Progress continues updating the city of Kenai’s water treatment facilities. City Manager Rick Koch says updating the technology used to manage the facility is very much a multi-step process, but those new controls will allow for greater efficiency.
Part of what they’re bringing online is an automation system that will be in use during times when city personnel are not on site. He says they hoped to have a portion of that work done by the end of Friday. He says the use of more modern automated systems represents a pretty significant step.
Last week, before some timely rain showers, the city had asked customers to conserve water, avoiding heavy usage activities while the system was operating below peak performance. He says they’re still on schedule to be back to full production capacity in the next two weeks.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly has been crafting an ordinance to help protect and improve habitat around the Peninsula’s many bodies of water that support anadromous fish, especially salmon.
The latest provisions, including a 50 foot buffer around lakes on the Peninsula, are set to go into effect at the beginning of 2013, but the measure is still being finalized to find the best compromise of protecting habitat while respecting the rights of property owners.
As the summer season hits its full stride on the Kenai, native flora is also coming into full
bloom. And joining those native species are their visiting botanical cousins, brought to the area sometimes on purpose, but usually by accident. Most non-native species don’t pose a big threat, but some invasive varieties do and across the Peninsula, programs are in place to help mitigate the problem.
In an effort to reach escapement goals of up to seventeen-hundred naturally-produced
king salmon, the Department of Fish and Game announced Wednesday an extension of sport fish restrictions for the Kasilof River.
The use of bait and multiple hooks is prohibited from the mouth of the Kasilof upstream
to the Sterling Highway Bridge for the entire month of July.
The department monitors escapement through a weir at Crooked Creek which, as of
Monday, June 26th, showed just 44 king salmon passing through. The total in 2011 was 650 fish, just four more than the department’s minimum escapement goal. It’s uncertain at this time if the sustainable escapement goal will be achieved or if broodstock will be available for egg takes this year.
Big barns aren’t typically thought of as a part of the Alaskan landscape, but a group in rural Kasilof is into year three of construction of one the largest log barns in the state. Part workshop, part storage facility and part classroom, the barn represents a sample of what can be done using local materials and sustainable building methods.
Businesses in Soldotna will be getting a little sprucing up this summer, thanks to a program initiated by the City last year. The Storefront Improvement Program will offer design help and grants to businesses looking for an update.
The new Copper River Seafoods processing facility in Kenai was the backdrop for the one year anniversary celebration of the All Alaska Workforce Initiative. The program is a joint venture between the state and federal Departments of Labor and seeks to put Alaskans to work in Alaskan industries.
The city of Kenai is asking its water utility customers to try and take it easy over the next couple weeks. The city is currently working to bring online a new and improved treatment facility that will lower arsenic levels and clean up the color. Kenai City Manager Rick Koch explains the other projects going on that have affected the city’s water supply.
Compliance to the request is voluntary. The city is asking that customers refrain from heavy-usage activities like watering lawns and washing cars.
Usually, production is about 1.2 million gallons per day but given recent weather and the aforementioned projects, production is down by about 25 percent, putting additional pressure on the city’s 3 million gallon reservoir.
Koch says the request is an effort to stay ahead of the curve and not let the reservoir get too low.
This is all happening ahead of larger demands placed on the water system by seasonal industries like fish processing that, when operating at capacity go through 40 to 50 thousand gallons per day. Koch says the redeveloped well should be back on line in two to three weeks, providing an additional 350,000 gallons into the system.
With a relatively brief agenda, Tuesday’s meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly focused mainly on the appropriation of just over 18 million dollars in state funding and grants to various local projects and revising the salary schedule for Borough employees.
For the coming fiscal year, the Kenai Peninsula Borough was treated well by the state of Alaska in the form of grants and aid for local projects. At this week’s Borough Assembly meeting, that money will likely be accepted, clearing the way for final planning on many of those projects.
The Nikiski Fire Department recently took delivery of two new tanker trucks, replacing older models that had been in use since the mid-1980’s. Each of the Nikiski Fire Service Area’s two stations will receive one of the new 4,000 gallon tanker trucks.
Residents and visitors to Kenai for this year’s dipnet fishery will have to fork over a bit
more for camping following amendments made to the fee structure by the Kenai City Council. For 2012, camping rates will increase to twenty dollars for a twelve hour period on both the North and South Beaches. Kenai Mayor Pat Porter says the Council also discussed an increase in parking fees
She says revenue to the City from fees associated with the state fishery is substantial. According to a memo from Finance Director Terry Eubank, in 2011 revenue from both beaches totaled nearly $250,000.
Under the amended fee structure, parking costs will stay at fifteen dollars for twelve
hours, while camping fees will jump to twenty dollars for twelve hours. Mayor Porter made
those comments on Wednesday’s Coffee Table program, which aired on KDLL.
Homer Electric Association customers in the Sterling area were affected by an outage
Thursday morning. The power went out around 11 am affecting service from Boundary Avenue in Soldotna, east through Sterling and into Funny River. HEA Spokesperson Joe Gallagher explains:
He says power was restored to the Funny River shortly before 2 pm. The outage was caused, as usual by a force of nature unique to Alaska.
Below average escapement numbers for King Salmon on the Kenai and Kasilof rivers have led the Department of Fish and Game to announce three separate emergency restriction orders. The announcement came Wednesday afternoon.
Summer on the Kenai provides an almost endless variety of outdoor activities, both on land and water. KDLL’s Shaylon Cochran was at Mackey Lake Tuesday morning for his first taste of the sport of rowing, and files this report.
The Department of Fish and Game has announced more early-run King Salmon sport
fishing restrictions. Beginning this Saturday, June 9th at 12:01 am the Anchor River will be
closed to sport fishing through the end of the month.
In a press release Wednesday, ADF&G highlighted a below average escapement number of just eleven-hundred kings through June 5th. Though this is higher than at the same point in 2011 when only 900 kings were counted, it’s barely a third of the escapement average between 2004 and last year of about twenty-eight hundred fish.
Fishing on the Anchor River had already been closed each Wednesday in a previous
order from Fish and Game. That order also relocated the department’s regulatory marker one-thousand feet downstream from the junction of the North and South forks and will remain in effect after sport fishing resumes in July.
The May 30th order limiting anglers to unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure fishing also remains in effect also remains in effect for Deep Creek and the Ninilchik River.
The final step in approving a new radiation oncology center at Central Peninsula Hospital
was taken last night, as the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly passed a resolution authorizing sublease agreement for the facility.
Central Peninsula Hospital will house the unit which will be operated by RBS Evolution of Alaska, based in Anchorage. Rick Davis, Chief Executive Officer at CPH says the partnership is a first step in offering cancer treatment services locally.
With about 100 Peninsula residents undergoing the lengthy treatment annually, Davis says demand for the expansion is certainly there. Partnerships like the one between CPH and RBS Evolution are common, Davis says, not only in Alaska but across the country given the expensive and sophisticated nature of the procedure.
In March, the Borough Assembly appropriated four-point-seven million dollars for the
construction of the new facility. Davis says work will begin in July with an anticipated finishing date of April 1st, 2013.
A program to more efficiently retrieve moose from the state’s roadways has expanded onto the Kenai Peninsula. The Alaska Moose Federation’s Salvage Program started last winter and aims to free up Alaska State Troopers and get the moose to charitable organizations more quickly.
The 2012 race season got underway on May 26th at Twin Cities Raceway in Kenai. KDLL’s Shaylon Cochran cruised into the pits the following Saturday during a test and tune day to learn about the track, the drivers and what’s going on behind the scenes to help grow the sport locally.
School has been out for barely a week, but a small group of dedicated students didn’t waste much time getting back into the classroom to prepare for an upcoming international competition dedicated to solving the world’s problems. Shaylon Cochran/KDLL