The creative talents of several Peninsula fisher men and women were on display Friday night at the Tustumena Lodge in Kasilof, where the fisher poets competed for best song or poem.
Plans by Buccaneer Energy to drill more natural gas wells at its Kenai Loop unit are on hold for now.
When voters in the city of Kenai fill out their ballots on October 1st, they’ll have a lot of questions to answer.
The city of Soldotna has released its new Recreation and Trails Masterplan. The final product took lots of community input, and has as its core, six guiding principles for the future of parks in the city.
This weekend, fisher poets from around the Kenai Peninsula and beyond will gather for a weekend of song, verse, stories and celebration of life on the seas.
For almost two decades, local students have been visiting Ridgeway Farms in the fall to see a working farm in action, pet a few animals, and get a little dirty helping with the harvest. This year, students from Kaleidoscope school in Kenai visited the farm, and enjoyed some soup from the fruits of their labors the following day.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly met this week in Homer. One of the big topics of the evening was transportation.
The two candidates for mayor of Kenai have many years of experience in public service, and even more years living in Kenai. The differences between incumbent Pat Porter and her challenger, city council member Bob Molloy, are subtle, yet distinct.
Molloy and Porter have worked together through the city council for nearly a decade, and the things that separate them don’t do so to a huge degree. Both share concerns about the dipnet fishery, recognize a need to continue to support the oil and gas industry and broader economic growth in general, while keeping Kenai’s sense of rural community intact. But it’s how they would address these things as Mayor that shows where the differences lie.
Porter, who is seeking her fourth term as Mayor, says a hands-on approach is what has worked best for her.
“When I get complaints from citizens about the condition of…whether it be the Rec Center or the Fire Department or the Senior Center or any of those kinds of things, I feel it’s my responsibility as a council person to go see for myself. I think we have a responsibility to know our buildings, to go inside and look at them and see where repairs need to be made, and also to answer to the citizens when they have a concern,” Porter said.
Molloy says the role of the city’s mayor isn’t to drive policy debate or spending decisions or micromanage the city’s departments. That’s what the city manager is for. He says one of his biggest concerns is with the confidence residents have in the Mayor and council, or the lack thereof. He says the fact that the city’s comprehensive plan is again on the ballot this fall for repeal, suggests that lack of confidence in the actions of the council.
“I’ve heard people express that they feel shut out of the process, that we don’t reach out to them enough. One difference between us is the formalization of work sessions. I spoke against that. People are not happy with that, and particularly felt shut out of the comprehensive planning process because the format kept changing,” Molloy said.
Both Molloy and Porter recognized the unique challenges Kenai faces in terms of growth. There’s a lot of land for it, to be sure, but it’s kind of spread out, and hasn’t always been developed with thoughts in mind of what the rest of the city might look like a decade or two down the road. That makes concentrating business in just one area a tall order. Porter said she would vote No on the ballot question asking to repeal the city’s recently-passed comprehensive plan. Molloy says he doesn’t have his mind made up, yet. He voted for comp plan as it sits on the books now, but says he’s got more questions to answer before he makes up his mind in October.
While the city’s comprehensive plan tends to be a source of contention every decade or so, the statewide personal use fishery comes under scrutiny every single year. Both Porter and Molloy agreed that this year went pretty well, and there’s been continuous improvement in handling the thousands of visitors each year, but there are always things that can be done better. Like conveying to the state, in no uncertain terms, what the city’s concerns are.
“One of the good examples of that is that the Kenai city council took a really hard stand on not having our fishery opened 24 hours a day. It doesn’t allow us to clean it the way we should, it’s not what our residents want. So we try really hard to work with them, but we don’t want our residents in the city of Kenai to have to pay for one cent of what that dipnet fishery costs our community. It should be the users who come down to the beach to do the fishing,” Porter said.
Molloy says the fishery needs to be approached from a different angle at the state level, by using stamps to denote fishers taking advantage of the dipnetting opportunities on the Kenai River.
“That would have a lot of effects if it happened. We could potentially reduce city fees, we could reduce the impact of people who are avoiding the fees by going along the river bank and things like that cause some damage. It would also reduce the financial risk to the city. If, for some reason, there aren’t enough fish and they close the fishery, you know, we’re already set up to rock and roll for that period of time,” Molloy said.
Kenai voters will also be choosing from three candidates to fill two open city council seats. Porter and Molloy made their comments on this week’s edition of the Coffee Table, which aired on KDLL.
Travelers coming into Kenai will soon be greeted with a giant mural, highlighting some of the Peninsula’s more notable attributes. “Kenai La Belle” will be placed at the airport later this year.
As the state ferry Tustumena sits in dry dock, undergoing repairs, Alaskan coastal communities are struggling with the lack of regular transportation to and from the mainland. The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly will take up the cause at this week’s meeting in Homer.
Soldotna students in 7th through 12th grades will be moved around a bit next year. The group tasked with easing the transition for those kids had their first meeting Tuesday night. Students, parents and teachers in the area make up the members of the Soldotna School Advisory Committee.
One of the ballot propositions Borough voters will decide on this fall is for a general obligation bond to pay for roof repairs and other upgrades around the Borough school district to the tune of $23 million.
United Way of the Kenai Peninsula kicked off its annual campaign drive Tuesday. The organization is looking for $650,000 to support 27 different agencies across the Kenai.
Leaders from the oil and gas industry and state regulatory agencies met in Anchorage Monday for a work session to begin the conversation about what to do with aging infrastructure in Cook Inlet. One of the biggest questions to answer is who will be responsible.
A new art display is up at Veronica’s Café in old town Kenai. It features encaustic works by local artist Marion Nelson.
Residents of the Nikiski area will have a choice of two candidates to fill the seat left vacant by departing Assembly member Ray Tauriainen.
Candidates vying for two open seats on the Kenai city council discussed their positions on the issues of the day at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon Wednesday.