The ferry Tustumena is getting old. For the last few years, the state has been looking into options for repairing or replacing the aging vessel, which serves parts of southcentral and southwestern Alaska, Kodiak Island, and the Aleutian chain. On December 2nd, the Department of Transportation released the design study report for a replacement vessel with an estimated construction cost of $237 million.
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48 students from the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District spent two weeks at the University of Alaska, Anchorage last month for an intensive, hands-on science camp. They built computers, learned about marine biology and more at the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program middle school academy. The rigorous program is meant to get Alaska Native kids interested in STEM fields and prepare them for college life.
Alaska State Troopers have released additional information about the plane that crashed on the west side of Cook Inlet on Thanksgiving Day. The PA-18 Super Cub was owned by Alaska West Air, based in Nikiski. On the morning of November 27th, another plane from Alaska West Air reported finding the crashed Super Cub in an area known as the Kustatan Bench. It notified Kenai Flight Service of the coordinates and Alaska West Air responded with its own R-44 helicopter. The National Transportation Safety Board has been notified. An investigation is underway.
Trolling for winter kings is a popular pastime in Cook Inlet. But this year, there may be some different boats in the state waters of the inlet as well. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is conducting a test fishery for walleye pollock using seine gear from December through February.
Dr. Steve Atwater has wrapped up his final week as superintendent of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District. After five and a half years on the job, he says he’s ready to move on to new things, but regrets having to leave some projects behind. He’s taken a position with the University of Alaska as the associate vice president for K-12 outreach. His longtime assistant, Sean Dusek, takes over as interim superintendent on December 1st.
The City of Homer is making a little headway addressing residents’ complaints that iconic Bishops Beach is frequently a scene of crime, habitat destruction, and vandalism. The City is considering giving the Parks and Recreation Commission authority over local beaches. The Commission has stepped into this role in the past and by absorbing the additional responsibility it will shield the city from incurring additional costs.
One motorist is dead and several others are injured following a crash Tuesday evening on the Sterling Highway near Happy Valley, between Soldotna and Homer. According to Alaska State Troopers, a Subaru sedan was driving southbound on the Sterling highway when the driver lost control of the vehicle on icy roads and swerved into oncoming traffic.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Kachemak Bay as its choice Habitat Focus area for Alaska last week. The decision could be a game changer for researchers studying the bay. NOAA will now be able to share resources that otherwise wouldn't be available to independent researchers and other government agencies. The partners want to compile the data they've already recorded along with any potential new findings and share them with decision makers as well as individuals who don't typically have access.