Aaron Bolton, KBBI News

Homer Middle School now has the prestigious distinction of being a National Blue Ribbon School. U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos awarded the 2018 blue ribbon honors to roughly 350 schools nationwide earlier this week.

Homer Middle School was one of three schools to be awarded in Alaska. The middle school was recognized in the exemplary high performing school category, which is measured by state assessments or national tests. 


Some of Alaska’s seafood industry has escaped the Trump administration’s trade war with China for now. The industry is happy the administration dropped some mainstay seafood products from a list of tariffs it imposed last week.

The Trump administration levied billions of dollars worth of tariffs on the world’s second largest economy on Sept. 24.  The tariffs start at 10 percent and will ratchet up to 25 percent by 2019. The Trump administration’s original list of levies included seafood products that Alaska processors export to China for reprocessing.

Photo Courtesy of South Peninsula Hospital

The final vote count isn’t in quite yet, but Kenai Peninsula Borough voters overwhelmingly approved two bond propositions Tuesday that will shift both the Central Peninsula and South Peninsula hospitals’ service area boundaries.

The CPH service area will move about 15 miles south to Barbara Drive in Ninilchik. SPH’s boundary will expand to include all communities on the south side of Kachemak Bay except for Seldovia.

Renee Gross, KBBI News

A bond asking voters to pay roughly $5.4 million for a new school in Kachemak Selo near the head of Kachemak Bay failed on Tuesday by a wide margin. It’s unlikely that absentee ballots will shift the unofficial results.

But the small community is still in need of a safe school and the Kenai Peninsula Borough is still obligated to provide students with one. With no Plan B in place, residents, school board members and elected officials will have to decide what comes next.

Renee Gross, KBBI News

Wednesday was the very first national test of the Wireless Emergency Alert System, and there are reports that some phones in Alaska and across the country did not receive the test message. State and federal officials are now working to sort out the kinks.

Millions of Americans’ phones made a strange noise Wednesday as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, tested the Wireless Emergency Alert System. But some phones did not go off, including here at KBBI.

Renee Gross, KBBI News

Kenai Peninsula voters spoke loudly on three ballot propositions Tuesday.

A $5.4 million bond proposition for a new school in Kachemak Selo failed by a wide margin. Nearly 60 percent of voters opposed the measure on Tuesday. The state allocated about $10 million for the project, but that money is set to expire in 2019.

Several elected officials have warned that if the borough does not provide an adequate school in the village near the head of Kachemak Bay, the borough could wind up in court over the issue.

Courtesy of City of Homer

Candidate Ken Castner leads in the race for Homer’s mayor by about 100 votes, according to unofficial results.

However, Castner’s lead over his opponent David Lewis is not guaranteed. Approximately 320 absentee, questioned and special needs ballots still need to be counted. Nine additional ballots could also arrive by mail.  

Still, Castner said he’s elated that his message of cooperation and unity resonated with voters.  Castner is running as a “citizens’ mayor” and promises that if elected, he will not break ties on the council.

Shahla Farzan / KBBI

Results for the Kenai Peninsula Borough municipal elections rolling in. With all six precincts reporting results in the race for the District 9 seat on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly, incumbent Willy Dunne leads Troy Jones by 85 votes. It’s unclear how many absentee ballots are outstanding.

KBBI reached Dunne at Alice’s Champagne Palace where he was joined several supporters and other municipal candidates for an election night party.

Aaron Bolton, KBBI News

There will be a national test of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System or IPAWS Wednesday morning. The emergency alert will be sent to nearly all cell phones in the U.S. at 10: 18 a.m. Alaska Daylight Time. Cell phones on certain wireless carriers will receive a text notifying them of the test. Phones will also make a loud alert tone.

Two minutes later, radio stations and TV stations will broadcast an Emergency Alert System test message.

Aaron Bolton, KBBI News

Homer voters are deciding between two candidates on Tuesday with very different visions for the role of the mayor on the Homer City Council.

Candidate Ken Castner ran as a “citizens’ mayor,” promising not to break ties or make proclamations.  He is against dedicated funds, such as the Homer Accelerated Roads and Trails fund.

David Lewis campaigned on topics such as taxing bear-viewing operations, increasing traffic at the large vessel haul out and pushing the city to become a four-season destination.