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 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.

Aaron Bolton, KBBI News

The digital divide, the gap between those who have access to internet and technology and those who don’t, is more present in Alaska than most of the country. Along with that divide comes a lack of computer education, but some in Homer are trying to fill that gap. The Homer Public Library was one of 28 libraries across the U.S. to receive a grant from Google and the American Library Association aimed at teaching kids computer code, to build apps and learn more about computer science.

Courtesy of the City of Homer

A small Alaska-based hotel chain is looking to build its next location in Homer. Aspen Hotels wants to build a 72-room hotel across the Sterling Highway from Safeway.

The Homer Planning Advisory Commission approved a conditional use permit for construction of the 43,000-square-foot facility Wednesday. City code requires approval of any building larger than 8,000 square feet.

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.

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