Kenai Peninsula Borough

Kenai Peninsula Peace Crane Garden Trails

Construction begins Monday on a Soldotna park three years in the making.

Sarah Pyhala, who’s spearheading the Kenai Peninsula Peace Crane Garden Trails, plans to build a Japanese-themed garden and 2,700 feet of trails near Marydale and Riverwatch in Soldotna. She has longer-term plans in mind for the park, too, including a fish pond and tea house.

That’s been a sticking point for neighbors, who say the project has changed a lot since it was first proposed.

Kenai Peninsula Borough

The Kenai Peninsula Borough mayor’s chief of staff is retiring this summer.

James Baisden says he’s leaving the borough on June 1. It’s in the middle of Mayor Charlie Pierce’s second term, but Baisden said his leaving has nothing to do with the mayor’s timeline.

“It’s all about where I am now in my life," he said.

KPBSD

It will be a while before the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District knows for sure how much it will have in its budget next fiscal year.

But the process is in motion. The district is holding public forums later this month to educate people on the budget process and crowdsource information about funding priorities.

Already, it’s drafted a preliminary budget for FY22.

“But it is just a draft," said school board president Zen Kelly.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Alaska has eliminated nearly all barriers to getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Now, anyone who lives or works in the state and is 16 or older can get a dose.

Chief Medical Officer Anne Zink announced the update alongside Gov. Mike Dunleavy Tuesday evening — just three days shy of the one-year anniversary of Alaska’s first COVID-19 case.

Sales tax is important on the Kenai Peninsula. Borough sales tax translates to funding for schools.

Officials anticipated a drop in sales tax revenue during the pandemic. Recently released data show the taxable sales reported to the borough in 2020 were down over $116 million from 2019, a change of 10 percent. In Homer, the difference was 8 percent. In Seward, it was a 35 percent difference.

But those losses were not equally distributed. The cities of Kenai and Soldotna saw their taxable sales slightly increase from 2019 to 2020.

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