Local News


FLOAT Alaska

Out with the old Ravn, in with the new Ravn at the Kenai Airport sometime in September. Maybe.

At this week’s Kenai City Council meeting, city attorney Scott Bloom said he’s been speaking almost daily with bankruptcy attorneys for Ravn Air Group, which filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the spring. He's also speaking with the ownership of the company that bought a significant portion of Ravn’s assets — FLOAT Shuttle, Inc.

As anyone who’s done a home improvement project knows, building materials can be expensive. And as anyone who goes to the landfill knows, people throw away perfectly good stuff.

There’s a solution to both those problems, and it now has a home in Soldotna. BuildUp opened its physical doors two weeks ago. It’s a nonprofit organization that takes donated construction items that otherwise would be headed to the dump, and sells them to the public at deep discounts.

Amy Anderson, of Anderson Custom Builders, has been frustrated for years with throwing away usable materials.  

“Just from our own jobs, the accumulation of leftover doors, windows, tile, grout, Sheetrock was piling up and a lot of it ended up at the dump because we ran out of space,” Anderson said. “I go to the CD cell probably once a week and that’s hard to do.”


Voter participation in the Kenai Peninsula Borough is not, usually, real impressive. In the past 10 years, voter turnout in municipal elections has ranged from a low of 13.35 percent to a high of 26.02 percent.

This year, COVID-19 could keep even more people away from the polls. For the municipal election coming up Oct. 6, the borough is taking an extra step to make it easier to vote in advance. 

The borough assembly directed the clerk’s office to mail absentee ballot applications to all registered voters in the borough. You should have gotten yours by now. They were sent Aug. 14.

Absentee voting is nothing new — it’s already allowed in the borough and state. You don’t even have to have a particular reason why you want to vote absentee. The only new thing this year is preemptively sending absentee applications in the mail. Borough Clerk Johni Blankenship said that, so far, the response has been good. 

“It’s very successful, let me say that. That’s why I’m so busy. In an average year, we have between 300 and 500 applications. We are at the 2,000-application mark and we still have three weeks to go,” she said.


As the COVID-19 pandemic has stabilized in the Kenai Peninsula Borough, the Office of Emergency Management has shifted from response to mitigation and planning for the future.

OEM Director Dan Nelson briefed the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly on Tuesday night. Back in February and March, OEM focused on contingency planning.

“Specifically around health care facilities. Remember, we were seeing models at that time that this may overwhelm our local hospitals and health care faculties, what we would call patient surge, so what that looked like,” Nelson said. “What kind of contingency plans for response should we have another incident that occurred, a natural disaster, let’s say, during COVID. And many, many other plans.”

Luckily, the peninsula wasn’t hit with a fire or earthquake amid COVID. The infection curve flattened and a patient surge did not occur. But OEM still keeps a daily eye on the numbers and has twice-weekly check-ins with hospitals, cities and other entities. Part of OEM’s job once a disaster declaration has been issued is to obtain resources and getting them where they’re needed. During COVID, that means testing supplies and personal protective equipment.

“In a typical incident that we would manage, we usually have 50 or less of these resource requests. I looked this morning, we are at 312,” Nelson said. “And this is something that is not just a one-time thing. We have some great folks that have worked to track that and got those things to the places they’re needed all across the borough. So the logistics piece of that is a response that’s going on still to this day.”

Alaska State Fair

 Nominations are open for the 2020 Alaska Farm Family of the Year, conducted by the Alaska Division of Agriculture and Alaska State Fair.

The award was established in 2000 to honor an Alaska family that epitomizes the spirit of the farm industry and show appreciation for hard-working Alaskans committed to agriculture and aquaculture.

Two Kenai Peninsula families have been recognized with the honor. Laurie and Brian Olson, owners of Alaska Berries farm and winery, were chosen in 2018.