With the Homer Mariner girls basketball team poised to head to the 3A State Tournament in Anchorage this week, three southern Kenai Peninsula small-school teams began on Saturday playing in the 2015 March Madness Alaska 1A State Tournament: the Seldovia Otter boys team and the Nikolaevsk Warrior girls and boys teams.
When funding for a new school at McNeil Canyon was needed in 1981, the McNeil School Steering Committee created a marketing plan that included distribution of 20,000 brochures throughout the peninsula.
“It boils down to us selling what we consider a basic need for this community,” the group’s spokesperson, Larry Holman, told the Homer News at the time.
After last week’s Peninsula Conference Tournament, with four days of play and 24 total basketball games, the Nikolaevsk girls team and Seldovia boys team are in the same spot they were a year ago: tournament champions.
The Nikolaevsk boys and Cook Inlet Academy girls also are where they were a year ago: in the tournament’s second-place slot. The four teams will advance to state championship play this week in Anchorage.
There was no doubt in Phil Gordon’s mind what he saw sticking out of the ground near the mouth of Diamond Creek on Jan. 4. It was the tip of a horn.
“When I saw it, I thought, ‘Oh, I know you,’” said Gordon, who grew up on a farm and can give graphic firsthand accounts of dehorning cattle.
With the help of local historian Janet Klein, Gordon now knows his find was the tip of a steppe bison horn and, through carbon dating, also knows it is older than 43,500.
Last week’s basketball games wrapped up the Peninsula Conference season. Almost. This weekend is the conference tournament. Next weekend is the state championship.
Representing the southern Kenai Peninsula in the conference tournament are girls teams from Nikolaevsk, Ninilchik and Seldovia, and boys teams from Nanwalek, Nikolaevsk, Ninilchik and Seldovia.
Kachemak Selo and other schools off the state road system make it challenging for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District to provide education to the borough’s younger residents. Add to that a mixture of languages, religions, cultures and family situations and the challenges only increase.
That’s where the Connections program comes in handy, a homeschool program offered solely to students within KPBSD.
The morning’s hush is disturbed only by the sound of a crow’s wings at it flies just beyond the edge of the bluff. The sun is still on the distant side of the Kenai Mountains, its light beginning to spread down the Fox River flats and across the surface of Kachemak Bay. The bay’s whispered surf is barely audible in the morning stillness.
After hours of public testimony during Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly, the assembly voted down an ordinance that, if passed, would have placed before voters in October the operation of marijuana cultivation facilities in areas of the borough outside cities.
Three Homer High School seniors — Evan Boyer, Patrick Latimer and Jonas Noomah — have been named finalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program, according to Lin Hampson, HHS advisor.
“The principal was notified and then he notified them here at school,” said Hampson of the good news passed on by HHS Principal Doug Waclawski.
It was a big Saturday for 10 Homer Middle School wrestlers participating at Boroughs competition at Skyview Middle School in Soldotna.
“We did great,” said Coach Daniel Rios. “Our season was hard, but it all turned out well in the end. Ryan (Hicks) and Wayne (Newman) were my two surprises. It was an awesome year.”
Wrestling in the 100-pound division, Wayne Newman, the team co-captain, earned the borough champion first-place title.
Lack of snow isn’t enough to stop Anchor Point residents when it comes to their annual Snow Rondi. Snow or no snow, the Rondi kicks off Saturday morning and events are planned through Sunday.
The theme — “let loose” — is the perfect reminder that when it comes to fun this time of year, Homer’s neighbors to the north know snow is not a requirement. Just ask Dan Coe, president of the Anchor Point Chamber of Commerce, organizer of the annual event.
As an on-going benefit for Angelica Haakenson, an 11-year-old Anchor Point girl who lost her legs from injuries in a Christmas Day wreck on the Sterling Highway, Anchor Point Fire and Emergency Medical Services volunteers are selling “Angel Kits,” roadside emergency kits for a suggested donation of $15.
Do it all?
No problem for Luke DeVault of Port Graham.
Battle of the Books teams are allowed three students — a spokesperson, a recorder and a “thinker,” but for the third- and fourth-grade team at Port Graham School, Luke was it. The K-12 school with about a dozen students is on the south side of Kachemak Bay.
After a kick-off banquet Feb. 9, the Popeye Wrestling Club began practice for wrestlers ages 10 and older Tuesday and holds its first practice for ages 9 and younger Feb. 23.
Jason Cavasos is the program’s head coach and oversees practices at Homer Middle School. Bubba Wells does the same at Anchor Point, with practices at Chapman School.
The age of wrestlers registered with the club is wide-ranging.
For a small school off the road system, participating in events with teams from other schools can prove challenging. Last week the tables were turned, as teams traveled to the south side of Kachemak Bay to play in the Seldovia Basketball Invitational Tournament. Among them were Nikolaevsk School’s boys and girls teams, Birchwood Christian School’s boys and girls teams from the Chugiak area, and the Kodiak ESS co-ed team, with athletes from Port Lions, Ouzinkie, Karluk and Larson Bay.
When Billy Roberson, Land’s End Resort’s former executive chef, left Homer for the Baranof Hotel in Juneau, resort management had only to look in-house for a replacement: Matt Orchard, former sous chef and PM kitchen manager.
Judging by evaluations submitted by guests a Feb. 5 “unveiling” of Orchard in his new role, he and the food coming out of his kitchen are a hit.
The Mariner Co-op Hockey Team went into the North Star Conference Championships at the Menard Arena Wasilla as the fifth-seeded team, with peninsula teams Soldotna fourth-seeded and Kenai sixth.
In the opening day of play Feb. 5, Kenai faced Colony and fell 5-0 in the single-elimination tournament. Homer was matched with Soldotna, the SoHi team taking a one-point early lead in the first period and maintaining their lead through the second period of play.
In a display of their on-land abilities, the Seldovia Sea Otter boys basketball team claimed first place in the eight-team Nenana Invitational Basketball Tournament on Saturday, winning 62-59 against Effie Kokrine. On the girls’ side of the action, the Nikolaevsk Warriors took second place to home team Nenana in a 40-36 game.
The Nikolaevsk boys placed sixth in the tournament, losing to Nenana, with a game score of 55-31. The Seldovia girls placed seventh to Tri-Valley in a 60-49 match-up.
Three days of basketball, 12 teams, 22 games. That’s exactly what organizers of the Ninilchik Invitational Basketball Tournament were looking for and that’s exactly what they got. They also got an enthusiastic crowd that, by the time of the championship games on Saturday, filled the gym to standing-room-only capacity.
Heart-shaped cards. Heart-shaped boxes of candy. Heart-shaped balloons. All trappings of heartfelt celebrations centered around Valentine’s Day.
For Melanie Miller and her husband, Ron, their heart reminder comes in the shape of their 18-month-old daughter, Chloe, who was born with a congenital heart defect, or CHD.