community

It’s going to be a little less fashionable for women on the central peninsula, with a much-loved clothing design businesses leaving town. After 14 years creating colorful, cozy hoodies, pullovers, pants, skirts and more in Soldotna, Susanna Evins is buttoning up Mountain Mama Originals and selling off her fabric, trim — even her signature chunky buttons.

Her family is moving back to Montana. The move isn’t completely COVID-19 related but the pandemic has been an impetus to embrace life as it comes.

“I think that’s kind of what I’ve heard with a lot of people in the last few months. They’re kind of readjusting and figuring out, ‘OK, this means the most to me, so I if want this, then I need to make it happen,’” Evins said. “Yeah, family does (matter). And that’s where it comes down to is I want a better balance. And not even just family, I want to have time to learn other things besides just hustling and bustling, doing the same thing.”


City of Soldotna

Though most social events on the Kenai Peninsula have been upended this summer, one staple is still going forward: the Wednesday Markets in Soldotna Creek Park.

The markets feature local crafts, foods, and other goods spread out in stalls all around the park. The first one is scheduled to begin this Wednesday at 11 a.m. Annette Villa, who organizes the markets, said the stalls will be a little more spread out than in the past.

Redoubt Reporter file photo

Soldotna’s Music in the Park series will sound different than expected this year but the show might still go on.

Soldotna Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Shanon Davis spoke to the Soldotna City Council on Wednesday night. The chamber secured another $25,000 grant from the Levitt AMP Foundation to fund an expanded music series this summer, bringing in bands from outside the peninsula and Alaska. But with the uncertainty of the pandemic, the chamber decided to take Levitt AMP’s offer to defer the money until next year.

“A month ago I was absolutely convinced that there wasn’t going to be a need for that but as time’s gone on, I realized this could be a real opportunity for us because it would be dangerous for us to take that grant not knowing if we can actually fly the bands that we booked here to Alaska or if we’ll even be able to gather because our number-one priority is the safety of the members of our community,” Davis said.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough’s Office of Emergency Management focused on community needs in its twice-weekly community conversation Thursday night. 

Love, INC., a faith-based community support organization headquartered on Kalifornsky Beach Road, is serving as the donations and volunteer coordinator during the COVID-19 pandemic. Executive Director Leslie Rohr said they’re at home in that role, even if the needs lately are higher. 

“We operate as a clearinghouse on a regular basis and that is, needs come into our ministry and then we do find the appropriate resources to fill those needs, and we just are doing it on a larger scale now,” Rohr said.

Kenai Watershed Forum

The Kenai River Festival should be celebrating its 30th year this June but the Kenai Watershed Forum announced today that the festival will be taking a year off in light of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Branden Bornemann is the executive director of the Kenai Watershed Forum. He said staff and the board of directors made the difficult decision.

“We did not feel comfortable, we did not feel like we could successfully hold the festival and keep people safe, and that includes the many hundreds of volunteers who help us put on the festival, the vendors, all the local businesses and everyone who comes out to enjoy the festival,” Bornemann said.

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