Renee Gross

Reporter/Host
Susannah Webster

DirtBag Clean-up week is well under way and kids ages eight to 18 have an opportunity to help clean up the Homer area. Homer Wilderness Leaders or HoWL, an educational environmental nonprofit, puts on the event. The organization is especially excited for this week because it kicks off a season of wilderness expeditions and outdoor activity offerings for area youth.

For the past year, HoWL offered no programming besides DirtBag week. The last executive director died unexpectedly in 2016 and that left the organization in a tight spot. Susannah Webster sits on HoWL’s board.

Photo KBBI.

Pink, chum and sockeye salmon have been doing really well over the past few decades. A new study published in Marine and Coastal Fisheries finds in the North Pacific, those species’ abundance levels have been peaking over the past 25 years. But more salmon can be a bad thing. Evidence suggests that more pinks, chums and sockeye are contributing to declining king salmon stocks.

Greg Ruggerone is a scientist with Natural Resources Consultants INC., and he’s been studying levels of salmon in the North Pacific.

Courtesy of Alaska Legislature

Alaska State Representative Paul Seaton of Homer spoke with KBBI's Renee Gross on April 13 about what's next for the state operating budget and for the rest of the legislative session.

Hal Spence

The scoping process for the Pebble Mine is underway, and on Wednesday night the Army Corp of Engineers held a scoping meeting at Homer High School. Over 200 people showed up to make comments to the Corps, and many participated in a rally against the mine. Despite the Pebble’s recent permit application, several community members seemed confident a grassroots movement could prevent the project from moving forward. 

Kachemak Crane Watch

Sandhill cranes are just beginning to arrive in the Homer area. But if this season is anything like the past few years, more cranes will be nesting in town. Nina Faust is the co-founder of Kachemak Crane Watch, which is dedicated to the conservation of sandhill cranes. The organization relies on residents and visitors to report crane sightings.

We've had a lot more calls about cranes in small groups and that larger group of 24 hanging around in town,” she said. “We've had an increase in the number of calls about those over the last couple of years.”  

Courtesy of Drew Hamilton

As the scoping process for the Pebble Mine moves forward, Cook Inletkeeper is hosting several workshops in Homer in an effort to broaden public comments given to the Army Corps of Engineers. Inletkeeper held a session Monday about how Pebble’s infrastructure may affect bears on the western side of Cook Inlet. Bear viewing operations, biologists and others from the tourism industry fear the project would lead to population declines in the area.

Alaska High School Hall of Fame

Two former teachers and one former student from Homer will be inducted to the 2018 Alaska High School Hall of Fame. The Alaska School Activities Association honors individuals who have made exemplary contributions to athletics and activities in Alaska. This year the association is inducting former Band Director William Searle, former Choir Director Mark Robinson and former student Andrew Vait.

Valdez police say a drunk driver ran over and killed a woman Sunday morning outside of a local bar. Police arrested Ero Walli for allegedly striking and killing Chellsie Hoffman, a 31-year-old mother of four, with his pickup before fleeing the scene.

According to a press release from the Valdez Police Department, officers responded to a hit-and-run call involving a pedestrian outside of the Boardroom Bar at 2:30 a.m. Sunday. KBBI reached out to Valdez Police, but officers were not immediately available for comment.

Photo KBBI Database

State spending on tourism marketing has been slashed roughly 80 percent in recent years. But the Alaska Travel Industry Association thinks there’s a way to boost the amount of dollars spent advertising Alaska as a destination. It wants to create a Tourism District Industry, which would allow the industry to charge tourism-related businesses a tax that would go towards marketing. The CEO of the association pitched the idea last week in Homer. But the idea may be a tough sell for some in one of the state’s top destinations.

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District has been working on the 2019 budget for months, but now it’s out of its hands.  The school board passed the budget over to the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly Tuesday, asking the assembly to fully fund education at the maximum amount allowed. The district requested about $2 million more than last year. It said it needs the money to close a $3 million budget deficit. However it may be a tough sell.

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