A liberalized brown bear season on the Kenai has resulted in more than sixty bears harvested. Citing increased bear-human conflicts and a threat to the moose population, the Board of Game allowed permitted hunting this year with the goal of bringing the bear population down. How this year’s harvest will contribute to that goal is not known.
A few more roads are set to be checked off Soldotna’s list of things to pave. The city will fund the projects through special assessment districts.
There aren’t many highways suitable for road-tripping in Alaska. But the ones we do have are dotted with plenty of interesting road-side attractions. In the first part of a series we’re calling “Roadside Attractions,” we head north about 20 miles to Anchor Point.
Residents near K-Beach Road in Kenai might finally have some relief as they continue to battle surface and groundwater flooding. Borough Mayor Mike Navarre issued a local disaster emergency declaration Tuesday.
The announcement earlier this month that the preferred site for the end of an in-state gas line would be Nikiski was welcome news to many on the Kenai Peninsula. Residents and business owners in this unincorporated area are cautiously optimistic.
Skyview High School’s volleyball team had a win Tuesday night against Soldotna High. The game was the last time the two schools would compete in a cross-town rivalry due to reconfiguration for next year. During Tuesday night’s varsity game Skyview players said goodbye to four seniors and thanked Coach Sheila Kupferschmid for 15 years of service. This is her last season at the school.
It didn’t take long for former Borough Assembly member Linda Murphy to find another way to serve the public. She lost her Assembly seat to Dale Bagley and has since taken up residence on the Soldotna city council.
Tucked into this week’s Borough Assembly agenda was a resolution approving the issue of $43 million dollars’ worth of revenue bonds to complete the next phase of expansion at Central Peninsula Hospital. That includes new office and administrative space and room for more procedures. The Assembly mostly had its mind made up, and in the end voted in favor of the resolution. But the sticker shock of a $43 million price tag added a bit of drama to the meeting.
Students from across the Peninsula were in Soldotna Tuesday for the annual college fair. Juniors in the district have this time to start thinking about their lives after high school.
Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the Good Friday earthquake, which devastated many communities in Alaska, including those on the Kenai Peninsula. The anniversary has emergency planners asking the question, “Are we ready for the next ‘big one?’”
Dan Nelson is Program Coordinator for the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s Office of Emergency Management. He says the possibility of an big earthquake seems to be an “abstract” concept for most Alaskans.
“I think most folks do understand and acknowledge (the danger)” he says. “But at the same time, it’s really hard to put that into practice and to recognize what that really means … for different communities.”
Nelson says his office has been using the upcoming anniversary of the Good Friday quake as a tool to help educate Alaskans on what they can do to be better prepared for a big earthquake.
He says that in some ways, we are more prepared. The science behind understanding and predicting earthquakes has greatly improved since 1964, for instance. But in other ways – such as our increased population and our dependence on infrastructure and technology – we are maybe less prepared.
Ervin Petty is Tsunami Program Manager for the State of Alaska. Like Nelson, he spends a lot of his time traveling around, trying to educate Alaskans on how to be better prepared for a disaster.
Petty says that because of the expected damage to communications infrastructure in the event of a big earthquake, many of the preparedness solutions are decidedly low-tech. He says that HAM radio operators were the unsung heroes of the ’64 quake, acting as Alaska’s primary communication link to the outside world. He says that in the event of another quake of that size, that could very well happen again.
“I would say the first thing to do is come up with a good family plan,” says Petty.
Petty says a good plan covers things like how to pick up children from school, how to communicate with family members who work out of town and the preparation of a seven-day survival kit.
According to the state’s preparedness website – ready.alaska.gov – a good survival kit contains things like flashlights, first aid supplies, blankets and a radio. At least a one-week supply of food and water is important, as well.
Once your family is secure, Petty says it’s going to be important for Alaskans to get out and assist their neighbors.
Reporter's log: 10/21/13, in which Shaylon pretends to make art.
Buccaneer Energy’s stay on at least part of the Kenai Peninsula was extended to 30 years after this week’s meeting of the Kenai city council.
After a four year wait, the Department of Natural Resources will finally make a decision on applications having to do with the proposed Chuitna mine. A superior court decision handed down this week compels the Department to make its decision within thirty days.
It’s been more than four years since an eruption at Mt. Redoubt and questions still linger about the potential hazards of storing oil there. Both the industry and environmental groups have come out in support of construction of a sub-sea pipeline to replace the need for storage tanks at the Drift River terminal at Redoubt’s base, including Cook Inlet Regional Citizen’s Advisory Council.
Students from central and southern Kenai Peninsula schools gathered at the Anchor River Friday to learn about the salmon life cycle. This was the kick-off to the Salmon in the Classroom program. The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District partners with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to teach kids about one of the state’s most valuable resources.
While a group of 14 community members, teachers and students mulls over the cultural changes for the Soldotna school reconfiguration, district officials are working on staffing and other nuts and bolts decisions for the three schools. Principals and assistant principals have already been announced. Decisions on teachers should come at the start of next year.
A student government project at Kenai Central High School could lead to new certification for first responders with Central Emergency Services.
Seeking fast relief from even faster approaching surface water flooding, a group of K-Beach residents met at the Soldotna Sports Complex Thursday night to try to find a way to stay dry.
K-Beach Flood Meeting 10/10/13 (Run time: 1 hour 50 minutes)
Seeking to contribute to the continued vitality of Alaskan wild salmon stocks, the University of Alaska Fairbanks is reaching out to see what kind of interest there is in a proposed Center for Salmon and Society. The endeavor is in its earliest stages, and they’re still looking for feedback.
The committee tasked with the cultural shift for the new Soldotna schools configuration is making progress. The group has decided on mascots, is close to finalizing the new color scheme, but is stalled at a new name for the 10th through 12th grade building, which is currently Soldotna High School.
Two Assembly members said goodbye Tuesday night as their successors were sworn in. Linda Murphy and Ray Tauriainen finished their terms and Brent Johnson, Dale Bagely and Wayne Ogle were sworn in.
It was a close race, but in the end Kenai Mayor Pat Porter edged out her challenger, council member Bob Molloy to win reelection to a 4th term.
Residents near K-Beach Road just south of Kenai have been battling a rising water table the past few weeks. Thursday night, residents and Borough and State officials met to learn more about what can be done to gain some relief. There aren’t many concrete solutions except hoping for dry weather.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District has announced the principals and assistant principals for the new Soldotna schools reconfiguration.
The companies seeking to advance a multibillion-dollar natural gas pipeline project in Alaska have announced that Nikiski is the front-runner to be the terminal site where gas would be liquefied and shipped to Asia.
While voters Borough-wide and in Kenai had several ballot measures and candidates to choose, Soldotna voters only had a couple city council races to decide. Keith Baxter brought home more than a victory in the contest for seat.
With a couple months to go before an official opening, the new Soldotna Library is getting pretty close.
Enrollment for federally-mandated health insurance policies opened Wednesday. On the Kenai Peninsula, Enroll Alaska will have representatives in Soldotna and Homer beginning next week to help people find the right policy.