Kenai Conversation

Gary Stotler

Weighing in excess of 400 pounds, Gary Stotler decided to begin making changes; small at first, and with setbacks and challenges along the way, he's now running ultra-marathons, and regular ones for fun, like the Kenai River Marathon this year.


With less than a week to go before the Kenai Peninsula's municipal elections, host Jay Barrett welcomes to the Kenai Conversation the three candidates for the two available seats on the Kenai City Council, incumbent Councilman Bob Molloy and challengers Teea Winger and Robert Peterkin II. In Kenai, council members are elected at-large, so the top two vote-getters will be seated. Election day is Oct. 2.

Election coverage continues on the Kenai Conversation. Host Jenny Neyman visits with candidates for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education. In District 2 — Kenai, Matt Morse is running against incumbent Tim Navarre. In District 5 — Sterling/Funny River, incumbent Marty Anderson has three challengers — Nissa Fowler, Greg Madden and Karyn Griffin. Anderson is out of state for work and was not able to participate, and attempts to reach Griffin have not been successful.

The issue of annexation nearly gave Brent Hibbert a challenger for his seat on the borough assembly. On this week's Kenai Conversation, we'll talk about that issue and many more as they relate to Hibbert's run for a full three year term on the assembly.


  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.  

  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.

 

 

On the Kenai Conversation this week, host Jay Barrett welcomes Cook Inlet commercial salmon fishermen Paul Shadura, Jesse Bjorkman and Andy Hall to discuss the downward trajectory of salmon returns, management goals and the need for all gear groups to finally come together and work for the benefit of the fish.

  Today, we look at invasive species - those critters large and small that endanger the natural beauty, and in some cases, our way of life here on the Kenai Peninsula. Our guests are  John Morton, the supervisory biologist at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Jennifer Hester of the Kenai Watershed Forum’s Adopt a Stream program, and Rob Massengill, a fisheries biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. We begin the conversation discussing invasive northern pike, a sports fish introduced to the Kenai Peninsula, and whose eradication has taken decades.

Annexation may have been one of the hot topics over the past couple years in Soldotna, but there's a lot more going on. This week, we talk with city manager Stephanie Queen about everything from partnering with the city of Kenai on infrastructure projects to how the city gears up for fishing season. And, of course, the next steps in the process toward potential annexation.


On this week's convesation, Medicare, PFDs, income tax and the continuing battle for better brewery laws. District O Senator Peter Micchiche talks with KDLL's Shaylon Cochran.

Interview highlights:

On changing the structure of how the Permanent Fund Dividend is distributed:

It took a lot of work to get this year's budget through the borough assembly, but there's more work left to do. Despite some budget cuts and a slight bump in property taxes, the borough is still looking at a deficit of close to $2 million. 


 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.

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.

Redoubt Reporter

This weekend marks the 14th annual Kenai Peninsula Birding Festival. We sat down with one of the event's many organizers, Toby Burke, to talk about what's planned for this year and what's happening in the world of birding.


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. 

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.

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.

  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.

Though the state's finances are in a bit of a mess now with low oil prices and relatively low production, there are opportunities ahead. Creating a foundation to take advantage of those opportunities, however, is no easy task. This week, we talk to former borough mayor and current Commissioner of the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development Mike Navarre about how the state can transition away from an oil-based economy and the policy and political hurdles that will need to be cleared along the way.

Exchange students have been part of Kenai Peninsula life for nearly 40 years now, with high-schoolers from all over the world sharing their culture with host families in Alaska. On this week's Kenai Conversation, we visit with a couple of this year's students, a couple host parents and organizers from the local AFS chapter. Tune in to find out about their adventures and how you could get a taste of it all.

Tickets for the AFS fundraising dinner, featuring dishes from all eight countries the year's students hail from, are available at River City Books in Soldotna.

www.skihatcherpass.org

Few things tie a place and a culture together like language. On this week's Kenai Conversation, native place names, how they’ve changed and why it matters.


On this week's conversation, we talk with Robert Ruffner and Brent Johnson, members of the borough's latest working group on gravel pits. What's the balance between residential expectations and commercial opportunity and how can it best be achieved?

Kenai Performers

Terri Zopf, the director of the Kenai Performers' production of Shrek: The Musical that opens Friday, along with tap dance choreographer Sally Cassano and three actors, Dagmar Meyer, Bill Taylor and Mike Gallagher, join host Jay Barrett to discuss what it takes to put on such a large and daunting production.

Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce has been in office about three months now. So, as we get into the annual process of putting together a budget, how are things going? Are the conservative philosophies candidate Pierce ran on playing well with the realities of local government?

 

 

The Internet age was supposed to be the death knell for America’s public libraries. Google was supposed to replace the Dewey Decimal System and the Kindle was going to end paper books altogether. But, no. Not only are libraries like the ones in Kenai and Soldotna surviving, they’re thriving. We’ll find out why on the Kenai Conversation as host Jay Barrett welcomes head librarians Mary Jo Joiner and Rachel Nash from Kenai and Soldotna, respectively.

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