Kenai Conversation

10 a.m. Wednesdays

Public affairs interviews live at 10 a.m. Wednesdays, rebroadcast at 5 p.m. Saturdays.

Jeff Fair is an Alaska field biologist and author of, “In Wild Trust,” about the McNeil River State Game Sanctuary. It’s the story of the development of the sanctuary and of Larry Aumiller, who spent 30 years at McNeil as its first manager, sharing his insights into bear and human behavior that created the guidelines for bear viewing at McNeil. Fair talked about his time at McNeil and his recollections of Aumiller during a Wildlife Wednesday presentation, put on by the Alaska Wildlife Alliance.

Dr. Kristin Mitchell, with Central Peninsula Internal Medicine, Justin Rufridge, co-owner of Soldotna Professional Pharmacy, and Dan Nelson, manager of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management, are here to discuss the COVID vaccine this week.

In the past, Project Homeless Connect has been a one-day event, gathering people who lack adequate, stable housing and the agencies, organizations and volunteers who can help. Since large gatherings aren't safe during COVID, project organizers are rethinking how to get the information they need and provide the services this population needs without gathering all at once. Thanks to Leslie Rohr, executive director with Love Inc.

Snow might still be on the ground but spring isn’t far away. When we get there, gardeners need to have their planting plans ready. Here’s some food for thought — growing native edible perennials. Local vegetables, if you will. Didn’t know there was such a thing? Shawn Jackinsky, of Green Cannon Gardens in Ninilchik, can tell you all about it. This is a “Know Your Lands” presentation from the Homer Soil and Water Conservation District. Find more of their presentations on their Facebook page.

The Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District is working on updating the borough's Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for 2021 to 2026, to aid in planning for the next five years. This helps in directing policy, obtaining and distributing governmental funding, attracting new businesses to the borough, identifying roadblocks to development and, ideally, bettering the quality of life in our neck of the woods.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District will return to in-personal classes Jan. 11. Educators are preparing for the change.

It was a turbulent year for business owners on the Kenai Peninsula, trying to survive the ecnomic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. What strategies and programs were helpful? What not so much? Brittany Brown, Shanon Davis and Tim Dillon, the executive directors of the Kenai and Soldotna chambers of commerce and Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District, take a look back and peer into their crystal ball for the year to come.

Kenai Peninsula College hosted a two-part series of presentations on the possible effects of climate change on the future of fishing and hunting on the Kenai Peninsula. Part two focused on wildlife, featuring John Morton, retired supervisory biologist at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, and Erin Shew and Hope Roberts with the Chugach Regional Research Commission.

The full Zoom presentation is available on the Kenai Peninsula College Showcase page on Facebook.

Kenai Peninsula College hosted a two-part series of presentations on the possible effects of climate change on the future of fishing and hunting on the Kenai Peninsula. Part one, on fish populations and the Cook Inlet watershed, featured Dr. Erik Shane, fisheries biologist with the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and Sue Mauger, Science and executive director with Cook Inletkeeper.

The Alaska Long Trail is a proposal to create a continuous, 500-mile hiking route from Seward to Fairbanks, linking together existing trails and creating  new ones. This project would also link together grassroots efforts and organizations, namely, Alaska Trails, and land managers, including the Alaska Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation. On this week’s Kenai Conversation, we hear about what it would take to create the Alaska Long Trail and to create partnerships to maintain existing trails throughout the state.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Resilience and Security Advisory Commission is newly organized and ready to advise the administration and assembly on sustainability solutions to promote the economic security, safety, self-reliance and wellbeing of its inhabitants.

Voters on Oct. 6 have a rematch to settle for Kenai Peninsula Borough mayor — incumbent Charlie Pierce or challenger Linda Farnsworth-Hutchings.

Municipal elections are coming up Oct. 6. Depending on where you live, you’ll find candidates for Kenai Peninsula Borough mayor, assembly, city council and service areas, as well as a ballot proposition or two.

And you might see a candidate for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education.

There are four seats up for election — District 7, central; District 6, East Peninsula; District 4, Soldotna; and District 3, Nikiski. Only the eastern peninsula race is contested.

Proposed regulation revisions would change access and hunting opportunities on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. John Morton, retired refuge supervisory biologist, Rick Johnston, retired refuge law enforcement officer, pilot and ranger, and David Raskin, president of Friends of Alaska Refuges, talk about what the changes would mean on the refuge. Click here to read the proposed changes and comment by Aug. 10.

Kenai Peninsula Relay for Life is going virtual this year.

An unstable slope caused by the retreat of Barry Glacier, northeast of Whittier in Prince William Sound, has geologists worried about a potential massive landslide and resulting tsunami.   
“It would be about the size of around 500 Empire State buildings falling into the fjord at once if it did release as a solid mass on the unstable slope.”
The resulting tsunami wave could be 30 feet or more in Whittier, arriving about 18 minutes after the landslide.

Parents, teachers and administrators in the Kenai Peninsula School District jumped into the new reality of eLearning March 30, with school facility closures due to the coronavirus pandemic. Of the eve of the change, KDLL visited with Crista Cady, music teacher at Kaleidoscope School of Arts and Science, Skyview Middle School Principal Sarge Truesdell and Nikiski mom Ambger Douglas about their hopes and concerns for the new reality of education.
This week, we check back in to see how things went.

In this week's show, we hear from candidates for the Homer Electric Association Board of Directors:
District 1: Jim Duffield and Erik Hendrickson

District 2: C.O. Rudstrom

District 3: Troy Jones, Pete Kinneen and Jim Levine

Find candidate resumes here.

Kenai Fire Cheif Jeff Tucker joined the Kenai Conversation to look back on his 38-year career in fire and EMS, the last six with the city of Kenai. He retired March 20.

Three local alumni of the Peace Corps talk about their time and projects in far-flung parts of the globe. Thanks to Kaylin Simpson, Ben Boettger and David Wartinbee for sharing their experiences. 

How’s the health of the trees is your neck of the woods? Find out, with the help of retired silviculturist (fancy forester) Mitch Michaud.

Join Elizabeth Appleby for a discussion on backcountry ice skating — where to go, when to go, what gear to use, safety and more.

Co-directors Terri Zopf-Schoessler and Donna Shirnberg sing the priases of the cast and crew of the Kenai Performers' winter musical, "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang."

Dig into the local food scene with Eliza Eller, one of the founders of the Iona community in Kasilof and the Kenai Local Food Connection, Heidi Chay, district manager for the Kenai Soil and Water Conservation District, and Abby Ala, owner of Ridgeway Farms off Strawberry Road between Kenai and Soldotna.

More information on the events and topics discussed can be found at:

Ionia Alaska

Kenai Local Food Connection

Tag along with Tony Doyle and Craig Barnard on a ski tour of the Southern Kenai Peninsula and the mountains across Kachemak Bay.

 

Host Jenny Neyman spoke with Karen Scoggins, chief nursing officer at Central Peninsula Hospital, about expansion of CPH's facility and services. We also hear from the Kenaitze Indian Tribe about suicide alertness and prevention training offered for the community later this month.

This week on the Kenai Conversation, two timely discussions. In the first half hour, representatives with the 2020 Census, Jessi Curtis with the Census Bureau, and Tim Dillon with the KPEDD, will talk about what it takes to make the big count come off without a hitch on the Kenai Peninsula. In the second half hour, we share the presentation made by Jodi Stuart at last week’s joint chambers of commerce luncheon about Project Homeless Connect, set for January.

The Kenai Performers production of Neil Simon's  "Lost in Yonkers" opens Friday, and this week on the Kenai Conversation we welcome director Sherri Johnson. She's joined by Sally Casano to also talk about the production of "The Vagina Monologues" they staged in Kasilof last summer.

Kenai Conversation: Remembering Dr. Alan Boraas

Nov 7, 2019
University of Alaska

This week, we remember the life and legacy of Dr. Alan Boraas, who died Monday at the age of 72. Boraas taught at Kenai Peninsula College for 46 years, but his impact goes far beyond the campus. As an anthroplogist, he dedicated his career to preserving and promoting the native languages and cultural traditions of the Kenai Peninsula. We're joined this week with George Holley, Bill Holt and Dr. James Kari who worked with Boraas on language studies, most notably the 1991 book "A Dena'ina Legacy: K'tl'egh'i Sukdu: The Collected Writings of Peter Kalifornsky".

The Alaska Coalition for Veterans and Military Families is a statewide organization that seeks to cut through the red tape for Alaskas veterans and military families as they seek to navigate the maze that are veteran benefits. Executive Director Megen James joins host Jay Barrett.

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