Local News

News

Municipal elections are coming up Oct. 6. Depending on where you live, you’ll find candidates for Kenai Peninsula Borough mayor, assembly, city council and service areas, as well as a ballot proposition or two.

And you might see a candidate for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education.

There are four seats up for election — District 7, central; District 6, East Peninsula; District 4, Soldotna; and District 3, Nikiski. Only the eastern peninsula race is contested.

Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association

The Senate Resources Committee held a much-belated public hearing on Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s appointees to the Alaska Board of Fisheries on Friday.

Central peninsula District O Sen. Peter Micciche chaired the hearing.

“This meeting really is for you. We had our session cut short in Juneau because of COVID, obviously. And we did not have an opportunity to go through our confirmations,” Micciche said.

Appointees have been serving without a confirmation vote in the Legislature, which drew a lot of criticism in public testimony. Susan Doherty is the executive director of the Southeast Alaska Seiners Association.

“And I would implore the Senate and the House Fisheries Committees to work on legislation and/or amendments to the state constitution, if necessary, to correct this issue,” Doherty said. “People who are given such power should be seasoned, knowledgeable and fully vetted by the confirmation process, period.”

Jenny Neyman/KDLL

The central Kenai Peninsula homeless population isn’t as visible as in Anchorage or other big cities, but it does exist. And the worst time of the year to not have housing is just around the corner.

Twyla Mundy, with the Alaska Coalition on Housing and Homelessness Continuum of Care Committee for the Kenai Peninsula, spoke to the Soldotna City Council at its meeting last week. She advocated for a cold-weather shelter to give people a place to go in the winter when temperatures pose a risk to health and safety.

It’s not a new idea. Love, INC, is coordinating the project. Working with churches in Nikiski, Kenai and Soldotna, they came close to having a shelter system up and running last year but snagged on the occupancy approval process. This year, COVID issues make church housing a nonstarter. 

Mundy says she can’t stand for a shelter not to be available again this winter.

“We have a plan but we got stopped because of all of the fire requirements and I understand that, but we never actually opened and my heart — I can’t walk by empty buildings this winter and know how many people are freezing in their cares. That can’t happen in the town I live,” Mundy said.

City of Kenai

The Kenai bluff stabilization project is another step closer to construction, after decades of effort by the city to stop Kenai River bluff property from inexorably crumbling into the water.

At its Aug. 18 meeting, the council gave City Manager Paul Ostrander the go-ahead to sign a PED — preconstruction engineering and design — agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Ostrander said the agreement is the culmination of about three years of work.

“This is really a significant milestone and this allows the actual design of the project to begin,” Ostrander said.

Jenny Neyman/KDLL

A year and a half ago, Rhonda McCormick localized a nationwide effort to support shopping and eating at locally owned businesses. The Soldotna Cash Mob was born.

Once a month, she invited any interested participants to eat at a designated restaurant at a designated time, then, as a group, go shop at a selected store. But since March, the “mob” mentality needed to change.

“Well, when COVID came and we went into lockdown, that kind of changed things a little bit and someone asked me if we were going to do a takeout version,” McCormick said. “And I was like, ‘Well, that’s a great idea.' So I set that up and then I thought, 'Well, we might as well do shopping that way, too.'”

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