Daily Archives: June 3, 2009

Welcome to the world

Photos by Jenny Neyman, Redoubt Reporter

Brand-new moose calves, like this one in Soldotna, started appearing on the central Kenai Peninsula last week. While they grow into their legs and ears fast, their first few days are tiring and tottering.

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Can’t catch a break — Economy could leave Kenai River guides casting about for clients

By Jenny Neyman
Redoubt Reporter

Photo by Jenny Neyman, Redoubt Reporter. Juanita Dwyer, of Wasilla, and her son, Steven, launch at the Pillars for a fishing trip on the Kenai on Sunday. Dwyer said she is undeterred by slow fishing so far this season. “This is just what you do,” she said.

Photo by Jenny Neyman, Redoubt Reporter. Juanita Dwyer, of Wasilla, and her son, Steven, launch at the Pillars for a fishing trip on the Kenai on Sunday. Dwyer said she is undeterred by slow fishing so far this season. “This is just what you do,” she said.

Guides and anglers are in the same boat so far this fishing season on the Kenai River — both are off to a slow start. But while fishing season will likely pick up to normal soon in terms of fish numbers, it may not for guides.

“A lot of people are down right now (in bookings). I’ve heard some say anywhere from 30 to 70 percent. A lot are taking the summer off,” said Deen Hopson, of Fishing Fever Guide Service in Kenai.

Hopson was at The Pillars on Sunday afternoon, planning to launch his boat for his third trip on the Kenai in the last four or five days. So far, he hadn’t caught anything, and Sunday wasn’t going to be any better, since a motor malfunction left him pulling the boat back onto dry land before any lines had been wet.

Fishing has been slow so far, he said, although he’s seen and heard of kings being caught.

“I’ve seen them roll in the water. It’s picking up, there’s just not a lot being caught,” he said.

He doesn’t have the same optimism for his bookings.

“The economy down south, nobody’s booking charters. The people I have calling and canceling, it’s because of rising airfares, or, people from California, because them or their spouse lost their job. I’ve had a couple call with questions about the volcano. Some don’t want to come up because of that,” he said.
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Relaying the message — Annual fundraiser steps up creativity to stamp out cancer

By Jenny Neyman
Redoubt Reporter

Photo courtesy of Jacki Michels. Katie Clonan, of the Sensational Sterling Superstars Relay for Life team, displays “The Bra From Hell” she made as part of the “bras for a cause” fundraiser.

Photo courtesy of Jacki Michels. Katie Clonan, of the Sensational Sterling Superstars Relay for Life team, displays “The Bra From Hell” she made as part of the “bras for a cause” fundraiser.

Amy Parham was a little concerned the “bras for a cause” fundraiser she started with her Relay for Life team might make people a little squeamish or embarrassed.

If the teenage boys who enthusiastically helped decorate and model the undergarments were any indication, she didn’t need to worry.

“We actually had probably four young men that made bras. They were all junior high, high school age. One had real bullets all over it. He showed up at the party, had his little box of bullets and a pink bra and went to it and had a great time,” Parham said.

Her team, the Sensational Sterling Superstars, comprised of Sterling 4-H families, utilizes a variety of activities to raise money for the central peninsula Relay for Life event at Skyview High School. This is the 11th annual local relay, which supports the American Cancer Society. They had a bake sale, sold homemade fleece quilts and raffled a picnic table one of the 4-H dads made.

“It’s just anything we can do. Everybody comes to the track pretty generous, with a pocket full of money and looking for things to contribute to,” said Beth Braxling, one of the moms of the team.
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Barge spills fuel near Nikiski — Incident demonstrates how even small oil spills are treated

By Naomi Klouda
Homer Tribune

A fuel spill May 27 near Nikiski lost 125 gallons, or three barrels, into Cook Inlet. It was discovered after the Coast Guard sounded tanks loaded on a K-Sea Transportation barge when it was examined in Homer.

The 113-foot Pacific Challenger tug and the 262-foot K-Sea Transportation barge crashed into each other at about 1 a.m. May 27 in choppy seas while the tug was untying from the barge, according to the Alaska Department of Environmental Cons-ervation. Laws require an immediate reporting of spills to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and the Coast Guard.

On board was about 1,968 gallons, or 48 barrels, of refined gas destined for lower Kenai Peninsula communities. Continue reading

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Dispatched — Lewis gets the call to solve problem of wounded bears

By Clark Fair
Redoubt Reporter

Photo courtesy of Larry Lewis. Alaska Department of Fish and Game Wildlife Technician Larry Lewis stands next to a brown bear he shot in the Kasilof area. The bear had been wounded in a defense-of-life-and-property shooting.

Photo courtesy of Larry Lewis. Alaska Department of Fish and Game Wildlife Technician Larry Lewis stands next to a brown bear he shot in the Kasilof area. The bear had been wounded in a defense-of-life-and-property shooting.

The brown bear sow had been shot in the face and the backside by a fisherman along Russian River. When the bear hurried off into the brush, ushering her three butterball cubs ahead of her, someone called the Soldotna office of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and within a short time Larry Lewis was picking his way through the alders in search of an animal he was expected to put out of its misery, while simultaneously protecting the public.

Lewis, a wildlife technician with Fish and Game, was accompanied by two officers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Lewis was on point, acting as tracker, occasionally down on his hands and knees, alert for a blood trail or crushed vegetation that might indicate the passage of the wounded animal. Behind him were the other two men, their eyes casting out to the periphery, alert especially to the sides and behind them.

What the three men didn’t know, as they worked their way up the brushy side of a mountain, was that the sow had urged her cubs up a tree and then reversed course on the trackers.

“She circled around and got downwind of us,” Lewis recalled. “She circled around on us and was watching her back trail. She was lying down. She was hunting.”
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Science of the Seasons: Wildfire effects haunt streams for many years

By David Wartinbee, for the Redoubt Reporter

Photo courtesy of David Wartinbee. The Caribou Hills are just beginning the regrowth process after a wildfire in 2007. Green grasses come back first, followed by alders and, over decades, the area’s typical birch and white spruce forest.

Photo courtesy of David Wartinbee. The Caribou Hills are just beginning the regrowth process after a wildfire in 2007. Green grasses come back first, followed by alders and, over decades, the area’s typical birch and white spruce forest.

There were a number of major Alaska fires in 2007, including the Caribou Hills fire outside Ninilchik.

While that fire had a huge impact on humans because it burned more than 100 structures, it burned a relatively small area. Another fire that burned five times the area of the Caribou Hills fire was way up on the North Slope and had no human impact. Tundra fires are rare, but having one so far north is even more unusual. That fire became known as the Anaktuvuk fire.

The Anaktuvuk fire started in July from a lightning strike many miles from any human occupation or access. It wasn’t discovered until a helicopter flew by and noticed the large smoke cloud. It was allowed to burn itself out and it grew to around 400 square miles, becoming the largest tundra fire ever known. It was finally extinguished by a snowstorm in October.

Stream ecologists stationed at the Toolik Lake Research Station are now conducting studies on the changes to the nearby streams that the fire has caused. So far, they have identified that there was a short pulse of ammonium and an increase in phosphorous into the normally nutrient-poor streams. Their studies will continue for several years as they monitor changes in the streams. They will also document the long-term recovery of the tundra habitat.
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Hooked on Alaska: You caught it, now what? — Proper handling preserves fresh-caught salmon flavor

By Mark Conway, for the Redoubt Reporter

With fishing season now in full swing for halibut, king and sockeye salmon, the question is, how do you preserve your catch? No matter if you are planning to barbecue, smoke or can a fresh-caught fish, the answer is the same: Chill the meat as soon as you kill the fish and keep the meat clean. In this way, you capture the delicious flavor found only in fresh-caught fish meat.

I have to tell you, though, I once hated the smell of salmon cooking. When I was a child, I gagged at the thought of salmon passing my lips. Little did I know that my tongue and stomach were really in partnership with the fish I was eating. The salmon really tasted fishy, as in spoiled, and it was. My mom didn’t know any better. She had never tasted a fresh-caught salmon before. Most of the salmon we ate in our Eastern Washington farm town were the store-bought, canned variety. If someone asked my mom what kind of salmon it was, she would answer, “You know, salmon.”

Meat begins to spoil immediately after the critter is killed. Fish are no exception. Decomposition of muscle cells (meat) starts immediately after the blood stops flowing to the muscle tissue. To slow down the process of decomposition in the muscle tissue, or spoilage, one must immediately put the fish meat in crushed ice or a cold refrigerator and lower the temperature of the meat below 40 degrees. You preserve not only the meat from spoiling, but also that delectable flavor we all enjoy from the fresh catch of the day.
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