Monthly Archives: October 2008

On a roll — Peninsula Strikers gets kids bowling for life

By Jenny Neyman
Redoubt Reporter

Tasha Waterbury hefted her ball Saturday at AlaskaLanes in Kenai and paused for a moment, eyeing the lane in front of her over the shiny, spherical bulk in her hands.

The Soldotna High School junior was a brief moment of motionlessness in the sea of activity around her: waves of bowlers shuffling back and forth from ball returns to lanes, launching their shots in a whirl of limbs and slide of shoes, pins ricocheting into each other, parents retrieving the youngest competitors from whatever diversion caught their attention and depositing them back in their seats to await their turn to bowl.

When Tasha moved it was in one fluid motion, her feet gliding up to the line, arm swinging back then down, ball transferring from fingers to floor without any arc or bounce, just a solid thud of impact giving way to the almost electric-sounding hum of the ball in its near-frictionless slide down the lane toward a crash landing at the end.

It’s taken Tasha nine years to get to that point. She’s been doing youth league bowling since she was in second grade. Her progress was represented in the difference between her lane and the next one over, where 6-year-old Ginni Orth lugged her ball up to the line and chunked it down with all the bend and flex of Frankenstein.

Had she not been tromping forward at the time, it’s questionable what direction the ball would have gone in. As it was, it loped into the gutter, at which point Ginni pirouetted around and skipped back to her friends.

Everybody’s got to start somewhere. With the Peninsula Strikers youth bowling league, the idea is to start a lifelong love of bowling.

“Bowling is one of those things, usually if you do it when you’re young, you do it for the rest of your life,” said Kathy Waterbury, an organizer of youth league bowling on the central Kenai Peninsula.

Waterbury had Tasha start bowling when she was 7.

“It started out to be something to do on a Saturday morning, something fun to get them involved. And it has turned into a passion,” Waterbury said.

Tasha remembers bowling for the first time, and her mom asking if she liked it.

“I thought it was just for the day. I enjoyed it and kept on doing it,” she said.

An interest in basketball and soccer came and went, since Tasha doesn’t like team sports, she said. Now bowling is her sport, and could get her thousands of dollars in scholarships.

“It’s fun and it can be relaxing if you’re stressed,” she said.

“It’s nice for these kids who may not necessarily be able to or want to participate in the footballs or basketballs,” Waterbury said. “It’s nice for them to have a sport they can call their own. Bowling gives them something to do and keeps them off the streets.”

The Peninsula Strikers is a youth league for ages 4 to 21 that draws 40 to 50 bowlers each year, Waterbury said. They bowl Saturdays at AlaskaLanes from fall to spring. Bowlers compete against each other to accumulate points, and the winners go on to bowl in a state tournament.

“Last year we did very well,” Waterbury said. “There’s some really good bowlers here in this league. When you think you’re competing against Anchorage, which is such a bigger pool of bowlers, but we held our own, which is awesome.”

Scholarship money is available at the local and state tournament level. Anyone is welcome to join the league, whether they’ve bowled for years or never set foot on a lane before.

“I think it starts out as a fun thing for them to do to have a sport activity, something to go to,” Waterbury said. “They get into it because they want to have fun and it just kind of becomes a part of their lives. They then can move on, participate in tournaments, there’s scholarship money available — it kind of grows on them.”

The local high school club bowling program started three years ago, after the Waterbury family moved back to the area from Washington, where Tasha participated in high school bowling.

Waterbury said she wanted to start a high school league here so Tasha and other kids with the same interest had more opportunities to bowl. They practice Wednesdays and Fridays, and many also participate in the youth league. There’s also a youth-adult bowling league in the area.

The high school league has seven members and is acknowledged by the schools, with SoHi even featuring their bowlers in its yearbook last year, Waterbury said. But it isn’t a school district-sponsored sport. Waterbury hopes to eventually grow the program to that point. For now, though, it’s more about fun.

“I want the kids to enjoy a sport, and it’s all about the kids — that’s how I look at it,” Waterbury said.

Dollie Nicholson signed up her son, John, for Peninsula Strikers in September for just that reason. On Saturday, the 8-year-old showed he was getting the hang of things.
“He’s getting better,” Nicholson said. “He just tends to curve.”

John’s shots veered left, but sometimes not until after the ball made it to the pins.
“It’s hard to throw them and get them in the lane,” he said.

His aim was improving, as was his bowling vocabulary.

“It’s hard to get the balls into the gutter — well, not the gutter, but the score place,” he said.

His enthusiasm was plenty developed. After just over a month of bowling, the sport already ranked pretty high in his world view.

“It’s more fun than playing video games and watching TV and shooting stuff at my brother,” he said.

Anyone interested in joining the Peninsula Strikers can contact Waterbury at 262-7449 or 398-8813.

“All they have to do is give me a call. They can start that day,” she said. “We make it as easy as we can because we want the kids to bowl.”

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Learning experience — Teaching in Alaska is whole new class of education


By Clark Fair
Redoubt Reporter

Mary France was pleased when she received the telegram from Juneau offering her a teaching position in the only school in Kenai. She had applied for a job teaching first grade, and she made the assumption she would be teaching first grade.

The truth was one of several surprises in store for the 26-year-old when she came to the Last Frontier in 1954.

Mary France, now 80, was accompanying her husband, Dan, to the Kenai Peninsula, where he had been appointed protection officer for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. She had left behind five years of elementary school teaching — two in Washington state and three in Idaho — and was grateful for the opportunity to continue.

“Since I had applied for a first-grade position, I assumed that I had a first-grade teaching job,” she said. “Well, I didn’t realize that that wasn’t so, and when school started in the fall I discovered I wasn’t the first-grade teacher; I was the fifth-grade teacher. It was a huge difference.”

Since Kenai principal George Fabricius had been out of the area for the entire summer, France didn’t discover her actual appointment until the day before school began, barely enough time to get used to the idea, let alone prepare to teach.

Still, she dutifully took her new class and began getting to know them and figuring out how to instruct them.

Meanwhile, things were not going as planned in the first grade.

The school had estimated that it would receive approximately 25 first-graders. Instead — due in part to the 1953 establishment of the Wildwood Army Station just outside of town and the burgeoning growth of young homesteading families — opening day saw 50 first-year students cramming into Joyce Carver’s southeast-corner basement classroom.

Consequently, at a faculty meeting at the end of the first day, France was made an offer.
“That’s when they asked me if I would switch to first grade,” she said. “Mr. Fabricius thought there was someone else in the area that had applied for a job that he was going to see if he could get to come in.”

By day two, Mrs. Biggar was in charge of the fifth grade, and Mary France was a first-grade teacher, sharing a single classroom with Carver and 50 students.

“We had to hunt for desks,” she said. “It was a struggle to come up with enough desks and equipment.”
Another struggle was basic classroom operation, especially since no kindergartens existed in the area and most of their students had never been in any kind of school before. Many of the students did not know their colors or numbers, let alone the alphabet, and some were unsure of where they lived and even their last names.

For practical purposes, France and Carver sometimes split the class in half. “I took my group of students and went into the hall for beginning reading,” France said. “But many things were taught together. We could do math together. One of us would do the teaching, and the other one would supervise and keep things going.”

The cramped conditions continued until Nov. 11, when the upstairs addition to the school was complete and Carver took half of the students to a new classroom.

The problems, however, were not over. And neither was France’s introduction to the intricacies of teaching in a remote location.

Most of the town, according to the Frances, received electricity from a diesel-powered generator operated by Frank Rowley. In the mornings and evenings, when the natural light was low or nonexistent, Rowley’s generator couldn’t keep up with the demand. At those times, Fabricius would go outside and start up the school’s own “light plant.”

The principal expected energy conservation from his faculty.

“Mr. Fabricius was pretty iron-handed, I guess,” France said. “You had to keep the temperature at 68 degrees, and you never turned on three banks of lights at a time. You turned on the two inside banks, but you never turned on the third bank because of the electricity problem.”

Another occasional problem centered around recess. “Kids went outside to play, regardless of the weather,” France said. “Everybody went out to recess (at the same time), and somebody always checked the playground to see if there were moose because if there were moose on the playground we couldn’t take the kids out for recess.

“And many times the moose would come and lie just by the windows at the back of the school. And the kids couldn’t go outside to play because (the moose) wintered there.”

Another difficulty came at the end of each day, especially early in the year.

“One of the hardest things to do was to get (the first-graders) on the right bus. The military kids had their own bus, but to go out to North Kenai, it was all Greek to me,” said France, who was unfamiliar with the area herself. “I didn’t know where any of those roads were out there.

“We did the best we could to put the kids on the right bus. Then it was kind of up to the bus driver.
“One kid — the bus driver came back (to the school) with one that was left over. And he didn’t know where he lived, so we just had to stay there until his parents came.”

The teachers and students at the Kenai school made it through the year, although France said the experience was an education for everyone. The area was growing, oil was about to be discovered on the Swanson River field, and things would never be the same.

“That was the first year that they had to have two teachers (for one grade), and after that year the second grade had to have two, and then the third, and so forth,” France said. The earliest grades also stayed large, and so for many years in a row at least one teacher was added to the faculty.

France’s first first-graders would not be her last, but — including such familiar area surnames as Reger, Segura, Ames, Juliussen and Ivanoff — they would be among her most memorable. Except for a two-year foray (1957 to 1959) into high school home economics, France continued in elementary education until she retired in the 1970s.

Over the years, the area got telephones, radio, television, natural gas and paved roads, but progress was rarely easy. Mary France got better and better at teaching elementary school in rural Alaska, but it was that first year that helped prepare her for the many to follow.

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Arts and events calendar week of Oct. 29

Events:

Ongoing
  • Artists Without Borders in the 4D Building in Soldotna has a group show, “The Color of Music,” on display through October.
  • Art Works in Soldotna has watercolors by Sherri Sather on display through October.
  • The Funky Monkey coffee shop in Kenai has watercolors by Pam Mersch on display through October.
  • Kaladi Brothers on Kobuk Street in Soldotna has artwork by Emily Grossman on display through October.
  • Kaladi Brothers on the Sterling Highway in Soldotna has art by Amy Warfle on display through October.
  • The Kenai Fine Arts Center in Old Town Kenai has “Out of the Bag,” an experimental exhibit, on display through October.
  • The Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center has a group exhibit by the Kenai Photo Guild on display through October.
  • Veronica’s coffee shop in Kenai has photographs of Veronica’s through the seasons by Joe Kashi on display through October.

Wednesday
  • The Nikiski Community Rec Center is holding a Howl’oween dog costume contest with door prizes, costume prizes, a doggie cakewalk and refreshments at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. Dogs must be both people and dog friendly and on a leash at all times. The cost is a $5 entry fee per dog. Call 776-8800.
  • The Soldotna Public Library has a pumpkin carving and painting contest. Entries representing a fictional book character can be dropped off Wednesday.

Thursday
  • The Nikiski Senior Center has a fall bazaar and bake sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with jewelry, candles, candy, figurines, Pampered Chef items, Avon, jellies, jams and baked goods. Call 776-7654.
  • Soldotna library pumpkin contest judging and awards. See Wednesday listing.

Halloween

For adults:

  • The Kenai Performers will stage “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” at 7 p.m. the Old Town Playhouse in Kenai, with Allen Auxier, Saraya Coburn, Angie Lyon, Terri Zopf-Schoessler, Dagmar Mayer, Dan Van Zee, Crockett Schipman, Andrew Gunter, Glenn Tinker, Scott Coburn, Lisa Nugent, Jamie Nelson, Donna Shirberg, Doug O’Hara, Charlotte Schipman and Sally Cassano. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and kids. The show is rated PG-13.
  • The Clam Shell Lodge in Clam Gulch has a Halloween party with music by 9-Spine.
  • The Duck Inn on Kalifornsky Beach Road has a costume contest with prizes at 8 p.m. and karaoke at 9 p.m.
  • The Funky Monkey in Kenai has trick-or-treating and a costume contest for kids at 6 p.m.
  • The .406 in Kenai has a pizza and salad bar, karaoke and a costume contest with prizes for the scariest, funniest, most original and best transsexual costumes.
  • Hooligans Saloon in Soldotna has rock covers and originals by Tuff-e-Nuff and a costume contest with prizes for scariest, ugliest, sexiest and most original costumes.
  • The J-Bar-B has prime rib dinner, karaoke and a costume contest.
  • Moosequito’s in Sterling has a costume contest with $100 for first prize, $50 for second and $25 for third.
  • Mykel’s in Soldotna has acoustic music by Dave Unruh from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
  • The Place in Nikiski has bluegrass and rock music by Them Other Shuckers and a costume contest.
  • The Rainbow Bar in Kenai has rock covers by The Mabrey Brothers at 10 p.m. and a costume contest.
  • The Vagabond Inn on K-Beach Road has music by AK Free Fuel and a costume contest.
  • Veronica’s in Kenai has acoustic music by Chris, Robert and Josh at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

For teens/families:

  • The Nikiski Senior Center has a fall bazaar and bake sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. See Thursday listing.
  • Kenai Elks Lodge will hold a Halloween party and costume contest from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., open to public. Kids may bring carved pumpkins to enter the pumpkin-carving contest. Call Mary Macrander at 283-7776.
  • The Boys and Girls Club of the Kenai Peninsula will hold trunk-or-treating and an indoor carnival from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Setup starts at 5 p.m. Call Kim Dent at 283-2682.
  • Sterling Elementary School will hold trunk-or-treating from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the school parking lot. The school is seeking donations of candy.
  • Kenai Christian Church will host trunk-or-treating from 6 to 8 p.m. with live music, candy and food available. Call Adam Meyers at 283-4559.
  • Grace Lutheran School and Church on Ciechanski Road will hold an October Fest with food, fellowship, games and prizes from 6 to 8 p.m., open to the public. Fun, not scary, costumes are encouraged, and there will be a soup and dessert cookoff for adults to enter. Each family is asked to donate a bag of candy for game prizes. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Call Pastor Tom Schmidt at 283-6297.
  • The Sterling Senior Center will host a costume Halloween party for Sterling families from 6 to 8 p.m. with games, prizes, treats and a cakewalk. Volunteers are needed. Call 262-2943.
  • The Nikiski Rec Center will hold a teen night Cand costume contest from 7 to 10 p.m. for ages 13 to 18. Cost is $2 per person. No masks or no weapons allowed.

Saturday
  • Coffee Roasters on K-Beach Road has Kona coffee tasting from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • The Nikiski Senior Center has a fall bazaar and bake sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. See Thursday listing.
  • Pamyua will perform at 7 p.m. in the Renee C. Henderson Auditorium at Kenai Central High School with an opening performance by Yaghanen Youth. Tickets are $15, available at the door or in advance at Charlotte’s, Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center and Funky Monkey in Kenai, and Art Works and River City Books in Soldotna. Call Michael Bernard at 398-1510.
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” at 7 p.m. at Old Town Playhouse. See Friday listing.

Sunday
  • “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” at 3 p.m. at Old Town Playhouse. See Friday listing.

Nov. 7
  • The Soldotna Senior Center will hold its 12th annual juried amateur art show in conjunction with the center’s fall bazaar. Entries can be dropped off from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 4 and 5. Categories are oils, pastels, watercolors, and drawings; needle arts, beading, quilting and sewing; and three-dimensional. The entry fee is $6, with a maximum three entries each person. Call Mary Lane, 262-8839.
  • “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” at 7 p.m. at Old Town Playhouse. See Friday listing.

Nov. 8
  • “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” at 7 p.m. at Old Town Playhouse. See Friday listing.
  • Soldotna Senior Center’s 12th annual juried amateur art show and fall bazaar. See Nov. 7 listing.

Nightlife:

DJ
  • The Riverside in Soldotna has live DJ music every Friday and Saturday at 10 p.m., with a Halloween party Friday.

Live music
  • The Clam Shell Lodge in Clam Gulch has music by 9-Spine Friday and Saturday nights.
  • The Funky Monkey in Kenai has folk music on Wednesday night.
  • Hooligans Saloon in Soldotna has rock covers and originals by Tuff-e-Nuff on Friday and Saturday nights.
  • Kaladi Brothers on Kobuk Street in Soldotna has music by Tyler Schlung on Saturday night.
  • The Maverick in Soldotna has acoustic classic rock by the Free Beer Band at 9:30 p.m. Sunday.
  • Moosequito’s in Sterling has acoustic music by Adam and Sonny on Wednesday.
  • Mykel’s in Soldotna has acoustic music by Dave Unruh from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
  • The Place in Nikiski has bluegrass music by Them Other Shuckers around 7 p.m. Friday.
  • The Rainbow Bar in Kenai has rock covers by The Mabrey Brothers at 10 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
  • The Vagabond Inn on K-Beach Road has music by AK Free Fuel on Friday night.
  • Veronica’s in Kenai has open mic music at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, and acoustic music by Chris, Robert and Josh at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

Karaoke
  • 9 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays at the Duck Inn on Kalifornsky Beach Road.
  • 9 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays at the .406 in Kenai.
  • 9:30 p.m. Wednesday at Hooligan’s in Soldotna.
  • 8:30 p.m. Friday at the J-Bar-B in Kasilof.
  • 9:30 p.m. Monday at the Maverick in Soldotna.

Other
  • BJ’s in Soldotna has a Brown Bears hockey pregame special with a game ticket, tacos and a beer for $15 from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday.
  • Hooligan’s in Soldotna has a nine-ball pool tournament at 9 p.m. Thursdays.
  • The J-Bar-B has free pool on Sundays, a horseshoe pit in the beer garden, and a cash drawing at 6:30 p.m. Saturdays.
  • The Maverick in Soldotna has a pool tournament at 8 p.m. Fridays.
  • Moosequito’s in Sterling has a dart tournament at 8 p.m. Thursdays.

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Arts and events calendar week of Oct. 29

Events:

Ongoing
  • Artists Without Borders in the 4D Building in Soldotna has a group show, “The Color of Music,” on display through October.
  • Art Works in Soldotna has watercolors by Sherri Sather on display through October.
  • The Funky Monkey coffee shop in Kenai has watercolors by Pam Mersch on display through October.
  • Kaladi Brothers on Kobuk Street in Soldotna has artwork by Emily Grossman on display through October.
  • Kaladi Brothers on the Sterling Highway in Soldotna has art by Amy Warfle on display through October.
  • The Kenai Fine Arts Center in Old Town Kenai has “Out of the Bag,” an experimental exhibit, on display through October.
  • The Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center has a group exhibit by the Kenai Photo Guild on display through October.
  • Veronica’s coffee shop in Kenai has photographs of Veronica’s through the seasons by Joe Kashi on display through October.

Wednesday
  • The Nikiski Community Rec Center is holding a Howl’oween dog costume contest with door prizes, costume prizes, a doggie cakewalk and refreshments at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. Dogs must be both people and dog friendly and on a leash at all times. The cost is a $5 entry fee per dog. Call 776-8800.
  • The Soldotna Public Library has a pumpkin carving and painting contest. Entries representing a fictional book character can be dropped off Wednesday.

Thursday
  • The Nikiski Senior Center has a fall bazaar and bake sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with jewelry, candles, candy, figurines, Pampered Chef items, Avon, jellies, jams and baked goods. Call 776-7654.
  • Soldotna library pumpkin contest judging and awards. See Wednesday listing.

Halloween

For adults:

  • The Kenai Performers will stage “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” at 7 p.m. the Old Town Playhouse in Kenai, with Allen Auxier, Saraya Coburn, Angie Lyon, Terri Zopf-Schoessler, Dagmar Mayer, Dan Van Zee, Crockett Schipman, Andrew Gunter, Glenn Tinker, Scott Coburn, Lisa Nugent, Jamie Nelson, Donna Shirberg, Doug O’Hara, Charlotte Schipman and Sally Cassano. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and kids. The show is rated PG-13.
  • The Clam Shell Lodge in Clam Gulch has a Halloween party with music by 9-Spine.
  • The Duck Inn on Kalifornsky Beach Road has a costume contest with prizes at 8 p.m. and karaoke at 9 p.m.
  • The Funky Monkey in Kenai has trick-or-treating and a costume contest for kids at 6 p.m.
  • The .406 in Kenai has a pizza and salad bar, karaoke and a costume contest with prizes for the scariest, funniest, most original and best transsexual costumes.
  • Hooligans Saloon in Soldotna has rock covers and originals by Tuff-e-Nuff and a costume contest with prizes for scariest, ugliest, sexiest and most original costumes.
  • The J-Bar-B has prime rib dinner, karaoke and a costume contest.
  • Moosequito’s in Sterling has a costume contest with $100 for first prize, $50 for second and $25 for third.
  • Mykel’s in Soldotna has acoustic music by Dave Unruh from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
  • The Place in Nikiski has bluegrass and rock music by Them Other Shuckers and a costume contest.
  • The Rainbow Bar in Kenai has rock covers by The Mabrey Brothers at 10 p.m. and a costume contest.
  • The Vagabond Inn on K-Beach Road has music by AK Free Fuel and a costume contest.
  • Veronica’s in Kenai has acoustic music by Chris, Robert and Josh at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

For teens/families:

  • The Nikiski Senior Center has a fall bazaar and bake sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. See Thursday listing.
  • Kenai Elks Lodge will hold a Halloween party and costume contest from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., open to public. Kids may bring carved pumpkins to enter the pumpkin-carving contest. Call Mary Macrander at 283-7776.
  • The Boys and Girls Club of the Kenai Peninsula will hold trunk-or-treating and an indoor carnival from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Setup starts at 5 p.m. Call Kim Dent at 283-2682.
  • Sterling Elementary School will hold trunk-or-treating from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the school parking lot. The school is seeking donations of candy.
  • Kenai Christian Church will host trunk-or-treating from 6 to 8 p.m. with live music, candy and food available. Call Adam Meyers at 283-4559.
  • Grace Lutheran School and Church on Ciechanski Road will hold an October Fest with food, fellowship, games and prizes from 6 to 8 p.m., open to the public. Fun, not scary, costumes are encouraged, and there will be a soup and dessert cookoff for adults to enter. Each family is asked to donate a bag of candy for game prizes. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Call Pastor Tom Schmidt at 283-6297.
  • The Sterling Senior Center will host a costume Halloween party for Sterling families from 6 to 8 p.m. with games, prizes, treats and a cakewalk. Volunteers are needed. Call 262-2943.
  • The Nikiski Rec Center will hold a teen night Cand costume contest from 7 to 10 p.m. for ages 13 to 18. Cost is $2 per person. No masks or no weapons allowed.

Saturday
  • Coffee Roasters on K-Beach Road has Kona coffee tasting from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • The Nikiski Senior Center has a fall bazaar and bake sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. See Thursday listing.
  • Pamyua will perform at 7 p.m. in the Renee C. Henderson Auditorium at Kenai Central High School with an opening performance by Yaghanen Youth. Tickets are $15, available at the door or in advance at Charlotte’s, Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center and Funky Monkey in Kenai, and Art Works and River City Books in Soldotna. Call Michael Bernard at 398-1510.
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” at 7 p.m. at Old Town Playhouse. See Friday listing.

Sunday
  • “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” at 3 p.m. at Old Town Playhouse. See Friday listing.

Nov. 7
  • The Soldotna Senior Center will hold its 12th annual juried amateur art show in conjunction with the center’s fall bazaar. Entries can be dropped off from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 4 and 5. Categories are oils, pastels, watercolors, and drawings; needle arts, beading, quilting and sewing; and three-dimensional. The entry fee is $6, with a maximum three entries each person. Call Mary Lane, 262-8839.
  • “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” at 7 p.m. at Old Town Playhouse. See Friday listing.

Nov. 8
  • “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” at 7 p.m. at Old Town Playhouse. See Friday listing.
  • Soldotna Senior Center’s 12th annual juried amateur art show and fall bazaar. See Nov. 7 listing.

Nightlife:

DJ
  • The Riverside in Soldotna has live DJ music every Friday and Saturday at 10 p.m., with a Halloween party Friday.

Live music
  • The Clam Shell Lodge in Clam Gulch has music by 9-Spine Friday and Saturday nights.
  • The Funky Monkey in Kenai has folk music on Wednesday night.
  • Hooligans Saloon in Soldotna has rock covers and originals by Tuff-e-Nuff on Friday and Saturday ni
    ghts.
  • Kaladi Brothers on Kobuk Street in Soldotna has music by Tyler Schlung on Saturday night.
  • The Maverick in Soldotna has acoustic classic rock by the Free Beer Band at 9:30 p.m. Sunday.
  • Moosequito’s in Sterling has acoustic music by Adam and Sonny on Wednesday.
  • Mykel’s in Soldotna has acoustic music by Dave Unruh from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
  • The Place in Nikiski has bluegrass music by Them Other Shuckers around 7 p.m. Friday.
  • The Rainbow Bar in Kenai has rock covers by The Mabrey Brothers at 10 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
  • The Vagabond Inn on K-Beach Road has music by AK Free Fuel on Friday night.
  • Veronica’s in Kenai has open mic music at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, and acoustic music by Chris, Robert and Josh at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

Karaoke
  • 9 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays at the Duck Inn on Kalifornsky Beach Road.
  • 9 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays at the .406 in Kenai.
  • 9:30 p.m. Wednesday at Hooligan’s in Soldotna.
  • 8:30 p.m. Friday at the J-Bar-B in Kasilof.
  • 9:30 p.m. Monday at the Maverick in Soldotna.

Other
  • BJ’s in Soldotna has a Brown Bears hockey pregame special with a game ticket, tacos and a beer for $15 from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday.
  • Hooligan’s in Soldotna has a nine-ball pool tournament at 9 p.m. Thursdays.
  • The J-Bar-B has free pool on Sundays, a horseshoe pit in the beer garden, and a cash drawing at 6:30 p.m. Saturdays.
  • The Maverick in Soldotna has a pool tournament at 8 p.m. Fridays.
  • Moosequito’s in Sterling has a dart tournament at 8 p.m. Thursdays.

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Stevens should show honor we once thought he had

It’s a sad day for Alaska.

Sen. Ted Stevens, Uncle Ted, Alaskan of the Century, Lion of the Senate, Senator for Life, added a new title to his name: convicted felon.

Stevens was found guilty Monday of seven counts of lying on his campaign disclosure forms by not recording gifts and remodeling services he received from Veco and its president, Bill Allen, Double Musky owner Robert Persons, Penco Properties owner Bob Penney, and the Kenai River Sportfishing Association.

Sadder still was Stevens’ reaction to the guilty verdict — defiance, finger pointing and blame. He didn’t show a hint of remorse or offer any sort of apology to Alaskans.

He probably thinks he doesn’t owe us one. He must figure that after all he’s done for the state, Alaska should be indebted to him for life. That’s the mentality that led him to ignore ethical rules and the law in accepting gifts without reporting them in the first place.

On one hand, he has done more to make Alaska what it is today than anyone else. Communities across the state show the stamp of his service in the Senate — from water projects to airports, even the Challenger Learning Center of Alaska in Kenai was part of the gravy train of federal dollars he consistently drove to the state.

But he’s wrong in thinking his service gives him special ethical privileges, or makes him in any way above the law.

He’s wrong in not taking accountability for his actions. Even if prosecutors didn’t conduct as smooth a case as they could or should have. Even if there was drama with the jury. Even if all the conspiracy theories he and his closest supporters maintain about the investigation and trial that brought him down, it doesn’t obscure the clear, unavoidable truth: He took gifts and didn’t report them.

He’s guilty.

Stevens needs to resign from the Senate, drop out of the re-election race and apologize to his constituents.

If he won’t, it’s up to Alaskans to show Stevens and all our elected officials that we won’t tolerate that kind of behavior by voting against him on Tuesday.

He doesn’t deserve to represent Alaska in the Senate, and he can no longer be an effective legislator. Even if the Senate doesn’t kick him out, as it should, the stigma of these violations will follow him wherever he goes, and in whatever he tries to do.

No other course of action makes sense. If Stevens honestly doesn’t think he inappropriately accepted gifts, or if he truly was clueless that Veco was footing the bill for his house remodeling, then he clearly lacks the intelligence to remain a senator.

If he knew what he was doing and thought he was entitled to his behavior, he lacks the ethical compass needed to be a senator.

That makes him either stupid or corrupt. Neither are qualifications Alaska needs in its representatives.

If Stevens doesn’t want that to be the only thing remembered about him, he needs to step up and prove he’s capable of the integrity and honor Alaskans once assumed he had and be accountable for his actions.

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Filed under editorial, elections, Sen. Ted Stevens

Guest editorial — Mowing down reed canary grass

Why attack?

Reed canary grass is a non-native species that was intentionally planted on the Kenai Peninsula to control erosion. Unfortunately, the grass grows so well, even in the middle of rivers and streams, that it can cause the channel to narrow or dam up completely.

When this happens in salmon streams, loss of fish habitat can occur, along with the creation of barriers to spawning and migration.

Plan of attack

Since the reed canary grass that Kenai Watershed Forum is going after is located near salmon streams, spraying herbicide is not our first choice for getting rid of the grass.

Instead, black tarps will cover the grass to block out sunlight for several summers. In cases where the grass is growing in the channel of the river, the plant will be repeatedly mowed down below the water level in an effort to drown it.

Did we win?

While the grass is not yet waving a white flag, KWF made significant progress this summer at Jim’s Landing, Beaver Creek and Bing’s Landing. Still, there are over 250 known infestations of reed canary grass on the Kenai Peninsula, but most of them are less than an acre, making this an ideal time for control measures. If all goes well, next year’s battlegrounds will include Boat Launch Road and Slikok Creek.

Josselyn O’Connor is the membership coordinator and office manager with the Kenai Watershed Forum.

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Filed under editorial, Kenai River, Kenai Watershed Forum

River watch: Leaves play vital role in health of salmon streams


Riparian vegetation includes the trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants that surround any stream. This vegetation is critically important for the Kenai River, Anchor River, Quartz Creek and most streams on the Kenai Peninsula. These plants provide dropped leaves, bud scales, twigs and even pollen grains that end up in the streams. This vegetable matter provides the energy that supports a majority of the aquatic insects and invertebrates that in turn are food for the fish populations of the receiving streams.

Leaves descend in a short but major pulse in the fall. If an average tree has close to 200,000 leaves, leaf fall can mean a huge organic material influx for the stream. These leaves are at first unusable by the insects until they are attacked by aquatic bacteria and fungi. A few days after inoculation by these bacteria and fungi, the protein content of the leaves actually rises and they become a favorite for a special group of insects. The nymphs and larvae of a couple species of stoneflies and craneflies will skeletonize the leaves and create large amounts of very fine particles that drift downstream. (We’ve all seen the nonbiting cranefly adults when we see a critter buzzing around that looks like a mosquito on steroids.)

These finely chopped-up leaves then become the food of choice for a great many aquatic insects found in these streams. The most common caddisfly in the Kenai River, Brachycentrus, sits on rocks in the stream and catches these fine particles with leg hairs. Some other caddisflies, like Arctopsyche, use specially spun underwater nets to trap the fine particles for their dinner. Many of the mayfly larvae, as well as a great many of the midges, use these leaf fragments as a major food item, too. Black fly larvae — we call the pesky adults “whitesocks” — have specially evolved antennal fans that are used to trap these chopped-up leaves as a major portion of their diet while in the larval stage. Additionally, there is a whole host of nearly microscopic invertebrates (many are related to shrimp) that also use these particles in our streams and rivers.

As every fly fisherman knows, these insects and invertebrates are a major source of food for the resident fish. So, we tempt rainbows, grayling and even lake trout with our fur and feather mimics of these insect larvae and adults. Less widely known is the reliance of our young salmon fry on the smallest of the invertebrates and insects. The more insects our salmon fry can eat, the bigger they will be and the greater their survival will be when they head out to the ocean.

It has been shown that streams with hefty riparian input will support large insect populations and in turn a large population of salmon and trout. The Kuparuk River on the North Slope has almost no riparian input and has very few insects that support only a very small population of grayling. Riparian input each year plays a major role in the overall food chain for our resident fish and the temporary salmon found in our peninsula streams.

There are federal- and state-mandated building and logging setbacks from streams and rivers for very good reasons. Obviously, we don’t want our structures to suffer flood damage and we don’t want our close proximity to the stream to be a source of stream pollution, either. However, the stream’s need for the leaf input each fall is often overlooked, even though these leaves are an important energy engine that fuels the stream and the fish populations. The take-home message is to preserve the riparian vegetation along all of our streams.

David Wartinbee, Ph.D, J.D., is a biology professor at Kenai Peninsula College’s Kenai River Campus. He is writing a series of columns on the biology of the Kenai River.

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Filed under Kenai River, science