Sabine Poux

Reporter/evening news host
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.”

Courtesy of Lydia Jacoby

Lydia Jacoby is about to become the second Alaskan to compete in the summer Olympics.

The 17-year-old Seward swimmer placed second in the 100 meter breaststroke yesterday at the Olympic Trials in Omaha, N.E. She broke the national age-group record and her personal record, two days in a row.

Companies have been dreaming about turning Cook Inlet’s tides into energy for years. The inlet has the largest tides in the country and some of the largest in the world.

This summer, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is doing a study on Cook Inlet’s tides to learn more about what the resource looks like and how it can best be harnessed.

Homer’s Levi Kilcher is working on that study. He joined us on this week's Kenai Conversation to talk about the study and about Cook Inlet's tidal potential.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Four sites on the Kenai Peninsula will be home to electric vehicle chargers as part of the railbelt-wide electric vehicle charging corridor, set to be finished next summer.

Northern Outdoors in Soldotna, AJ’s in Homer, Grizzly Ridge Lodge in Cooper Landing and the Seward Chamber of Commerce were all awarded grants from the Alaska Energy Authority to install fast chargers on their properties. That grant money, distributed at about $110,000 a piece, comes from a 2017 settlement with Volkswagen over a diesel emissions scandal.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Anglers on the Kasilof River can now only catch hatchery-produced kings. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is restricting fishing on the river through the rest of the month, effective Thursday.

Courtesy of Kale Casey

Officials say the Loon Lake Fire outside Sterling is under control and that they have no concerns about it escaping at this time.

Fire crews are finishing up both a hose line to pump in water around the fire and a fireline on its perimeter, said public information officer Kale Casey.

Courtesy of Division of Forestry

Fire crews are containing a lightning-caused wildfire that started a half mile from Swan Lake outside Sterling this weekend.

The Division of Forestry said it intends to fully suppress the fire and is attacking it with water drops and fire retardant. As of Monday afternoon, it had built 15 percent of a containment line around the fire’s perimeter.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Two kayakers paddled six miles to safety across Skilak Lake after they were mauled by a bear early Saturday morning.

Jamie Nelson, of Kenai, was at the Upper Skilak Lake Campground when the kayakers pulled up around 2 a.m..

“Six miles for two hours after being mauled by bears. That’s the part of the story I just can't wrap my head around," he said.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

The Ninilchik River is quiet Wednesday evening. But, listen closely and you’ll hear it — little anglers seeking fish as big as they are.

Cambria and Jonas Nations, of Nikiski, are casting where the ocean meets the river. It’s Youth-Only Fishery Day on the Ninilchik, and they’re looking for kings. At least, they will when they can settle whose line was caught in whose first.

 


Photo: Sabine Poux/KDLL

There’s no doubt about it — Alaskans like their guns.

But there’s only so much you can do with a gun without bullets. And this past year, those have been harder than ever to come by.


Sabine Poux/KDLL

Masks are no longer required for students and staff in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District. Incoming Superintendent Clayton Holland announced the change this week — ending a mandatory mask policy that drew ire from members of the borough administration but that the district said helped keep COVID-19 out of schools.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Kenai Lake is pretty placid. But right after the 1964 Good Friday earthquake, the lake was hit with a tsunami that washed out the bridge there and left behind blocky layers of sediment.

Those layers are useful today to scientists who are looking to learn more about past and future earthquakes.

Rashah McChesney/Alaska Energy Desk

Two companies successfully bid on nearly 21,000 acres of oil and gas tracts in Cook Inlet this week.

HEX Group and Strong Energy Resources both purchased leases in the state’s spring sale, for a combined total of $450,000.  This is the first time a company other than Hilcorp Alaska has won leases in a state sale since 2015.

City of Seward

A Seward City Council member sent out an apology after making an antisemitic comment at a meeting this week.

During a Monday work session, Sharyl Seese used the phrase “Jew them down” to refer to negotiating the price of a building. Council members nervously laughed at the comment and Seward Mayor Christy Terry adjourned the meeting early.

If you've even thought about buying or selling property this spring, you know that it's a seller's market. Properties are selling well above asking price and, in some cases, buyers are even paying in cash.

Real estate agent Marti Pepper is on the Kenai Conversation today to talk about how things are going here and to share her advice on navigating today's market.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

What would you do if you suddenly came into $1 million?

It’s a question Seward’s asked itself after getting a hefty donation from Norweigan Cruise Lines Holdings to make up for some of its economic losses related to the pandemic. The city’s among six cruise-dependent communities in Alaska that got a donation, though it’s the only one outside of Southeast on the list.

Redoubt Reporter

The state will test water in Kenai, Ketchikan and Hoonah this summer for bacteria, part of its continuing program to detect waterborne illnesses at recreational beaches around Alaska. 

Environmental Program Specialist Laura Eldred said the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation has been monitoring the north and south Kenai beaches since 2010.

Jenny Neyman/KDLL

June is Pride Month — a time for members of the LGBTQ+ community to celebrate love and identity and commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, which in part catalyzed the gay liberation movement.

One of the key cornerstones of pride today is visibility. In a small town like Soldotna, that can mean a lot. 

Photo: Sabine Poux/KDLL

A Massachusetts company is sending genetically modified salmon to dinner tables in the U.S. for the first time. AquaBounty Technologies said it’s shipping five tons of bioengineered salmon to distributors this month.

It’s marketed as a sustainable alternative to other kinds of salmon. But AquaBounty’s fish hasn’t received the warmest reception in Alaska, where it’s often called “Frankenfish.”


Redoubt Reporter

Fishermen will still drift net Upper Cook Inlet’s federal waters this summer. But it may be their last season there, after the body that manages the fishery moved to close it to commercial fishing late last year.

First, the amended plan has to be approved by the feds. NOAA Fisheries is now asking for public comment on the proposal through July.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Stacy Oliva loved growing up in Nikiski, enough to stay and raise her kids there.

But she said there was never a place for the community to gather.

Pages