Sabine Poux

Reporter/evening news host
Sabine Poux/KDLL

Critical race theory was not on the agenda of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District board meeting Monday night, or the meeting before it. But it’s been coming up at those meetings anyway, as parents share concerns that their kids are being indoctrinated with a progressive agenda.

Meanwhile, the district said it doesn’t plan on teaching critical race theory at all.

Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys

Geologists have been warning Alaskans for over a year about a tsunami that could hit Whittier following a potential landslide at Barry Arm in Prince William Sound.

They’re still ringing the alarm bells. But now, armed with more information about the area, they’re saying that wave will be a lot smaller than they originally expected.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Weather-wise, it has been a dreary summer. If you’re a peony farmer like Wayne Floyd, that’s not really a bad thing.

“They’re at stage one," he said, gesturing to a bunch of peony buds. "They’re hard as golf balls. We sometimes call them ‘golf balls on a stick.’”


A lot of schools in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District are in the borough's cities, connected to most of the peninsula through the road system.

But others are more remote, accessible only by plane or boat. And it can be hard for students in those communities to access the same opportunities as others.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Go to most libraries in Alaska and you can ask for just about any book, movie or magazine. And 99 percent of the time, it’ll get to you, said Rachel Nash, librarian at the Soldotna Public Library.

“This system allows us to say yes every time," she said.

That system is the Alaska Library Catalog. Gov. Mike Dunleavy vetoed $635,900 in funding for the program and others as part of a slew of budget vetos earlier this month.

Photo: KTOO file photo

Eight Alaska lawmakers are meeting this month to talk through big-picture fiscal issues that have stumped Legislatures for years. 

The Comprehensive Fiscal Plan Working Group is bringing together lawmakers from each of the four caucuses to create recommendations on the state’s budget problems. The plan is to bring those recommendations to the broader Legislature ahead of the Aug. 2 special session in Juneau. 


Sabine Poux/KDLL

Triumvirate Theatre has been without a home since its Nikiski facility burned down this February. 

Now, the operation’s moving to Kenai. The Kenai City Council approved a land donation for the nonprofit this week.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Fifty years ago, the federal government recognized the Kenaitze Indian Tribe as a sovereign nation. This anniversary year, the tribe is expanding.

It’s raising a new building on the corner of the Kenai Spur Highway and Forest Drive in Kenai to house its educational programming.

“The Kahtnuht’ana Duhdeldiht Campus," said Bernadine Atchison, chair of Kenaitze’s tribal council. "Which is called, 'The Learning Place.'"

Courtesy of Alaska LNG project

The Alaska LNG project would take natural gas from the North Slope of Alaska down to a proposed plant on the Kenai Peninsula, in Nikiski, where it would be liquified, shipped out and sold. 

The gas is already pumped out of the ground on the North Slope. But it isn’t currently sent to market. 

To get it there, the state wants to construct an 800-mile pipeline. And last year, it got the go-ahead from environmental regulators, under then-President Donald Trump, to build the massive project.

But now the Biden administration wants to take another look.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Wildlife officials said they shot a bear after it attacked a man in his camper near Seward during the busy holiday weekend.

The man had fallen asleep with his camper's door open at Fourth of July Beach, across Resurrection Bay from downtown Seward, according to Alaska State Troopers.

Redoubt Reporter

Kenai River anglers are allowed to catch and keep kings of any size this month, as long as they do it with a single unbaited hook. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game made that decision after analyzing the projections for the run and the outcome of the early Kenai king run last month.

But sport fishing guides worry that taking big kings out of the river will hurt the population long term. They’re asking anglers to release the large kings they catch anyway.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

The Kenai Fine Art Center is celebrating a lot — a new director, a new space and a new exhibit.

“The More We Get Together” opened this week. It’s the first exhibit at the center since the pandemic.

It’s a nice return to normal for artists like Laura Faeo, one of the potters with art on display. She said she leaned into pottery during the pandemic.


Econ 919 — Fireworks

Jul 2, 2021
Photo: Wesley Early/KOTZ

Personal fireworks are largely illegal on the Kenai Peninsula. That rule goes for most of Southcentral, too, though each municipality is responsible for its own rules.

But there is at least one place in Southcentral where fireworks are legal on private land: the city of Houston, between Willow and Wasilla. Houston is also the home of Gorilla Fireworks, which says it's Alaska’s biggest fireworks store.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

For commercial fishermen, the difference between getting a few more hours of sleep or not can sometimes be a question of livelihood.

That’s what Jerry Dzugan explains in his classes. He’s the executive director of the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association, or AMSEA, based in Sitka.

Wikimedia Commons

Starting this summer, Alaska Medicaid can no longer deny coverage to transgender Alaskans undergoing gender-affirming treatment.

That’s following the January settlement of a class action lawsuit filed by Swan Being, a transgender woman from Homer who said Alaska Medicaid refused to cover costs related to hormone treatment in 2019.

Being sued the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, which oversees Alaska’s Medicaid program, and department commissioner Adam Crum. She alleged the state’s policies discriminated against transgender Alaskans and violated the 14th Amendment, which grants all Americans equal treatment under the law.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Soldotna Republican Rep. Ron Gillham shared a post on his personal Facebook last week that likened those who provide information about COVID-19 vaccines to Nazis who were executed for war crimes after World War II.

Wonderlane/Wikimedia Commons

The federal moratorium on evictions has been extended through the end of July. That means tenants will have until July 31, instead of June 30, to get their rent payments in order without getting ousted from their housing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention introduced the eviction moratorium last September, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 through homeless shelters and other congregate living. The agency has extended the order several times and said this extension will be the last.

Kenai’s Allie Ostrander fell short of an Olympic bid at the Olympic Trial finals in Eugene, Ore. Thursday night. But she did make a personal best, with a time of 9:26.96 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. 

There’s a mosaic of land managers on the Kenai Peninsula. But all share at least one common goal: mitigate damage from wildfires.

That was front of mind for Jeff Bouschor this last week. He’s the fire management officer for the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, which recently reached 100 percent containment on the lightning-caused Loon Lake Fire.

Photo: Sabine Poux/KDLL

There have been a lot of “help wanted” signs in store windows this spring. The Kenai Peninsula, like the rest of the country, is facing a worker shortage, with too many job openings and not enough applicants.

It’s impacted Shelly Endsley, who owns the Orca Theater on Kalifornsky Beach Road. 


Photo: Sabine Poux/KDLL

If you’ve driven through the Kenai Peninsula recently, you’ve likely noticed traffic is back.

Roads are again seeing the traffic they saw in summer 2019, and then some, according to data from the Alaska Department of Transportation.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Since the Alaska Moose Federation closed up shop in November, Kenai Peninsula charities and organizations have had to get roadkill moose off the highway and into freezers themselves.

It’s been a challenge without AMF’s fleet of trucks and volunteers. And charities say they’ve struggled to get meat to the families and individuals on their lists.

Now, Alaska Wildlife Troopers are looking for small teams of volunteers to sign up online for their roadkill lists.

Courtesy Kathy Romain, Kenai Senior Center

Local senior centers are starting to open back up after over a year without in-person meals and activities. And they’re seeing a lot of new faces.

“One thing that COVID did bring out is that there are people in our community that need help," said Kathy Romain, director of the Kenai Senior Center. “There are people in our community we didn't reach. And COVID brought a lot of those folks out.”

Salmonfest

Salmonfest is back this summer. The Ninilchik festival is scheduled for Aug. 6 through 8, following a year haitus due to COVID-19.

David Stearns is the assistant director for Salmonfest. He says people who want to camp onsite at the festival should book their tickets now.

Courtesy of Brenda Ballou

It’s official: Seward swimmer Lydia Jacoby is headed to the Olympics.

Jacoby came in second in the 100-meter breaststroke at the Olympic Trials in Omaha, N.E., last week. But her spot on the U.S. Women’s Olympic swim team wasn’t solidified until this weekend.

NOAA

Those who live close to the Kenai and Kasilof rivers know belugas sometimes feed there. But it’s been a mystery how many whales actually travel through those waterways, particularly in the spring.

This year, a large team of volunteer observers counted for the first time how many Cook Inlet belugas passed through the rivers between March and May. They counted just over 220 belugas.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game

The Kenai River is the most popular river for sport fishing in Alaska.

It’s a great thing for the hundreds of thousands of anglers who flock to the peninsula each year, and the companies that benefit from their business. But increased development along the river can also threaten salmon habitat. 

Photo: Sabine Poux/KDLL

Triumvirate Theatre might be moving to Kenai. The nonprofit is asking the city for a donation of two acres for a new building after its Nikiski theater burned down this February.

The Kenai City Council isn’t making a final decision on the parcel until next month. But at a meeting Wednesday night, council members were enthusiastic about the donation.

Courtesy of Airflow

Ravn Alaska said it will buy 50 electric planes from the California-based company Airflow when they come onto the market. Airflow’s planes will use batteries instead of gas to power their engines.

But the company first has to finalize its aircraft design. Airflow CEO Marc Ausman said he hopes to have Airflow’s planes ready for service by 2025.

Courtesy of Division of Forestry

The Loon Lake Fire outside Sterling is now mostly contained and there hasn’t been a flare up there in several days.

That’s according to public information officer Kale Casey. He says crews have finished putting a fireline and hose line around the fire.

“We’re not actually fighting fire. We are at 70 percent containment," Casey said. "And we have 62 people. We still have 102 acres.”

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