Dan Schwartz

Walmarts to continue stocking local salmon

Following his and Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell’s recent success with Walmart Stores Inc., U.S. Sen. Mark Begich will continue his campaign requesting international food-chains stock Alaska seafood.

Begich on Friday wrote Sodexo USA President and CEO George Chavel asking that the corporation serve Alaska seafood not certified through the Marine Stewardship Council. In late June, Begich made the same request of Walmart Stores Inc. CEO Michael Duke.

New program promises almost instant warning of ash movement

When Redoubt Volcano erupted in 2009, black ash settled on Homer like snowfall.

The city prepared to shut down as the winter sun dimmed.

Stores stockpiled food preparing for the roads to close. Businesses worried ash would destroy air intakes on computers and thousands of dollars in equipment. The city struggled to keep its graders and front-end loaders functioning.

Senior, disability service center cuts back travel

A Kenai Peninsula based senior and disability resource center will cut its travels in half, following a hit from federal sequestration.

The Independent Living Center serves the peninsula, Kodiak and the Valdez-Cordova Census area. The center helps the aging or impaired transition to homes, apply for social security, or find the correct slope for a wheelchair ramp or proper equipment to correct their disability, among other information and referral services.

Troopers: Nothing suspicious in moose shooting in Ninilchik

Alaska Wildlife Troopers do not suspect any criminal activity in a June 12 moose shooting in Ninilchik.

“So far as I know, there’s nothing that looks illegal or could cause criminal charges to be filed in this case,” Sgt. Paul McConnell said.

The wildlife troopers believe the shooting was a legitimate defense of life and property killing, or DLP, he said. The person has a right to privacy because he acted within the law and was defending himself, McConnell said.

Biologist: Make a bear plan

Sometime during the night on May 19, likely when he was watching “The Voice” at a loud volume in his home, a brown bear tore the right driver’s mirror from his Subaru, smashed its right tail light and rear window, ripped off the back windshield wiper, left muddy claw marks on the remaining widows, and shoved the entire vehicle about 8 inches in the gravel driveway.

Raw milk infection spreads again on peninsula

Another outbreak of campylobacter infection tied to a Kenai Peninsula cow share operation has sickened five people, according to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.

An earlier outbreak sickened more than 31 people in February. 

Both outbreaks have originated from Peninsula Diary, a raw milk cow share operation in Kasilof, said Laura Carpenter, public information officer for the state department of health.

Agriculture community looks for land

Kenai Peninsula residents want more agricultural use out of their public lands, according to a recent Kenai Peninsula Borough land use survey.
Of the 1,172 surveys the borough received, 158 residents responded that they wanted public lands to be allocated for agriculture uses, said Marcus Mueller, borough land management officer.
“It’s very significant,” Mueller said.

State investigates alleged raw milk infection cases

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Section of Epidemiology is investigating four recent illnesses on the Kenai Peninsula believed to be associated with raw milk consumption, said Greg Wilkinson, a department spokesperson. The patients admitted to drinking raw milk a few days before getting sick, Wilkinson said. They have not told where they got the raw milk. Because of patient privacy rules, Wilkinson said he could not name the peninsula towns where the patients live.

Kenai wildlife refuge to get new visitor center

The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge will break ground on the construction of a new $6 million visitor center in Soldotna this spring, refuge officials announced Feb. 14.
The refuge visitor center sees the most visitors of the 15 other U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service refuge visitor centers in the state annually, refuge Manager Andy Loranger said. He said about 1 million visitors in a year is common.
"The primary reason for a new visitor center now, at this refuge, is in recognition of that," Loranger said.

Bear data could increase area hunting opportunities

For the first time in more than a decade on the Kenai Peninsula, wildlife managers have a recent brown bear population estimate to inform their game management decisions.

Ted Spraker, chairman of the Alaska Board of Game, said he suspects the new number — more than twice the old estimate — will increase hunting opportunities on the peninsula.

“This is what a lot of people have been looking for who are interested in maybe hunting brown bears on the Kenai,” Spraker said.

Road kill provides good meal for residents, data for scientists

It’s 1:30 a.m. when Laurie Speakman gets the call. Alaska State Trooper Dispatch tells her another one has been hit and gives her the GPS coordinates.

Outside it’s probably below zero when she starts the pickup, equipped with a flashing siren, a wench and a boom.

She dresses in thick clothing while coffee brews and the truck warms. Then she drives from a warm bed and sleeping husband to pick up another dead moose from another car accident.

Subscribe to RSS - Dan Schwartz