Local News

News

Redoubt Reporter

Cook Inlet’s commercial fishermen argued in the state’s highest court this week that the Dunleavy administration’s fisheries policy is deliberately destroying their livelihood in favor of sport fishermen. And their lawyers claim the Alaska-resident personal use fisheries run afoul of the U.S. Constitution.

Courtesy of Chris Sannito

Alaska’s economic development districts are in the running to win $50 million in federal money to grow the state’s seaweed and shellfish farming industry, known collectively as mariculture.

The U.S. Economic Development Administration announced this week that the proposed mariculture project is among 60 finalists for a Build Back Better Regional Challenge grant. Advocates say the money could help with the state's goal of building a $100 million industry by 2040.

Angela Denning / KFSK

The council that manages fishing in federal waters voted to link groundfish trawl fishing in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands to halibut abundance today. The action caps — at least for now — a six-year debate about curbing halibut bycatch in Alaska.

Courtesy of Volume

A team of Homer writers is starting a literary journal for the Kenai Peninsula. Volume will publish its first issue next spring.

Matt Iverson is one of Volume's editors. He said they're soliciting submissions for the first issue now.

Photo: Sabine Poux/KDLL

The Kenai Peninsula’s elderly population is booming.

But basics like housing and public transportation have not always kept pace. And what is available can be out of reach for many seniors.


Sabine Poux/KDLL

Aaron Gordon spent the last five years designing and finetuning his very own dice game. Unbeknownst to his friends and family, they were part of that experiment.


Rashah McChesney/Alaska Energy Desk

Oil prices plummeted last spring as the country ground to a halt and demand for oil tanked. 

Larger oil and gas companies can typically keep business afloat during hiccups like those. But for smaller companies, COVID-related burdens and high fixed costs were harder to bear. That’s why Glacier Oil and Gas officials said the company suspended operations in Cook Inlet in the spring of 2020.

Courtesy of National Weather Service Anchorage

Homer and Turnagain Pass will bear the brunt of wintry weather tonight and tomorrow. 

But Kenai, too, will continue to see blowing snow as the storm rolls through.

Matthew Fazal is a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Anchorage. He said the weather comes from a system from Bristol Bay — which already brought storms and power outages to the Alaska Peninsula.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Planning Commission will have an additional three members. And now, those members will have to live in the cities and borough districts they represent.

That’s after an ordinance passed through the borough assembly Tuesday night, restructuring the commission and clarifying language about the appointment process. 

Courtesy of Cook Inletkeeper

It’s been nearly five years since a Hilcorp pipeline off the coast of Nikiski began leaking fuel gas into Cook Inlet, a problem that lasted for months.

State regulators will now revisit the circumstances of that leak at a hearing next week. The Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission will hear a complaint from a former commissioner after he successfully sued the agency for not taking action several years ago.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Voter turnout in the Kenai Peninsula Borough is usually very low.

But this year’s numbers were particularly grim, even for borough standards. Voter turnout was just below 12 percent in the 2021 municipal election.

Local voter engagement groups want to know why. They’re holding a forum Thursday to get a sense of how they can increase voter turnout ahead of the next election.

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.

Pages