Kenai Conversation

10 a.m. Wednesdays

Live, call-in public affairs interviews. Call 907-690-1687 to join the Conversation.

On this week's Kenai Conversation, host Jay Barrett speaks with long-time Alaska cannery boss Rusty Roessler, who spent 14 years as the manager of Pacific Alaska Shellfish in Nikiski. Today (Aug. 16) is Roessler's last day, and he's retiring after 36 years managing seafood processing plants around Alaska. This is an extended version of the conversation that aired.

The Kenai Peninsula’s cannabis industry seems to be swinging into high gear, though some challenges remain for local marijuana business owners.

Retail cannabis has been available on the Kenai since late last year. How's business? Is everyone playing by the rules? What challenges have growers and sellers faced? What's a dab? 

On this week's Kenai Conversation, cannabis entrepreneurs Patricia Patterson (High Bush Buds), Dollynda Phelps (Peace Frog Botanicals) and Leif Abel (Greatland Ganja) talk about their burgeoning industry, how it's contributing to the local economy and its prospects for the future.

It's prime time for hitting the water in kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddle boards, row boats or pretty much anything that floats around the Kenai Peninsula. 

More and more people on the Kenai Peninsula are realizing its potential as a productive agricultural center. Now, backyard gardens are giving way to farmer's markets, food hubs and specialty growers. For this week's Conversation, we spoke with Lou Heite and Steve Dahl of Eagle Glade Farms in Nikiski and Ken Kynes, Executive Chef at The Flats Bistro in Kenai about how the local food movement is changing, growing and what needs to happen to make it sustainable.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough is looking at a future with less investment in energy and an aging population. How do we weather the current storm of low oil and gas prices (and the corresponding dips in state funding) while not losing the services already provided? Borough Mayor Mike Navarre and his Chief of Staff, Larry Persily, discuss those challenges, the prognosis of the AK LNG project and more on this week's Kenai Conversation.

Kenai Peninsula Birding Festival

The 13th annual Kenai Peninsula Birding Festival is underway this week. Event volunteers Ken Tarbox and Toby Burke join Shaylon Cochran in the studio to talk about everything that's going on at the festival, how birding is gaining in popularity and the conservation concerns that popularity can bring about.

New authors talk about writing, publishing and connecting with readers. Ninilchik's Mike Chihuly wrote about his life as a fire chief and fishing charter captain in "Alaska Fish and Fire." Kasilof's Joseph Robertia recently published "Life with Forty Dogs: Misadventures with Runts, Rejects, Retirees and Rescues," about the dog kennel he runs with his wife, and their successful mushing career with dogs other mushers didn't want.