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Forest Service-USDA

Today is the deadline to submit comments on proposed regulation changes affecting the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.

The changes would allow the state of Alaska to regulate trapping on the refuge, which would do away with the requirement of an orientation class and a buffer zone disallowing trapping around trails and trailheads. It would allow baiting as a harvest method for brown bears in areas where baiting is already allowed for black bears. Use of bicycles and game carts would be allowed for the first time on the refuge. The discharge of firearms would be allowed along areas of the Kenai and Russian Rivers in the fall and winter. And ice-fishing lakes would be open to snowmachines and ATVs in the winter when there’s adequate snow and ice cover.

While the coronavirus has interrupted just about every aspect of life, there is a bastion of normalcy this summer — fresh, local produce from farmers markets.

Market managers and vendors were anxious in May, not knowing how or if they’d be able to operate this summer. The markets operated differently — more spacing between booths, masks, hand sanitizer and the like. But some things haven’t changed this year — gardens are still growing and people are still shopping.

In-person criminal and civil jury trials in Alaska will be postponed until at least Nov. 2 to prevent the possible spread of COVID 19.

Alaska Supreme Court Chief Justice Joel Bolger signed the extension order Thursday. Jury trials were first postponed beginning March 16 by a similar special order given shortly after Gov. Mike Dunleavy declared an emergency in response to the coronavirus pandemic. In June, the order was extended from July 6 to Sept. 1. With COVID case counts on the rise in Alaska, it’ll now be at least November before trials resume.

Cometwatch.co.uk

Though some might mourn the dwindling daylight as a harbinger of summer’s end, the increasing darkness does give stargazers a chance to view the comet Neowise.

It’s a newly discovered comet, identified in March by NASA’s infrared space satellite. It came closest to Earth on July 22 but it was still too light at night for Alaskans to get much of a glimpse. 

These days, in Southcentral Alaska, the sun sets after 10 p.m. and rises around 6 a.m. We’ve still got over 16 hours of daylight but there’s an expanding window of nautical twilight, between about 1 and 3 a.m., where skies should be dark enough to see the comet. 

Alaska Legislature

Gary Knopp’s name will still appear on the Aug. 18 primary ballot. The Kenai Republican was among the seven killed in a midair collision early Friday morning just outside Soldotna. Knopp was seeking a third term in the state House, against fellow Republicans Ron Gillam and Kelly Wolf. The winner of the primary will face James Baisden, who registered as non-affiliated, in the general election.

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