Sabine Poux

Reporter/evening news host
Photo Courtesy of Renewable IPP

An Alaska energy company wants to build its biggest solar panel farm yet on the Kenai Peninsula. First, it’s asking the Kenai Peninsula Borough for a tax exemption, which it says will help it produce energy for less.


What does it mean to shop mindfully? Why buy from local producers? How does conscious consumerism foster community?

Our guests today are the team behind the Mindful Living Collective, a new effort focused on mindful consumption. They’re planning to open a new grocery store space in Soldotna.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

ATVs will soon have the greenlight to drive on many Alaska roads. 

Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration passed a set of regulations to allow all-purpose vehicles on roadways where speed limits are 45 miles per hour or less. The new regulations go into effect Jan. 1, 2022.

Courtesy of Dan Olsen / North Gulf Oceanic Society

Scientists in Homer and Seward have spent the last several decades tracking a population of mammal-eating killer whales called the Chugach Transients in the Gulf of Alaska.

Mitch Michaud

You might see smoke coming from parts of the Chugach National Forest this week and next.

But it’s no cause for alarm. The Forest Service said it’s burning slash piles in Cooper Landing and Moose Pass, partly in an effort to mitigate the local spruce bark beetle problem.

Courtesy of ShakeOut.org

Each year, Alaskans drop, cover and hold for a minute as part of the Great Alaska ShakeOut — an earthquake drill held across the state each third Thursday in October.

Elizabeth Earl / KDLL

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is awarding the Kenai Peninsula Borough with a competitive grant to create a community-wide composting project, making it possible for more individuals and businesses on the central peninsula to send their organic waste to farms instead of landfills.

“Oh man, I’m so excited about this project," said Kaitlin Vadla, regional director for Cook Inletkeeper. "It’s a huge win for the borough and for our area. It’s hard to get these big national grants. And so the fact that we got it is really exciting.”

Courtesy of Justin Hansen

A River City Academy senior and biathlon racer will represent the U.S. at the Winter University Games, an international competition for student athletes.

Seventeen-year-old Justin Hansen has been cross-country skiing since he was in middle school. He picked up biathlon this year and has competed with the Anchorage and Alaska biathlon clubs. 

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Residents say there have been more power outages in Cooper Landing and Moose Pass this year. The local utility, Chugach Electric, says it’s working on the problem as part of a regular capital improvement project.

Arden Rankins hopes those repairs help. She owns Sunrise Inn on the Sterling Highway and said she had to close several times when the power went out this summer.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Winter trapping season is coming up in Alaska. 

But recreationists hoping for trapping restrictions along trails in Cooper Landing will have to wait. This week, members of the Federal Subsistence Board voted down a proposal to place setbacks alongside area trails — a plan advocates hoped could mitigate conflict between user groups.

Photo: Sabine Poux/KDLL

There's a lot that needs to come off a boat when it docks. And it’s not uncommon that some of that waste ends up in the ocean instead of the trash.

Bristol Bay fisherman Tav Ammu wants to gather more data on how clean Alaska’s harbors are and how the people who use them think about harbor cleanliness. He’s interviewing and surveying harbor users for an Alaska SeaGrant project and is basing his study in Ninilchik.


Sabine Poux/KDLL

An Alaska State Trooper based in Soldotna is jailed on charges he sexually abused two girls, and authorities are asking the public for information about other possible victims.

Thirty-nine-year-old Benjamin Strachan was arrested Wednesday on one count of sexual abuse in the first degree and six counts in the second-degree. Strachan moved to Soldotna to be an Alaska State Trooper in June 2020. 

C. Spencer/National Park Service

Voter turnout in local Kenai Peninsula elections was really low this fall.

But there’s one competition in Alaska that saw its highest voter turnout ever this year. That’s probably because its contestants are thousand-pound brown bears.

Emily Kwong/KCAW

A small chunk of money from a multi-billion-dollar settlement over the opioid crisis could reach the Kenai Peninsula.

Alaska’s one of a few dozen states that signed onto a class action lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson and three drug distributors, alleging those companies helped fuel the country’s opioid crisis by distributing addictive painkillers, even as rates of addiction were high. 

Sabine Poux/KDLL

The last of the absentee ballots are in and all votes have now been tabulated for this year’s Kenai Peninsula elections.

Courtesy of Rhonda Johnson

It’s hard to believe Rhonda Johnson doesn’t have more time in the day than everyone else.

Over the last seven years, the Soldotna resident has volunteered more hours than she can count to help build at least 45 houses for low-income Alaskans through the Rural Alaska Community Action Program, or RurAL CAP.

This fall, the national Community Action Partnership chose Johnson from volunteers around the country for an award celebrating her years of service. The organization flew her out to Boston to accept the award last month.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

A 68-year-old man incarcerated at Wildwood Correctional Center died last week — the fifth COVID-19-related death at Central Peninsula Hospital this month.

The Department of Corrections said Monday the man, John Andrew, died Friday after being in custody for a decade. The department said Andrew’s was the ninth death in its custody this year.

Farmers Almanac

If you’ve found yourself stumped with a gardening question, you may have queried the hive mind at Central Peninsula Garden Club.

The club saw a slight drop in membership earlier in the pandemic while its meetings were held virtually, said Larry Opperman, who’s on the club’s board of directors.

Courtesy of Bend the Light Photography

Editor's note: James "Hobo Jim" Varsos died Oct. 5 at his home in Tennessee. KDLL's Sabine Poux interviewed Varsos two weeks ago.

Alaska’s State Balladeer announced last week he’s been diagnosed with end-stage cancer.

James Varsos, best known to Alaska and the world as “Hobo Jim,” said his cancer is untreatable and that doctors told him he has three to six months to live.


Elections in the Kenai Peninsula Borough are around the corner. This week, we're talking to candidates for the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly. 

Brent Hibbert is running unopposed for the District 1 seat, representing Kalifornsky. Kenn Carpenter is running to keep his District 6 seat for the eastern peninsula. Cindy Ecklund is challenging him for that seat.

Photo: Lex Treinen/Alaska Public Media

Real estate agents can often take a breather after the summer, when the busy season slows.

And this year's busy season was busier than ever, as buyers outnumbered listings and house prices shot through the roof.

While the market isn't quite as chaotic as it was earlier in the summer, Soldotna real estate agent Marti Pepper said those trends are still lingering as fall begins. And she doesn't see a huge correction coming any time soon.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

School boards around the country have been in the spotlight throughout the pandemic, amid heated conversations about COVID-19 and mitigation protocols in schools.

That’s been true in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District. And it’s partly what’s inspired some candidates to run for school board this election cycle.

City of Kenai

Five candidates are vying for the two open seats on the Kenai City Council this October.

KDLL has been interviewing the candidates for that race and other municipal races on Kenai Conversation. You can play those interviews online any time and learn where the candidates stand on city issues — including COVID-19 relief funds, bluff erosion and economic development.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Three seats on the Soldotna City Council are up for grabs this October.

KDLL has been interviewing the candidates for that race and other municipal races on Kenai Conversation. You can play the interviews in full and learn where the candidates stand on city issues — including riverfront development, COVID-19 mitigation policies and 911 dispatch services — online any time.

Municipal elections in the Kenai Peninsula Borough are around the corner.

This week and last week, we spoke with the candidates for the three open seats on the Soldotna City Council.

Dan Nelson is running for Seat C and joins us in the studio. Erick Hugarte is also running for the seat. He did not respond to requests for an interview.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

The Kenai Art Center is calling all pandemic painters and potters and photographers for its October show.

“We’re not turning anybody away," said Alex Rydlinski, executive director of the Kenai Art Center. “Because the idea is —  we’re pretty sure that people have been working on art all this time during the pandemic. And we want to see what they’ve been doing.”

KPEDD

Every few years, the Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District steps back and builds a comprehensive economic development strategy, or CEDS — a document of plans and priorities the federal government encourages organizations to have before it distributes funds like coronavirus relief.

Tim Dillon is executive director of the district. He said KPEDD submitted and received approval on its new 2021-2026 CEDS this summer.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Over half of all beds at Central Peninsula Hospital are now occupied by COVID-19 patients and the hospital is almost a third overcapacity, said hospital spokesperson Bruce Richards.

Richards said Tuesday the strain pushed the hospital to cancel all in-patient elective surgeries for at least two days. CPH is holding some patients in the emergency room overnight for lack of space.

Jenny Neyman/KDLL

Temperatures dipped below freezing in Kenai this weekend. Each year, that first frost is a reminder that the Central Kenai Peninsula still doesn’t have an emergency cold-weather shelter for its homeless residents.

“In the short term, it is worrisome," said Leslie Rohr, executive director of Love INC. "And we go through this every winter, ‘What are we going to do?’”

Sabine Poux/KDLL

September is National Suicide Prevention Month.

The Kenaitze Indian Tribe is holding workshops for people who want to be able to recognize signs and intervene when someone is struggling with suicidal thoughts.

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