In the middle of a year with a hotly contested state legislature election, congressional election, and presidential election, it can be easy to forget about municipal elections. But the Kenai Peninsula has those this year, too, with some major seats up for grabs.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough’s municipal candidate filing period opened today and runs through noon on August 17. The borough mayor’s office and three assembly seats, including the ones from Kenai, Sterling/Funny River, and Homer are up for election. The Board of Education has four seats up for election, including those representing Nikiski, Soldotna, East Peninsula, and Central. All of those are three-year terms.
From a bird’s eye view, or maybe a pilot’s view, the Kenai Airport hasn’t changed much. The footprint is almost exactly the same, but to visitors arriving through that terminal, it’s a totally different place than two years ago.
The City of Kenai took on a comprehensive airport terminal overhaul starting in 2018. The terminal hadn’t had a serious remodel in decades. With about a $12 million price tag, the vast majority of the money came from the Federal Aviation Administration. A small match—about $1.5 million—came from the city.
Troopers have identified the victim of a fatal bear mauling last Thursday near Hope.
46-year old Daniel Schilling of Hope was found dead by family and friends after he was overdue to come home. Troopers say he was out clearing a trail about a mile behind his property, which is about mile 8 of the Hope Highway, that day, but his wife became concerned when he was late and his dog came home without him.
On Friday, the central peninsula was shocked when two small planes collided above Soldotna and killed all seven people aboard. Around 8:30 a.m., a deHavilland Beaver from High Adventure Air Charter on Longmere Lake collided with a Piper PA-12, piloted by state house Rep. Gary Knopp of Kenai, sending both planes down around Mayoni Street just east of town. It’s still not entirely clear what happened, but until it is, the community is mourning the loss.
The pilot of the de Havilland Beaver plane, Greg Bell, had been flying for a very long time. Bell, who was 57, was a co-owner of High Adventure Air, a lifelong Soldotna resident. Friends, colleagues and clients remember a cheerful, skilled pilot and a man of faith.
Drivers headed out the Kenai Spur Highway to Nikiski pass through a highly industrialized area with huge tanks, fences, and smokestacks. Those are shared among the old Nutrien fertilizer facility, the Kenai Liquefied Natural Gas terminal, and the Marathon Petroleum refinery (which most locals still call Tesoro). Most peninsula residents know what they are, but may not know that the Kenai LNG Plant actually represents a significant piece of oil and gas history.