Aaron Bolton

News Director

Aaron Bolton is excited to come on board at KBBI after spending his first year reporting in the state at KSTK in Wrangell. He grew up in southern Minnesota and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2015 with a degree in professional journalism.

Prior to Alaska, Aaron reported for Radio K in Minneapolis. He spent his free time going to local concerts and promoting shows and music festivals. Since making the move, he has spent his time in the backcountry snowboarding whenever possible.

Ways to Connect

Aaron Bolton, KBBI News

Towns across Alaska have to grapple with what to do once a known sex offender returns to the community after serving their punishment. Though there are clear limits in some areas, there are massive gray zones, as well. Residents in Homer are struggling to balance fairness with safety ahead of one of the Kenai Peninsula’s biggest celebrations.

Every year, Homer hosts the Nutcracker Faire. The family-affair draws people from all over the Kenai Peninsula for a pre-holiday craft fair and children’s performance of the nutcracker.

Photo Courtesy of South Peninsula Hospital

The South Peninsula Hospital has been looking for ways to fill a budget gap after the state made a 5-percent cut to Medicaid reimbursement rates in September.

The program pays for low-income patients’ hospital bills with state and federal dollars. The cut extends to both inpatient and outpatient care given since July 1, potentially costing the hospital over $1 million dollars.

Image courtesy of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Superintendent Sean Dusek took questions from peninsula residents Tuesday night via Facebook Live. Questions ranged from lice policy to the district’s $140 million budget.

Dusek said the district has sustained about $7 million in budget cuts over the past few years. He stressed that the district has been able to handle those cuts without making major reductions in the classroom or teaching staff.

Courtesy of Bjorn Olson.

Homer resident Bjorn Olson is a filmmaker, photographer and self-described environmentalist. Olson has taken several trips into northern Alaska using mostly man-powered means of transportation. He returned to the Arctic this summer with his partner and two friends to bike about 420 miles from the village of Point Hope to Utqiagvik, but the trip wasn’t just an adventure.

Courtesy of Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association

The Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association walked back a contentious plan to move most of a hatchery operation to the head of Tutka Bay near Homer Saturday. The association currently operates the Tutka Bay Hatchery in a lagoon connected to the bay, and the facility is permitted to release up to 100 million pink salmon at the new site.

Courtesy of Alaska Legislature

Alaska’s Legislature is in the midst of its fourth special session. Gov. Bill Walker called legislators back to Juneau to tackle criminal justice reform and to consider his latest tax proposal. KBBI’s Aaron Bolton spoke with Homer Rep. Paul Seaton about the House passing its version of Senate Bill 54, which would bring back jail time for class C felonies and where the House Finance Committee stands on Walker’s flat tax proposal. 

Courtesy of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

After the Homer Mariners hockey team faced Bartlett on Nov. 4, four players did more than just get some food after the game.

Team captain Charlie Menke, Douglas Dean, Tucker Weston and his little brother Phinny Weston were walking across Benson Boulevard in Anchorage when they came across a homeless man bleeding profusely from his hand.

They immediately began talking to him, and the man, who was clearly intoxicated, told the boys he had been robbed at a nearby Fred Meyers. Menke says they wanted to make sure he was able to get help.

Courtesy of Andrew McDonnell

Scientists have been trying to find ways to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions for decades, but the scientific community has also been studying natural ways the earth stores carbon, preventing it from being released into the atmosphere. The largest natural storage container for carbon is the ocean, and new details are emerging on how waters near the equator are sending carbon-rich material into the deep ocean and diverting it from the atmosphere.

Scientists have known for some time that the ocean stores a lot of carbon, essentially acting as the world’s thermostat.

Courtesy of Jean Aspen and Tom Irons

A locally produced documentary about life in the Brooks Mountain Range will be screened at the Anchorage International Film Festival next month. Homer-based artist, author and film producer Jean Aspen strung together photos and film from several lengthy stints in Alaska’s northern mountains to make “Arctic Daughter: A Lifetime of Wilderness.”

Aspen directed the 90-minute feature with her husband Tom Irons. It tells the story of her life in Alaska’s northern most mountain range and her spiritual connection to it.

Shahla Farzan, KBBI News

As the Legislature debates criminal justice reform, pieces from last year’s major reform bill, Senate Bill 91, are still being put into place. The Alaska Department of Corrections is working to launch its pretrial enforcement division by next year, which will shift Alaska’s protocol for releasing defendants before trial to a risk-based system, rather than releasing only those who can afford bail.

The DOC is looking to contract local police departments to provide pretrial services, but some police departments are reluctant to sign onto the program.

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