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Sabine Poux/KDLL

By Thanksgiving last year, the Kenai Peninsula was reporting dozens of new coronavirus cases every day.

We’re hardly out of the woods yet. But those numbers are now down to about 10 to 15 new cases a day. COVID-19-related hospitalizations are down at Central Peninsula Hospital, which, at some points during the pandemic, was inundated with cases. The virus seems to be plateauing nationwide, as well.

Leslie Felts, public health nurse manager for the Kenai Peninsula, has thoughts on how we got here and where we’re headed.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Kenai is pursuing its own shop local program this spring, called “Shop Here All Year in Kenai.”

Much like the program in Soldotna, which ran in November and December, it rewards shoppers who spend  $200 on discretionary purchases in Kenai with $100 vouchers for Kenai businesses. Those who spend $100 will get vouchers for $50.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

The Kenai Peninsula Borough is opening a call center to help seniors register for their doses of the coronavirus vaccine.

Starting tomorrow, those eligible for the vaccine can call in to add their names to a waiting list. That’s for seniors who have had trouble navigating the online system on their own, according to the borough.

Vaccine registration has been a fraught process for some Alaskans so far. 

KMTA

The eastern Kenai Peninsula has little in common with Niagra Falls or the Mississippi Delta. What they do all share is the designation of “National Heritage Area” — meaning, they’re among 55 sites the federal government recognizes as culturally and ecologically significant to the U.S. and its history.

The Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area, or KMTA, is the only one of those sites in Alaska. As such, it gets funding from Congress each year, about half of which goes toward an annual project grant.

KMTA is soliciting projects for its 2021 grant cycle. The application window closes March 12.

Alaska SeaLife Center

The Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward is partnering with an oil spill response organization to rehabilitate oiled marine mammals in Western Alaska.

Through an agreement with nonprofit Alaska Chadux̂ Network, the center will treat marine mammals affected by spill pollution in a large chunk of Alaska waters.

The idea is to get wildlife experts to the scene of a spill as quickly as possible — like an oiled wildlife SWAT team, said Chip Arnold, chief operating officer for the SeaLife Center.

“The exciting thing about the contract with Chadux̂ is that their whole paradigm of oiled wildlife response is rapid response," he said.

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KDLL Podcasts

Merry Christmas from the fine folks at Gherkin Radio Theater, starring Ranger Fox, Mary May, Alyssa Murphy, Shaylon Cochran and Elizabeth Huntley, with music by Derek Poppin and Maria Allison, produced by Dr. Stephen White.

Welcome Growler Bay Brewing, in Valdez, to the Alaska craft beer family. Plus, interviews with Barnaby Brewing Co. in Juneau and Double Shovel Cider Co. in Anchorage and a return to the simple pleasure (but not-so-simple to brew) pilsner. Cheers to surviving 2020!

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Kenai Conversation

The Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District is working on updating the borough's Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for 2021 to 2026, to aid in planning for the next five years. This helps in directing policy, obtaining and distributing governmental funding, attracting new businesses to the borough, identifying roadblocks to development and, ideally, bettering the quality of life in our neck of the woods.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District will return to in-personal classes Jan. 11. Educators are preparing for the change.

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KDLL Membership Drive Programs

Welcome to the debut of Gherkin Radio Theater! Thanks to Dr. Stephen White at Gentle Dental in Soldotna for bringing Gherkin Radio Theater to life. Pandemic time on his hands turned into a fun theatrical project to bring entertainment to the airwaves.

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