Econ 919 — How the Kenai Peninsula Works

9:01 a.m. and 5:01 p.m. Fridays
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Econ 919 is a weekly economic report for the Kenai Peninsula from the KDLL News Team.

Econ 919: Kenai Council hears bed tax opposition

May 17, 2019

    The Kenai City Council passed a resolution this week — after much debate and many amendments — essentially supporting Assemblyman Dale Bagley’s latest attempt to have a bed tax approved, first by the assembly, and then the voters.

Former Kenai City Councilman Duane Bannock, now associated with the Uptown Motel, came before the council to express his extreme displeasure over Bagley’s proposal and the city’s potential support. 

ECON 919: Alaska Agriculture Day

May 10, 2019


It was Alaska Agriculture Day on Tuesday. Since 2007, the first Tuesday in May has been set aside to shine a light on the slowly, but steadily growing ag industry in the state.



Econ 919: Tyonek's economic path

May 6, 2019

Oil weath came early to the Village of Tyonek, Later, under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act its village corporation took the lead. We find out about the history and the future of the Tyonek Native Corp. on this week's Econ 919.

Econ 919: Home sales see uptick

Apr 22, 2019

It’s not super rare around the Kenai, but a home sale of a million dollars does get ones’ attention. That tidbit came up during our semi-regular talk with Marti Pepper, an independent agent with Redoubt Realty, who dropped by the studios to go over the first quarter of 2019.

“Okay, so what's interesting in the first quarter, which is January through March, the central Peninsula, the average sales price of a home went up by about $12,000. in Anchorage, it went down. And in the lower Kenai, Seward, Homer it went down. 

ECON 919 - The path to Soldotna's first cannabis shop

Apr 12, 2019


The city of Soldotna has wrestled with how to handle the new industry in city limits since voters statewide approved commercial and recreational uses back in 2014.



Econ 919: The economic impact of outdoor rec

Apr 5, 2019

  The snow is all but gone and salmon are already lining up to take your lure — yes, it’s springtime on The Kenai, and that means the start of … construction season. But that’s not why we’re hear today, we’re here to learn about the economics of outdoor recreation, that other thing we do in the summer. 


When the State of Alaska approved on-site consumption of marijuana in cannabis stores, it shifted the onus to local municipalities, which can choose to further regulate it. This week the Kenai City Council took the first steps to do just that, tasking the city attorney with drawing up a draft ordinance and looping in the planning and zoning commission.

But some members and at least one store owner aren’t convinced on-site consumption is going to be the next big thing, despite Alaska being the first state to legalize it.

ECON 919 - Libraries Mean Business

Mar 15, 2019


This week: small business assistance through...your local library. Let’s say you run a small business and it’s time to really spiff it up: logos, website, all the stuff a brand needs. But, that’s not your thing. And farming it out isn’t in the books. That’s where a new program through many of Alaska’s public libraries, including three on the Peninsula, come in.



The Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District gets its funding from a number of different sources but the state isn’t one of them — lucky for them, given the governor’s proposed bare-bones budget. We find out more on this week's Econ 919.

ECON 919 - State funding for public broadcasting

Mar 1, 2019


This week, we spin the microphone around so to speak, and take a look at what Governor Mike Dunleavy’s budget proposal for public broadcasting would look like here at KDLL.



Econ 919: The economics of snowplowing

Feb 11, 2019

    All-in-all, it’s been a reasonably snowy winter — it’s not too relentless, but there’s enough to keep skiers happy and snowplow truck drivers busy.

“So the other day I got to 32 clients,” said Nathan Strieby, partners with his brother in Strieby Brothers, which does summer landscaping and winter snowplowing.”But that was starting at 5 in the morning and plowing until about 10 o'clock at night.”

This week, the economics of snowplowing.


Work continues apace on an expansion project at Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna updating the obstetrics wing and adding a catheterization lab. Planning began on the project more than two years ago.



Econ 919: How bike paths improve life

Jan 25, 2019

    This week: if you doubt “livability” has become a prime factor for companies and professionals seeking a new home, just look at the ways cities all over the nation — and Canada — used to woo Amazon’s so-called “Headquarters 2.” Livability with recreation of a high caliber was front and center of pitches to the World’s Biggest Company.

Amazon could probably put their HQ2 wherever they want, but if Apple or Facebook are in better spots, they will win over more of the limited supply of highly qualified computer geniuses.

Part two of our preview of the Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District's Industry Outlook Forum, which will be held Wednesday in Homer.

The Kenai Peninsula Economic Outlook Forum is coming up on Jan. 9. Presented by the Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District, the forum will be held in Homer this year. I spoke with K-PEDD's executive director Tim Dillon about the day-long gathering.

ECON 919 - A new phase for cannabis shops

Dec 21, 2018


Where can you go to smoke a little cannabis? That was a question tackled this week by the state Marijuana Control Board.



Econ 919: The attraction of a new fieldhouse

Dec 17, 2018

  As we heard on the KDLL morning news, the Soldotna City Council unanimously passed an ordinance last week to put funding for a new field house before city voters. The city will ask voters to approve a $10 million bond for the nearly $12 million project.

ECON 919 - Education Funding

Dec 13, 2018


Education funding. It’s the single biggest expense for the Kenai Peninsula Borough, and paying those costs with current levels of revenue is getting more and more difficult. Last year, the school district ran a deficit of about $2 million. That could be the case again this year, with a projected deficit between $1.3 million.



ECON 919 - Declaring the 2018 fishing season a disaster

Nov 30, 2018


The 2018 fishing season didn’t leave many positives to look back on, and in fact, presented some new challenges. The borough assembly joined the city of Kenai and the city of Homer in requesting a formal disaster declaration for the 2018 salmon season, including commercial and sport fisheries and related businesses.



ECON 919: Transitioning to a new economic model

Nov 15, 2018


Winona LaDuke is perhaps best known for her two campaigns for Vice President on the Green Party ticket with Ralph Nader. But when she’s not running for office, being a water rights activist or giving lectures at Kenai Peninsula College, she’s working to change the economy where she lives on the Ojibwe reservation in Minnesota, with a focus on local food and light manufacturing, like processing hemp a business LaDuke is working on now.



Times have been tight in recent years. The district has run through most its savings trying to bridge multi-million dollar budget gaps the past three years. At a budget work session with the school board this week, Assistant Superintendent Dave Jones said despite cutting administration staff through attrition and other means, cuts in the classroom still loom large.







ECON 919 - Kicking off the new fiscal year

Oct 5, 2018


Fiscal Year 2019 began on October 1st. For Tim Dillon, Executive Director at the Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District, that means a tour, of sorts, around the area, sharing year end financials with city councils and other groups.



Econ 919 -- The value of good roads

Sep 28, 2018

  You know how we all mumble a bit beneath our breath when we see road work ahead and a flagger stopping a long line of cars during road construction season - especially when we’re at the back of the line? Frustrating, yes, and this year it seems to be happening everywhere you turn in the Central Kenai Peninsula. But being glass-half-full kind of people here at public radio, we’re looking for the positive spin, of which there are a surprising number. The most surprising number is: $109 million, which is what’s being spent on state roads in the Central Peninsula.

ECON 919: Funding local conservation efforts

Sep 21, 2018

It’s been nearly 30 years since the oil tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound, and mitigation projects that sprang up as a result of the spill are still going on around the state and here on the peninsula. 


This week, we’re taking a look at a long-awaited capitol project that voters will decide on during the fall elections. A new school at Kachemak-Selo.



ECON 919 - Tracking bicycle tourism

Aug 31, 2018


Biking of all stripes is growing in popularity on the Kenai Peninsula. To be fair, it’s happening it lots of other places, too. On the Peninsula, countless volunteer hours have been spent building and maintaining local trails, but infrastructure investment for bike and other multi-use paths is happening, too.



ECON 919 - Oil demand and industry hopes continue to rise

Aug 24, 2018


The state’s biggest economic engine, for good or ill, remains oil and gas.



ECON 919: Cultivating an entrepreneurial ecosystem

Aug 10, 2018


Last week, small business owners got together in Soldotna at the still-under-construction Addie Camp restaurant to brainstorm how to support more new, local businesses and what needs to exist in the broader community to help make that happen. Leading the exercise was Nigel Sharp, a global entrepreneur in residence at the University of Alaska Anchorage.


ECON 919 - Interview with Gov. Bill Walker

Jul 27, 2018


The governor was in town earlier in the week for a rural development forum in Soldotna and we got some face time with him at the Soldotna library. We started off with AK LNG and how that project is coming amid China’s trade disputes with the Trump administration, and we’ll also touch on how rising oil prices are affecting the budget conversation in Juneau.


Econ 919: Soldotna Annexation

Jul 13, 2018


The city of Soldotna has looked at expanding its footprint at various times over the years. The most recent effort goes back almost two years and has potential economic implications for residents, businesses and the city.