The sometimes polarized communities of the Kenai Peninsula came together this week to oppose House Bill 77.
During a hearing in Soldotna on Monday, without exception, the public expressed displeasure for two portions of HB77: the removal of public input on permits and the loss of personal access to water reservation.
In another hearing Tuesday night at the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center in Homer, it was more of the same. A standing-room-only crowd of 110 people showed overwhelming opposition to the bill, with only one man, a shellfish farmer, expressing support.
Following an earlier announcement that Agrium filed for an air quality operations permit from the state, the company said more permits would be required before reopening.
The company’s plans to investigate a reopening of its Nikiski fertilizer plant have not changed, said Agrium spokesperson Adam Diamond in an email.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly last week stalled plans to combine 911 dispatch services by moving current state employees to the borough payroll.
Citing a change in leadership earlier this month at the Alaska Department of Public Safety, Kenai Peninsula Mayor Mike Navarre asked the assembly to table plans to support an ordinance that authorized combining dispatchers working in the Soldotna Public Safety Communications Center in an effort to save an estimated $100,000 annually caused by conflicting employee contracts.
A plan to build a $43 million expansion at Central Peninsula Hospital passed its first hurdle Tuesday night following a failed attempt by two assembly members to derail it.
One incumbent lost, another kept his seat and the one open seat went to the less conservative candidate of the two running for office.
In District 7, Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly member Brent Johnson fended off two challengers in Central Kenai Peninsula to retain his seat.
Looking to oust the first-term assembly member and commercial fisherman Johnson were Travis Swanson and Damon Yerly.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough last week introduced an ordinance to increase the number of its employees in the 911-call center as a way to save money.
The move, once negotiations with the state are complete, would allow the borough to take up to eight employees — six dispatchers and two supervisors — from state employment and move them into borough employment at the Soldotna Public Safety Communications Center. Currently, employees in the center are a mix of state and borough workers.
Kenai Peninsula Borough voters will, for a fourth time, have a chance on the fall ballot to decide in a yes or no vote to repeal term limits.
A second ballot question, asking voters if the limit should be increased from two to three terms, becomes relevant only if the voters do not repeal the limits.
For a third session, the assembly last week entangled itself in a publicly unpopular attempt to overturn voter imposed term limits on their offices.
The State of Alaska last week approved a permit to allow a Texas-based waste disposal company to store up to 10 million gallons of petroleum drilling waste at a 1.5-acre site in Nikiski’s industrial area.
The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation permit allows AIMM Technologies Inc. to construct and operate a monofill storage site for drilling waste, produced by the nearby oil and gas industry, at the end of Halliburton Drive.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly on July 2 delayed action on two items in order to rethink its actions before going forward.
The assembly put off voting on an ordinance seeking to overturn term limits imposed by a citizen initiative and moved to reopen public comment on a resolution calling for a public advisory vote on continued borough financial support for public transportation.
With its opening, life for Kenai Peninsula residents living with cancer has changed for the better.
The Peninsula Radiation Oncology Center officially opened its doors last week to the patients it will serve and the community as a whole. Inside, they found one of the most advanced radiation centers in the state.
In stark contrast to the scores who witnessed a 777 crash that killed two in San Francisco the day before, no one saw the crash of a nine-passenger charter plane that killed 10 people in Soldotna Sunday.
All that was known about the crash, as of Monday night, was that the pilot was not able to keep the charter plane airborne and in control, said NTSB board member Earl F. Weener.
“Obviously, it got airborne,” he said during a press conference at the airport, responding to conflicting local accounts of the crash.
Two attempts to derail the inevitable and affirmative vote for borough-wide riparian regulations were thwarted last week as the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly voted 6 -3 to enact the broader protective regulations over local waters.
With the vote, the assembly largely agreed that some form of proactive protection of salmon rearing waters was needed now, while most of the runs are still healthy.
It boiled down to science vs. emotion and personal property rights vs. communist encroachment by the United Nations, as scores spoke about the future of salmon habitat regulation on the Kenai Peninsula. One man, who said he was a Russian immigrant, warned of eventual gulags.
It boiled down to science vs. emotion and personal property rights vs. communist encroachment by the United Nations as scores spoke about the future of salmon habitat regulation on the Kenai Peninsula. One man, who said he was a Russian immigrant, warned of eventual gulags.
Bryan Zak has worked with many small businesses owners on the Kenai Peninsula over the years, but he recently counseled the youngest entrepreneur he’s yet seen.
Seven-year-old Rohan Lamb made an appointment late last month to get some sound advice for a mobile ice cream business and feedback on his marketing plans to boost it.
The Kenai Borough Assembly on Tuesday raised the 911 tax charged on area phone bills by 30 cents a month at the request of borough Mayor Mike Navarre.
The previous borough tax of $1.50 per month raises about $1.2 million in revenue each year, about half of the total expense, according to Craig Chapman, director of finance.
With many among them up for a third or fourth re-election in 2014 and 2015, members of the Kenai Peninsula Borough
Assembly are looking to remove citizen-created term limits from borough law this summer.
The assembly Tuesday floated a proposed ordinance seeking to amend a 2007 citizen initiative limiting them to two consecutive terms without taking a six-month break before a third.
Assembly members voted to hold a public hearing on the ordinance and set it for July 2.
With little fan fair the Kenai Borough Assembly on Tuesday passed the 2014 budget by unanimous consent, sending $73 million into the collective checkbook for the next fiscal year beginning July1.
Very little conversation was had on the so-called "status quo budget" beyond a last-minute moving of money into and then back out of the funds allotted to the Kenai Peninsula Development District.
"The mayor promised status quo and brought it," said District 8 Assemblyman Bill Smith.