Local News


Sabine Poux/KDLL

Triumvirate Theatre will receive one of the largest grants from the Rasmuson Foundation this award cycle. The Anchorage-based foundation is awarding the nonprofit $1 million to build a new theater in Kenai, after a fire razed its building in Nikiski earlier this year.

Angela Denning / KFSK

All three Kenai Peninsula representatives to Juneau have signed onto a letter to the council that oversees commercial fishing in Alaska’s federal waters, joining a bipartisan chorus of voices demanding reduction of halibut bycatch.

Specifically, representatives are asking the North Pacific Fishery Management Council to approve Alternative 4 at its meeting next week, which would take the most significant swing toward linking the trawl fleet’s fishing with halibut abundance in the Bering Sea.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

UPDATE Dec. 5:

Alaska State Troopers said they located the body of Luki Akelkok, ending a multi-day search and rescue effort for the 28-year-old Dillingham man that was hindered by bad weather.

Kaitlin Vadla

The federal government is inching toward an oil and gas lease sale in Cook Inlet, covering about one million acres from the southern end of Kalgin Island down to Augustine Island. 

On the Central Kenai Peninsula, there’s a different kind of sale in progress.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Kenai City Council members unanimously voted last night to oppose vaccine and mask mandates from the government — another resolution against mandates that local officials said takes a stance but which has no teeth.

The resolution said the council opposes mandates “requiring individuals to take COVID-19 vaccines or wear face coverings to be in public facilities, including schools or for travel-related purposes.”

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Correction: The item approved Wednesday night was to reintroduce the ordinance. The council will do a final vote on the ordinance Dec. 15. We regret the error.

The Kenai Community Library will vote again on a federal grant to purchase health and wellness materials for its shelves, following a controversial decision to hold off on accepting the grant that had many crying censorship.

Valerie Kern / Alaska Public Media

Seward swimmer Lydia Jacoby just signed with swimwear company arena — the high school senior’s first deal with a brand since winning gold at the Tokyo Olympics this summer.

But it wouldn't have been possible even a few months ago. The partnership takes advantage of a new set of rules from the NCAA, the body that governs student athletics.

Courtesy of Lora Hagelund

The Soldotna Public Library will soon stock seeds among its shelves of books and movies.

Lora Hagelund is spearheading the Soldotna Seed Library. She runs Stellaria Trial Garden in Kasilof, where she grows produce and keeps a small flock of chicken and geese.

Shaylon Cochran/KDLL

Appointments to the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s Planning Commission are usually straightforward. Lately, however, the process for filling seats on the 11-member commission has stalled over questions about representation and who gets to choose its members.

Rashah McChesney/Alaska Energy Desk

The U.S. Department of the Interior said oil and gas companies should pay more to extract fossil fuels from federal lands and waters, like the million acres that could be up for bid soon in Cook Inlet.

It’s one of several recommendations the department made in a report released over the holiday weekend. And it’s drawing ire from both sides of the aisle.

Jenny Neyman

More farmers markets crop up in Alaska every year. New markets took root in Nikiski, Seldovia and Seward in the last two years alone.

Just ask Robbi Mixon. She’s executive director of the Homer-based Alaska Farmers Market Association.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Ski season in Cooper Landing is approaching. At the same time, trapping on Forest Service lands is fair game. 

And with few formal restrictions on trapping, it’s largely up to trappers and recreationists to keep each other safe.

Andy Morse is a law enforcement officer for the U.S. Forest Service, based in Cordova. He said safety is a two-way street.

Alaska State Troopers

A Kenai man died Tuesday night when his car rolled over near Clam Gulch, according to the Alaska State Troopers.

Courtesy of USGS Western Ecological Research Center

Tule geese migrate from Cook Inlet down to California every year. They can be spotted by birders on the central peninsula in the spring, as they cross over the Gulf of Alaska on their long journey back north.

There’s not much margin for error during those journeys. But last year, geese took twice as long to get to California, as they came up against some of the largest wildfires in Canada and the Lower 48 to date.

Courtesy of Tami Marsters

This year’s Thanksgiving is, again, happening in the shadow of COVID-19.

But this year, there are more tools available to have a safer holiday gathering, like vaccines.

Also new this year are at-home COVID-19 tests. Kenai Public Health Nurse Tami Marsters said they’re a great tool for people to use before and after their Thanksgiving gatherings.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

The deadline for the Biden Administration’s vaccine mandate for an estimated 3.5 million federal workers is today. On the Kenai Peninsula, that mandate extends to employees of the Federal Aviation Administration, the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and active military, among others.


This weekend, demonstrators in Kenai and Soldotna braved subzero temperatures to protest against the mandate and others, which they said violate their rights to medical liberty.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

A coalition of nonprofits has been working toward creating an emergency shelter on the central peninsula for a while. But until recently, their idea has remained just that.

Now, that idea has a home. The Kenai Peninsula Homelessness Coalition has finalized the purchase of a building in Nikiski, just north of the Nikiski Community Recreation Center.

Alaska State Troopers

A crash on the Sterling Highway left two Kenai Peninsula residents dead this weekend, according to the Alaska State Troopers.

Troopers said 55-year-old Fedos Martushoff, of Sterling, and 26-year-old Matthew Shull, of Seward, died when their cars collided around 6:20 p.m. Saturday, near Mystery Creek Road at mile 64 of the Sterling Highway.

Courtesy of Seth Kantner

Seth Kantner sees his life today as a continuation of the subsistence life he grew up with in northwest Alaska, with some new additions: commercial fishing in the summer, writing in the winter and photography in the spring and fall.

In the last several years, he’s gathered images and stories from the caribou herds that live near his home on the south side of the Brooks Range. His latest book, “A Thousand Trails Home,” recounts those tales, his own story and how they all intersect in a part of the country that’s experiencing climate change at a staggeringly rapid pace.

Photo: Sabine Poux/KDLL

Seattle catches some of the best bites from Alaska's fisheries each year at the Symphony of Seafood — an annual competition put on by the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation to promote the state’s value-added seafood products.

This year, there were 18 competition entries in the mix, including a Kenai Peninsula company. AlaSkins makes wild fish skin treats out of Kenai and has a storefront in Soldotna.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

In an emergency, paramedics in Nikiski might have 30 minutes with a patient before dropping them at the hospital. They likely won’t meet again until that patient has another emergency. 

The Nikiski Fire Department is working to change the nature of that relationship. It’s using a grant from the state to build up its capacity to address people’s medical needs at home and reach them before — and long after — they’re in crisis.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Cold temperatures this week broke records in parts of the Kenai Peninsula and western Alaska.

But they follow what was one of the warmest first weeks of November on record for the state.

Courtesy of National Renewable Energy Laboratory

After studying the tides near Nikiski this summer, researchers said they’ve confirmed it would be a world-class place to put a tidal power generator.

And they said the measurements they took will help them develop technology that can withstand the harsh conditions of Cook Inlet’s tides — some of the largest in the world. 

Sabine Poux/KDLL

When warm and wet, birch bark can be folded into baskets — a container for berries or a cradle for babies. 

But when it’s not fresh off the birch tree, bark can be unyielding. And folding can be the hardest part, according to the dozen women making baskets Monday at the Dena’ina Wellness Center in Kenai.

Courtesy of Dan Bigley

An Anchorage man who was blinded by a bear at the Russian River nearly two decades ago is bringing his story to the silver screen.

Dan Bigley, author of “Beyond the Bear,” said he’s talking to producers and a screenwriter about turning the book he wrote about his experience into a movie.

Kenai Peninsula Homelessness Coalition

A team of advocates has drafted a list of priorities and strategies for addressing homelessness on the Kenai Peninsula. Now, it’s looking for community feedback.

The nonprofit leaders and volunteers that make up the Kenai Peninsula Homelessness Coalition have been working on the plan since June, with the help of an Anchorage consulting firm.

Shaylon Cochran/KDLL

Federal officials warn U.S. households will pay more to heat their homes this year.

But Alaska is insulated from those changes. ENSTAR spokesperson Lindsay Hobson said that’s because the company has pre-existing long-term gas contracts.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

COVID-19 hospitalizations are down and the number of reported new cases has dropped, both in the school district and general population.

Central Peninsula Hospital Spokesperson Bruce Richards said Friday the hospital has fewer than 11 COVID-19 patients. He says the hospital doesn’t release more specific information on those hospitalizations, in accordance with federal recommendations about data privacy in small community hospitals.

Photo: Sabine Poux/KDLL

The pantry and freezer at the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank are filled with granola bars and apple sauce and ground meat.

But there isn't as much Thanksgiving food as you’d expect just two weeks ahead of the holiday.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Ten years ago, you’d be hard pressed to think up more than a handful of career paths involving drones.

But now, the unmanned, remote-controlled aircrafts are near ubiquitous across industries. The Challenger Learning Center of Alaska is partnering with a local high school and Kenai Peninsula College to train students so they can operate drones recreationally and commercially.