‘Poor man’s polo’ finds its way to the Kenai

This story originally published in the Peninsula Clarion. On Thursday nights, Maya Johnson can be found getting her horse geared up for a game of polocrosse. Johnson first heard of the team sport — a combination of polo and lacrosse — when she was riding on the equestrian team at Dartmouth College. Johnson returned to … Continue reading ‘Poor man’s polo’ finds its way to the Kenai

‘Everything is on the table’

This story was originally published in the Peninsula Clarion. Gov. Mike Dunleavy vetoed $130 million in state funding for the University of Alaska system on Friday. Now, UA President Jim Johnsen said programs, faculty and entire campuses are at risk, and tuition increases are a possibility should an override to the governor’s veto fail. “We’re … Continue reading ‘Everything is on the table’

Budget vetoes fallout may hit close to home

This story originally published in the Peninsula Clarion. Last Friday, Gov. Mike Dunleavy issued a series of vetoes totaling $444 million to the state’s operating budget, many of which have the potential to impact residents of the Kenai Peninsula Borough. Among the cuts was a veto of $130 million to the University of Alaska system, … Continue reading Budget vetoes fallout may hit close to home

New chef brings fresh menu to Cooper Landing

This story originally published in the Peninsula Clarion. Chef Katherine O’Leary-Cole has only been in Alaska for two months, and her ambitious menu offers something fresh for diners at Cooper Landing’s Kingfisher Roadhouse. Nearly half of the food is vegetarian, with one whole side of the menu offering plant-based options, most of which could also … Continue reading New chef brings fresh menu to Cooper Landing

District staff resignations and retirements highest recorded

This story originally published in the Peninsula Clarion. Facing potential state, local and district budget reductions, many non-tenured teachers are considering employment elsewhere. To date, 86 certified staff and administrators resigned or retired, the highest number in the years the district has been tracking the data, Pegge Erkeneff, communications liaison for the district, said in … Continue reading District staff resignations and retirements highest recorded

Satanic Temple invocation prompts protest, walkouts at assembly meeting

This story originally published in the Peninsula Clarion. A member of the Satanic Temple offered an invocation at Tuesday’s Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting, prompting walkouts from about a dozen attendees and borough officials, and a protest outside the building. The invocation was the first given by the Satanic Temple since the borough changed its … Continue reading Satanic Temple invocation prompts protest, walkouts at assembly meeting

Gravel pit controversy continues in Anchor Point

This story originally published in the Peninsula Clarion. From Hans Bilben’s back deck, one can see Mount Redoubt, waves from Cook Inlet crashing on the beach at Anchor Point and hillsides dotted with a handful of homes. Perched on the side of a natural amphitheater, Bilben’s house also overlooks a patch of undeveloped forest that … Continue reading Gravel pit controversy continues in Anchor Point

Gray whale found dead in Clam Gulch, 4th in Alaska so far this year

This story originally published in the Peninsula Clarion. A gray whale was found dead near Clam Gulch late Thursday. It’s the fourth gray whale found dead in Alaska and the second gray whale found dead in Cook Inlet this year. The cause of death is still unknown. Since Monday, a team of biologists have been … Continue reading Gray whale found dead in Clam Gulch, 4th in Alaska so far this year

Voters unlikely to see K-Selo bonds on the ballot again

This story originally published in the Peninsula Clarion. The borough is still trying to find the money to build a new school in Kachemak-Selo, although voters shouldn’t expect to see another bond package on the ballots. At the May 21 Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting, Mayor Charlie Pierce said he met with staff concerning the … Continue reading Voters unlikely to see K-Selo bonds on the ballot again

Soldotnan’s booze-infused cookies go big

This story originally published in the Peninsula Clarion. Molly Blakeley had no idea adding booze to her cookie dough would be such a hit. What started as a sweet addition to her taco truck has quite literally gone international. Blakeley’s cookies are gourmet. Her “London Fog” cookie is infused with earl grey and lavender teas, … Continue reading Soldotnan’s booze-infused cookies go big

School district employees vote to strike

This story originally published in the Peninsula Clarion. A week after contract negotiations with the school district hit a standstill, peninsula educators and staff have voted to strike. In a Facebook post published Wednesday night, the Kenai Peninsula Education Association reported that more than 75% of certified staff voted “yes” on a walkout. For over … Continue reading School district employees vote to strike

Kenai’s historic chapel gets makeover

This story originally published in the Peninsula Clarion. Visitors to Kenai’s Old Town may have noticed some construction at the Saint Nicholas Memorial Chapel. Restoration efforts are underway. At the beginning of the month, restoration experts began patching up and waterproofing the roof of the iconic chapel in Kenai’s Old Town, which sits across the … Continue reading Kenai’s historic chapel gets makeover

Murkowski gets federal funds for fight against spruce bark beetle

This story originally published in the Peninsula Clarion. Alaska Division of Forestry will receive federal money to help combat spruce bark beetle infestation. Sen. Lisa Murkowski addressed spruce bark beetle infestations during a subcommittee hearing in Washington, where she questioned U.S. Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen on the beetle epidemic in Southcentral Alaska, a press … Continue reading Murkowski gets federal funds for fight against spruce bark beetle

More than 200 students enrolled in homeless assistance program

This story originally published in the Peninsula Clarion. As of May 10, 218 students were enrolled in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s Students in Transition Program, Kelly King, program coordinator for the district, said. The 16-year-old program provides services to homeless students and students no longer in the custody of their parent or legal … Continue reading More than 200 students enrolled in homeless assistance program

School district, employee associations continue contract talks

This story originally published in the Peninsula Clarion. In an all-day collective bargaining meeting on Monday, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District rejected one proposal from two employee associations, and is currently analyzing another, a press release from the district said. The associations also rejected a district proposal offered during Monday’s meeting. President of the … Continue reading School district, employee associations continue contract talks

Borough introduces bed tax ordinance

This story originally published in the Peninsula Clarion. A bed tax was introduced at Tuesday’s Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting. The 12% bed tax would affect temporary lodging across the borough and be exempt from general sales tax. The tax is estimated to generate over $1 million in additional revenues in FY 2020, and over … Continue reading Borough introduces bed tax ordinance

Attorney general: $20 million schools appropriation unconstitutional

This story originally published in the Peninsula Clarion. Alaska’s attorney general has declared a $20 million appropriation for school funding made during last year’s legislative session unconstitutional. The one-time education funding was enacted by the Legislature through Senate Bill 142 and signed into law by former Gov. Bill Walker in June 2018. In a formal … Continue reading Attorney general: $20 million schools appropriation unconstitutional

UAA graduates some of the school’s last teachers

This story originally published in the Peninsula Clarion. Many of Alaska’s newest educators walked across the stage at the state’s largest university to graduate last weekend. Many of them were also the last to come out of the University of Alaska Anchorage’s School of Education initial licensure programs. Kelsey Hernandez graduated on Sunday with a … Continue reading UAA graduates some of the school’s last teachers

Education advocacy group suing Dunleavy

This story originally published in the Peninsula Clarion. An education advocacy group, Coalition for Education Equity, is suing the governor and state education commissioner for failing to release $20 million appropriated for public schools during last year’s Legislature. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Alaska Superior Court in Anchorage, asserts Gov. Mike Dunleavy and Commissioner of … Continue reading Education advocacy group suing Dunleavy

K-Selo grants gets two-year extension

This story originally published in the Peninsula Clarion. Efforts to build a new school in Kachemak-Selo are still going strong, and a two-year extension on a state grant gives the borough more time to find additional funds for their match. Last year, the Legislature enacted a bill allowing Department of Education and Early Development construction … Continue reading K-Selo grants gets two-year extension