Story last updated at 2:04 p.m. Thursday, May 30, 2002

Mitchell becomes news director at KBBI radio
In Business
KBBI-AM RADIO, the community National Public Radio affiliate in Homer, has named Jennifer Mitchell news director. Mitchell, a Homer resident for about eight years, previously worked at KBBI on an "on-call" basis to fill in for former news director Alexei Rubenstein, according to station manager Susan Kernes. Mitchell said she also previously hosted the Morning Edition show at the station and worked as a reporter for the Homer Tribune in addition to various free-lance writing and radio-related work.

Rubenstein, who has won several honors over his time as news director, resigned for personal reasons, Kernes said.

Mitchell was hired following a nationally advertised search, Kernes said, "because she does have extensive experience in the area" including municipal affairs, fishing, science and the arts.

At KDLL-FM in Kenai, another Kenai Peninsula Public Radio affiliate under the management of Kernes, Teresa Wierzbianska has been hired as a reporter. She comes to the station from Oakland, Calif. after working at a Berkeley-area station for about two years. She fills a position vacated by Christa Kady, who resigned for personal reasons in December.

THE HOMER CHAMBER OF COMMERCE expects to host 22 travel agents from around the state this weekend to showcase the attributes of Homer as a visitor destination. Agents from Petersburg to Fairbanks will be pampered with complimentary lodging, activities, dining and more for their stay in the area. Even their transportation to Homer is part of the package as an incentive for them to spend the weekend, according the chamber.

The weekend is scheduled to kick off with an opening reception, followed by a day of activities from kayaking and hiking to gallery tours and flightseeing. After a Saturday dinner at The Saltry restaurant in Halibut Cove, the group will relax on Sunday before heading to their homes packing a reference book complete with photos and other information to help them book business in Homer. For more information on the showcase, contact the chamber office at 235-7740.

HOSPICE OF HOMER has named Darlene Hilderbrand its executive director. Hilderbrand was volunteer and client services coordinator at the hospice for 3 1/2 years -- a post now filled by Lisa Thomas, a certified nurse's assistant and hospice direct care volunteer. Thomas has also had one year of hospice nurse training. Hospice of Homer is located at 3953 Bartlett St.

THE IDIDNT RACE is the brainchild and hope of Homer comedy writer Dave "Dax" Radtke as a parody of the famous Iditarod dogsled race, while at the same time celebrating the end of the summer business season after Labor Day. Still in the planning stage, Radtke has assembled a packet of promotional information seeking businesses to sponsor what he envisions as a fun race over a course measuring "32 feet, 9 3/4 inches." The race would involve "strange and wonderfully insane dogsleds" that would be pulled by "something with a heartbeat."

Actual dogs are a possibility, but "probably won't score as high as a rowdy team of kittens or bunnies or employees," according to Radtke's race outline.

With sled sponsorships starting at $69.95, Radtke is seeking businesses and individuals to participate. According to Radtke, the event would benefit the nonprofit Living Room Coffeehose and raise funds for the AKA Homerrhoids comedy troupe. For details, call 235-9421 or 299-0319.

TSUNAMI CAFE, formerly Fishwifes Galley, opened for the season last Saturday. Celeste Novak, the owner, who also doubles as cook, dishwasher, wait staff, accountant and groundskeeper, says the fare will remain the same as previous years, with an emphasis on fresh local seafood and good food to go. The cafe by the steel grid will be open daily except Wednesday, from 11a.m. to 6 p.m.

LITTLE DIPPER CHILDREN'S CLOTHING plans to open Tuesday at 3601 Main St. Store hours will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Owner Indra Haefer plans to offer retail children's clothing and accessories, baby shower gifts, several lines of organic cotton clothing, gift baskets and Burts Bees Baby Bee products. As an experienced seamstress in the fashion and apparel industry, Haefer said she will be creating one of the lines of clothing carried in the store.

THE ALASKA ACADEMY of Family Physicians is seeking nominations for its 2001 Family Physician of the Year. Each year the academy honors one of its members on the basis of outstanding service to patients and community, and devotion to family practice. Individuals are encouraged to send letters of nomination to: Alaska Academy of Family Physicians, PO Box 231793, Anchorage, AK 99523 or faxed to (907) 258-9584 or e-mailed to Nominations are due Monday. The winner will be honored during the association's annual scientific assembly June 13-16 in Seward.

Homer-based Cook Inlet Keeper, an environmental watchdog group, criticized action last week by the U.S. House of Representatives that the group contends weakens efforts to increase gas and oil pipeline safety.

The group had been calling for the rejection of House Resolution 3609 sponsored by Alaska Rep. Don Young. After the House Transportation Committee rejected amendments aimed at toughening penalties and enhancing public information and permitting policies, Keeper spokeswoman Lois Epstein called Young's version a "bill sure to delight industry." In a prepared statement, Epstein said, "We know the difference between a bill that ensures real improvements in pipeline safety and a bill that preserves the status quo." She called Young's bill a "sham pipeline

safety reform."