Malcolm Milne F/V Capt. Cook

The name of the young man who succumbed to hypothermia in the waters off China Poot Bay Wednesday morning has been released. He was 23-year-old Justin Vanderlooven of Eagle River, according to Homer Police Lt. Ryan Browning. Also in the skiff was the man’s father, 54-year-old Scott Vanderlooven, and a third man whose name is still unavailable.
    They were thrown into the icy, glacier-fed waters around 10 a.m. after being swamped and capsized by a current known locally as the China Poot Rip.

City of Homer

In Part One of this week's Coffee Table, Homer Wastewater Superintendent Todd Cook and Mariana Matus, CEO and cofounder of Biobot Analytics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, talk about Biobot's wastewater testing project to detect coronavirus in Homer.

In Part Two, Cook takes questions from the listeners and talks about the reservoir, what makes good drinking water and about the latest Water Quality Report for the City of Homer.


Slash and barrel fires allowed again by permit

Jul 9, 2020
Courtesy of the Alaska Division of Forestry

    Cooler, damper weather on the Kenai Peninsula has prompted the Alaska Division of Forestry to lift the two-month long burn permit suspension. In a release, the Division said it “opens the way for cautious, permitted burning.” The suspension was lifted effective yesterday (Wed.) at 8 a.m.

    One man is dead after he and two others capsized in a 14-foot aluminum skiff near China Poot Bay Wednesday morning. The three men were recovered from the water a few miles off the Homer Spit by good Samaritan vessels that responded from nearby and the Homer Harbor.
    Skipper Malcolm Milne of the fishing vessel Captain Cook was making a seine set nearby when his crew heard over the VHF radio there were people in the water. He told KBBI’s Kathleen Gustafson what happened next.

Kenai Peninsula Borough

The latest attempt to keep an easier, hybrid vote-by-mail system from coming to Kenai Peninsula Borough residents was turned back at Tuesday night’s assembly meeting. A veto made by Mayor Charlie Pierce on Monday of Ordinance 20-24 was overturned on a 6-to-3 vote.
    In defense of his veto, Pierce had previously claimed on social media that the vote-by-mail system would be mandatory, which is not the case. Assembly President Kelly Cooper called a post on Pierce’s campaign Facebook to that effect on June 13 irresponsible for its inaccuracy.

Borough mayor vetoes voting options ordinance

Jul 6, 2020


     Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce has vetoed an ordinance recently passed by the assembly, expanding the number of ways to cast a ballot in borough elections.

    In his memo to the assembly, Pierce questioned the security of voting by mail, one of the main features of the ordinance. He said such a significant change to the borough’s voting procedures shouldn’t be left to the assembly, but rather, put to a vote of the public. Pierce said that such changes would directly impact “the fundamental right to vote.”


Jenny Carroll, Information Officer for the City of Homer, Nurse Lorne Carroll from the Homer Public Health Clinic, Derotha Ferraro of South Peninsula Hospital, and Jody Mastey, administrator for the SBERG loan program are the guests this week. Every Thursday morning at 9:00 a.m. KBBI's Kathleen Gustafson and representatives from the Homer Unified Command answer listener questions live on the air. If you have questions for the panel, email them to

Long, warm holiday weekend poses wildfire risk

Jul 2, 2020
AK Div. Forestry

     With the weather for the holiday weekend looking like the warmest of the summer, the Division of Forestry is putting out a reminder about the heightened wildfire danger it poses. KBBI’s Jay Barrett spoke with Tim Mowry, the public information officer for the Division’s Wildfire Program about the current wildfire situation.

Zoom screencap/KBBI

Everyone on the Homer City Council seems in agreement that Rob Dumouchel of Eureka, California, is fit to be the next city manager. After about an hour of questions and answers over Zoom video conferencing, the council voted unanimously to offer him the job.
    During the interview, Dumouchel was asked why he chose to apply for the job in Homer.

Tusty rides (the waves) again

Jul 1, 2020

    The Alaska State Ferry Tustumena will set sail again Thursday morning. 

    After more than three weeks tied up to the dock in Homer due to a Covid-19 outbreak on the ship’s second voyage, the Alaska Marine Highway System reports that the Tusty has been commercially cleaned and is cleared to sail.

    It’s voyage will be a short one -- a day trip to Seldovia, departing Homer at 11:45 a.m., and returning this evening at 5:45 p.m.


Work is underway on refurbishing the Old Sterling Highway south of Anchor Point, and it’s only the beginning of work that will eventually see a new, two-lane bridge crossing the Anchor River.
    DOT spokesperson Shannon McCarthy in Anchorage says the work will consist of refurbishing the surface and repair of the highway, as needed.

China Poot sockeye dipnet fishery underway

Jul 1, 2020

    The China Poot Creek dipnet fishery opens today (July 1). 

The personal use dipnet fishery is open to all Alaska residents with an ADF-and-G sportsfishing license, but no permit is required.

    The lakes above China Poot Bay are stocked with sockeye salmon by the Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association. Fish that elude the commercial harvest are available for personal use harvest.


    In a press release Tuesday afternoon, Homer Senior Citizens Incorporated announced that its staff and facilities have been cleared of the COVID-19 virus.

    According to Executive Director Keren Kelly, there have been two consecutive weeks of negative coronavirus tests for all employees and residents of the Friendship Terrace assisted living facility.

Dumouchel gets advisory committee stamp of approval

Jun 30, 2020
Zoom screen capture/KBBI

    The city of Homer is another step closer to having a new city manager after the hiring advisory committee interviewed the one finalist Monday evening. 

Rob Dumouchel is currently the interim Director of Development Services at the city of Eureka, California, and was selected from a pool of over 30 applicants.

Homer man cited for angling in closed Anchor River

Jun 30, 2020

    On Thursday, Alaska Wildlife Troopers cited a 25-year-old Homer man with 18 counts of sports fishing violations on the Anchor River, which is closed by emergency order through July 15 due to low king salmon returns.

    According to a trooper dispatch, Afanasy E. Basargin had illegally caught and retained 21 king salmon from the north fork of the Anchor River earlier in this month.