Aaron Bolton

News Director

Aaron Bolton has moved on to a new position in Montana; he is no longer KBBI News Director. KBBI is currently seeking a News Director, and Kathleen Gustafson is filling in for the time being. 

Ways to Connect

Aaron Bolton, KBBI News

The Homer Spit’s future as an iconic tourist attraction is in danger of washing away. Erosion along the spit’s sea walls is not a new problem. City officials are working with state and federal agencies to find a lasting solution.

Driving onto the four-mile-long Homer Spit, you’ll notice a majority of the Sterling Highway is shielded by boulders. But as you approach the numerous restaurants and businesses that attract thousands of tourists here each year, that shield against erosion.  

Image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org

State authorities have charged 11 Alaska residents with 85 felony counts for what they say was a coordinated effort to steal money from ATMs and other property in Anchorage and Homer.

The state Attorney General’s Office announced the charges last week.  Authorities say the alleged thieves stole over $25,000 in cash and checks, bicycles and more than 40 firearms. Most of that money is said to have come from the Salty Dawg Saloon on the Homer Spit.

Courtesy of the Kenai Peninsula Borough

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly is putting the latest iteration of a bed tax proposal on hold. During its meeting Tuesday, the assembly heard what is now familiar opposition to putting the idea of a 12-percent bed tax on the ballot in the fall. Assembly members postponed their vote on the issue until later this month.

Aaron Bolton, KBBI News

Along the West Coast, there are signs that sea stars are recovering from what's known as a wasting disease epidemic that began around 2013. Stars suffering from the disease literally melt away within 48 hours of the first sign of sickness. Scientists once thought it was caused by a virus or another pathogen, but now they think it may actually be another sign of climate change.

Image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org

Four fishermen from Homer and Anchor Point were found guilty of herding thousands of salmon out of closed waters and illegally harvesting them in 2018. A Homer District Court Judge placed all of the men on probation and fined them thousands of dollars, but ultimately reduced most of those fines.

Last July, an Alaska State Wildlife Trooper observed the operators of the commercial seine vessels Little Star, Relentless, Northstar and Windstar making a “dedicated effort” in Dog Fish Bay south of Homer to drive salmon out of waters closed to commercial seining.

Aaron Bolton, KBBI News

Gov. Mike Dunleavy has tapped his former legislative aide to serve on the Board of Fisheries. Matanuska-Susitna Borough resident John Wood is largely unknown by fishing groups.

In the world of Alaska fish politics, John Wood is not a big player.

“Most of the response I’ve heard from UFA members is ‘who is he?’ People are not familiar with him,” United Fishermen of Alaska Executive Director Frances Leach said.

Courtesy of NOAA

Another dead gray whale has washed up on Alaska’s shoreline, the fourth instance in recent weeks. The young whale was found on the Kenai Peninsula near Clam Gulch.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said it was first notified about the animal last week.

Image Courtesy of the City of Homer

The Homer City Council allowed a Kachemak City low-income housing project to access Homer’s water system via a waterline on East End Road in March. The move spurred a conversation about how similar requests should be handled.

Homer’s council members will need to make a decision soon because the Kachemak City Council is now asking Homer to provide water services to other properties along East End Road.

Cook Inletkeeper

Environmental groups are protesting the state's move to renew a federal permit that allows oil and gas producers to release a variety of pollutants into Cook Inlet.

This is the first time the state has issued the permit. Environmental groups say the state should move the oil and gas industry away from the practice, and those groups are also pushing back against the state raising the volume of oily wastewater producers are allowed to discharge.
 

Screenshot of Alaska Earthquake Center

A 5.8 magnitude earthquake early Monday morning woke up Southern Kenai Peninsula residents and visitors in town for Memorial Day Weekend. 

According to the National Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, the epicenter was about 60 miles southwest of Homer. The quake initially registered as 5.6 magnitude event, but the U.S. Geological Survey later upgraded the temblor to 5.8 magnitude quake.  

The small village of Nanwalek on the tip of the Kenai Peninsula was about 40 miles from the epicenter.  Resident Sally Ash said she was drifting off to sleep when it started.

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