The Kenai River brings in thousands of tourists every year; for fishing, rafting, or just to see the sights. But it also brings in a lot of volunteers who work to preserve all those activities. Moira Pyhala is one of those volunteers, and her efforts have earned her a nomination for a Spirit of Youth Award.
Travelers going through the Kenai Airport will have a new dining option next year. Odie’s Deli is moving into the café currently occupied by PJ’s Diner.
Another government body on the Peninsula voted unanimously to oppose efforts to ban commercial setnetting in Cook Inlet. But there was a bit of debate before the final ‘yes’ vote was cast.
Who says you can’t drag race in the snow? Starting this weekend, and running through February, snowmachiners can test their abilities at weekly races in the Caribou Hills.
Tucked a few miles off the highway in Sterling is one of the newest players in the burgeoning Alaskan craft spirits industry.
Hilcorp has submitted an application to change its spill contingency plan for onshore facilities on both sides of Cook Inlet.
The Joyce K. Carver memorial library in Soldotna is open for business…mostly. Volunteers have begun stocking the shelves with books and a full, grand opening is planned for next month.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District school board is fine-tuning the concussion policy for all student athletes. Members have been discussing the slight changes since August and action from the board is expected next month.
After six years in the works, the new Triumvirate North theatre will host its first performance this weekend. The holiday musical classic White Christmas opens Friday night.
The state Board of Fish is meeting in Anchorage this week. Among the many items on the agenda are a variety of proposals for sport and commercial fishing in Lower Cook Inlet.
A number of the proposals directed at different sport fisheries around the southern Kenai Peninsula were aimed at tightening up harvests. One proposal for the Anchor River limits the days open for king salmon sportfishing. It would reduce sportfishing opportunities on the Anchor from 20 to 15 days by closing on Wednesdays.
The Homer Fish and Game advisory committee submitted the proposal. The AC cited lower king returns the past few years as the main reason for reducing the number of fishing days. Prior to 2009, there was no king fishing on the Anchor on Wednesdays. Then numbers began trending up, and Fish and Game opened up fishing opportunities. But in 2012 and 2013, the fishery was closed for a number of days by emergency order, to ensure the escapement goal was met. Fish and Game Regional Management Coordinator Tom Vania says the situation on the Anchor River is indicative of what’s happening across South Central.
“We do believe that these are well below average returns that are happening at this time. As you know, a lot of our sport fisheries are structured to avoid emergency orders, whether they be liberalizing or whether they be restricting. We’re trying to establish those regulations that going to handle the vast majority of runs,” Vania told the Board.
Vania said the Anchor continues to meet its minimum escapement goal, but only by sacrificing harvest opportunities. He called shutting down Wednesday fishing low-hanging fruit, as that tends to be one of the least busy days of a given week. The Board did not enact the proposal, though Wednesdays will likely remain the first option for Managers if they have to consider slowing the fishery down.
Moving north to the Ninilchik River, Proposal 61 asked for a reduction in the bag limit for kings by half, down to one per day. This, too, was submitted by the Homer AC. Board member Sue Jeffrey supported the move, as would the rest of the Board, saying it would bring the Ninilchik in line with other king salmon streams in the area.
“Keeping a two king salmon bag limit on the Ninilchik could mislead some anglers into thinking there are more fish there, or there could be better fishing, and I think it makes sense for conservation purposes.”
Even though productivity of both wild and hatchery stocks to the Ninilchik have been below average the past two years, Vania said the one per day bag limit was still acceptable.
“It’s much like all these other streams during this periods of low productivity that we’re in, we’re going to continue to manage based upon how we think performance is going to be one year to the next. Should we just close this outright? I don’t think we’re there at this time.”
In our next story covering the Lower Cook Inlet Finfish meeting, we’ll learn about some of the proposals for commercial fishing.
Borough Assembly Chambers in Soldotna were standing room only Monday night. State Senator Peter Micciche held a public meeting about House Bill 77, the controversial piece of legislation that aims to streamline permitting for the Department of Natural Resources. Not one member of the public testified in favor of the bill.
Middle school students from across the Peninsula met in Kenai Saturday to do battle with Legos and robots. The First Lego League’s annual competition asked students to deal with Nature’s Fury.
Public meetings are scheduled for today about House Bill 77. Supporters say it streamlines the permitting process for mining and other development projects. But detractors claim it gives the state too much authority and undermines due process.
Heavy rain and ice were the cause of a plane crash near Sterling Wednesday afternoon. Alaska State Trooper Spokesperson Megan Peters says the pilot, 49 year-old David Duncan of Sterling, was attempting to bring the single engine Citabria down at Dutch Landing.
The city of Kenai released its annual dipnetting report this week. As KDLL’s Shaylon Cochran reports, the city sees room again this year for a number of changes.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly adopted a resolution supporting a continuation of setnetting in Cook Inlet at its meeting Tuesday. Debate on the issue came only from supporters.
Soldotna High School’s name will not change for next year’s new schools configuration. The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District school board made the decision during its meeting Monday night. The name on the building became the most contentious part of the reconfiguration process.
Residents affected by flooding on the Kenai Peninsula will soon be able to start applying for individual assistance from the state.
The most comprehensive exhibit featuring the artifacts and culture of the Dena’ina the Anchorage Museum has ever produced is on display for about six more weeks. The exhibit’s coordinator, Aaron Leggett, spoke at Kenai Peninsula College recently to talk about what’s at the museum and his own experience growing up Dena’ina.