Aaron Bolton

News Director

Aaron Bolton joined the KBBI News Department in 2017 after spending his first year reporting at KSTK in Wrangell. He grew up in southern Minnesota and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2015 with a degree in journalism. Befrore moving to Alaska, Aaron reported for Radio K in Minneapolis. He spent his free time going to local concerts and promoting shows and music festivals. Since making the move to Alaska, he spends time in the backcountry snowboarding whenever possible. He's also an avid hockey player.

Ways to Connect

Courtesy of the Kenai Peninsula Borough

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly voted down revenue measures after approving an $83 million budget Tuesday, leaving a projected $4.1 million deficit. Moves to increase property taxes and the number of months groceries are taxed both failed. But, more revenue measures could be coming down the line.

As the assembly pored over Borough Mayor Mike Navarre’s budget proposal Tuesday, there were fundamental differences on where the borough’s money should be spent, namely whether economic development spending actually benefits the borough.

Photo courtesy of Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

Teachers and schools across the Kenai Peninsula received good news Tuesday evening. The Kenai Peninsula Borough approved Borough Mayor Mike Navarre’s budget proposal, appropriating $1.2 million more than the school district had requested.

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Spokeswoman Pegge Erkeneff said several open teaching jobs are now being filled as a result.

Kachemak Bay Writers' Conference

The Kachemak Bay Writers' Conference is headed into its sixteenth year this weekend. The gathering of writers and readers from around the state and country is aimed at creating community within a solitary art form.

Writers and literary fans can participate in five days of workshops, panels and public readings. Conference organizer and Kachemak Bay Campus Director Carol Swartz said the conference continues to garner its reputation.

Photo from KBBI

The F/V Tustumena’s return to service has once again been delayed. The Alaska Marine Highway announced Monday more of the vessel’s steel structure would need to be replaced.

The Tustumena has been in Ketchikan for scheduled maintenance since March, and its return to Western Alaska was set for May 27. Staff found the first batch of damaged steel in early May, cutting the vessel’s scheduled sailings in half.

Courtesy of Keep Cannabis Legal

Marijuana businesses across the Kenai Peninsula Borough are facing an uncertain future. Ballot Proposition 1 will go to a vote in October and would ban all pot operations within the borough that don’t fall under municipal regulations. A ballot initiative group is pushing back against the proposition by promoting the economic growth of the marijuana industry.

Keep Cannabis Legal gave a presentation to the Homer Chamber of Commerce’s Legislative Board Friday. The ballot initiative group is traveling around the peninsula to push back against Ballot Proposition 1.

Aaron Bolton, KBBI News

Gov. Bill Walker declared opioid abuse in Alaska as a public health crisis earlier this year. Between prescription painkillers and heroin, 114 people died from overdoses in 2016. Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships – or MAPP – held a forum on the epidemic Wednesday at Homer High School. The community health coalition of area residents, businesses and faith-based organizations put on the event to raise awareness about addiction as a disease.

Photo KBBI.

There’s still a lot scientists don’t know about what warming waters could mean for salmon. So gathering temperature data in those systems has become a hot topic. This month, one of the first studies in Alaska was published in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. It’s a small part of a larger effort to design a statewide database on all things salmon. 

Photo by KBBI.

A memorandum aimed at finding cuts in the Homer Public Library’s budget was voted down Tuesday. The memorandum, put forth by council member Tom Stroozas, would have directed the Library Advisory Board to examine how to cut the library’s budget by 5 to 15 percent.

The advisory board doesn’t meet during the summer. Stroozas amended the motion to have Library Director Ann Dixon explore cuts instead, but that was voted down.

Courtesy of the Homer Police Department

The Homer City Council will examine recommendations to build a new police station during its regular meeting May 30. The Police Station Building Task Force voted Tuesday to recommend constructing a new facility near Waddell Way just north of the post office.

The panel also weighed whether to expand the current police station, which was built in the 1980s. Task force member Coletta Walker said the city-owned Waddell site had great access on all sides and seemed like the logical choice.

Image courtesy of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

About 200 Anchorage teachers received pink slips Wednesday after Alaska’s Legislature missed its 90-day deadline to solidify the budget. As uncertainty over teachers’ job security around the state grows, teaching staff on Kenai Peninsula are retaining theirs. But, 30 unfilled positions are still in limbo.