Daily Archives: December 8, 2010

Cream of the crop — Dairy farmers ready to share

By Joseph Robertia

Photos by Joseph Robertia, Redoubt Reporter. Kevin Byers transfers fresh milk to a large cooling tank before it is bottled. Byers is running a new dairy farm in Kasilof offering people the option to be cow shareholders and take home raw milk for personal use.

Redoubt Reporter

As the perception goes, most things are better fresh. But for many, drinking creamy, fresh milk out of a glass jar is a distant memory from childhood, or a story from parents’ or grandparents’ childhoods.

A new dairy farm in Kasilof could change that.

“We’re not selling milk. We’re offering a cow-share program for people who want the option of having raw milk,” said Gareth Byers, who, along with his brother, Kevin, recently set up a raw milk facility on a 5-acre farm off of Pollard Loop, less than a mile from the Sterling Highway.

People pay a one-time share price of $25 and an $8 maintenance fee per share, per week.

“In plain English, it will cost you $8 per gallon at the farm,” Gareth Byers said. “Basically, we’re paid to take care of the cows, while, as a shareholder, you come receive some of the milk.” Continue reading


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Theft: Don’t let it slide — Reporting even small-dollar crime can help

By Jenny Neyman

Redoubt Reporter

“‘No reason to get excited,’ the thief, he kindly spoke.”

No offense to that lyric’s performer, Jimi Hendrix, but Coral Frank begs to differ. For Frank, there is reason to get excited about the theft of her Jimi Hendrix snowboard.

The board was a Christmas gift from her family when she was about 14, and she’s had it about seven years since. Until it turned up missing last month during a move from Nikiski to Funny River Road.

“It’s the only snowboard I’ve ever owned in my life. It’s got Jimi Hendrix on the front of it and it’s like a baby-poop green. It’s got a big ol’ donkey on the back of it with these big ol’ enormous like Steven Tyler (of Aerosmith) lips,” Frank said.

She’s hoping to get the board back, and had her sister submit a post on craigslist Nov. 15, asking for information or that the board be returned — no questions asked. Frank isn’t as interested in pressing charges or holding someone accountable as she is in just being reunited with her Hendrix board.

“I would like to use my snowboard. I finally have a job that I can afford to go to Alyeska with my friends and go snowboarding,” Frank said. She works for Frontier Community Services at an assisted-living facility.

Frank is from Cordova and spent much of the winters of her teenage years shredding the slopes with her family and friends.

“Cordova, that’s the best snowboarding around. We have our own mountain and ski lift and stuff,” she said. “It has a lot of sentimental value to it. Being on the mountain in Cordova with my friends and family. Everybody would be on the ski lift and could see me sitting in the snow with my snowboard because I’d crashed again.” Continue reading

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Making a (craigs)list, checking it twice

By Jenny Neyman

Photo by Jenny Neyman, Redoubt Reporter. Dylan, Gabe, Janinne and AnnaMarie Price sit in front of an electric heater in their home in Kasilof. They hope to trade for a wood stove through craigslist.

Redoubt Reporter

As college students with two small kids at home and only a seasonal income, Janinne and Dylan Price have to be careful with finances — shopping at thrift stores; being creative about housing; spending their effort and ingenuity, rather than money, to provide for their needs as much as possible; and relying on the help of friends when a need is out of their grasp.

Friends let them stay on their property in Sterling for a summer when they moved to the central Kenai Peninsula in 2007 and helped dig a drainage system at the property they purchased in south Soldotna. Dylan’s parents signed for a vehicle for them so they’d have reliable transportation to drive the kids up to Chugiak for regular visits.

And then there’s the Price’s buddy Craig. As helpful as the ditch digging, vehicle signing and other assistance has been, no other friend has been quite as uniquely, reliably resourceful in helping resolve such a wide variety of situations, from buying and selling housing and vehicles, to finding ducks and selling their eggs, getting their driveway plowed and now, hopefully, getting a wood stove to replace their electric heaters.

When a need comes up, Janinne’s immediate response is to consult Craig — as in craigslist, the online clearinghouse for buying, selling and trading all manner of goods and services.

“I’m addicted to craigslist,” Janinne said. “It’s been really helpful. I just swear by craigslist.” Continue reading

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Art Seen: December shows offer visual gifts

By Zirrus VanDevere, for the Redoubt Reporter

This untitled painting is on display at Kaladi Brothers on Kobuk Street in Soldotna.

Cruisin’ the towns again, just looking for what the eye may see.

Odie’s Deli had a First Thursday opening last week for the Kenai Peninsula Photographers Guild, many of the coffee shops have new work up, and the show was new again at the 4-D Interiors gallery upstairs (which, from the sound of it, may not be occurring again for a while, at least not under the Artists Without Borders title).

I’ve got what I consider to be a top-notch exhibit on display at Art Works through December. K.N. Goodrich has a series of pastels on paper, inspired by old and deteriorating dock pilings in Seward, a town she was born in but never lived in, like so many semi-old-timers in this area. It was the only hospital servicing the Kenai Peninsula for a long time. Continue reading

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Constructing knowledge — Kids build engineering, programming skills in LEGO League challenge

By Joseph Robertia

Photos by Joseph Robertia, Redoubt Reporter. Lauren Jones, of Homer, makes an adjustment to one of the mechanisms during the FIRST LEGO League Kenai Peninsula Regional Tournament held Saturday in Kenai at the Challenger Learning Center of Alaska.

Redoubt Reporter

Blood was screened, bones were mended and bad cells were identified at the Challenger Learning Center of Alaska in Kenai on Saturday. The event was not a health fair, but the children involved had to learn a lot about medical advancements in order to be there.

“It provides a continuum of things to get kids excited about science and technology,” said Dave Patterson, tournament director of the FIRST LEGO League Kenai Peninsula Regional Tournament.

Created in a partnership between FIRST — For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology — and The LEGO Group in 1998, the FIRST LEGO League is an international program for children ages 9 to 14. It engages kids through introducing them to real-world engineering challenges, which they must solve in part by building LEGO-based robots to complete tasks.

Past year’s themes have included climate control and transportation, while this year’s event, Body Forward Challenge, encouraged participants to explore the world of biomedical engineering. They researched cutting-edge technology to discover innovative ways to repair injuries, overcome genetic predispositions and maximize the body’s full potential.

Joan Frankevich, of Girdwood, said her daughter, Emma, was enjoying being involved in the league and had learned a lot in preparing for the tournament with her team, The Doctorettes. Continue reading

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Jingle jangle — Holiday standard songs inspire strong sentiment

By Jenny Neyman

Redoubt Reporter

“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” and, god, give “Grandma” a rest, already.

Those are the leading sentiments among central Kenai Peninsula residents asked about their favorite, and least favorite, songs of the season.


  • Loreena McKennitt songs and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” — Laura Bosela.
  • “Hallelujah Chorus” — Tony Bosela.
  • “I love all Christmas songs, carol, hymns, all that fun Christmas stuff” — Carolyn Bosela.
  • “The Christmas Song” (“Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”) — Maria Allison.
  • “White Christmas” — Tom Allison.
  • “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” or “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” — Emily Grossman.

Best and worst:

  • “Do You Hear What I Hear?” is the preferred stuck-in-your-head holiday tune of Julie Niederhauser, assistant director of the Kenai Community Library.

Her least favorite is a sentiment shared by many — “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.”

  • “Greensleeves” is a favorite for photographer Bill Heath, of Kenai. “I love that song, it’s almost funeral-like but it’s beautiful,” he said.

As for least liked, the classics don’t hold the potential to irritate as much as contemporary songs do.

“I’m sure one of the new pop ones,” he said.

  • “Coventry Carol” is a favorite for Tammy Vollom-Matturro, director of the Kenai Peninsula Orchestra and Redoubt Chamber Orchestra, which will perform “Coventry” and many other holiday songs in a concert Dec. 17 at Kenai Christian Church in Kenai.

The group will not be performing “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer,” much to Vollom-Matturro’s relief.

  • “‘It Came Upon A Midnight Clear.’ I really love that song. It’s beautiful. The melody is just really pretty,” said LaDawn Druce, president of the Kenai Peninsula Education Association.

“I don’t know that I hate it, but I get really tired of ‘Rocking Around The Christmas Tree.’ It was in ‘Home Alone,’ and my boys watched that so many times,” she said.

  • “‘Over the River and Through the Woods.’ When we were growing up we always had to travel to get to grandma’s house. That was the song we’d sing on the way there,” said Carol Sinenko, of Nikiski.

Sinenko didn’t want to go so far as to say she hated any songs, and couldn’t pinpoint any “what would they be then? Most unfavorite songs?”

“I haven’t heard one I think is horrible yet,” she said.

  • “That’s not good grammar, Mom,” scolded Sinenko’s daughter, Katerina. Her favorite is “Away in a Manger.”
  • Kathy Heindl, of Kenai, has fond memories of “Greensleeves.”

“Probably because when I was in band we played a lot of songs like that,” she said.

Her memory is not so favorable of “Grandma,” or any of the equally disliked spin-offs, “Like there’s ‘Grandpa Got Run Over By A Beer Truck,” she said.

Continue reading

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Do you hear what I hear? Music unifies holiday season

By Jenny Neyman

Photo by Jenny Neyman, Redoubt Reporter. Jack Will, Tammy Vollom-Matturro and Sue Biggs perform holiday music at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center on Saturday. ‘Tis the season for seasonal sounds, including a holiday music concert by the Redoubt Chamber Orchestra at 7 p.m. Dec. 17 at Kenai Christian Church in Kenai.

Redoubt Reporter

From the ethereal opening strains of “Silent Night” to the sweet, sentimental melody of “White Christmas,” the telltale bell jingling of “Sleigh Ride” and the snazzy beat of “Jingle Bell Rock,” holiday songs are as instantly recognizable as they are omnipresent this time of year.

Love them, hate them or start the season loving them and end it hoping for a power outage to avoid having to hear — yet again — about Grandma’s run-in with the red-nosed branch of the deer family, the period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s is unmatched in the musical tradition it inspires, and in how inspired people are to cozy up to the soundtrack of December.

“There’s just so much great Christmas music and holiday music this time of the year, so people want to be singing and playing that kind of stuff. And then, because people are getting together to do this kind of music, they think, ‘Well, let’s do some festive music.’ And I think people are really wanting to do social things this time of year — get out and see friends and celebrate the season, go to concerts, go to plays and all that kind of stuff,” said Maria Allison, pianist, who accompanied violinist Emily Grossman in a concert Friday at Christ Lutheran Church in Soldotna.

As December bustles on, there’s ample opportunity to listen to live holiday music, from school concerts to church presentations and community events. Last weekend had a variety of musicians performing holiday music Saturday at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center, and Kenai Central High School’s choir had its annual holiday concert Sunday. Next week, the Redoubt Chamber Orchestra will perform an Evening of Christmas concert at 7 p.m. Dec. 17 at Kenai Christian Church in Kenai.

Much of the popular holiday music repertoire is decades to over a century old, although a few newer tunes have reached the status of yearly airtime. Listeners today may not be familiar with donning gay apparel, affixing bells to bobtails or the popping of roasting chestnuts. But singing about such things is a chance to reconnect with songs only heard once a year, and the traditions with which those songs are linked.

“The singing tradition is lost every other time of the year. The songs that we sing at the holidays have been passed down for generations and generations. And the holidays are a time when families get back together and they continue that tradition,” Grossman said. Continue reading

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