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.

  Today, we look at invasive species - those critters large and small that endanger the natural beauty, and in some cases, our way of life here on the Kenai Peninsula. Our guests are  John Morton, the supervisory biologist at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Jennifer Hester of the Kenai Watershed Forum’s Adopt a Stream program, and Rob Massengill, a fisheries biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. We begin the conversation discussing invasive northern pike, a sports fish introduced to the Kenai Peninsula, and whose eradication has taken decades.

ADOT

It will be a couple of seasons and result in enough delays and inconvenience that by the time the Kenai Spur Highway rehabilitation project from Soldotna to Kenai is done, it will be a welcome relief. That’s because the project will extend five-lane blacktop the entire distance between the Twin Cities.

City of Kenai officials will be closing access to the Kenai River's Soth Beach tonight and are warning dipnetters not to camp there or on the North Beach.

The reason are extreme high tides overnight that could pose hazards to campers. 

The morning tide Thursday at 3:54 a.m. is forecast to be 23 feet, followed by Friday morning's 4:44 a.m. high tide of 24 feet, and Saturday morning’s high tide at 5:44 will be nearly 25 feet.

Late Tuesday night the National Weather Service in Anchorage issued a special weather statement for high water levels expected on the Kenai River below Skilak Lake.

Water levels on the Kenai River are reported at bank-full just below Skilak Lake and at Kenai Keys, and they are expected to continue rising over the next few days, potentially peaking less than a foot over minor flood stage.

No widespread flooding is expected at this time, but low lying areas may have standing water ponding on them.

ADF&G

The annual personal use dipnet fishery at the mouth of the Kenai River begins Tuesday. But amid expectations of an underperforming salmon return, the City of Kenai, which is host to the fishery, is ready, according to City Manager Paul Ostrander.

  Here on the Kenai Peninsula we take our sportsfishing seriously. People fly or drive thousands of miles for the opportunity to wet a line in our cold, fish-filled rivers, streams and inlet. Helping visitors do that is a full time job for thousands in a score of industries, and today on Econ 919, we talk with Jim Voss, the developer of a new smartphone app, Alaska Fishtopia, that is designed to take sportsfishing as seriously as the angler who uses it.

 

Late run king salmon fishing reopened on the lower Kenai River on July 1st, however no bait is allowed. King fishing above the ADF&G markers at Slikok Creek is still prohibited.

The Department sonar shows 598 kings have escaped this season. That compares to 820 at this time last year, 1,066 in 2016 and 498 in 2015.

Meanwhile, fishing for king salmon on the Kasilof River has been fair, according to Fish and Game's weekly fishing report.

Couple from APU win Mt. Marathon races

Jul 5, 2018

The 2016 Mount Marathon men's champion and current course record holder took first place in yesterday's grueling race up and down the mountain that looms over Seward.

David Norris, a professional cross country skier for Alaska Pacific University won the 91st running of the event with a time of 42 minutes and 13 seconds. It was almost a minute off his record pace, but it still gave him a 20-second win over professional runner Max King of Bend, Oregon, who is a past World Mountain Running Champion. Adam Jensen of Anchorage finished third.

While many river systems statewide are struggling to achieve their respective salmon escapement goals, there’s one on the Kenai Peninsula that is set to exceed its goal, and as a result, managers have liberalized the catch and possession limit.

In an announcement Monday, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game increased the sport-caught sockeye salmon limits for the Russian River and a section of the main stem of the Kenai River to six per day and 12 in possession.

Your electricity bill has gone up through no fault of your own. 

Starting on July 1st, Homer Electric Association bills went up due to an increase in the cost of power adjustment, or COPA. The COPA is added to reflect increases in the cost of natural gas used to generate electricity.

The increase, from roughly 6.7 cents per kilowatt hour to roughly 7.3 cents, an increase of 8.49 percent.

Homer Electric estimates that a residential customer using 550 kilowatt hours of electricity a month will an increase of $3.13.

Alaska Governor Bill Walker announced a trio of new court appointments Monday.

Here in Kenai, Lance Joanis will become a new Superior Court judge. 

Joanis has worked in the district attorney’s offices in Anchorage, Bethel and here in Kenai, and he has been the Assistant Attorney General in Kenai’s Child Protection Section since 2011. 

Joanis graduated from law school at the University of Idaho College of Law and moved to Bethel to take the Alaska bar exam. He replaces Judge Anna Moran who is retiring after seven years in the Superior Court.

The Soldotna City Council Wednesday night heard some good news about the Three Friends Dog Park. The news was welcome after vandals spread broken glass in the fenced off area recently.

Upgrades have been done and more will be coming thanks to contributions, cash and otherwise, from several organizations, which park booster Connie Hawker said would be acknowledged at the park on a sign.

After being turned aside in May, the Kenai River Sportsfishing Association has won another audience before the Alaska Board of Fisheries regarding problems the lobbying group has with hatchery pink salmon production in Prince William Sound.

In May, the Board punted the issue to Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotton. Last week Cotton sent a letter to KRSA Executive Director Ricky Gease saying he did not find that an emergency existed and denied the petition.

  In what’s turned out to be a brief and unprofitable foray into the global oil business, General Electric Co. has announced that it will divest itself of the 62.5 percent ownership it has in the oilfield-services company Baker Hughes.

Bloomberg News reported Tuesday that GE plans to “unload” it’s stake in Baker Hughes over the next two to three years through sale of stock.

Jay Barrett/KDLL

Every year amateur radio operators across North America unplug from the power grid, team up, and head out to have a field day. Literally.

Saturday and Sunday was the American Radio Relay League’s annual “Field Day,” where participants attempt to make as many contacts with others on the continent as they can in 24 hours. The purpose is to simulate emergency conditions after a natural disaster which might require amateur radio to reach the outside world.

Citing the continued lack of salmon making their way to the spawning grounds, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has taken drastic steps to help boost the escapement. 

In two emergency orders released Friday, the department first cancelled Monday’s scheduled 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. commercial fishing period. Then it took the restrictions a step further, as we hear on the Department’s recorded commercial fishing update: 

Wells Fargo

Today, we hear how for-profit businesspeople, individually and through their companies, work not to earn a profit, but to better the life in our community.

Wednesday the Kenai Chamber of Commerce presented its annual awards during a luncheon ceremony. 

One of those people is AnnaLea Lott, the winner of the Chamber’s “Log Cabin” Award for just that, making this a better place to live.”

This week on The Kenai Conversation we welcome Merrill Sikorski to the studio. No stranger to microphones, Sikorski is the host of "People Going Places and Doing Things," which has aired daily for nearly 30 years. He is also the creator of "Caring for the Kenai," an annual ecological competition for Kenai Peninsula High School students.

On the Kenai Peninsula, salmon are king. Whether they’re king salmon or one of the other species of salmonid that populate our fresh waters. And that’s why when there’s a biologic danger to their existence, people go into high gear to try and protect them.

Take invasive species for example. About 20 years ago, northern pike were illegally introduced into Kenai Peninsula lakes by persons unknown. And they thrived, just like they do elsewhere in Alaska where they naturally occur. But here on the Kenai, the pike’s success came at a cost - the lives of baby salmon.

Commercial salmon fishermen in Upper Cook Inlet will finally get a chance to put their nets in the water on Thursday. It is the first of the fleet’s regular 12-hour Monday-and-Thursday scheduled fishing openings.

Brian Marston, Fish and Game’s area manager for Upper Cook Inlet commercial fisheries, says this opening will be district-wide.

ADF&G

A half-dozen reminders of recent emergency orders led off this week's Northern Kenai Fishing Report from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, including a catch-and-release restriction on the Kenai River. But that restriction was superseded today (Monday) in an emergency order when the Department banned all angling for king salmon the Kenai River, even catch-and-release.

With the annual increase in traffic from visitors from off the Kenai Peninsula, this is the time of year counterfeit currency often starts showing up in ever-increasing volume.

The Alaska State Troopers report that a fake $20 bill was recovered from a convenience store in Cooper Landing last week.

Troopers from Seward responded last Tuesday and found out that the bill was used sometime over the previous weekend.

One man was killed and another suffered life-threatening injuries in a two-motorcycle accident Tuesday night. The crash closed the Sterling Highway for a time near mile 115 around 10 p.m.

According to an Alaska State Trooper dispatch, the men were riding separate 2007 Harley Davidsons when they lost control in a corner, went off the road and crashed in the ditch.

Dead at the scene was 62-year-old Thomas Clinton Salmon of Soldotna.

A citizen-science project this spring to document Cook Inlet beluga whales in the Kenai River was wildly successful.

Until it wasn’t.

The spotting project ran from March 15 through May 31 with scores of citizens taking part in planned, or sometimes impromptu, whale-spotting adventures. And though the study period was two and a half months, the sightings made in the river all came during just a portion of that time period, according to the woman who had her eyes on the river every day.

ADF&G

Judging by the dearth of clam-bakes on the beaches of the Kenai Peninsula this year, it’s safe to say sport clamming for the tasty morsels is closed again.

After a crash in adult population six years ago and a one-year reduction in harvest allowance, clamming was closed.

Carol Kerkvliet is the Lower Cook Inlet sports fish area management biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Homer.

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