Nikiski Fire Department

Courtesy of Tami Marsters

At-home COVID-19 tests are in short supply around the U.S., amid rising coronavirus case counts and concern about the more contagious omicron variant.

Some pharmacies and stores on the Kenai Peninsula have run out of those tests, which can be taken anywhere and produce results in 15 minutes. But Kenai Public Health still has free kits in stock and is expecting more shipments from the state soon — part of a state effort to encourage Alaskans to test at home.

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In an emergency, paramedics in Nikiski might have 30 minutes with a patient before dropping them at the hospital. They likely won’t meet again until that patient has another emergency. 

The Nikiski Fire Department is working to change the nature of that relationship. It’s using a grant from the state to build up its capacity to address people’s medical needs at home and reach them before — and long after — they’re in crisis.

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Niksiki’s third fire station came online today.

The station, on the corner of Holt-Lamplight Road and Escape Route Road, will bring emergency services closer to a large chunk of Nikiski residents.

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A fire decimated a beloved community theater in Nikiski this weekend. 

Triumvirate North, the primary theater space for the nonprofit Triumvirate Theatre, burned to the ground early Saturday morning.

No one was hurt but the fire completely razed the space. Investigators are still working out what caused it. But one thing’s for certain: Come time to rebuild, there will be no shortage of helping hands.

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Appointments are filling up fast for local coronavirus vaccine clinics.

There were six slots left as of Wednesday evening for a Jan. 30 clinic at the Niksiki Fire Department. But all other slots at area clinics have been spoken for.

In a video message on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Alerts Facebook page, Emergency Manager Dan Nelson said there’s been high demand for limited spots – a trend providers are seeing around the state.

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The first batch of coronavirus vaccine will arrive via van at Central Peninsula Hospital this Thursday.

Representatives from the hospital and Soldotna Professional Pharmacy confirmed last week they were getting doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine soon. But with FDA authorization of the vaccine still pending, there were some details to iron out.

Kenai Fire Department

Kyler Michlitsch’s birthday Sunday was a lot different than it would have been outside quarantine. It was just his immediate family at their home in Nikiski to celebrate. 

Mom, Britney Baier, said there was no extended family, no friends and no fun outing to Jumpin’ Junction, as would normally be the case. 

“Just us here at the house, just the family members. We had cake and presents but that was it. No other family members, no grandparents, no aunts and uncles and cousins, it was just us. It was sad, his grandma actually dropped the cake off on the front porch. She made his Garfield cake but he had to wave through the window and he couldn’t go out and hug her or anything,” Baier said.

Kyler just turned 4 and doesn’t have the life experience to expect much else. Baier said it was fine but a pretty quiet affair. That is until the Nikiski Fire Department showed up in a fire truck, lights flashing and sirens blaring.

“They came by, they had the dog (Sparky the Fire Dog) and they had a fire hat to give him and a little stuffed animal. It was just really awesome. They sang happy birthday to him through speaker thing on the truck. It was special, it was just for him, they talked to him and said his name and happy birthday. I know he’ll remember it forever,” she said.