Kenai Conversation

10 a.m. Wednesdays

Public affairs interviews live at 10 a.m. Wednesdays, rebroadcast at 5 p.m. Saturdays. Call 907-283-8414 Wednesdays to join the Conversation.

 


What does it take to stick around in Alaska politics for three decades?

For 60 years, the oil and gas industry has been front and center in the Kenai Peninsula’s economy and politics.

Across the state and on the Kenai, Native languages are finding new life through new speakers.

On KDLL's special fall membership drive edition of Kenai Fresh Air, host Jay Barrett speaks with writer, editor and publisher Jackie Pels. She is responsible for a couple dozen books, mostly about pioneering Alaskans, including her mother, in "Unga Island Girl," the one-time "commodore of the fleet" of the Alaska  Marine Highway, Walter Jackinsky, in "Any Tonnage, Any Ocean," and the definitive history of the Jesse Lee Home in Seward, in "Family After All." She is also a member of the Kenai Territorial High School graduating class of 1953.

 

On KDLL’s special membership drive edition of Kenai Science Friday, what the DNA analysis of ancient salmon bones might be able to tell us about the people who lived on the Kenai Peninsula 2,000 years ago, and how that might relate to fisheries politics today. Paleogenomics meets anthropology with guests professor Alan Boraas of Kenai Peninsula College and Dr. Ripan Malhi of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne.

  

   

In this half hour of Kenai Science Friday, we speak with the physics and math instructor at Kenai Peninsula College, Andy Veh. He also teaches astronomy, and in the past wrote a regular column on the stars for the Redoubt Reporter newspaper.

In the next half hour, it's Women in Science. Last week, Cook InletKeeper held a roundtable discussion with area women about their careers in science and technology. KDLL's Jenny Neyman was there and collected these excerpts of the conversation.

On this week's Conversation, we sit down with candidates for Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly District 2, Hal Smalley and Duane Bannock

This week, we talk with one of the candidates running for Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly in District 5 (Sterling/Funny River), Leslie Morton. The other candidate in the race, Norm Blakely, declined our interview to be a part of the program.

KDLL's election coverage continues this week as we speak with candidates for District 1, which encompasses much of the K-Beach corridor and parts of Kenai.

Kenai Peninsula Borough

This week, we have a conversation with Charlie Pierce, candidate for borough mayor. We'll hear how he plans to close the borough budget gap and why more technology is a good thing for the future growth of the peninsula.

www.lindaforkpbmayor.com

Linda Farnsworth-Hutchings joins us on the Conversation this week to talk about her vision for the future of the Kenai and how to weather the current budget storm.

 


 

No one brings more borough government experience to the mayor’s race than Dale Bagley. He’s already served two terms as borough mayor, from 1999 to 2005.

The United Way of the Kenai Peninsula is closing its doors. In a letter to the community published Wednesday, the board of directors cited a downturn in charitable giving of 77-percent over the past eight years.

Borough Assemblyman Dale Bagley sits on the Kenai Peninsula United Way Board. He was asked about the dissolution on KDLL's Kenai Conversation.

Kenai Peninsula Borough

We kick off election season coverage this week on the Kenai Conversation. 

On this week's Kenai Conversation, host Jay Barrett speaks with long-time Alaska cannery boss Rusty Roessler, who spent 14 years as the manager of Pacific Alaska Shellfish in Nikiski. Today (Aug. 16) is Roessler's last day, and he's retiring after 36 years managing seafood processing plants around Alaska. This is an extended version of the conversation that aired.

The Kenai Peninsula’s cannabis industry seems to be swinging into high gear, though some challenges remain for local marijuana business owners.

Retail cannabis has been available on the Kenai since late last year. How's business? Is everyone playing by the rules? What challenges have growers and sellers faced? What's a dab? 

On this week's Kenai Conversation, cannabis entrepreneurs Patricia Patterson (High Bush Buds), Dollynda Phelps (Peace Frog Botanicals) and Leif Abel (Greatland Ganja) talk about their burgeoning industry, how it's contributing to the local economy and its prospects for the future.

This week, Shaylon Cochran sits down with Rep. Gary Knopp (R-Soldotna) to talk about ongoing state budget issues, the economic future of the state and how things could work more smoothly in Juneau.

On this week's Conversation, host Shaylon Cochran speaks with Stephanie Queen, director of Economic Development and Planning for the city of Soldotna, and Tim Dillon, executive director of the Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District, about what kinds of jobs and industries might be making their way to central peninsula in the future to compliment established industries like fishing and resource development.

It's prime time for hitting the water in kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddle boards, row boats or pretty much anything that floats around the Kenai Peninsula. 

Managing the state's fisheries is a big responsibility. On this week's Conversation, we sit down with Robert Ruffner, one of the newest members of the state Board of Fisheries to talk about what challenges lay ahead in managing salmon fisheries on the Kenai Peninsula.

More and more people on the Kenai Peninsula are realizing its potential as a productive agricultural center. Now, backyard gardens are giving way to farmer's markets, food hubs and specialty growers. For this week's Conversation, we spoke with Lou Heite and Steve Dahl of Eagle Glade Farms in Nikiski and Ken Kynes, Executive Chef at The Flats Bistro in Kenai about how the local food movement is changing, growing and what needs to happen to make it sustainable.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough is looking at a future with less investment in energy and an aging population. How do we weather the current storm of low oil and gas prices (and the corresponding dips in state funding) while not losing the services already provided? Borough Mayor Mike Navarre and his Chief of Staff, Larry Persily, discuss those challenges, the prognosis of the AK LNG project and more on this week's Kenai Conversation.

Kenai Peninsula Birding Festival

The 13th annual Kenai Peninsula Birding Festival is underway this week. Event volunteers Ken Tarbox and Toby Burke join Shaylon Cochran in the studio to talk about everything that's going on at the festival, how birding is gaining in popularity and the conservation concerns that popularity can bring about.

New authors talk about writing, publishing and connecting with readers. Ninilchik's Mike Chihuly wrote about his life as a fire chief and fishing charter captain in "Alaska Fish and Fire." Kasilof's Joseph Robertia recently published "Life with Forty Dogs: Misadventures with Runts, Rejects, Retirees and Rescues," about the dog kennel he runs with his wife, and their successful mushing career with dogs other mushers didn't want.

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