath. This week will explain how the accident occurred. Next week will conclude with the efforts of the lone survivor.
By Clark Fair
The speculation about the cause of the Cordova Airlines crash into Tustumena Lake on Sept. 4, 1965, centers on the fallibility of the human senses in certain conditions and on the need, therefore, to trust one’s instruments.
The National Transportation Safety Board investigation of the crash determined the probable cause to be that the pilot had “misjudged distance and altitude” under “adverse weather conditions.”
Given the conditions, in other words, he should have trusted his eyes less and his dials more.
The pilot was 29-year-old Bob Barton — with brother, Bill, owner of Barton’s Flying Service out of Anchorage — who had 5,184 total hours of flying experience, including 403 hours in the type of plane, an Aero Grand Commander, that he was flying that day.
Barton had been a Cordova Airlines pilot for seven to eight years, flying previously out of Cordova, Gulkana and Yakutat.
After the crash, he would leave behind a wife named Sharon and a 6-year-old daughter named Sandra.
Barton’s first stop occurred sometime between 7 and 7:30 a.m. in Homer, where he received two passengers: The first was 27-year-old North Kenai construction worker Raymond M. Puckett, who had been living for the previous six years with Mr. and Mrs. Tony McGahan of Kenai and who had been a secretary to the Kenai Volunteer Fire Department.
The second passenger was 41-year-old civil engineer and land surveyor Harold H. Galliett Jr., who was a key figure in the Anchorage Utility Company and was under contract at that time to work on a water and sewer project for the city of Kenai.
By Joseph Robertia
Gas prices are rising. Employment is down. Not even the support networks established to help people during hard times are immune to economic problems.
“We’re seeing more people, and the member agencies we provide for are seeing more people, but donations from local businesses are down,” said Linda Swarner, executive director of the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank.
The nonprofit relies on donations, disseminating the goods they are given to people in need, from single or young parents struggling to provide for their kids, to those who have been laid off and are finding it difficult to make ends meet, to those who have been diagnosed with cancer or other unforeseen medical ailments for which the cost of treatment was not in their budget.
“The numbers we’re providing for are growing,” Swarner said.
A few years ago, she said a typical February brought in 1,449 people looking for supplemental food, while for the same month last year that number rose by more than 200.
“In February 2011 we saw 1,675 people come in,” she said.
Adding to this situation, the amount of food being provided has gone down substantially. While a few years ago the food bank distributed 83,185 pounds of food in February, for that same month this year they were only able to provide 74,367 pounds of food. That’s nearly 9,000 pounds less.
Homer Tribune staff
The Alaska Supreme Court issued a ruling Friday that the Alliance of Concerned Taxpayers must pay for their own attorney fees after suing the Kenai Peninsula Borough on the matter of term limits.
Believing the borough assembly was ignoring voter wishes, ACT decided to file initiative petitions for term limits on assembly and school board members in 2007. Both initiatives passed and were challenged in court, where assembly term limits prevailed and the limit on school board members was denied.
This means ACT won one matter and lost on the other, and for five years fought to recover attorney costs.
The Alaska Supreme Court affirmed a lower court ruling that there was no clearly prevailing party, and therefore, there would be no compensation for attorney fees.
ACT’s Mike McBride said he is disappointed.
“I have talked to our attorney about this, and he is reviewing the material now. I’ll be talking to him and we’ll have a better understanding of exactly what was said,” McBride said.
By Naomi Klouda
Sen. Lisa Murkowski illustrates America’s mounting debt by telling school kids and adults to picture each and every one of them owing $50,000.
“You have that much in your pocket?” she asks.
It’s difficult to bend one’s mind around $14 trillion dollars, she told Homer audiences during her visit last week.
“When you break a debt down, it’s pretty amazing. What’s happening in Congress — we’re talking some tough stuff,” Murkowski told those gathered for the Homer Chamber of Commerce meeting April 4.
Energy costs feed into the cycle, as do the high cost of medical services. By 2021, 58 percent of all federal spending is mandated for covering Medicare and Medicaid, she said.
“Think about what that does to the discretionary side of the budget. I wish I could say, ‘Don’t worry, we’re going to solve all the problems,’” Murkowski said.
Yet, it is an election year. Members of Congress are grandstanding for political posture without pressing for real solutions, she said.
“They are proposing legislation that has no chance of passage, but they are putting it out there for political purposes, with no intention for its passage,” Murkowski said.
“I think you want to know we’re lowering the costs and increasing the access to health care. But right now it is about elections. And I say that with a lot of frustrations. Right now I am not convinced we are making headway. I don’t think Congress is doing you any favors right now,” she said.
By Jenny Neyman
There’s something to be said for living in the moment, especially when that moment involves a jazz musician plunging into an intricate improvisation. At the same time, jazz is progressive, and you’ve got to know from where you’re coming to know where you’re going.
Rick Zelinsky, jazz saxophonist, is straddling the crossroads between then and now. He explores the paths traveled by jazz greats of the past, and uses it to chart his own compositions in the future.
Zelinsky is at a crossroads in his musical career, as well. He’s a performer in Anchorage and beyond, teaches at the University of Alaska and in the Anchorage School District, and has a family with three kids growing their musical interests — all of which keeps him rooted in Anchorage.
Pulling him away is his educational path. He’s got a bachelor’s degree in music performance from Cleveland State University, a master’s in saxophone performance from the University of Akron, Ohio, and is accepted into a doctorate program for saxophone at the University of Indiana. Until he can drag himself away from Alaska and the music scene here long enough to finish his doctorate, Zelinsky is treading a middle road that keeps his head and fingers in academia.
By Joseph Robertia
While there are many businesses on the central Kenai Peninsula that have come and gone, one small sewing shop has threaded its way to success over the years, and not dwindling industry, a sluggish economy or even a fire can snag it into closing.
“We’ve been in business since ’91. I started when my son was 1 year old. I needed a source of income, but wanted to be with my kids and do something I enjoyed,” said Shonda Powell, owner of Bare Threads and Laundromat at Mile 20 of the Kenai Spur Highway in Nikiski.
From a humble beginning teaching children to sew fleece in a small mall stall, Powell’s shop has grown and moved over the years, and with the addition of the Laundromat services, the business now encompasses 4,000 square feet and caters to the general public as well as servicing several of the largest employers in this area.
“I think the keys to my success are being careful, and doing a little bit of everything,” she said. “We do hemming, zippers and just helping people finish sewing projects they’ve started but can’t get done,” as well as seasonal stuff, like prom and wedding dresses and upholstery work in summer.
Being a Jill of all trades has allowed Powell to focus her efforts on whatever the demand was at the time.
“As one part of the business got slow, I would start on something
different,” she said.
By Dr. David Wartinbee, for the Redoubt Reporter
During the past few months I have been sorting through samples I collected last year from a number of streams and lakes. While I am mostly interested in dipteran insects, I frequently come across other aquatic creatures that pique my interest.
Springtails are wingless creatures that rarely get larger than a few millimeters in length. They are often only as long as the letter “i” in this paper. The one in the picture is only 4 millimeters long and is magnified more than 40 times.
Within the taxonomic arena, collembola have recently become somewhat of a football.
Dozens of my invertebrate books clearly place them within the class Insecta, since they look like insects and have six legs. Up until recently, that is all I have ever known them to be.
Now, DNA analysis indicates that they are not closely related to other insects and should be classified differently.
Currently they are being described as hexapods (six-legged arthropods) that belong within the class Entognatha. This new class consists of arthropods with an internal jaw, which differs from insects since they have external jaws. No matter what their proper names, they are quite interesting creatures.
By Christine Cunningham, for the Redoubt Reporter
It was 3.a.m. when I awoke to a gnawing and scratching sound. My first thought made my blood run cold. Loose in my house was a wily English setter pup, and the sound was coming directly from the area where I’d recently installed a new leather couch.
Not just any new leather couch, but one that could be called the grand piano of leather couches. A piece of furniture that, in the minds of those who cherish a well-made nest, is sought after and found with a sense of accomplishment that brings tears to the eyes. It wasn’t just a beautiful whiskey-colored, soft-leather, high-backed, pin-tucked couch that brought to mind parlors full of sophisticated conversation.
It was also a great deal.
I jumped out of bed and ran into the living room. The little setter was sitting on the couch with an expression of disturbed activity. Sure enough, she’d been licking the couch. She hadn’t chewed it yet, but she was going to. Since I’m not a dog, I don’t know what goes on prior to the act of chewing.
When I arrive on the scene, an object of my affection is usually already destroyed. I don’t know how long it took or what preparation was involved.
There isn’t a lot of literature on precursory chewing activities in dogs. Officers of the human law are known to say, “We have to catch them in the act.”
Spring photo contest
It’s time for the second Redoubt Reporter, reader-submitted photo contest.
Photos will be judged and winners selected by a three-member panel. After each contest closes, we’ll publish and discuss some of our favorites in the Redoubt Reporter, space permitting. We’ll choose some of our favorite submissions from this spring 2012 photo contest and our fall 2011 contest and invite those photographers to frame and hang their photos at a Redoubt Reporter June 2012 group photo show already scheduled at the Sterling Highway Kaladi Brothers coffee shop.
The deadline to enter is 11:59 p.m. April 20, 2012. All submissions must be in high-quality digital format. Submit no more than five JPEG images by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Our themes are “Winter into spring” or “End of a long winter,” and submissions must fit this theme. Entrants must be amateur photographers who are residents of the central Kenai Peninsula.
2. Photographs can be of any subject fitting the theme but must have been taken of the Kenai Peninsula on or after Jan. 1, 2011.
3. If you submit photographs in which people are recognizable, you must also provide us with their permission for us to publish any such photographs.
4. Please do not submit portrait photos. Do not submit photographs whose content would not be appropriate for publication in a family newspaper. Do not submit photos of illegal subject matter. All such photos will be deleted immediately without notice to you and at the sole discretion of the editor.
5. Photographers must include their name, telephone number, email address, town of residency and each photo’s date, location and subject matter.
6. Submitted JPEG images should be of the best possible technical quality. Good technique and technical quality are important, but originality, creativity, interesting subject matter, artistic merit and good composition are even more important.
7. By submitting photos, you agree to our publication of them in the Redoubt Reporter newspaper and on our website. The Redoubt Reporter will have the right of first publication of your photos. However, you will retain the copyright for all other purposes and your name will be listed if we publish any of your photos.
8. Our decisions about what’s published or selected for exhibition are final and are admittedly subjective. Space is limited, and the judging panel and editor reserve the right to choose photos at their discretion.
9. Retain your original digital files of all submitted images. We are not responsible for preserving copies of your digital images. Continue reading