Daily Archives: January 15, 2014

Freedom contained — Lost dog adjusting to new home after months on the loose

Photos courtesy of Jill Garnet. Freedom the husky rests at the home of Jill Garnet, in Kasilof, after months of effort to capture the loose dog.

Photos courtesy of Jill Garnet. Freedom the husky rests at the home of Jill Garnet, in Kasilof, after months of effort to capture the loose dog.

By Joseph Robertia

Redoubt Reporter

After 19 months running free, a thick-coated husky named Freedom spent Saturday night indoors — warm, on a soft bed, curled up with one of the people who wouldn’t gave up on the idea that the dog deserved a chance at a life with a little less freedom and a whole lot more comfort, safety and security.

“Without the patience, time and energy that was invested in developing trust with Freedom, this would never have happened so easily,” said Jill Garnet, owner of Red Shed Racing and Rescue Kennel in Kasilof and one of the primary people who championed the effort to capture the dog.

The story of how Freedom came to be living in the woods in Soldotna is a long one, beginning about two years ago when she and a kennelmate named Larry were rescued from a hoarding situation.

“While everyone involved had the best of intentions, a safe, permanent home didn’t materialize,” Garnet said. “After the SPCA shelter that took them in closed, a family in Soldotna graciously agreed to adopt them. Unfortunately, (the dogs) escaped their enclosure after just two short weeks. Larry was hit by a car and killed, and Freedom ended up wandering alone on the streets in Soldotna.”

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Opening booked — Soldotna library ready for return of its readers

Photos by Jenny Neyman, Redoubt Reporter. The Soldotna Public Library reopened to the public Dec. 16 after the completion of a renovation and expansion project, and will hold a reopening ceremony and ribbon cutting from 2 to 4 p.m. Jan. 18.

Photos by Jenny Neyman, Redoubt Reporter. The Soldotna Public Library reopened to the public Dec. 16 after the completion of a renovation and expansion project, and will hold a reopening ceremony and ribbon cutting from 2 to 4 p.m. Jan. 18.

By Jenny Neyman

Redoubt Reporter

What could be better than cracking the spine of a new hardback, feeling the grain of the stiff, thick paper as you flip those first few pages, anticipation building to delve into the new world that awaits. Perhaps only when a whole new library feels that way.

That’s been the case since Dec. 16, when the Soldotna Public Library on Binkley Street reopened to the public after moving out of the Peninsula Center Mall, its temporary home while a renovation and expansion project was completed. From 2 to 4 p.m. Jan. 18 the library will host a grand reopening and ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially welcome the public back to its library, although Rachel Nash, library director, said that many patrons have already made themselves at home.

The library not only has more space for patrons and its book collection, but new features, including a lounge area for reading, a huge new community/conference room, teen area and study and tutoring nooks. Here, Nancy Nelson, of Soldotna, snuggles with a book by the fire.

The library not only has more space for patrons and its book collection, but new features, including a lounge area for reading, a huge new community/conference room, teen area and study and tutoring nooks. Here, Nancy Nelson, of Soldotna, snuggles with a book by the fire.

In the two weeks of December that the library on Binkley was reopened, it averaged 500 people a day — and that’s even with closures for the holidays. When the library was at the mall, it saw a little under 200 patrons a day, Nash said. The old library before renovation was struggling to meet the needs of the 80,000 or so people it saw a year. With the new space, Nash says her goal is to see 100,000 people in the library in 2014, and for them to enjoy the additional space, books, programs and services the expansion now allows.

“I think we are going to meet that goal,” she said.

The expansion not only allows for more of the library’s book collection to be put on the shelves, accessible to the public, but for a 50 percent increase in the book budget to update and expand the collection. But a library these days is about much more than just books. Updating and expanding technology was a big goal of the project, and the library now will have new and more computers for the public’s use, including a mobile laptop and iPad station, as well as a giant flat-screen TV that can be used in presentations and participation in the Online with Alaska Libraries videoconferencing program. And there’s a new conference/community room that holds 144 people opening to community use.

Nash said she has a hard time picking her favorite new feature, whether it’s the reading area by the gas fireplace, the community room or the expanded kids and teen sections.

Amara and Mark Ransom browse through books in the vastly expanded kids section at the newly remodeled Soldotna Public Library in December. The expansion has allowed the library to stock more books and to offer more programs for the community.

Amara and Mark Ransom browse through books in the vastly expanded kids section at the newly remodeled Soldotna Public Library in December. The expansion has allowed the library to stock more books and to offer more programs for the community.

“Teens haven’t had a place in the old library. They’re tomorrow’s adults and libraries won’t have the support they will need in the future without teens today,” she said.

But, really, it doesn’t matter what Nash and the other librarians like about the new space so much as what the community thinks, Nash says, as she is adamant that it’s their facility, not the staff’s nor the city’s. As such, the public is invited to bring their own scissors and participate in the ribbon-cutting at the openings, as well as to come take a tour or explore on their own.

“The people of Soldotna are the ones who voted and said they want to have a new library, that’s why I emphasize it’s not our library, it’s theirs, it’s yours, it’s for the community. Our job is to provide what they need and want. I hope everybody feels welcome.”

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New life in old-time Irish tunes

Photos courtesy of KPC. From left is John Walsh, Pat Broaders and Sean McComiskey.

Photos courtesy of KPC. From left is John Walsh, Pat Broaders and Sean McComiskey.

By Jenny Neyman

Redoubt Reporter

Usually at concerts, if performers say they’re playing a classic, it might be a song from their garage days 20 years ago, perhaps a Beatles tune from the 1960s or maybe a Sinatra hit from the ’40s.

At a concert next week at Kenai Peninsula College’s Kenai River Campus, when the musicians play an oldie, they won’t be harkening back 20 or 30 years, more like hundreds of years. Yet it’ll be as foot tapping today as it was when it was written. That’s the epitome of timeless, and that’s the charm of Irish music.

“There’s just this huge depth of music that goes back hundreds and hundreds of years. If nobody wrote another tune for the next hundred years there’d be plenty for us to play,” said John Walsh, who will perform a free concert of traditional Irish music, sponsored by the KPC Multicultural Consortium, the UAA Diversity Action Council and KPC Showcase, at 7 p.m. Jan. 23 in the KPC Commons.

Walsh will play tenor banjo along with Pat Broaders, vocalist and guitar, and Sean McComiskey, button accordion. Their set list will cover traditional Irish tunes 200 to 300 years old and up, and perhaps some brand-new songs — well, “new” by Irish music standards.

“It’s not unusual to be playing music that’s hundreds of years old, so when somebody says, ‘This is a newer tune,’ they could mean it might be 10 or 20 years old. To an Irish person, it is a newer tune because the music is so old,” Walsh said.

Some tunes might be nigh on historic but they’ve still got freshness and vitality in them, as Irish music comes to life through interaction with an audience. Proper Irish concert etiquette is to be a little improper. Tap you feet, clap your hands, holler approval, sing along if you know the words — anything but sit still and listen quietly.

“Basically, dance tunes are what we play and people are very welcome to get up and dance. And some people do, but it’s not often you see people dance because I think they’re under the impression that they have to do Riverdance-type stuff, but you don’t,” Walsh said.

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Fear in the new year

Hunting, Fishing and Other Grounds for Divorce, by Jacki Michels

Two of the most dreaded words in the English language are, hands down, budget and diet. Each time I hear these words they immediately evoke a sense of stark deprivation and utter misery. Put these words together in the same sentence and, instantly, visions of a harsh task mistress named Helga fill me with dread.

“Butter? You say you vont butter on your bread crumbs? You vill eat them dry!” (Maniacal laughter) “Lights and heat? Did I hear you vine again about indulging your carnal lust for luxury?” (More maniacal laughter, followed by whip cracking.)

Fine, I’ll admit, I may have watched a few too many reruns of “A Christmas Story” over the holidays, and perhaps my imagination has run a bit wild since then.

Nonetheless, it is true. We ate too much, we spent too much and now we must pay for last year’s follies. Christmas was just the icing on the proverbial gluttony cake.

The new year always comes in with such sobering reality. The warm sweet melodies are no longer lulling us into a sugar-induced, credit-card coma. The statements have all arrived and I’ve weighed in on my merriness.

Final score, Helga owns me.

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Plugged In: Next big thing? ‘4K’ needs more time

By Joe Kashi, for the Redoubt Reporter

The annual Consumer Electronics Show is now history and some interesting new photo gear was introduced, so we’ll do a roundup of new equipment now and defer deeper topics until a later date.

  • The big news at CES has been the movement toward “4K” video and televisions, which have double the resolution and four times the pixel density of our current high-definition TV and video standard, which measure 1,920-by-1,080 pixels. Setting a new standard and selling upgraded hardware is the only way to stay solvent in the highly competitive flat-screen TV market where traditional market leaders, like Sony and Panasonic, have been losing both market share and billions of dollars to less-sophisticated but lower-cost Korean and Chinese manufacturers.

Panasonic hints at a “4K” Micro Four-Thirds camera while several PC vendors announced first-generation “4K” computer monitors, including Dell, whose $699 P2815Q is among the least expensive. I’d wait a year for this technology to mature before considering any purchase.

The basic technical limitation on “4K” video is whether the camera sensor reads fast enough to transmit an 8-megapixel image frame up to 30 to 60 times each second and whether the camera’s internal hardware can process and store that higher density data stream fast enough to shoot full-speed video. Current “high-definition” video, by contrast, only uses a 2-megapixel image frame, about one-fourth as much data per second. Within two to three years, however, sensor read-out speed and in-camera processing and storage performance should be quite adequate to support “4K” video at consumer-friendly prices.

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