Jay Barrett

Morning Edition host/news reporter

Born in Dillingham, Jay Barrett started in public radio at the age of 12, when the school district there started KDLG-AM. He has gone on to work in radio, television and print as a reporter, photographer and editor/news-director across rural Alaska. For the past dozen years, he’s been news director at KMXT Kodiak, where he’s produced The Alaska Fisheries Report for the last 10 years. He returns to KDLL 20 years from when he first came to the station.

Here's a question for you: do you feel as if you're living in any of the top 10 most dangerous cities in Alaska? Some days it feels like the answer is yes, other days it's hard to imagine. But using raw data from the FBI, a travel website has determined just that. Soldotna is the sixth most dangerous city in the state, up one spot from seventh last year, while Kenai, meanwhile is ranked 10th, but it has fallen six spots from number four last year, that's according to "Road Snacks."

Last month’s 7.9 magnitude earthquake off Kodiak Island meant different things to different people on the Kenai Peninsula, and it all depended on where they lived. In areas closer to the open ocean of the Gulf of Alaska, it meant evacuation to high ground, while in the Central Peninsula, it was a midnight diversion, something to post about on Facebook for a few days.

For the people of the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s Office of Emergency Management, it was the time to swing into high gear to warn residents in vulnerable areas of possible tsunami danger.

Photo ConocoPhillips

  The mothballed natural gas liquefaction plant in Nikiski has a new owner, changing hands officially a week ago. ConocoPhillips sold its Kenai LNG plant to its industrial park neighbor, Andeavor, which operates the crude oil refinery across the street. 

The price of the sale was not disclosed. Nor were Andeavor’s plans for the nearly 50-year-old facility. A quote from Andeavor spokesman Scott LaBelle in an announcement caught the eye of former Kenai Peninsula Borough mayoral chief of staff, Larry Persily, an expert on natural gas issues.

Outdoor enthusiasts with more gasoline than ski wax running in their veins finally got the word they were waiting for: effective immediately, the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is open to snowmachine use. Refuge Manager Andy Loranger announced the opening today (Tuesday), saying it applies to all areas of traditional snowmachine use.

  The last series of lakes in the central peninsula to be treated for invasive northern pike is the subject of a public meeting Thursday night. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game will have on hand the project biologist, the area sport fishery manager, and the area research supervisor will be in attendance to answer questions. 

The public meeting will be from 5:30 to 7:30 Thursday evening at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center.

Libraries used to be quiet as mausoleums, with people shuffling quietly from the card catalog, to the stacks, to a straight-backed wooden chair at a table to read under harsh fluorescent lights. Stern librarians would peer over their glasses and give a “shush” at any sound.

Not so much any more.

“Libraries are not quiet any more. And there are some people who are kinda upset about that sometimes,” says Kenai Library Director Mary Jo Joiner. 

The Internet age was supposed to be the death knell for America’s public libraries. Google was supposed to replace the Dewey Decimal System and the Kindle was going to end paper books altogether. But, no. Not only are libraries like the ones in Kenai and Soldotna surviving, they’re thriving. We’ll find out why on the Kenai Conversation as host Jay Barrett welcomes head librarians Mary Jo Joiner and Rachel Nash from Kenai and Soldotna, respectively.

At last week’s regular meeting, the Soldotna City Council made a fundamental change to how city hall and the Soldotna city government is structured. The council moved oversight of the city clerk from the city manager to the city council.

As Councilwoman Linda Murphy, a one-time Alaska Clerk of the Year herself, explains, a city Soldotna’s size should be structured in this manner.

Bill Laughing Bear

This past weekend may have been the busiest of the winter. What with Native Youth Olympics, the Tustumena 200 Sled Dog Race, the Arctic Winter Games, and who can forget the KDLL Annual Membership Party?

Well, on Saturday out at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge visitors center, a mushing guide turned author demonstrated his Siberian mushing set up, and talked about his new book, "An Alaskan Adventure: Tales of a Musher."

National Weather Service

  The Kenai River at the Soldotna Bridge entered minor flood stage several times on Thursday and Friday, according to National Weather Service measurements.

The Service issued a special weather statement Sunday warning of the rising water levels on the Kenai River as freeze-up continues. As ice forms the river, the statement says, it can build up and restrict the flow of the water, backing it up behind the ice and raising levels.

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