Jay Barrett

Morning Edition host/news reporter

Born in Dillingham, Jay Barrett started in public radio at the age of 12, when the school district there started KDLG-AM. He has gone on to work in radio, television and print as a reporter, photographer and editor/news-director across rural Alaska. For the past dozen years, he’s been news director at KMXT Kodiak, where he’s produced The Alaska Fisheries Report for the last 10 years. He returns to KDLL 20 years from when he first came to the station.

The sixth annual Harvest Moon Local Food Week kicks off on Friday. On this week's Kenai Conversation join host Jay Barrett as he learns more from organizers Heidi Chay, George Spady, Bryce Wrigley and Eliza Eller.

The Alaska Division of Elections has finalized its results from last month's primary elections, which cleared up two races in the Central Peninsula.

In Senate District O, incumbent Peter Micciche came from behind and averted a huge upset against unknown political newcomer Ron Gillham. It took Micciche the absentee and questioned ballots to win, but he collected 50.62 percent of the vote to Gillham's 49.38 percent.

Rental vacancies in Alaska rose for the second year in a row in fiscal year 2018, according to figures released by the state Labor Department. Likely factors they say is the continuing trend of people leaving Alaska because of the ongoing recession.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough, at $980, saw no change in adjusted median rent between 2017 and 2018. Adjusted rent includes all utilities whether they are included in the base rent or not.

Kenai Soil and Water Conservation District

    When the sixth annual Harvest Moon Local Food Week takes place in the Central Kenai Peninsula, there’ll be a new group activity to look forward too.

In addition to the two walking tours in search of wild edibles, the keynote address from Delta Junction barley farmer Bryce Wrigley, and an all-day party at Soldotna Creek Park, the whole thing will kick off this year with a guided tour of three farms.

On Tuesday night Alaska State Troopers were summoned to Duke Street in Nikiski after reports of a verbal disturbance.

According to an online dispatch, after an investigation the troopers arrested 41-year-old Michael Ohms on two charges of animal cruelty, violating a protective order, criminal mischief and criminal trespass.

Efforts continue to locate a Wisconsin man who went missing when his boat capsized on the Kenai River Monday evening.

The missing man was identified by Alaska State Troopers as 68-year-old Daniel Hass of Algoma, Wisconsin.

Two other men were rescued after their boat overturned near Moose Medows. Troopers ID'd them as 68-year-old Charles Bohman and 64-year-old Lawrence Paul, both also of Algoma.

A Kenai man found himself a guest of the state Monday night after enjoying the view of the Kenai River from the wrong place.

At about 6:41 the Kenai Police Department received a report of a man sitting on the railing of the Warren Ames Memorial Bridge over the Kenai River just south of downtown. The concerned caller requested a welfare check on the man.

When officers arrived, they found 57-year-old Terre (terry) Sam Jones riding the rail.

The close state house and senate races on the Kenai Peninsula are are yet to be certified, but the leads have flipped with the counting of absentee and questioned ballots.

This year Alaska’s largest telecom company has increased the amount of money it’s contributing to suicide prevention programs around the state. In a grant administered by the Alaska Community Foundation, 10 organizations around the state, including Kenai, will split the $130,000 from GCI.

Last year the company launched the Suicide Prevention Grant Program with $100,000. Kate Slyker, GCI’s chief marketing officer, said the response then was overwhelming, and the company looks forward to an even larger impact this year.

It looks like there's suddenly plenty of fishing opportunity on the Kenai River. Not only has fishing for red salmon reopened on Thursday last week, but Fish and Game says the other shades of salmon are plentiful as well.

Fishing for silver salmon has been reported as good, with additional catch of pinks also being caught.

  On this week’s Kenai Conversation we welcome retired Mayor John Williams and former Councilman Duane Bannock to the microphones to analyze Tuesday’s Primary Election.  

From the ‘Better Late than Never’ files we have this item: sockeye salmon fishing on the Kenai River will open once again this year.

The announcement came Tuesday afternoon from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game after the escapement exceeded 900,000 late run red salmon passing the river mile 19 sonar.

Sports Fish Cook Inlet Management Coordinator Matt Miller said the department was glad to be able to offer another opportunity for folks to fish for sockeye as the season winds down.

In what appears to be a major upset in yesterday's primary elections in Senate District O, political newcomer Ron Gillham has defeated incumbent Sen. Peter Micciche.

With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, figures from the Alaska Division of Elections show Gillham pulled in 2,575 votes in the closed Republican primary for 50.12 percent of the 5,138 votes cast.

Micciche was close behind with 2,563 votes for 49.88 percent.

Seventy-two years ago electricity in Homer started flowing from a 75,000 watt diesel generator, supplying power to 56 members who had come together to form the Homer Electric Association.

Today, there are a few more customers throughout the Kenai Peninsula and 80-million watts of electricity coming from a variety of sources, which still includes diesel. But the member-owned co-op has added hydroelectric, natural gas turbines and recovered heat generation.

Now, the board is looking at adding solar-electric.

In an effort to keep anglers occupied on the tail end of the summer fishing season, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is rolling out recommendations for an increasing number of sports fish within reach of the Central Peninsula.

For example, in the Resurrection Bay fishing report from the department, the listing of fish species from stream mouths to the pelagic deep include: shrimp, lingcod, halibut, rockfish, Dolly Varden, and of course salmon, both coho and chinook.

While the Alaska general election candidate slate will be set on Tuesday, the ballot denizens for the Oct. 2 Kenai Peninsula municipal elections were finalized at 5 p.m. last (Wednesday) night.

And despite always vital and sometimes contentious and divisive debates on the assembly, the people in the districts served by two incumbents have not put forth challengers.

Brent Hibbert of Soldotna and Kenn Carpenter of Seward will run alone for re-election.

  The roars and cheers and other sounds of the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat signaled the beginning of the 2018 fall high school sports season over the weekend. On this week's Kenai Conversation, host Jay Barrett welcomes Jeff Helminiak and Joey Klecka, The Sports Guys, from the Peninsula Clarion back to the studio to find out, among other things, if there’s another 59 game winning streak … in the Stars.

 

 

As we reported earlier, Alaska’s campaign sign laws are a complex combination of state rights-of-way, private-property rights, federal highway law and a 1998 Alaska citizen voter initiative that passed with nearly 75 percent approval that should have left our roadsides pristine.

It is, in essence, very simple, according to Heather Fair, the chief of the DOT’s Right of Way division.

“Any sign visible from the traveled way is not allowed,” she told KDLL last month when campaign signs first started sprouting. 

The new alert system designed to better inform Kenai Peninsula Borough residents of vital emergency information will have its capacity tested this week, and you’re all invited to participate.

KPB Alerts, the phone, mobile, and text mass notification system, was put in place earlier this year after a large earthquake in the Gulf of Alaska exposed shortcomings in the previous system. One of the last steps is to test the voice-calling capability, which will start on Wednesday.

The mystery remains for a third day of a Palmer man who went missing late Friday night along the Seward Highway.

The Alaska State Troopers report online that 56-year-old Earl “Rocky” Ashworth III of Palmer had walked away in an unknown direction from his camp near the Hope Cutoff.

The interior of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is opening up to vehicles tonight via the Mystery Creek Access Road. The refuge and a portion of the Alaska Pipeline Company's right-of way corridor will open at midnight.

The access road is at about mile 63 of the Sterling Highway, and is within the current highway construction area so the refuge cautions that the appearance of the turn-off has changed from previous years.

Here’s something we haven’t shared in the Central Kenai Peninsula sportsfishing report before. Angling for salmon on the Kenai River is exclusively fly fishing at the moment. The vast majority of the river is still closed from end-to-end, but, in that portion around the confluence of the Russian River, you can try your hand at fly casting.

Both Areas A and B are fly-fishing only. They are bounded by the power line crossing the river on the west end and ADF&G markers on the east. Sportsman’s Landing at Mile 55 is about in the middle.

Edited salmon initiative OK'd for ballot

Aug 9, 2018

Backers of the ballot initiative touted to protect salmon habitat won a somewhat split decision in the Alaska Supreme Court Wednesday and it will appear on the November General Election ballot, though in edited form

The Stand for Salmon Initiative had been challenged by the Lt. Governor for making resource decisions via the ballot, which the Alaska Constitution prohibits. The Alaska Supreme Court, in a decision with one partial dissent, sent the case back to Superior Court with orders that the Lt. Governor be directed to place it on the ballot with two retractions.

Absentee voting places are open across the state of Alaska now, and will be through Primary Election Day on Aug. 21.

Alaska election law allows for a quartet of ways to vote absentee, including in-person, by mail, by fax or electronically, or through a personal representative. 

This year Alaskans will vote on half the state’s senators, all the state house members, our governor and his lieutenant, and for U.S. House.

Several Central Peninsula campgrounds partially closed because of a bear encounter are open again.

Two weeks ago the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge temporarily closed three campgrounds to tent camping for public safety because of a bear encounter in one of them. An unidentified camper was scratched and their tent was damaged after a black bear came calling at the Lower Ohmer Campground on July 21.

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