Elizabeth Earl / KDLL

Just from looking at the crowd gathered outside the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center on Sunday morning, you’d have no idea that temperatures were in the twenties. Frost covered the grass, and a large number of people in the crowd were wearing nothing but shorts and light shirts. Granted, though, most of them were about to run at least 13 miles.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Dave Salter’s yard is, quite literally, falling into the ocean. He didn’t know it was going to happen so fast when he bought the place on Toyon Way, in Kenai.

“The agent that showed us the property said, ‘Oh, a few inches a year,'" he said. "And being from Texas, I didn’t know any better.”

Elizabeth Earl / KDLL

Commercial fishing is underway across Upper Cook Inlet. Some fishermen to the north of Kenai have had their nets in the water since May, but permit holders in the setnet and drift gillnet fisheries are just getting into the heat of the season as the Kenai and Kasilof sockeye runs pick up. That’s where the majority of the harvest is.

Lemonade Day fills streets with sweet treats

Jun 28, 2021
Elizabeth Earl / KDLL

If you looked around the central Kenai Peninsula on Saturday, you might have felt heavy pressure to buy a glass of lemonade. Dozens of entrepreneurs were trying their hands at all kinds of advertising, from sign-spinning to price undercutting, on the streets of Kenai and Soldotna.

Cook Inletkeeper

It’s been a late spring, but the sun is finally peeking out and people are getting more out to participate in runs and other events. The pandemic has lessened, which means those events are getting more back to normal.

Elizabeth Earl / KDLL

From a bird’s eye view, or maybe a pilot’s view, the Kenai Airport hasn’t changed much. The footprint is almost exactly the same, but to visitors arriving through that terminal, it’s a totally different place than two years ago.

The City of Kenai took on a comprehensive airport terminal overhaul starting in 2018. The terminal hadn’t had a serious remodel in decades. With about a $12 million price tag, the vast majority of the money came from the Federal Aviation Administration. A small match—about $1.5 million—came from the city.

Elizabeth Earl / KDLL

The Kenai Peninsula is one of the best places in the world for outdoor recreation, but sometimes the weather is less than great and the lakes are too cold to swim in. Usually, there are community pools and indoor recreation facilities to help with that, but like most things, the coronavirus pandemic has interrupted that.

Most of the pools in the central peninsula area are operated by the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, as they’re inside the schools. Because of the pandemic, the schools have been closed to the public since mid-March, but the district reopened the pools on a reservation basis in early July. But rising case numbers triggered the district’s “high-risk” scenario starting on Monday, leading it to close the pools again until cases come back down.

Rasmuson Foundation

Every person has their own history within the broader history of a place. That may be family, personal, or generational. How you remember it may be different than how it actually was. For Kenai musician Nelson Kempf, that means digging into his own history—family and beyond.

Along with 24 other Alaskan artists, Kempf recently received a $7,500 individual artist grant from the Rasmuson Foundation to pursue making a new album. He calls it a chance to “decolonize” Alaska’s history and look at his own.

Kenai Fine Arts Center

The Kenai Fine Art Center closed its door earlier this spring along with most other businesses and public facilities, but unlike others, it won’t reopen this year.

The board of the Peninsula Art Guild, which runs the center, announced Tuesday that it won’t reopen the center in Old Town Kenai until 2021.

Elizabeth Earl / KDLL

Fred Meyer and Safeway are joining Walmart in requiring all customers to wear face masks starting next week.

Safeway’s policy goes into effect on next Tuesday and Fred Meyer’s next Wednesday, while Walmart’s goes into effect on Monday. Fred Meyer says small children and people who medically cannot wear a mask will be exempt and are encouraged to consider alternatives, like a face shield, and if not, requested to use curbside pickup or delivery. All three companies say they are doing so to protect communities and help slow the spread of coronavirus, which is rapidly spreading in many regions of the country.

Elizabeth Earl / KDLL

It’s a relatively calm day on the Kenai beach for the opening day of dipnet. Weather is supposed to move in this weekend, bringing some increased winds and rain, but for now, the slack tide in the mouth of the Kenai River is almost glassy.

The beach is actually fairly quiet as well, though it’s still noon on a Friday. At the peak of the fishery, there can be hundreds of people lining every inch of the shore, each with a dipnet and a cooler to fill.

Redoubt Reporter

The Kenai River personal use dipnet fishery opens on Friday at 6 a.m. This year, though, dipnetters are not allowed to keep any king salmon they net. They have to let those go immediately.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced the restriction on Monday. The department is concerned about enough king salmon making it up the river for escapement, so dipnetters are restricted from keeping them. Sportfishermen are not allowed to use bait, either, and are restricted as to where they can fish and how many big fish they can keep.

Elizabeth Earl / KDLL

 The Kenai City Council is going ahead with funding a new bike path along Bridge Access Road, but not without some trepidation.

The project would connect the new bike path along Beaver Loop Road to the existing Unity Path route through the City of Kenai by creating a separated path along Bridge Access Road. Most of it will be paid for by a federal passthrough grant, with a 9 percent match from the city. The city council has no problem with the project; the problem is the cost.

Elizabeth Earl / KDLL

When the pandemic began shutting down schools and businesses in March, the best advice to avoid getting sick and getting others sick was to stay home as much as possible. As the weeks and months dragged on, though, it became clear that just staying home wasn’t really going to be possible. So businesses began reopening, and when they did, some of the employees were masked.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing a cloth face covering whenever going out, primarily to avoid giving the virus to someone else if you are asymptomatic. The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services highly recommends wearing a mask in public settings when it’s hard to socially distance, like in grocery stores or other indoor retail facilities. Because of the shortness of supply, both agencies are recommending people make cloth face coverings or use cloth to cover their noses and mouths, as opposed to using medical PPE, which medical workers need.

Elizabeth Earl / KDLL

  This weekend, Kenai’s celebrity eagles welcomed their first eaglet of the season, to the delight of viewers watching the City of Kenai’s eagle cam.

Redoubt Reporter

If Senate Bill 232 makes it through the Legislature, it will cost $5 for an Alaskan to get a personal-use fishing permit. Sen. Peter Micciche sponsored the bill. It gives the Legislature the ability to appropriate money for the fees for municipalities that host personal-use fisheries.   

At its meeting Wednesday, the Kenai City Council voiced support of the measure. Councilman Robert Peterkin submitted the resolution.

"It’s something that I feel is very important for our community. I don’t feel that the dip-netting operations should fall on city of Kenai residents to support it and I think that this is the first step in trying to get some help with the revenue on this to help provide the services that we’re paying for,” Peterkin said.

In the 1960s, years before Central Peninsula Hospital and decent phone service existed on the central peninsula, residents of Kenai used to have to get themselves to a log house on Linwood Lane for medical services after clinic hours.

“People would come to the house any time day of the day or night,” said Dr. Peter Hansen. We did not have a good phone system then. And sometimes there would be several people sitting on the porch waiting to talk to the doctor or get their skin stitched up from lacerations or things like that. It was a good challenge and a bit of adventure, looking back.”

Hansen retired last year after 51 years of medical practice in Kenai, some of that time being the only doctor in the area. He stocked up a lot of memories over that time and a lot of equipment.

“Over my 50 years-plus of working privately here in a private practice, I’ve replaced all sorts of equipment at different times,” Hansen said. “I always kept the old stuff in case something broke down, something went haywire, then I could bring an old piece of equipment back in and use it until the new one got fixed.”

Board of Fish reverses decision to hold Kenai meeting

Oct 28, 2019

The state Board of Fish voted last week to hold its 2020 Upper Cook Inlet meetings in Anchorage. This reverses a decision the board made earlier this year to not just hold that meeting in Kenai for the first time since 1999, but to begin rotating the triennial, two week long meetings between the Peninsula, Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley.

Kenai murder suspect has prior violent crime convictions

Jul 24, 2019


The Kenai police have identified a suspect in an alleged double homicide that happened early Sunday morning.

Spring 2018: Historians of the Central Peninsula

May 1, 2018

The homesteader history of Kenai is the focus of this hour. Catherine Cassidy of Kasilof and Carol Knutsen of Kenai are Jay Barrett's guests and discuss their work keeping the homesteader history alive.

Paul Ostrander, Kenai city manager, and Christine Cunningham, assistant to the city manager, talk about doing business in Kenai.

Seward, Kenai make Top 50 nationwide seafood ports

Nov 14, 2017

While Dutch Harbor, Kodiak and Bristol Bay net all the headlines for the volume and value of their yearly commercial seafood harvests, two fishing ports on the Kenai Peninsula do rank in the top 50 nationwide in both categories.

Slow fishing, quick clean up

Jul 24, 2017

There can be a fair amount of things to grumble about for locals during the dipnetting season on the Kenai.

Dipnet app proving poplular in first season

Jul 20, 2017
City of Kenai





It’s just about the midway point for the annual personal-use fishery on the Kenai River. So far, fishing has been a bit on the slow side.

Camper totaled in South Beach fire

Jul 14, 2017

Firefighters in Kenai responded to a fire on the Kenai River south beach Thursday night.


“It was a fully involved fire," said Kenai Fire Chief Jeff Tucker.


"It turned out to be a Westfalia Volkswagen camper van. We responded down on the beach, we used one of our brush trucks, which are pickup trucks with 200-gallon water tanks with a pump. Our fire engines aren’t able to drive on the beach. We put the fire out. There were no injuries and at this time there’s no determination for what caused the fire.”