After construction workers removed siding from the facade of the Kenai Municipal Airport, a mural with iconic Kenai images like fishing nets, the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox chapel and a dog musher, was revealed on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019 in Kenai, Alaska.(Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

After construction workers removed siding from the facade of the Kenai Municipal Airport, a mural with iconic Kenai images like fishing nets, the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox chapel and a dog musher, was revealed on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019 in Kenai, Alaska.(Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Year in Review: Favorite stories of the year

One of my favorite things to write about is food and how it connects people.

In the midst of the Kenai Municipal Airport remodel, I made a late morning stop to the airport’s cafe for a cup of my favorite drink: the matcha latte. As construction crews were working on the outside exterior of the airport, murals of peninsula iconography were being uncovered. Murals that had been hidden on the airport’s facade for decades appeared, leading me to the Clarion archives where I learned an art class designed and painted the murals. The rest of the week I was fielding calls from residents who had nearly forgotten about the art they adorned on their hometown airport.

One of my favorite things to write about is food and how it connects people. Three Peaks Mercantile, run by Soldotna’s Joe Spady, created their supper club this year, which is a private (but everyone’s invited to sign up by email or through the Facebook group) intimate dinner party that Spady and his chef friends put on a couple times a month. Every supper club has a different theme that seeks to offer locals a taste of something new, fun, unfamiliar or hard to get in the area. Think Ethiopian feasts or a Hogwarts holiday supper.

As I was eating my way through the area’s sourdough offerings — and learning the histories of those sourdough starters — I wanted to share the sourdough stories of popular local eateries. If you eat any sourdough dishes at Addie Camp, you might be biting into some of the starter created by famed naturalist Richard Proenneke, who lived in the Lake Clark National Park area across Cook Inlet in an isolated log cabin for 30 years.

The beautiful Russian chapel I used to play around and inside of as a child got a massive makeover this year thanks to some state and federal grants. Saint Nicholas Memorial Chapel’s roof was repaired and waterproofed. The original cedar shakes were replaced with cedar shingles, slowing the wood’s deterioration at the walls and corners of the building.

It’s always a good day at work when the story takes you outside. One of my favorite stories this year introduced me to a sport I had never heard of — polocrosse, a hybrid of polo and lacrosse. My reporting took me to a large field at Ridgeway Farms, where a group of riders were using long lacrosse-like nets to scoop up a big bouncy ball that they throw and chase across the field.

After construction workers removed siding from the facade of the Kenai Municipal Airport, a mural with iconic Kenai images like fishing nets, the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox chapel and a dog musher, was revealed on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019 in Kenai, Alaska.(Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

After construction workers removed siding from the facade of the Kenai Municipal Airport, a mural with iconic Kenai images like fishing nets, the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox chapel and a dog musher, was revealed on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019 in Kenai, Alaska.(Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

After construction workers removed siding from the facade of the Kenai Municipal Airport, a mural with iconic Kenai images like fishing nets, the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox chapel and a dog musher, was revealed on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019 in Kenai, Alaska.(Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

After construction workers removed siding from the facade of the Kenai Municipal Airport, a mural with iconic Kenai images like fishing nets, the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox chapel and a dog musher, was revealed on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019 in Kenai, Alaska.(Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Addie Camp Train Eatery and Wine Bar strive to feature local food on their menu as much as possible, like oysters from Jacalof Bay, on Monday, Dec. 31, 2018, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Addie Camp Train Eatery and Wine Bar strive to feature local food on their menu as much as possible, like oysters from Jacalof Bay, on Monday, Dec. 31, 2018, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Addie Camp Train Car Eatery and Wine Bar is part building part train car, with railroad inspiration throughout the decor, on Monday, Dec. 31, 2018, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Addie Camp Train Car Eatery and Wine Bar is part building part train car, with railroad inspiration throughout the decor, on Monday, Dec. 31, 2018, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Lacy Ledahl, a local sourdough enthusiast, keeps her prized sourdough starter named Holly, in a special ceramic crock, on Saturday, April 13, 2019, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsual Clarion)

Lacy Ledahl, a local sourdough enthusiast, keeps her prized sourdough starter named Holly, in a special ceramic crock, on Saturday, April 13, 2019, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsual Clarion)

Local sourdough enthusiasts Lacy Ledahl, Maria Nolas and Elizabeth Cox taught a class at Maggie’s General Store about the benefits and baking opportunities of sourdough, Saturday, April 13, 2019, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Local sourdough enthusiasts Lacy Ledahl, Maria Nolas and Elizabeth Cox taught a class at Maggie’s General Store about the benefits and baking opportunities of sourdough, Saturday, April 13, 2019, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

A sourdough loaf made from Kevin, Jesse Hughes’ sourdough starter, waits to be bought at the Three Peaks Mercantile Pop-up shop at Artzy Junkin, Friday, April 12, 2019, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

A sourdough loaf made from Kevin, Jesse Hughes’ sourdough starter, waits to be bought at the Three Peaks Mercantile Pop-up shop at Artzy Junkin, Friday, April 12, 2019, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

John Wachtel, a former National Parks Service employee, places new cedar shingles on the roof of the Saint Nicholas Memorial Chapel as part of new restorative efforts, on Tuesday, May 21, 2019, in Old Town Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

John Wachtel, a former National Parks Service employee, places new cedar shingles on the roof of the Saint Nicholas Memorial Chapel as part of new restorative efforts, on Tuesday, May 21, 2019, in Old Town Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

A group of riders engage in a game of polocrosse, a sport combining rules of polo and lacrosse, Thursday, July, 25, 2019 near Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

A group of riders engage in a game of polocrosse, a sport combining rules of polo and lacrosse, Thursday, July, 25, 2019 near Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

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