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

Courtesy of the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration

Last month, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, which regulates groundfish in Alaska and other federal fisheries, received some shocking news. Pacific cod stocks in the Gulf of Alaska may have declined as much as 70 percent over the past two years. That estimate is a preliminary figure, but it leaves plenty of questions about the future of cod fishing in Gulf of Alaska.

The first question that comes to mind when you hear the number of Pacific cod in the Gulf dropped by about two-thirds is what happened?

Courtesy of the City of Homer

The Homer City Council got its first look at preliminary design plans for a new police station Monday. The council contracted Stantec to design a rough $6 million layout in August, but the design firm came back with both an $8 million and $6 million option.

A task force recommended building a $6 million or $9 million dollar building at the corner of Heath Street and Grubstake Avenue earlier this summer, but the council has focused on the cheaper option due to concerns over the cost of maintaining a larger building.

Courtesy of the City of Homer

The Homer City Council introduced an ordinance Monday that would settle a four-year land dispute between Homer and the Alaska Mental Health Trust Land Office. The Trust Land Office  claims Mental Health owns land at the mouth of Homer’s harbor. If the ordinance is approved, the city would pay about $550,000 for the disputed land.

The disagreement dates back to 2013 when the city requested an easement through a lot on the Homer Spit that the Alaska Department of Natural Resources and Mental Health both own.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

A recommendation to open the Homer Spit to the commercial marijuana industry passed through the Port & Harbor Advisory Commission Wednesday.

The Cannabis Advisory Committee pushed the recommendation to the harbor commission and the Advisory Planning Commission back in August, but the Homer City Council will have the final say on the matter.

Aaron Bolton, KBBI News

The thirty-fourth annual Rotary Health Fair will kick off Saturday morning. Over 70 booths will crowd the Homer High School commons and gymnasium.

Derotha Ferraro is the South Peninsula Hospital communications director. The hospital partners with the Rotary to provide discounted blood panels in the weeks leading up to the event.

The hospital has performed over 600 blood panels so far and there will still be some availability during the fair.

Ferraro said attendees can use those panels to visit with various providers Saturday.

Creative Commons photo by Ed Bierman

The International Pacific Halibut Commission, which regulates halibut fisheries in U.S. and Canadian waters, is set to take a fresh look at the minimum size limit for commercial fisheries during its meeting cycle this winter. The current limit allows commercial fishermen to retain fish larger than 32 inches, but the size of mature halibut has been shrinking over the years, which has some wondering whether the limit should be reduced or removed altogether.

Since the 1990s the size of mature halibut has been falling.

Courtesy of the Department of Corrections

In the year since the major criminal justice reform bill, Senate Bill 91, was signed into law, there has been plenty of debate over whether it’s working to reduce Alaska’s prison population, and the Legislature is reconvening to consider changes to the bill. But as lawmakers decide whether to tweak criminal justice reform, an organization is forming on the Kenai Peninsula that also hopes to reduce the number of Alaskans ending up back in jail.

Courtesy of the Elvsaas family

A prominent Seldovia tribal leader died last month. Fred Elvsaas, 84, passed away at his home on Sept. 25. Elvsaas, who was Aleut, was known for his work in the Native community around Southcentral Alaska.

He helped found the local corporation, Seldovia Native Association, and worked as its CEO for about 25 years. Seldovia resident Darlene Crawford worked with Elvsaas as the CFO.

Image courtesy of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

This past spring, students around Alaska took the state’s new standardized test, the Performance Evaluation of Alaska Schools, or PEAKS. The test evaluated students from third to tenth grade on reading, writing and math. State and districtwide results were released in early September, but the think tank Alaska Policy Forum released a visual map of those results on Wednesday, showing individual schools’ results.

Aaron Bolton, KBBI News

More than two weeks after the deadly shooting in Las Vegas that left 58 dead, including two Alaskans, victims are still being treated, but Alaskans also responded to the shooting. Travis Ogden is a firefighter and a medic with Kachemak Emergency Services, which serves the area just northeast of Homer. Ogden was one of more than 180 Red Cross responders that helped treat victims after shooter Stephen Paddock fired hundreds of rounds into the crowded Route 91 Harvest country music festival.