Sabine Poux

Reporter/evening news host
Sabine Poux/KDLL

One minute, there are zero rainbow trout in John Hedberg Lake. 

Fewer than 30 seconds later, there are 700.


Econ 919 — Zoom town

Sep 3, 2021
Photo: Sabine Poux/KDLL

Working from home became the order of the day for many workers last March.

Since then, cities and states around the U.S. have tried to market themselves to remote workers — and their wallets.


Courtesy of the Kenai Soil and Water Conservation District

Farmers market season is winding down. But there’s still one more chance to celebrate local growers.

“This is kind of the last big hurrah for local farmers to sell their produce and for locals to stock up if they’ve missed their opportunity," said Heidi Chay, with the Kenai Local Food Connection. The organization is holding its Harvest Moon Local Food Festival on Sept. 18.

Chay said the festival is in part a celebration of how far the local food scene has come, even just since 2013, when the festival first started. 

For our first set of election 2021 interviews, we spoke with Victoria Askin and Jim Duffield, two of the five candidates for Kenai City Council. There are two seats open on the council this election.

Later in the program, we talked to Sammy Crawford from the Central Peninsula League of Women Voters about why it’s so important to vote in local elections. She also remembered her own first time voting.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Dave Salter’s yard is, quite literally, falling into the ocean. He didn’t know it was going to happen so fast when he bought the place on Toyon Way, in Kenai.

“The agent that showed us the property said, ‘Oh, a few inches a year,'" he said. "And being from Texas, I didn’t know any better.”


Sabine Poux/KDLL

The Kenai Peninsula Borough mayor and several members of the assembly want to publicly denounce what they call “vaccine segregation” from the government.

Resolution 2021-067, set to be introduced at next week’s assembly meeting, says the borough encourages people to get the COVID-19 vaccine. But, the resolution says, the assembly and borough administration “Do not support government-mandated restrictions imposing mandated COVID-19 vaccine segregation in our community.”

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Biologists with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game didn’t always pay much mind to how people used the kelp that washed up on Cook Inlet beaches. 

“We assumed that it was like somebody going to the beach and picking up driftwood, or picking up pretty rocks or things like that," said Glenn Hollowell, the area management biologist for lower Cook Inlet.

He said in the last four years, the department has learned more about those detached kelp populations.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

UPDATE, 6 p.m. Tuesday:

Starting Wednesday, Seward Middle School, Seward High School and Moose Pass School will join Seward Elementary in requiring masking for all students and staff, at least until Sept. 10.

The Susan B. English, Port Graham and Tebughna schools are all also requiring face coverings at this time. There is no district-wide mask mandate in place.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Hydraulic mining during Hope’s gold rush brought the town riches and residents.

But local marine life was not so fortunate. Mining activity fundamentally changed the shape and flow of Resurrection Creek, destroying habitat for its many types of salmon.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Central Peninsula Hospital sends some of its worst trauma cases up to Anchorage.

The hospital is still sending some patients on a case-by-case basis, hospital spokesperson Bruce Richards said. But as Anchorage facilities are filling up, it’s getting harder to find beds.

Photo: Courtesy of Andrew Davis

When the world turned to home improvement projects at the start of the pandemic, Andrew Davis saw an opportunity. 

Davis co-owns Seward Milling and Lumber, just outside Seward city limits. But the company didn’t start out as a commercial mill. He and a partner first bought into the business to deal with the trees in their own yards.

When the pandemic hit, they started milling other people’s wood, too. And a year and a half later, they’re still really busy. 

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

The federal government said it will continue taking steps toward a potential oil and gas lease sale in Cook Inlet, after a Louisiana district court judge ordered the Biden Administration to resume its lease programs there and in the Gulf of Mexico.

The U.S. Department of the Interior has been at odds with several Republican states over the federal leasing program since Biden halted the two auctions and promised to review the program earlier this year. It was part of a larger executive order aimed at fighting climate change.

Aaron Bolton/KBBI

The Kenai Peninsula Borough spent the winter sharing updated information about the coronavirus and resources for getting vaccinated.

Now, Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce is using his platform to challenge local doctors and promote unproven COVID-19 treatments, on local talk radio and in public meetings.

Most people know about the Kenai and Soldotna historical societies and museums.

Kasilof also has an active historical association. And few people know Kasilof's history better than the association's president, Brent Johnson. He’s our guest on this week's Kenai Conversation.

 

Sabine Poux/KDLL

This particular pocket of Beaver Creek is not far from the road, just a short and muddy tromp away from a gravel parking lot between Kenai and Soldotna. But it’s home to several cold water inputs that could be crucially important for young salmon as they swim from the Kenai River to Cook Inlet.


Sabine Poux/KDLL

The Kenai Peninsula’s older population is larger than it was a decade ago. It’s one of the many trends that emerged in U.S. Census data released earlier this month, which also shows that the peninsula’s population has generally grown, while others, like Anchorage, have seen numbers drop.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Nearly 2.5 million late-run sockeye are projected to pass through the Kenai River by the end of the month, overescaping the river by over one million fish.

Those numbers concern fishermen like Joe Dragseth, a drift-netter in Kenai. He said he worries about the health of the river. And he said it’s unfair commercial fishermen have been restricted while so many fish have made it up the river.

Alaska State Troopers

UPDATE 11:15 a.m. Tuesday:

Alaska State Troopers say they arrested the man who shot a trooper in Anchor Point yesterday, following a search that lasted into the night.

Troopers say a Special Emergency Reaction Team arrested 60-year-old Bret Herrick near his Anchor Point residence around 8:40 a.m. Tuesday, after following up on a tip. The trooper he allegedly shot is in fair condition at an Anchorage hospital, according to an online statement.

Photo: Sabine Poux/KDLL

Alaska’s senators joined most of their colleagues last week in voting for a massive infrastructure bill that would combine $550 billion in new spending, plus $1 trillion in previously approved spending, to update highways, salmon passageways and other facilities around the U.S. 

The bill still has to clear the House. But Larry Burton, chief of staff for Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan, said he thinks there’s a lot for Alaskans to look forward to in the bill. He briefed a crowd of sportfishermen at the Kenai Classic Roundtable on Recreational Fishing in Soldotna on Wednesday.


Sabine Poux/KDLL

Sen. Dan Sullivan has been an outspoken critic of the Biden Administration's withdrawal from Afghanistan. 

Sullivan himself served in Afghanistan and last week, he signed onto a letter asking the State Department to expand eligibility for the Afghan Special Immigration Visas program.We talked to him in Soldotna Wednesday about that letter, climate change and the infrastructure bill he just voted to pass through the senate.

AVTEC

Fall marks the end of Seward’s busy tourism season. But as summer ends, a new class of students is just starting at the Alaska Vocational Technical Center. Classes resumed at AVTEC’s Seward campus this Monday.

Cathy LeCompte is AVTEC’s director. She says the dorms and on-campus apartments are back open, with a slew of COVID-19 safety precautions in place.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Nikiski is a little greener these days. Gardeners have tilled and planted a garden next to the Nikiski Community Park on Hedberg Drive, where volunteers can plant, pick and take home their own produce.

Toni Loop, of Nikiski, has been planning the project for a while and made headway this summer. About a third of the garden is now planted.

It’s been a hard year and a half for most professionals. Teachers and education support staff in particular faced a myriad questions about safety, sick leave and remote teaching last school year.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

The Cook Inlet salmon fishery was once an economic engine for Kenai.

But the fishing there is no longer lucrative. Many fishermen with deep ties to the inlet are retiring — or moving elsewhere. 


Courtesy of Arctic Fox Adventures

The skies over Southcentral Alaska are hazy with smoke. But it’s not from any nearby fires. 

The haze is blowing east from wildfires in Siberia, amid one of the worst wildfire seasons Russia has ever experienced.

“The whole northern hemisphere is burning right now. But the wildfires in Siberia are particularly bad this year," said Mike Lawson, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Anchorage.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

The Soldotna Public Library, Soldotna Regional Sports Complex and other city buildings will require face masks starting Monday morning, as COVID-19 case counts continue to climb locally.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Tuesday is the first day of school in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District. For many families and staff, the usual first-day jitters are accompanied by deep concerns about rising coronavirus case numbers on the Kenai Peninsula.

The district is starting the school year with a new COVID-19 mitigation plan. Communications Director Pegge Erkeneff said they’ll handle cases of potential exposure to the virus a little differently than they did last year.

Photo: Sabine Poux/KDLL

Ninilchik has fewer than 1,000 year-round residents.

But in the summer, the town balloons with thousands of tourists. Over two weekends in particular, during Salmonfest and the Kenai Peninsula Fair, the area’s packed with festival-goers. 

While the additional bodies — and wallets — are good for local businesses, they can also be a bit overwhelming.


Redoubt Reporter file photo

Kenai’s South Beach is seeing higher-than-normal levels of bacteria, likely due to the abundance of seagulls and fish carcasses on the beach.

Laura Eldred is an environmental program specialist with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. She said beach-goers should take some precautions to avoid getting sick but the high levels of bacteria aren’t cause for major alarm.

Rashah McChesney/Alaska Energy Desk

A federal judge ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to revise its regulations on oil dispersants, siding with Cook Inletkeeper and other plaintiffs that the current regulations don’t reflect updated research on how toxic those chemicals can be.

Pages