Daily Archives: June 15, 2011

Good ‘tri’ — Triathlon sees wide growth in 2nd running

By Jenny Neyman

Photos by Jenny Neyman, Redoubt Reporter. Alisa Kincaid kicks to the finish ahead of and Katy Rosane in Sunday’s Tri-the-Kenai at Skyview High School. The second year of the Tri drew 210 racers and 120 volunteers.

Redoubt Reporter

“They say the best thing you can do to exercise your heart is reach out to people. If that’s the case, this event is nothing but heart,” said Greg Russell, co-director of the Tri-the-Kenai triathlon held Sunday at Skyview High School in Soldotna.

Pounding-from-exertion heart for the 200-plus racers who gave it their all, perhaps. But heart, nonetheless.

“They should change the name to tri-hill-a-thon,” said Yvonne Henrickson, of Anchorage. She and Mona Bremont heard about Tri-the-Kenai while doing the Gold Nugget Triathlon in Anchorage in May, and decided to put their training through another round of use by competing in the Kenai Peninsula event.

“It’s a great triathlon, really homey,” Bremont said.

Word has spread about the Tri-the-Kenai, with 210 participants this year compared to 131 in last year’s inaugural event. Henrickson and Bremont said they just wished they’d also heard about the hills on the biking and running routes.

“We didn’t get a chance to come out and try the course beforehand,” Henrickson

First-place women’s finisher Joleen Smith, right, high-fives Kelly McCann, the third-place women’s finisher, at the end of the Tri-the-Kenai race Sunday at Skyview High School.


“That was some hill,” Bremont added.

“Whoa, Nellie,” seconded Henrickson.

In the adult race, swimmers completed 500 meters in the Skyview pool and hopped on their bikes to make a 10-mile loop southwest along the Sterling Highway, up and down Echo Lake Road to Gaswell Road, taking Kalifornsky Beach Road to the Sterling Highway and up the steep climb to get back to Skyview. Once they ditched their bikes, racers faced a five-kilometer run through the hilly Tsalteshi Ski Trails behind the school. In the youth events, the 5- to 9-year olds completed a three-kilometer bike and two-kilometer run, while the 10- to 14-year-olds completed a four-kilometer bike and three-kilometer run.

For Soldotna’s Loren Hollers, who did the bike portion for the winning men’s team, getting up the hills on Echo Lake Road and the Sterling Highway was the most challenging part of the race. But knowing he had two teammates counting on him was all the fuel he needed. He competed with his son, Levi Hollers, who graduated from Skyview in 1999 and had been a successful swimmer in high school. Sarge Truesdell, of Soldotna, blazed Tsalteshi Trails on foot. Hollers had been Truesdell’s wrestling coach when Truesdell became Skyview’s first state-champion wrestler.

“By far and away the greatest thing was doing it with my son,” Hollers said. “And

Sarge, who’s like a son.” Continue reading


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Sweet sounds of summer — Music festivals in bloom all over Kenai Peninsula

By Jenny Neyman

Photo by Jenny Neyman, Redoubt Reporter. Don and Pat Curtis of Bull Shoals, Ark., dance to the tunes of the Army Alaska “Chill Factor” Show Band at the Rockin’ the River Concert on Sunday at Soldotna Creek Park.

Redoubt Reporter

On the Kenai Peninsula, the soundtrack of summer involves many familiar tracks — the whine of mosquitoes, the whirr and plunk of a fishing lure hitting the water, the nylon zip of a tent flap or the thrum of an RV generator.

Starting the first weekend in June, the airwaves carry a new accompaniment to the throbbing of increased traffic and rattling of fishing gear — live music.

It’s summer music festival season on the Kenai Peninsula, and this year promises high notes for devotees of just about any style of music, from a return of Kenai’s Old Believers, to the Grateful Dead’s Bill Kreutzmann and a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9.

The busy summer music festival schedule on the Kenai Peninsula is indicative of what’s going on in music in general in the state, said Eric Fischer, a local musician and festival organizer.

“All of Alaska is trying to break out in the music scene right now. There are a lot of artists here. I don’t know if it’s due to the fact of our economy being down or what, but you’re seeing it everywhere — painters are doing more paintings, and a lot of bands are forming recently. Music is a huge part of everybody’s daily lives.” Continue reading

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Account set up for girl’s family — Friends remember bubbly 16-year-old in happier times

By Jenny Neyman

Redoubt Reporter

These days, mention of Katarina Anderson, a 16-year-old Kenai girl, brings association with a boating tragedy June 1 on Tustumena Lake, when the 18-foot boat piloted by Ashley Udelhoven, 47, of Kenai, swamped in rough seas, dumping the occupants about two miles from shore in the frigid, glacial-fed waters. The three other teens in the boat made it ashore. Udelhoven and Katarina did not.

That’s not how Gloria Humble, a friend of the Anderson family, wants to remember Katarina. She wants to remember her beautiful singing voice, her cute nose, her bubbly personality and the joy she brought her family.

“She was just a sweetheart. She was an angel. I just want to remember her the way she was. She was really a good girl, she really was,” Humble said.

Humble set up a bank account for donations, so that the community could show support for the family in this difficult time. Humble and Katarina’s mom, Cynthia, have been co-workers at Three Bears for years.

“I wanted to be by her side the whole time, but I couldn’t. I know she had a lot of people there to help her, so I thought, ‘Well, what could I do?’” Humble said. Continue reading

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Running on run-of-the-mill menu

By Joseph Robertia

Photo by Jenny Neyman, Redoubt Reporter. Donny Joachim runs along Funny River Road on Saturday, in training for his first marathon.

Redoubt Reporter

Running a marathon, particularly a first marathon, can be a daunting task. Ideas come to mind of a rigorous training schedule combined with a complex, carefully crafted dietary menu to nourish the body after exercise.

That’s not exactly the case with the cuisine choices of a Funny River marathoner-to-be.

“I have a real sweet tooth, so I’ll eat ice cream, including the marshmallow and chocolate kind, and it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary to catch me at the Moose is Loose. I was just in there yesterday enjoying some chocolate-chip cookies,” said Donny Joachim, who is training for next weekend’s Mayor’s Marathon in Anchorage. Continue reading

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Flowing with care — Stream Watch program conscripts public volunteers to protect streams

By Joseph Robertia

Photo courtesy of the Kenai Watershed Forum. Lisa Beranek, right, recently hired by the Kenai Watershed Forum to coordinate the Stream Watch program on the Kenai and Russian rivers, explains conservation principles to two recreationalists recently.

Redoubt Reporter

The Kenai and Russian rivers are world-famous for their fishing opportunities, but visiting anglers from all over the world don’t always share the same sense of stewardship and awareness of avoiding ecological impacts as those who call the Kenai Peninsula home.

Some anglers need to be informed about using designated access points to get to and from the river to prevent bank erosion. Others may come from areas without bears, so they lack knowledge of how to stay safe in an area where numerous hungry bruins are roaming. There are also stringy snags and knotted clumps of discarded fishing line along the banks that must be cleaned up to prevent injuries to wildlife.

To accomplish all of this, the Stream Watch program was launched by the U.S. Forest Service in 1994. This award-winning program utilizes trained volunteers to help protect world-class fisheries through public outreach activities and cleanup events.

The program has become so effective it is expanding to the lower Kenai River this season, and will now include an area from the Russian River in Cooper Landing downstream on the Kenai to Centennial Park in Soldotna. As such, the Kenai Watershed Forum brought on a new person to oversee the operation.

Lisa Beranek started as the Stream Watch coordinator May 13, and she said it’s been going great so far. Continue reading

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Almanac: Parking lot lopped — Homestead tree strip sacrificed for safety

By Clark Fair

Photo by Jenny Neyman, Redoubt Reporter. Orange markers and safety tape cordon off a hole in the parking lot of the Peninsula Center Mall on Tuesday, created when a stand of trees — the only green element in the large parking lot — was removed.

Redoubt Reporter

Steve Stenga had finally had enough.

The Soldotna-based owner of Stenga Real Estate Group had fielded more phone calls earlier this month from drivers concerned and complaining about kids emerging suddenly from the small copse of conifers in the parking lot of the Central Peninsula Mall along the Sterling Highway. He said he knew he had to take action to avert a disaster.

“I had three separate calls telling me how close of a call that a truck or a vehicle had of running over a kid — within inches,” Stenga said. “One of them was the driver of a pickup, and he was so upset because he almost hit this kid.”

Stenga made some calls of his own, and on the night of Monday, June 7, he oversaw the chainsaw-driven toppling of the trees that had stood for almost 30 years near the center of the parking lot. After the trees were down, their stumps and root balls were ripped out with the help of a front-end loader, and fresh gravel was dumped into the ragged circle to prepare the area for paving.

The trees were dragged around to the back of the mall and limbed. The logs were hauled away. By the morning of June 8, passersby and motorists began to notice a striking vacancy in the mall lot, made all the more apparent by the orange plastic traffic cones and surveying tape marking the pavement break.

“It just came down to a really simple concern, and that was safety,” Stenga said. “There’s kids that ride their bicycles in that parking lot, and we had tried for years to keep these kids from doing acrobatics in that tree area. They’d make jumps, they’d do wheelies and they’d come flying off that hump down into the traffic.”

Stenga felt he had no choice, he said.

“To save a kid’s life, I’ll cut a tree down,” he said. Continue reading

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Hunting, Fishing and Other Grounds for Divorce: Cheers to opposites

By Jacki Michels, for the Redoubt Reporter

There is an old saying claiming that, as far as romance goes, opposites attract.

Yet I’ve heard plenty of folks complain that after a few years of blissful attraction, they realize they have nothing in common with their partner. How could it take years to discover such a major relational flaw? It’s like they sincerely believe they were swept away in a flurry of oppositeness and duped by an invisible romantic magnetic force, only to later lovingly gaze into their partner’s eyes as they break the news:

“Sorry, Babe. That was a nice decade, but unfortunately all this was a farce. Some sort of twisted, misguided law of attraction. I need to find someone who shares my interests and passions.”

Hogwash. Continue reading

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