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 Kenai City Council last week set its budget for the new fiscal year, which begins on July 1. The budget appropriates $16,166,027 from the General Fund as part of a $28,105,942 total budget. Appropriations from the Enterprise and Internal Service Funds amount to just over $3 million, while the city’s Special Revenue Funds contribute about $8.75 million.

The council also committed $750,000 of unassigned General Fund money for future renovation and improvements to city facilities and streets. The employee salary schedule was also amended.

When cannabis first made inroads to social acceptability starting about 20 years ago, it was through medical marijuana. There was enough clinical and anecdotal evidence by that point that there were ingredients in cannabis that soothed anxiety in terminally ill patients, gave appetites back to cancer patients and was good for reducing inter-ocular pressure for what would become a small "epidemic" of "glaucoma." Now recreational cannabis, in the form of marijuana, is widely available, and on its coattails comes CBD, a cannabinoid in cannabis like THC.

L.Jay Barrett/KDLL

The specter of having the City of Kenai’s dock sit idle for the summer was avoided at the last minute during Wednesday night’s Kenai City Council meeting when a one-year lease was approved with CISPRI, the Cook Inlet Spill Prevention and Response, Inc.

The $20,000 contract gives CISPRI non-exclusive use of the dock, the city’s three cranes, office space, the floats, moorings and operating area adjacent to the dock.

ADOT

 

Commuters on the east portion of Kalifornsky Beach Road may have already noticed, but all drivers should be aware that the temporary traffic signals that are being installed are not the standard type that can detect stopped and waiting cars.

According to the Alaska DOT project "Navigator" website, these lights are on a timer, not detection, so the usual signal patterns drivers may be accustomed to have changed.

The Major League Baseball season may have started two months ago, but it is today that the local Boys of Summer will take the field for the first time.

Both the Twins in the American Legion League and the Peninsula Oilers of the Alaska Baseball League start their seasons here at home today.

 Every once in a while host Jay Barrett has to pause and invite the Clarion sports department to the studio for some chat about athletics near and far. Jeff Helminiak, Joey Klecka and Jay cover MLB, rugby, FIFA World Cup and high school soccer as well as motor racing and the Peninsula Oilers.

Sport fishing for early-run king salmon on the Kenai River is reported to be fair and improving, which is a marked improvement over the situation from the freshwater fishing report from Fish and Game last week.

According to this week's report, the water remains relatively clear, but some moss and debris are fouling lures and lines.

The slate is set for the state primary elections.

With Rep. Mike Chenault not seeking reelection, House Seat 29 is wide open, and has attracted three candidates, Shawn Butler of Hope running as a nonpartisan, and candidates Ben Carpenter and Wayne Ogle, both of Kenai, are running for the Republican nod.

Chenault gave up his house seat to run for Alaska governor, but his name does not appear on the state's final candidate list for that, or any, office.

National Highway Administraton

  Well, it's official: The Juneau Creek Alternative will be the route the Sterling Highway will take in future years as it skirts around Cooper Landing. The decision was made final on Thursday by the Federal Highway Administration.

The Soldotna City Council got a look at a new way to consider their community’s long-term infrastructure planning. It’s through a long-range planning document that sets out overlapping timelines and budgets. 

Road work around the Kenai Peninsula did not wait for summer to officially kick off before beginning this year. A stretch along the Kenai Spur has already been resurfaced and striped, but work on the eastern section of Kalifornsky Beach Road is more involved. 

“So we’re installing two new traffic signals, one at the intersection of Gaswell Road, and one at Ciechanski," said the Alaska Department of Transportation’s Shannon McCarthy. "And we will be upgrading the signals at the intersection of K-Beach Road with Bridge Access and Poppy Lane.”

In the latest Kenai Peninsula freshwater sports fishing report from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, angling for early run king salmon is still slow on both the Kenai and Kasilof rivers.

The water is clear and low in the Kenai River, and there's seems to be a little more early success on the Kasilof near the Cooked Creek State Recreation Site.

Sport fishing for salmon in the Upper Kenai River and the Russian River do not open until June 11.

The State Medical Examiner is attempting to determine the cause of death of an inmate at Wildwood Correctional Center last week. According to an Alaska State Trooper dispatch, the inmate, 57 year old Leslie Aveoganna was found by staff lying on the third floor of Building 10, unresponsive.

Nikiski EMS responded and attempted to revive Aveoganna but were not able to.

Troopers report that nothing suspicious was found at the scene.

Well, the Kasilof River is open to sport-fishing with actual photographic evidence of success in the Clarion. Soon commercial fishermen will be putting their nets in the water, and charter guides will be roaring up and down the Kenai at 6 a.m., followed by the thundering hordes of dipnetters in July.

Alaska Board of Fisheries

Robert Ruffner of Soldotna has retrieved his hat from a very crowded ring, full of contestants vying for the Republican mantle in the State House Seat 31 primary against the long-time incumbent.

Ruffner said he recognized a responsibility to donors and supporters when he realized the time commitment wasn’t viable.

On this week's Kenai Conversation we find out how interconnected the natural world is on the Kenai Peninsula when we welcome retired Kenai National Wildlife Refuge ecologist Ed Berg and the refuge’s John Morton, the supervisory wildlife biolgogist to talk about how a warming climate has shrunk lakes and ponds, caused an increase in wildfires and an explostion in the moose population.

People can question climate change all they want, but according to a couple Kenai Peninsula scientists, one change in the climate in 1968-69 might be exactly why there is an abundance of moose in our back yard today.

Exactly how interconnected the natural world is on the Kenai Peninsula became obvious when KDLL welcomed retired Kenai National Wildlife Refuge ecologist Ed Berg and the refuge’s John Morton, the supervisory biologist to the studio.

One of the bills the Alaska Legislature passed in its flurry of activity to adjourn Saturday was a statewide workplace smoking ban. Starting Oct. 1, pretty much any place that people work, it will be illegal to smoke.

The measure, Senate Bill 63, had been held up for years by Anchorage Republican Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux. She finally let it pass out of committee Saturday, but only with a provision that allows communities to opt out of the regulations.

Jay Barrett/KDLL

Racers didn’t let the relentlessly level topography of Kenai stop them from competing in the Kenai Rotary Club’s annual Soap Box Derby on Saturday. As they’ve done for the past few years, organizers created their own hill in the parking lot of the Kenai Multi-Purpose Facility and the Challenger Learning Center.

“Yeah, we have this semi truck deck that has the ramps coming off of it and then with the extra ramps with the release to give them more speed right off the bat,” said Rotarian Meg Meuller, who was helping racers at the finish line.

The Alaska Oil and Gas Association has announced its yearly industry awards in advance of its annual conference scheduled for the end of the month in Anchorage.

Among them are awards for safety, environmental stewardship, and lifetime achievement.

The Rising Star Award, according to the association, "honors an oil and gas industry professional under the age of 35, who has made an immediate and definitive impact on the oil and gas industry in Alaska."

 On this week's edition of Econ 919, we take a look at the effort to fund the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, and as the budget season draws to a close, we find out what a fiscal year is and why we have them.

Facebook screenshot

  As the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District's academic year winds down, it's budget season is heating up. Superintendent Sean Dusek took to Facebook Tuesday night, as he does regularly to field questions about the district, and began with some comments about the district's budget picture.

Bjørn Olson

  Across Kachemak Bay from Homer, just up the coast from Halibut Cove, is Grewingk Lake, a popular daytrip destination for visitors. Just a short water taxi ride from Homer, the lake is fed by its namesake glacier.

There'll be one new face on the Homer Electric Association board of directors after election results were tallied May 3 at the cooperative's annual meeting in Homer.

HEA members cast 3,196 ballots in person and by mail for the election which had three seats on the nine-member board up for grabs.

Incumbent Dave Carey, a former mayor of Soldotna and the Borough, ran unopposed for the seat representing Kenai, Nikiski, and Soldotna. It will be his 10th term on the board.

Due to a power outage that damaged breakers at the KDLL transmitter site, KDLL was off the air for part of the weekend. Thanks to Kelly's Electric for helping us get operational this morning. We'll need to do a little more work to completely remedy the problem but we'll do it with scheduled maintenance later this month to avoid another unplanned outage. We apologize for the inconvenience. Thank you for your patience.

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