Ski Alaska  

Posted by Stan Harrington

One of the first ski tows on the Kenai Peninsula occurred with the construction of the rope tow at Olsen Mountain just north of Homer. At the time, Olson Mountain was an active U.S. Air Force Station. The primary mission of the base was the surveillance of the old DEW Line, early warning system that stretched across Alaska. The purpose was to monitor any activity coming into our air space from the U.S.S.R. At the time Homer had an active downhill and cross country ski club. The high school also had a cross country and downhill ski team. The Homer Ski Club wanted to develop an improved ski area, through a joint effort by utilizing private funds and funds from the recreational account of the Air Force Station the Olson Mountain Ski Area was developed and remains in operation today.


Mt. Olson Ski Area
This is a shot that was taken in the late 1950's or very early 1960, exact date not known.
The racer on the course is Jake McLay, grandfather of
John McLay.



This picture was likely taken the same day as the above picture, the skier identified is Bert McLay, Uncle to John McLay.


Prior to the completion of the rope tow at Olsen Mountain, several other courses were developed on the face of the bluff that parallels Kachemak Bay. The one which was utilized the most was the Svedland-McLay Hill. This course ran from the Olson Mountain Road at the top of the bluff down to East Road. The course ended in the field at the home of Jake McLay. The high school team also practiced on this hill. The adult skiers would take turns, when a car load of young skiers reach the end of the course, they would load them up into a car and drive them back up East Hill Road to the starting point of the course.



This skier is on the Svedland-McLay Hill, it must have been approaching spring as a lot of grass is starting to show. The skier is identified as Woody McLay, Uncle to John McLay, however, from the profile it appears to me that it could possibly be Val McLay, John's father.



If you are wondering if these small town skiers, that did not have the modern ski equipment or even improved courses, ever developed into competitive skiers? During my youth, there was two groups of downhill skiers that were well known throughout Alaska. The McLay brothers and the Martin brothers. Woody McLay was one of the great skiers that came out of Homer, winning most of the state skiing competitions and going on to ski in the Junior Nationals in Squaw Valley, Idaho. In those years, the two skiers to watch was Woody or Val McLay, they always finished well at the top of the leader board. In later years, their younger brother Bert would also excel in skiing. Tad Martin would followed in the footsteps of his older brother Lee and become the top rated skier in Alaska. He would represent the United States on the Olympic Ski Team in the early 1970's. He graduated from Ft.Lewis College in Durango, Colorado in the early 1970's. The majority of these skiers from the early era of skiing in Homer continue to live in the Homer area. Bert McLay passed away at an early age, but he will always be known as one the skiing McLay boys.

Cabin Construction Plans  

Posted by Stan Harrington

With the onslaught of summer and the plans to commence making the Hole In The Wall an all season recreational area with the construction of permanent housing. Detail planning is everything in a construction project as large as this. We are fortunate that we have the "Pope" to draw up plans, organize cost estimates, lend expertise knowledge, and leadership. Today, Bull Buffie delivered some good news that is going to greatly enhance the project and reduce the cost per unit in regards to foundation work. We are also fortunate that the Alpha Wolf has expertise in the installation of plumbing as well as installation and acquisition of heating units. Daddy Bear is well versed in electrical so we also have that area covered. We are also very fortunate that all of the ladies are very good cooks so we can be assured that breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be available during the construction phase, not to mention the finish staining and painting. Of course, I will always be around for supervision, morale, and practical jokes. Harass people is what I do best.

However, the one thing that we do not have covered is the acquisition of all the tools that we will need in the project. Most of us have enough hand tools and power tools to accomplish the task but there are a lot of equipment and tools on the market that can make our job much easier. In some cases it may take two or three men to accomplish a task, this is an excessive waste of manpower. We need tools that will replace two men so they can be working on a different phase of the project. I think I have found just the tool we need and it will be a big morale booster if we can get the worker to join us on the job site. (The video is 1.06 minutes, for my system it downloaded slow but it could have to do with the time of day ~ well worth the watch!

video

"The Lion Sleeps Tonight"  

Posted by Stan Harrington

This sunny day, I was out and about destroying perfectly good 2"x4"s with my chop saw. Taking a short break, our little friend "Crackers" came out on the branch of the tree to let me know he was around or possibly calling on his friends that the bird feeder still had seed. A few minutes later, I looked up in the tree to see him sitting on a branch, then I noticed why he was chattering, sitting on the opposite side of the tree and down just a touch an intruder had invaded his territory. Immediately, I thought porcupine. Next thought was dogs and my .22 calibre pistol. Walking over to the tree, I was able to get a better view of the intruder. The "stalker" had come out of the house for the first time this spring, she was hunting and had her prey in sight. The prey also had her in his sight. He stayed on one side of the tree and she the other. I did not time the event, "Crackers" did not want to give away is position and "Lion Cat" was content to wait until "Crackers" got foolish. After sitting on their respective branches for over an hour, they called it a draw. "Mama Cat" crawled down from her twenty foot perch and returned to the house to wait for another day.



First Family Visit Of The Season  

Posted by Stan Harrington

Been spending sometime outside the past couple of days, enjoying working in the warmth of the sun in just my shirt sleeves. It is great to break out all the tools, especially love the sound of that chop saw as it bites through a board, sometimes it is even on the line that I have neatly scribed. Work has been suspended on a couple of occasions upon hearing the sound of the Sandhill Cranes making their approach. Just like a moose that you may see along the scenic byways of our great state, you have to slow down and take a look even if you have seen thousands over your lifetime. The flocks of geese and cranes have the same attraction, you always have to look up and admire the fact that they are nearing completion of a flight of several thousand miles without any type of navigational aide. A sure sign of spring. All to soon, you will look up again to watch and listen them as they reverse their course and turn south.


Starting to see some resemblance of the lawn, a few more days similar in nature to that of which we have experienced the past few days, we may see the entire lawn. But, the sure sign of spring is that we have thoroughly enjoyed the company of family once again on the homestead. We were pleasantly surprised when Dutch's sister stopped by for a visit. We had not seen "Kiana" since last spring or her partner Cheryl. "Kiana" is a full sister to "Dutch" and lives just fifty miles north of us. She and Dutch flew into Anchorage from Dutch Harbor together in same kennel six years ago on May 18th. Cheryl and I were there to greet them, taking them out of the kennel in the baggage claim area for their "first sight" bonding experience. Within minutes, we had a crowd surrounding us, everyone loves a puppy. We see "Kiana" about once a year, this year it was a different experience to see them interact and their maturity level. It was no longer a chase between the two of them or even the wrestling match that has taken place in the past. This year, they acknowledged each other and after a few minutes were content in doing their own thing, even when it came to retrieving their favorite objects. They were content in retrieving their own device and leaving the second one alone, there was no sibling rivalry or dominance posturing despite being opposite sexes. It was great seeing two "tollers" together.

Deal Or No Deal  

Posted by Stan Harrington

U.S. Army Captain Joe Kobes will be a contestant on the NBC Show "Deal Or No Deal" which will air on Monday, April 21st.

Captain Kobes has served three tours of duty in Iraq and received the Purple Heart for injuries suffered in 2004.

The shows producers contacted the White House after learning that President George Bush is one of his heroes. The President agreed to produce a introduction tape for the show, wishing him good luck in his endeavor to win the million dollars. Captain Kobes and his family are not aware that the President taped the message. It should provide an interesting watch.

"This Is Your Jury Summons"  

Posted by Stan Harrington

Recently, I was once again selected for jury duty for the month of April. Not quite the same as being notified that you have won the lottery. I surely do not mind being summoned to jury duty, in fact I have been one of the chosen few each year for the past several years. Again, I really do not mind since I feel it is one of many obligations that you fulfill as a citizen.

However, at times I have to wonder about the organization of our court system and how far in advance the court cases requiring a jury are scheduled. On Friday, following the phone in instructions, the message said to call back on Monday. Now how many judges are going to be working on Saturday and Sunday to hear a case on Tuesday. However, I followed my instructions and called back on Monday after 4:30 p.m. only to be told to call back on Tuesday after 4:30 p.m. Surely, they know a few days in advance when they are going to need to see the jurists and select a few to find the accused guilty. Yes, I always assume the accused is "guilty" or they would not be in court. Perhaps, that is the reason I have never been selected to serve on a jury.

However, I think I have found the problem in our court system. I always thought the jurists were selected from the pool of registered voters and or property owners. Our jurists are selected on the basis of those that received the Alaska Permanent Fund. I wonder how many illegal PFD recipients are selected each year for jury duty? One of the requirements to sit on the jury that has my concern is, "You don't need special experience, training, or education". I would like to think that if I am the one that is standing in front of the court and going to be judged by my peers, I want them educated!

A complete paragraph on the form goes into a lengthy explanation as to whether serving on jury duty is a right or a responsibility. In a nutshell, "Jury service is a basic right of every citizen". But, it is also a responsibility "that can only be fulfilled if you return the questionnaire and appear on the day of your service". I am proud to say that I fulfilled both my obligations.

Every considered throwing your jury summons in the trash, after all, it is not sent to you as registered mail, there is no way for the court system to prove that you even got your summons. They, the court system, assumes that you are guilty before you are given a fair trial by a jury of your peers. If you do not return your summons, which they have no proof that you received it, the following actions will take place. "The Permanent Fund Dividend Program may be notified if the questionnaire is not returned." "Additionally, you could be required to appear before the judge and explain your absence and possibly be ordered to pay a fine if you do not come to court when called."

If that were to happen to me, I would request a trail by jury and then defend myself. Other than the accused, the "jury" is the most important segment of a jury trail. If a person has to be educated in law and pass a state bar examination to practice law in order to represent their clients, why isn't there a educational requirement for jurists? I will take my chances, defend myself in front of a box of uneducated jurists and then the playing field is even.

I had better call in and see if I have jury duty tomorrow.



Nothing to do with the above posting, but did receive this picture on Tuesday of "Harley" down in Florida. He is now nine weeks old. Isn't he a great looking dog. I want a "Little Dutch"

"Tsunami" and "Global Warming"  

Posted by Stan Harrington



The term "tsunami" comes from the Japanese meaning literally harbor wave. A "tsunami" is created by earthquakes or other types of movements of the crust of the earth, including explosions that may occur. The term "tsunami" is often confused with the term "tidal wave". A "tsunami" may occur at any state of the tide or weather pattern. Tidal waves are created by the wind on the surface of the water and the rise and fall of the water under the influence of the Moon and Sun. The typical "Tsunami" has a much smaller amplitude (wave height) than a tidal wave but a much greater length. For example, the 1964 earthquake in Alaska created a "tsunami" as far south as Crescent City, Oregon, killing a number of people. The majority of the coastal communities of Alaska were affected by the tsunami.

It now appears that "Global Warming" also has the ability to produce a "tsunami", that is if you want to believe the latest propaganda that their research has made public. In a news article dated, Thursday, Arpril 10th citing the findings of a scientist by the name of Gijno Cassassa. The opening line in the article reads as follows; "Melting ice in southern Chile caused a lake to swell and then empty suddenly, sending a "tsunami" rolling through a river". Accordingly to the authority cited, the "melting of the Colonia Glacier filled the Cachet Lake and increased pressure on the sheet ice". He blamed the melting of the glacier on the rising world temperatures.

Now, I am no expert but I have always been under the opinion that when a lake releases excess water and it increases the water volume of the adjoining river or stream, this is called a "flood" or even a 'flash flood" if you apply the term liberally. But, "Tsunami", I do not believe the term applies.

"Flooding" is a natural process created by glaciers, each year in Alaska, several glaciers will dump the excess water that is created from the glacier lake into the adjoining lakes and streams. This is a natural occurrence on the Kenai River and will normally result in a a lowering of water temperatures and increases of water volume in the Kenai River for a short period. However, the communities of of Cooper Landing, Naptown, Sterling, Soldotna, or Kenai should not be to concerned in regards to a "Kenai River Tsunami".

One again, those that believe in the concept of "global warming" sorts through the data and applies terms or concepts that use scare tactics instead of using scientific data or common sense.

Check these Links Out:
"I Do Not Like Change"

Chester W. Nimitz

"Puppy Love"  

Posted by Stan Harrington

Our good friends, Dick and Pat Bedard, have finally jumped through all the hoops and have officially adopted their new Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. Known, as "Harley" they were united at the airport today and now the fun now begins. In a few months, he will have his full registered name, but rest assured, "Harley" will be included with the name. Both Dick and Pat fell in love with our "Dutch" dog while visiting with us last August. Since then, they have been working and waiting patiently to find "Harley". He is a great looking "toller" with classic markings of the breed. I look forward to watching him develop. Knowing Dick and Pat for over forty years, "Harley" could not have picked a better family. Perhaps, "Dutch" and "Harley" will have the opportunity to meet in the near future.

Thank You  

Posted by Stan Harrington

I would like to thank everyone for getting me involved in blogging. It has been a great educational experience. I would also like to thank all of you for visiting my site on a regular basis.

Since we are into a major General Election season and in the fact that I am a "political junkie" I started a second blog site several weeks ago, the address is politicalprattle.blogspot.com

I am also a history fan, especially the history of those Americans that have had a positive impact on our great nation. I thought it to be important that my adult children, as well as my grandchildren and great grandchildren be exposed to some of these Americans that perhaps they have never heard of, even in the history classes of our school system. Today, I have launched a third blog site that will be dedicated in profiling Americans that have had an impact on me and our nation. The address to this "new" blog site is: americanprofiles.blogspot.com
On this site, I think you will find some interesting articles as well as some that will renew some memories.

Thanks for all of your support.

Money and Politics  

Posted by Stan Harrington

PORK BARREL AND POLITICS

Each Congressional year, we witness our elected representatives bring home the bacon to their respective states. In most cases, this is a great incentive to re-elect them in order that they may return to Washington D.C. to once again bring home all of the funding that they can, despite the impact that it may have on our national budget and deficit. This particular source of funding is not included in the budget submitted by the President. This type of appropriations do not have to have congressional debate or a bill requesting the funding. The funding request is simply attached to any bill that will be approved by Congress and signed by the President. The term for this is called "earmarks" and commonly referred to as "pork barrelling".

This past Congressional year, Senator McCain and one other Senator proposed a bill to stop the practice of "earmarking". It was soundly defeated on the floor of debate. Two notables that voted to approve the bill was Senator Clinton and Senator Obama as well as the sponsor of the bill, Senator McCain. Senator Stevens and Senator Murkowski each voted against the bill. Most Senators feel that if they can bring home the bacon, the voters will not forget when it comes time for re-election.

This Congressional year, a total of 17.2 Billion dollars was appropriated for "pork barrel" projects. This is 17.2 Billion dollars that was not included in the national budget request made by the President. It is very difficult to balance a budget when that kind of funding is added to it in the final minutes of the appropriations. This is an increase of four billion dollars in comparison to last year. As usual, Senator Ted Stevens ranked up there in the top tier at bringing home the bacon. Alaska was once again the #1 state in receiving the most "pork per population" valued at $469 million dollars, with Senator Ted Stevens bringing home $380 million dollars of that total.

Senator Clinton, Senator Obama, and Senator McCain are each campaigning for the Presidency of the United States. Keep in mind that each of these Senator's voted to eliminate the concept of "earmarks" earlier in the year. However, when it came time to feed at the trough, two of them flip-flopped on their decision. Senator Clinton returned to her home state of New York with $530 million dollars in "pork barrel" projects. Senator Obama returned home to Illinois with the funding of 40.6 million dollars for pet projects. The sponsor of the bill to eliminate "earmarks", Senator McCain returned to Arizona with zero funding. During his many tenured years in Congress, Senator McCain has never "earmarked" funding for the State of Arizona. However, he continues to win the voters approval each election year by a landslide over those that run against him from the State of Arizona. Must have something to do with ethics and the principal that you are only as good as your word. Perhaps, other Senators and Representatives could use his example, that you do not always have to being home the bacon to get re-elected.

Is there money in politics or concerned about your taxes, or worried about personal security, you may want to visit my other site, political prattle.

Prattle Ramblings  

Posted by Stan Harrington


Another sign of spring, time to dig out the old highway tires and wait for an appointment to replace the studded tires on your vehicle. This is one of those things that I hate to do twice a year. It ranks right up there with taking garbage to the dump site, refueling my truck, and going to the post office. I hate rotating tires so much that I have not changed from my studded tires on my snowplow since I bought it, about eight years or so ago. However, starting this year, this expensive and time wasting chore maybe eliminated for my every day vehicle. Coming this fall we will be seeing a new studded tire. The are called Q Celsius and manufactured by a new company that has just raised the 8.8 million dollar start up capital. The beauty of these tires is that the studs are "retractable". In testing, the tires have been approved for use in the majority of the states. When driving down the dry highway and it starts to freeze or snow, you simply push a wireless remote control, air pressure from the tires applies enough pressure in the small chamber holding the stud and it pops out. When the roads become dry again, push the button and the studs retract. The tires will be marketed at first in those states that have the most severe winters. Perhaps, if "global warming" does not his us, we in Alaska may get the chance to see these tires. Perhaps, our PFD this next year will cover the cost of them.

This albino "gator" is currently on display at a zoo in Germany. However, it is a "legal resident" of the United States. Prior to being captured, it was happily living in the bayous of Louisiana. This the first known white gator that has been captured. Prior to being taken hostage, I would guess that it most likely sobered up several "Billy Bobs" while they were out fishin cats in the bayou and sippin a bit of the moonshine. One has to wonder what all of the other gators thought of their cousin or even perhaps their brother or sister, whatever sex it is. How do you tell? With pink eyes and white body he / she must have had a lot of difficulty hiding while waiting for their next meal. Even when partially submerged, those pink eyes and white forehead is going to keep him / her from looking like a log.







This picture made national news and one of those that we all wish that we would have or could have shot. This is the Church of Latter Day Saints in Palmer, Alaska and the picture was taken on March 26th.


"April Showers"  

Posted by Stan Harrington

"April Showers Will Bring May Flowers"
This is what your Doppler Radar for the Cook Inlet Region looked like at 13:35 on April 1st 2008. A "little" rain in the forecast.



But, this is what the Doppler Radar looked like for the Gulf of Alaska at the same time, 1257, April 1, 2008. You can guess where this storm is headed - hold on LA you are going to get wet!


Exciting News  

Posted by Stan Harrington

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What Are You Looking For ~ What Day Is It You Fool