Econ 919 — How the Kenai Peninsula Works

9:01 a.m. and 5:01 p.m. Fridays

Econ 919 is a weekly economic report for the Kenai Peninsula from the KDLL News Team.

 

This week, we’re taking a look at a long-awaited capitol project that voters will decide on during the fall elections. A new school at Kachemak-Selo.

 

 


 

Biking of all stripes is growing in popularity on the Kenai Peninsula. To be fair, it’s happening it lots of other places, too. On the Peninsula, countless volunteer hours have been spent building and maintaining local trails, but infrastructure investment for bike and other multi-use paths is happening, too.

 

 


 

The state’s biggest economic engine, for good or ill, remains oil and gas.

 

 


 

Last week, small business owners got together in Soldotna at the still-under-construction Addie Camp restaurant to brainstorm how to support more new, local businesses and what needs to exist in the broader community to help make that happen. Leading the exercise was Nigel Sharp, a global entrepreneur in residence at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

 


 

The governor was in town earlier in the week for a rural development forum in Soldotna and we got some face time with him at the Soldotna library. We started off with AK LNG and how that project is coming amid China’s trade disputes with the Trump administration, and we’ll also touch on how rising oil prices are affecting the budget conversation in Juneau.

 


 

The city of Soldotna has looked at expanding its footprint at various times over the years. The most recent effort goes back almost two years and has potential economic implications for residents, businesses and the city.

 

 


  Here on the Kenai Peninsula we take our sportsfishing seriously. People fly or drive thousands of miles for the opportunity to wet a line in our cold, fish-filled rivers, streams and inlet. Helping visitors do that is a full time job for thousands in a score of industries, and today on Econ 919, we talk with Jim Voss, the developer of a new smartphone app, Alaska Fishtopia, that is designed to take sportsfishing as seriously as the angler who uses it.

 

Wells Fargo

Today, we hear how for-profit businesspeople, individually and through their companies, work not to earn a profit, but to better the life in our community.

Wednesday the Kenai Chamber of Commerce presented its annual awards during a luncheon ceremony. 

One of those people is AnnaLea Lott, the winner of the Chamber’s “Log Cabin” Award for just that, making this a better place to live.”

 

The 2018 salmon season is getting off to a very slow start, with restrictions and closures around the state. King fishing on the Kenai has been dialed back to catch and release and for sport guides, that’s nothing new.

 

 


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.

 

This week, temporary lodging. With nearly 4 million listings world wide, AirBnB has dramatically changed how people travel. They actually list more rooms to rent than the top five hotel chains combined. But it’s not just the big hotel companies that are having to deal with online, short-term rental bookings.

 


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.

 

Small and local is still the flavor for the majority of businesses around the Peninsula, but as many of their owners would tell you, getting those ventures off the ground is anything but a straightforward process.

 

 


 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.

 

At the heart of the debate about the borough’s budget is the borough’s land trust fund. It’s got $7.5 million in it right now, but that money isn’t doing much, and there’s not a solid plan for what could be done with it.

 

 


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.


 

A lot of planning goes into drawing visitors to the Kenai. This week, we dive into some of the challenges and opportunities for marketing the peninsula across the country.


Econ 919

Apr 6, 2018

 

This week, the Pebble Mine and what it might mean for the Kenai.

 

 

 

 


 

Everyone seems hopeful about the future both on the Kenai Peninsula and for the state as a whole. But simply being welcoming to new businesses or industries isn’t enough.

 

 


 

By and large, kids have little direct impact on the economy. Oh sure, Mom and Dad spend a lot on them, but with little disposable income of their own, school kids’ spending power is limited.

This week on Econ 919, Jay Barrett tells us how the people at Junior Achievement are training today’s kids to be tomorrow’s financially responsible and productive members of society.


This week, on Econ 919, Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce has been touting his plan to cover the borough’s $4 million-plus deficit this year with no new taxes. But a part of that plan means asking for administrative fees from the borough’s service areas. KDLL’s Shaylon Cochran has more.


The city of Kenai is looking to grow its economic base. That begins with one of the city’s more abundant resources — land. Shaylon Cochran has more on the plans to catalog and encourage development around the city:


 

The state Legislature gavels in amid hopes that increasing oil prices and TAPS line throughput can help quell the state's budget mess, while Hilcorp has big plans for its stake in Cook Inlet.


In this first episode of Econ 919, we take you to the recent Economic Outlook Forum and introduce you to one of the newest players in the central Kenai Peninsula's economy. And we wrap up with some potentially encouraging news about your PFD.