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.

Hardscratch Press

  The latest Alaska-centric biographic work from Hardscratch Press is out now, and is focused on commercial fishing in Cook Inlet. “The 50-Year Summer,” the story of David Leuthe's decades of returning to Kenai from Wisconsin was published in January. Publisher Jackie Pels gave KDLL a preview of "The 50-Year Summer" when she was in Kenai last fall.

 

Leuthe died in 2015, and the book was completed by his widow Lynne working with Pels.

Kenai Marine Mammal Monitoring Project

  Beluga whale watching used to be a popular attraction around Kenai, but for the past 20-some years sightings have become increasingly rare. And, for most of the year, the small white whales are few and far between in this part of Cook Inlet. It's no wonder they are being intensively studied.

One effort, the Kenai Marine Mammal Monitoring Project, is a community-based citizen-science program, overseen by Kim Ovitz, a fellow with the University of Alaska Sea Grant Program.

In one lifetime, the number of beluga whales in Cook Inlet has dwindled by about a thousand, with a little more than 300 still hanging on.  As a result, keeping an eye on the one-ton white whales has become a priority. On this week's Kenai Conversation, Sea Grant fellow Kim Ovitz talks about her project learning about belugas that visit the Kenai River, and what they mean to the people of Kenai.

The 7.9-magnitude earthquake which struck near Kodiak in January generated plenty of tsunami alerts -- though little in the way of actual tsunamis -- throughout coastal communities in the Gulf of Alaska, including here on the Kenai Peninsula.

Unfortunately, many people who needed to be notified of potential doom were not able to be reached because of limitations in the equipment the borough's Office of Emergency Management uses to contact citizens in times of crisis.

Trinity Greenhouse on K-Beach Road has been a staple for Central Peninsula gardeners for over 40 years, and though it recently changed hands, the founder is confident the future is growing. Host Jay Barrett welcomes Trinity Greenhouse co-founder Ron Sexton and new owner Darren Henry.

The homesteader history of Kenai is the focus of this hour. Catherine Cassidy of Kasilof and Carol Knutsen of Kenai are Jay Barrett's guests and discuss their work keeping the homesteader history alive.

KPBSD

On last week’s “Local Science” Friday during KDLL Spring Membership Drive, we heard about the technology the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District uses to keep everyone connected.

And that’s not an easy job - “everyone” includes not only students and teachers, but parents and administration and support staff, and last but not least, the general public.

On "Local Science" Friday we welcome the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District's Pegge Erkeneff, Eric Soderquist, and Jake Doth as we discuss the technology the district uses to in the central office, in the schools, and in the cloud to connect teachers with students, parents with educators, and administrators with the public.

Nonprofit organizations permeate the Central Kenai Peninsula, doing such disparate public services as feeding the poor, protecting the vulnerable, attracting visitors and broadcasting unbiased news and information from around the state, nation and world. The one thing they all have in common is the need to raise money for their missions. On this week's Econ 919 we find out what professional fundraisers would like you to know about funding nonprofits.


It’s a challenging business climate in Alaska these days, with the low price of oil keeping spending down across the board and unemployment pretty high. And if you were to ask Alaska businesswomen, many would say it’s just that much more challenging for them. That’s where the Kenai Women in Business Summit on Friday might help.

“We’re really excited to bring this forth and see how it goes and potentially do one in the fall, to catch everyone that we miss this spring and make it an annual event," said Johna Beech of the Kenai Chamber of Commerce.

  It’ll be a few more weeks before you can head down to Cunningham Park or other favorite fishing spot and expect to hook a fish reliably. But, if you are a junior angler and you’re at the Sports, Rec, and Trade Show this weekend, you’re pretty much guaranteed to get your limit. KDLL’s Jay Barrett spoke with Kelly Martin about the show. She is the CEO the Kenai Peninsula Association of Realtors, which presents it each year in the Soldotna Sports Complex.

The driver of a tour bus that caused a fatal crash on the Seward Highway in 2015 has been indicted by an Anchorage grand jury. Sixty-three-year-old Charles Curtis of Wasilla was charged with one count of criminally negligent homicide and two counts of assault in the second degree. In an announcement, the district attorney also added nine counts of fourth degree assault. The indictment was announced Friday.

Wiki Commons

Slowly, the date April 20, or "4-20," is taking on a different meaning in America, especially in states such as Alaska where recreational cannabis has been legalized. KDLL's Jay Barrett visited a couple of the Central Peninsula's cannabis retailers and spoke with customers and staff about the informal holiday.


Lockheed Martin

If you saw some unusual activity over Upper Cook Inlet last night, maybe some random flares and aircraft performing search patters, it turns out it was exercises conducted by the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center out of J-BER (J-bear) in Anchorage.

This week on the Kenai Conversation, guests John Morton, the supervisory fish and wildlife biologist at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, and Hans Rinke, the Kenai-Kodiak Area forester with the Alaska Division of Forestry discuss our forests, the trees in them, their future and the potential threats they face. 

Redoubt Reporter

Two Soldotna men got a welcome, if unexpected lift home from the Alaska State Troopers Monday afternoon.

The two men, Donald Joachim and Benjamin Nabinger, had just finished a hike across the Harding Ice Field from Seward and found themselves stuck once arriving on the west side when they could not cross the Skilak River.

The Alaska State Troopers were notified that the men were stranded at about 1:24 p.m., and the pair were rescued by the AST's Helo 3 and delivered to the Soldotna Airport by 2:30 p.m.

The comment period for the northern pike eradication plan for the Tote Road lakes area opened Monday.

Interested parties can comment on both the use of the pesticide Rotenone to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, and on the environmental assessment to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Comments can be made to the agencies until May 17th and 18th, respectively.

KDLL spoke with Area Management Biologist Brian Marston in February about this project, which is the last in a series that’s lasted over a decade.

Well breakup hit the Kenai with a vengeance in the past week, with icy roads seemingly disappearing overnight and the rivers opening up to accept this year’s runs of salmon. All the salmon except those that go to support Peninsula fishing families that is - most of those wind up processed and shipped to markets nationwide. And it’s the jobs inside those seafood processing plants — very few are actually canneries any more — that we look at on this week’s Econ 91-9 feature.

Andrew Malone

  Saying the season for ice berg surfing only lasts three days or so, one young man has been raising eyebrows along the Kenai River between Soldotna and Kenai. 

Andrew Malone of Soldotna said he’s been riding the ice floes on the Kenai for four years, and he says people stop and take pictures and wave. Sometimes, like on Thursday, someone calls 911 thinking he’s being swept out to sea. But, as you may have read in the Clarion, CES responders were familiar with Malone and his impromptu float trips.

The first and second waves of a newly adopted teaching technique that the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is implementing is underway, with the third “wave,” as the teacher training is called, to begin soon.

John Pothast is the director of elementary and secondary education with the district who has ushered in the Personalized Learning program.

“A couple years ago that ‘aha moment’ was the realization it’s not a thing. It’s a verb. It’s how are we conducting business," he said.

As we previously reported, the Kenai Elks Club has been having issues with the state of Alaska’s Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office concerning its liquor license.

It turns out, just days after the Kenai City Council — for a second time — criticized the AMCO for mishandling the license renewal, the office issued the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elk a temporary liquor permit.

KPBSD

Personalized Learning is more than a buzzword for the latest fad in public education. This week on the Kenai Conversation, KPBSD Director of Elementary and Secondary Education John Pothast and district Communications Liaison Pegge Erkeneff, tell us about how Personalized Learning is being rolled out in classrooms across the district and what the expectations are.

The City of Kenai is scrambling to find a new operator of the city dock, after being informed the past vendor will not be returning and not getting any response from others.

“And I notified Harbor Commission of this the other night that our concessioner that has been operating the dock for the last couple of years, Copper River Seafoods, is not interested in pursuing that again this year. We did not find that out until a couple of weeks ago," City Manager Paul Ostrander explained to the Kenai City Council.

Jay Barrett/KDLL

Hello, it’s March 30th, 2018, and I’m Jay Barrett with KDLL’s Econ 91-9.

The Alaska Job Service Center held its annual Job and Career Fair last week in the Soldotna Sports Complex. A score of job and military recruiters, trainers and more were on hand, as were hundreds of Central Peninsula folks looking for a job or a new career.

When it gets closer to fishing season, we’ll tell you what local canneries have to offer, but today, we focus on training.

  On this week’s Kenai Conversation, it’s a reporter’s roundtable. KDLL’s Jay Barrett and Shaylon Cochran sit down with Elizabeth Earl and Kat Sorensen from the Peninsula Clarion to talk about the latest events around the central peninsula, local budgets, the upcoming fishing season and more.

Pages