Daily Archives: April 22, 2009

Volcanic verse

Mount Redoubt inspires
eruptive show of local
creativity

Editor’s note: The Redoubt Reporter invited readers to submit photos and haiku poems of and inspired by Mount Redoubt’s eruptions. One photo and one poem were chosen as winners, and those submitters receive a T-shirt, a year’s subscription to the paper and are mentioned below. The Redoubt Reporter thanks everyone who participated. Photo prints are available for purchase from the photographers, or contact redoubtreporter@alaska.net to get in touch with the photographers listed here.

By Jenny Neyman
Redoubt Reporter

As Joe Kashi, of Soldotna, jokingly wrote in response to The Redoubt Reporter’s contest of poetry inspired by Mount Redoubt’s eruptions (with due credit given to John Donne and John Kennedy): “Ash not for whom it blows, it blows for thee.”

In a sense, he’s right (albeit a little corny). The volcano’s unrest has inspired curiosity and creativity in onlookers on the central Kenai Peninsula, and around the world, for that matter. It’s provided excitement, a topic of conversation, some celebrity status among friends and relatives down south, a reason for volcano-watching outings with the family, and motivation to pick up a camera or put pen to paper.

The Redoubt Reporter invited readers to share the results of their creativity with the paper, and is pleased to publish those submissions here.

While Kashi’s whimsical haiku poetry submission:
Redoubt volcano
Boom boom boom boom boom boom boom
Twenty times to date
— didn’t rank tops in The Redoubt Reporter’s haiku contest, one of his photos of the smoldering mountain got top mention in the photo division. The shot was taken at sunset March 31 at the top of the hill on Robinson Loop Road.

At left is the winning photo, taken by Joe Kashi, of Soldotna, showing Mount Redoubt at sunset from Robinson Loop Road on March 31.

Above is the winning photo, taken by Joe Kashi, of Soldotna, showing Mount Redoubt at sunset from Robinson Loop Road on March 31.

“I live at the base of the hill. I heard the volcano was simmering so I went up to take a look with my kid and took my camera,” he said.

He used a Kodak z1012 long zoom camera, which he has been keeping with him in his car, in case Redoubt erupted while he was driving somewhere, he said.

“I had that happen during the iconic April 1990 (Redoubt) eruption, which I saw that morning from start to finish, without a camera,” Kashi said.
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Rally aiming for firearms protection — Second Amendment takes top priority for local group

By Jenny Neyman
Redoubt Reporter

“If we don’t know our rights, how can we demand them?”

Scott Hamman’s question was rhetorical among the crowd it was posed to — a group of about 55 Nikiski and other central Kenai Peninsula residents gathered at Hamman’s Metal Magic shop in North Kenai the evening of April 14. Their purpose is to bring attention to a portion of the Bill of Rights they feel is particularly under fire — the Second Amendment.

“We need this sort of effort here because we understand our right to keep and bear arms is being threatened,” said Bob Bird, a Nikiski resident, government and history teacher at Nikiski Middle-High School and unsuccessful Alaskan Independence Party candidate for former Sen. Ted Stevens’ seat in the 2008 elections. “We understand that threat is from the federal government, so we now have to ask for redress and remedy from state government.”

This is a group that is armed with knowledge as much as firearms. In the hour and a half meeting, discussion ranged from current events to the ramifications of the 1938 Federal Firearms Act, scholarly debate over the wording and intention of the Second Amendment — that it recognizes pre-existing rights granted by “Natural Law,” rather than grants rights itself — a treatise on the corrosion of the 10th Amendment, which dictates that the federal government is the agent of the states, and quotes from the Founding Fathers and ancient Greece sprinkled in to illustrate points.

Members of the Second Amendment Task Force, as the group calls itself, are out to share knowledge of the right to keep and bear arms, draw attention to their cause and gain support for their purpose — to protect that right from encroachment by the federal government, Bird said.

“To give courage to our state legislators and to let our law enforcement personnel know that we are awake and we know what our rights are. This is not an organized, 501(c)3 thing. We’re just citizens who understand we have a common purpose, and that common purpose is our right to keep and bear arms,” he said.

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Remembering Roy — School, community team up to honor photographer, teacher, friend

By Jenny Neyman
Redoubt Reporter

There is a phrase of Roy Shapley’s, a local photographer and third-grade teacher at Sterling Elementary School, that has stuck with Sterling Elementary Principal Christine Ermold:

An embarrassment of riches, meaning more than necessary of a good thing to the point of feeling undeserving of it.

Ermold said the phrase has come to mind as she’s organized Sterling Elementary School’s second student and community art show to be held at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the school. This year it’s dedicated in Shapley’s memory, after he died of a heart attack Dec. 22 at age 52.

Photo courtesy of Christine Ermold, Sterling Elementary School. Roy Shapley reads to one of his students, Tyler Lingafelt, earlier this year. Shapley was a teacher at Sterling Elementary School.

Photo courtesy of Christine Ermold, Sterling Elementary School. Roy Shapley reads to one of his students, Tyler Lingafelt, earlier this year. Shapley was a teacher at Sterling Elementary School.

If it were for her, Ermold said the outpouring of community support, especially the numerous donations from artists and photographers, would be embarrassing. But for Shapley, it couldn’t be more deserved.

“He was always jumping in to help others. He’d spend extra time to have a conversation, check in and see how someone was doing, and cultivate that personal relationship,” Ermold said. “He set such a great example for others. He was such a man of integrity and kindness.”
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Experience needed, just not his kind — Commercial fishing advocacy sinks Johnson as Board of Fish appointment

By Jenny Neyman
Redoubt Reporter

As a nominee for a seat on the seven-member Alaska Board of Fisheries, Brent Johnson, of Clam Gulch, has experience in spades.

A lifelong Alaskan, he started fishing in the 1950s, has been a voice at fish board meetings for decades and has been actively involved in fisheries and other public service boards on a regional and statewide level, including the Kenai-Soldotna Fish and Game Advisory Committee, the Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association board, an alternate on the Cook Inlet Salmon Branding board, the Kenai Peninsula Fishermen’s Association, United Fishermen of Alaska and the Kenai Peninsula Borough Planning Commission.

But when the Legislature voted against his conformation 42-16 on Thursday, it was that experience that sunk him, Johnson said. His voice is a frequent and familiar one in fisheries management issues, but it has come from the perspective of commercial fisheries in Cook Inlet – where commercial and sportfishing interests collide like nowhere else in the state.

“Each of these people that are on the board who are commercial fishermen haven’t been from Cook Inlet, and I am from Cook Inlet. And I guess I’m an effective advocate. I’ve been involved in Board of Fish meetings representing my gear type, I have not been there as a representative of sportfishing in the past, because that wasn’t my job. I represent my gear type fairly effectively, albeit the battle is often hard,” Johnson said.

Whether Johnson could look past his focus on advocacy for Cook Inlet commercial fishing and make decisions impartially on behalf of sport-, personal-use and commercial fishing throughout the entire state was at the crux of the debate that surrounded his nomination.

“You don’t take the champion for a cause and ask them to be on the board and be impartial. I think the Legislature has the responsibility to look at the board and make sure different areas of the state are represented,” said Monte Roberts, president of the Kenai River Professional Guide Association, during public testimony April 9.
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Breaking up with normal transportation — Spring thaw brought about some unusual means of getting around

By Clark Fair
Redoubt Reporter

Getting their teenage daughter, Terri, to high school was a particular challenge for Stan and Donnis Thompson back in the early 1970s, after they sold their building supply business and stopped shuttling their family back and forth between Kenai and their homestead on Timberlost Lake.

“The year we moved out here for good, after selling Kenai Korners, my daughter was a freshman in high school and trying to look beautiful and everything,” Donnis remembered. “And she would get herself all fixed up for school.

“We had a Coot (a four-wheel-drive, all-terrain vehicle). It was open and it had four big, big, big tires on it. And it would go anywhere. And we would wrap her up in plastic until she looked like a cocoon, and Stan would pick her up in the Coot to make the school bus, and then she would unfold just like a chrysalis.

“And then she would be beautiful and ready to go to school.”

The Thompsons lived — and Stan and Donnis still live — down two miles of narrow, twisting, dirt road off the end of Halbouty Road in Nikiski. Their private drive, called Thompson Trail, seemed especially appropriately named each spring when, for about a month in the 1950s and ’60s, it was practically impassable.

Photo courtesy of Jane Fair. Jane Fair works to repair the gravel road around the steel airplane mats that the Fairs had placed to reinforce a soft spot. Such repairs and stabilization techniques were typical of early homestead roads.

Photo courtesy of Jane Fair. Jane Fair works to repair the gravel road around the steel airplane mats that the Fairs had placed to reinforce a soft spot. Such repairs and stabilization techniques were typical of early homestead roads.

In their back-and-forth days, Stan often walked those two miles out to the family Jeep, parked at the end of Halbouty, and drove to work in Kenai. On his return trip, he would reverse the process. Meanwhile, Donnis, with young children to tend, often stayed home — with no telephone, no electricity and no running water.

She says she smiles sometimes thinking about how rough some people think they have it today during spring breakup when they’ve got a few ruts in their roads or some big puddles to drive through.  Returning to Thompson Trail each weekend back in those early springs, Donnis said, “It wasn’t, ‘Did you get stuck?’ It was, ‘How many times did you get stuck?’ We were driving a Jeep, and (the mud) would be clear up to the doors.”

Even these days, her own road creates challenges for her.

“I missed church yesterday,” she said earlier this week. “Our road is terrible” — still covered with snow in many places — “and it’s going to get worse. I don’t think I’d’ve gotten stuck; the only thing is, if I do get stuck, I’ve got to walk back. I’ll leave that to younger people.”
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No wheat? No problem — New store takes guesswork out of gluten-free shopping

By Jenny Neyman
Redoubt Reporter

In starting a new business, coming up with a product or service that’s needed — not just wanted or novel — is half the battle.

For Loretta Paulk, she knows there’s a need for her new store, because she’s experienced it herself every day for the last three years.

Paulk and her husband, Danny, opened The Gluten Free store Monday at the old Coffee Depot building on Kalifornsky Beach Road. The store sells products for people who can’t eat gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley.

“After trying to find food to eat around here and cook stuff out of potato starch and tapioca flour, the garbage got fed really well a couple times,” Paulk said.

Photo by Jenny Neyman, Redoubt Reporter. Loretta Paulk talks Sunday about the products she’s ordered for her Gluten Free Store, for people, like Paulk, who suffer from celiac disease — an intolerance of the gluten protein in wheat.

Photo by Jenny Neyman, Redoubt Reporter. Loretta Paulk talks Sunday about the products she’s ordered for her Gluten Free Store, for people, like Paulk, who suffer from celiac disease — an intolerance of the gluten protein in wheat.

She was diagnosed with celiac disease three years ago, where eating gluten can cause a host of digestive symptoms, as well as rashes, anemia, bone or joint pain, fatigue, vitamin K deficiency and other side effects of not being able to properly digest food.

Like many with celiac disease, she’d had symptoms on and off for years and was misdiagnosed with irritable bowl syndrome, which has similar symptoms and is better known. Paulk said celiac disease is often confused with IBS, lactose intolerance, lupus and other disorders. But awareness and diagnoses are growing in the U.S. It used to be one in 1,000 people were diagnosed, Paulk said, but the Celiac Disease Foundation now lists one in 133 as being affected.

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Plugged In: Erase paper clutter with PC document scanners

By Joseph Kashi, for the Redoubt Reporter

Converting your business or home to a more efficient, nearly paperless environment has become quite straightforward. That’s because scanning is now an easy, mature technology that greatly increases the efficiency of most businesses and, for that matter, makes it much easier to organize even household records.

In a very real sense, now that digital records can be readily stored, backed up and authenticated, there’s really little need to maintain almost any paper record. Even the official copy of your deeds, other land records and corporate documents are now stored as electronic Web images by the state of Alaska, with secondary paper copies printed only as needed for the moment.

However, paper records, bills and letters will continue arriving in the morning mail into the foreseeable future and we’ll need some way to turn them into digital documents. That means scanners and scanning.

Until about 2003, when many vendors introduced affordable, sheet-fed document scanners, scanning masses of paper was slow and erratic for small businesses. Previously, affordable scanning hardware was confined to slow flatbed scanners, perhaps with “automatic sheet feeders.” A device that scanned a few pages a minute into some nonstandard electronic file format was not likely to increase your efficiency.

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