By Jenny Neyman
Mary and Bob Haeg’s version of paradise would be some people’s version of hell, or at least purgatory.
Thirty years with no running water, no electricity, no regular mail, no phone, no TV, no computer or Internet, no neighbors, no way in or out except by boat or plane.
“No stores, no roads, no people,” Bob said.
“It sure was nice,” Mary said.
“Yeah, there was no baloney. I’d still be there if I wasn’t so damn old,” Bob said. Continue reading
By Jenny Neyman
Scott Walden usually gets up at 4:30 a.m. He was about ready to head to bed around 10 p.m. Sunday night. But when you’re the coordinator of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management and a volcano starts erupting across Cook Inlet, sleep can be hard to come by.
After three months of on-and-off rumbling, Mount Redoubt finally made good on its threats. The volcano began a series of eruptions at 10:38 p.m. Sunday night, followed by others at 11:02 p.m., 12:14 a.m. and 1:39 a.m., according to the Alaska Volcano Observatory. The largest blast of the morning occurred at 4:03 a.m. Monday, sending an ash cloud more than 60,000 feet — 12 miles — into the air. Another large eruption occurred at 7:41 p.m. Monday, sending another ash plume 60,000 feet into the air.
Walden’s work cell phone, a 24-hour necessity for occasions such as these, started ringing between 10 and 10:20 p.m. Sunday, he said, when it became clear Redoubt was ready to do more than just rumble. Continue reading
By Jenny Neyman
Along with the weather, fishing and speculating how much the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend will be each year, swapping tales of distasteful water is an easy way to strike up a conversation on the central Kenai Peninsula.
Live here long enough or move around the area enough times and residents develop a lexis for describing what comes out of their taps much like wine connoisseurs contrast different vintages and varietals — except the wannabe sommeliers are more likely to use favorable terms.
Cloudy with a bouquet of rotten eggs, leaving an indelible green circle around the bathtub and rendering every load of white laundry somewhat gray.
Drinking water is something Alaskans can love to hate, or at least debate. Which is better, Kenai’s or Soldotna’s? Chances are, the arguments miss the point, involving factors that are distasteful — like color, smell and taste — but not mentioning the invisible contaminants that may be harmful, like arsenic.
In that regard, the argument’s clear, even if the water isn’t — Soldotna is in compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency’s maximum limit of arsenic allowed in public water sources, and Kenai is not. Continue reading
By Jenny Neyman
“State nickname: The Last Frontier. Not to be confused with the final frontier, which is definitely space.
“State bird: The Willow Ptarmigan. The ‘P’ is silent. The ‘X’ and the ‘Q’ are both silent and invisible.
“State fish: King salmon. When king crab found out, he waged an epic war on king salmon’s kingdom, which ended abruptly when someone reminded king crab that crab is not a fish.
“State gem: Jade. Runner-up: Jewel.
“State fossil: Mammoth. Runner-up: Ted Stevens.
“State mammal: Moose. Bears campaigned heavily for the position but lost after eating their speechwriters.”
Comedy commemorating Alaska’s 50th anniversary of statehood, including these Alaska factoids listed above: “Eight Stars of Comedy Gold.” Continue reading
Chris Jenness came into my gallery many years ago, wanting to frame a number of small pastel drawings he had created. At the time, my inside exhibition room had rotating exhibits of many artists, just a few pieces from each. I expressed an interest in his work, and recommended that he show some of it in my gallery. He acted surprised that I would like it, but I have since learned that humbleness is just a part of his character. He has a creative well that seems always available, and the necessary energy to finish the projects he starts.
The exhibit that currently is running at the Kenai Peninsula College Gary L. Freeburg Gallery is from a series of acrylic works exploring the “Details” of comic strip panels. Whereas Roy Lichtenstein was known for painting large canvases of individual comic strip panels, Jenness takes it further, by looking even closer and dramatically cropping. Continue reading
By Jenny Neyman
What’s it like to be 14 years old on the runners of a dog sled mushing in the most prestigious junior mushing race in Alaska?
For 26 minutes, audiences can find out.
“Trails North — One Girl’s Quest to Run the Junior Iditarod,” is a 26-minute documentary film following Meredith Mapes, a young musher from Wasilla, as she trains for and races in the 2008 Junior Iditarod. The film will be shown at 4 p.m. Saturday at Triumvirate Theatre in the Peninsula Center Mall in Soldotna. Admission is free.
Joe Rizzo, president of Triumvirate, got a grant to film the documentary with his daughter, Miranda, who is a junior mushing fanatic herself. Bob Mabrey, who has a production studio in Nikiski, helped with the filming.
The documentary follows Mapes as she trains for the race in the summer of 2007 up through running the Junior Iditarod on Feb. 28, 2008. Continue reading
- Artists Without Borders in the 4D Building in Soldotna has artwork by Susan Anderson on display through March.
- Art Works in Soldotna has egg tempera paintings by Andy Hehnlin on display through March.
- Coffee Roasters on Kalifornsky Beach Road has an exhibition of Kenai Peninsula College student photography from the Tustumena 200 Sled Dog Race on display through March 26.
- The Funky Monkey in Kenai has nature and wildlife photography by Samantha Becker on display through March.
- The Gary L. Freeburg Gallery at Kenai Peninsula College has “Details,” an exhibition of paintings by Nikiski graphic artist Chris Jenness, on display through March.
- Kaladi Brothers on Kobuk Street in Soldotna has “This Season That We Call Winter,” a photography exhibition by Genevieve Klebba, on display through March.
- Kaladi Brothers on the Sterling Highway in Soldotna has photography by Jeremy Reeve on display through March.
- The Kenai Fine Arts Center in Old Town Kenai has the Peninsula Art Guild Biennial Judged Exhibition on display through March.
- The Soldotna Senior Center is looking for artists to display their work in the center’s lobby. Shows are one month long. Artwork must hang on the walls. Call Mary Lane at 262-8839. The artist of the month in March is Corrine Fairchild. Continue reading