Sabine Poux/KDLL

Supermarket chain Three Bears Alaska is opening another store in Sterling.

The Wasilla-based company purchased several lots on the Sterling Highway next to the Sterling Post Office and plans to open a store before the end of the year, said Marketing Director Jim Kolb. He said the property will include a full-size grocery store, liquor store, gas station and Ace Hardware.

Jake Walgenbach

Sterling is in a bit of a beer purgatory. While Sterling-ites have several options to the west and Cooper Landing Brewing to the east, there’s no Sterling-specific place for them to get their brew on.

Five residents are moving toward opening a brewery in the unincorporated community, across from Sterling Elementary School near Swanson River Road. They’re calling it “Naptowne Brewing” — an homage to the town’s early roots, and their family history.

High Adventure Air Charter

On Friday, the central peninsula was shocked when two small planes collided above Soldotna and killed all seven people aboard. Around 8:30 a.m., a deHavilland Beaver from High Adventure Air Charter on Longmere Lake collided with a Piper PA-12, piloted by state house Rep. Gary Knopp of Kenai, sending both planes down around Mayoni Street just east of town. It’s still not entirely clear what happened, but until it is, the community is mourning the loss.

The pilot of the de Havilland Beaver plane, Greg Bell, had been flying for a very long time. Bell, who was 57, was a co-owner of High Adventure Air, a lifelong Soldotna resident. Friends, colleagues and clients remember a cheerful, skilled pilot and a man of faith.

Representative Gary Knopp of Kenai was reportedly killed in a plane crash outside of Soldotna this morning, along with six other people.
Knopp was reportedly flying his own plane, a Piper Aztec, outside of Soldotna when it collided with a de Havilland Beaver around 8:30 a.m. The collision reportedly happened above Mayoni Street between Soldotna and Sterling, about two miles northeast of the Soldotna airport.The Beaver was reportedly owned by High Adventure Air, and co-owner Greg Bell was also confirmed dead in the crash. Knopp flew alone, and the other four people killed were passengers in Bell’s plane. That included Kansas resident David Rogers, who troopers identified as a guide, and South Carolina residents Caleb Hulsey, Heather Hulsey, Makay Hulsey, and Kristen Wright.

Sterling woman sentenced for drug operation

Oct 30, 2019

The United States Attorney in Anchorage announced this week the sentencing of a Sterling woman to four years in prison for her part in a drug and money laundering operation throughout South-central Alaska.
    In a release Monday, U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced that 55-year-old Susan Jan Bradshaw will spend four years behind bars followed by three years of supervised release. Bradshaw must also forfeit $150,000 in cash. She was sentenced by Federal District Court Judge Sharon L. Gleason.

Swan Lake fire continues push east toward Cooper Landing

Aug 27, 2019
Alaska Division of Forestry


School was cancelled in Cooper Landing Tuesday, as the Swan Lake fire pushed farther to the east, and crossed the Resurrection Trail north of the Sterling Highway Monday night. Crews spent Monday doing back burn operations intended to keep the active fire off the highway, which had been the case Sunday night.

Swan Lake fire work continues along Sterling highway

Jun 27, 2019
Mike Hill/Kenai National Wildlife Refuge


When the Incident Command team running operations on the Swan Lake fire met with community members last week, it was the number two priority fire in the state. Since then, total personnel working just outside Sterling has almost doubled.

Outside 'hotshots' join Swan Lake Fire effort

Jun 20, 2019
Alaska Division of Forestry

Though the Swan Lake Fire, which has been burning for two weeks north of Sterling, has been growing slowly, and not toward civilization, fire managers are nonetheless bringing in five elite "hotshot" fire crews from the Lower 48. The 100 hotshots join 169 others already fighting the blaze.

The fire is now estimated at over 16,000 acres, or 25 square miles.

Alaska Division of Forestry

  The Swan Lake Fire near Sterling had minimal growth over the weekend, as cooler, wetter weather prevailed. The latest report from the state Division of Forestry says the size of the fire is estimated at 12,782 acres, an increase of only about 200 acres from Friday.

Sterling teen killed in ATV crash

Jun 12, 2019

A Sterling teenager was killed Monday evening in an ATV accident.

According to Trooper reports, 13-year-old Tori Verba was riding her ATV on Robinson Loop near Higher Ground when she lost control and crashed.

She was pronounced dead at the scene by EMS personnel from Central Emergency Services. Verba was wearing a helmet. Troopers continue to investigate the crash.

Jenny Neyman/KDLL

The July rush is in full swing, with residents and visitors trying to cram in as much summer activity as possible. But one aspect of Kenai Peninsula life has been quieter than usual this year — wildfire season.

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

Sterling Elementary School was in lockdown mode Friday afternoon after video footage showed a male intruder pulling a fire alarm and hiding in a restroom.  

No one was hurt in the incident and the man was arrested by Alaska State Troopers.

East Fork Fire at 1,150 acres, community meeting tonight

Jun 19, 2017
Alaska State Division of Forestry



The East Fork Fire burning near Sterling is now estimated at about 1,100 acres. It remains 4.5 miles from the Sterling Highway and 3.5 miles from the nearest residential neighborhoods.


Celeste Prescott is a public information officer for the state Division of Forestry. She says that crews battled the wind over the weekend to keep the fire burning within the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.


Jenny Neyman/KDLL

Fire crews are still at work on the East Fork Fire, burning in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge near Sterling. It started as a result of lightning in the area Thursday evening. The fire isn't posing immediate threats to life or property and will be monitored closely as it moves deeper into the refuge.