Officials address LNG concerns

Remarks from state legislators representing the Kenai Peninsula during an Alaska LNG Project update focused on local impact and project finances.
Alaska Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Joe Balash and Alaska LNG Project Manager Steve Butt provided an update on the project at a joint public hearing held by House of Representatives and Senate Resources Committees on Monday.
The legislative briefing was the first as required by the passage of Senate Bill 138, which calls for an update at least once every four months.

Elementary grading system gets a makeover

Elementary school students’ quarterly report cards will look a little different this year.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District has implemented a Standards-Referenced reporting system, which evaluates students’ performances in different skill areas under standards as determined by the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development.
Dr. Chrstine Ermold, KPBSD director of elementary education, said the new system is designed to help students understand where they are in their learning and also to motivate them to go beyond expectations.

Animal control, voting by mail among issues on Oct. 7 ballot

Two propositions on the Oct. 7 regular election ballot will gauge local opinion on two Kenai Peninsula Borough issues.

Proposition A asks voters who live outside of cities to consider whether the borough should exercise limited animal control powers and if it should charge a property tax to pay for those services. Proposition B asks all borough voters if elections should be held by mail.

Furie’s new monopod platform now in Cook Inlet

Furie Operating Alaska’s platform has arrived in Alaska from Texas.
The platform was built in Ingleside, Texas, this summer. On June 4 it left Corpus Christi, Texas, traveled through the Gulf of Mexico, went through the Panama Canal, sailed north through the Pacific Ocean and arrived in Kachemak Bay on Sept. 9, according to a press release from Furie.
The monopod platform will be set over Furie’s Kitchen Lights Unit No. 3 well, which is located in Cook Inlet about 20 miles northeast of Nikiski. In June 2013, commercially producible natural gas was discovered at the well.

Erosion project set to begin in spring

Due to some extra paperwork, construction on a Sterling Highway erosion mitigation project was delayed to next construction season.
The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities had planned to begin work at Milepost 153.3 of the Sterling Highway as early as spring 2014, Jill Reese, DOT&PF spokesperson, said in a Clarion interview last November.

Parnell signs hunting, philanthropy, refinery bills during peninsula visit

Changes to big game hunting regulations, Permanent Fund Dividend donations and Alaska’s refineries tax breaks were finalized Tuesday as Gov. Sean Parnell continues his bill-signing tour of the state.

Elected officials, representatives of organizations and companies as well as affected members of the public gathered together to see Parnell sign three bills into law on the Kenai Peninsula.

Voters to advise assembly on animal control

Voters on Oct. 7 will be asked to advise the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly whether the borough should exercise animal control practices.

At recent meetings, citizens have voiced concerns about abused and neglected animals in unincorporated areas.

At its July 1 meeting, the assembly passed a resolution sponsored by assembly member Brent Johnson of Kasilof to pose two advisory questions to voters:

Assembly overturns 60-percent rule for sales tax cap increase

Voters and taxes dominated a nearly four-hour Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting Tuesday night.

While the assembly postponed its vote on an ordinance that would require borough elections to be held by mail, it did narrowly pass an ordinance to change the 60 percent voter approval requirement to a simple majority to increase the cap on sales tax. 

Assembly member Brent Johnson of Kasilof sponsored the ordinance. He gave three reasons for introducing the ordinance.

Marketing council encourages bed tax for Kenai Peninsula

A Kenai Peninsula Borough-wide bed tax may be headed to the October municipal election ballot.

But first the borough assembly has to consider whether to pose the question to voters.

After hearing from multiple members of the public at its Tuesday meeting, the assembly voted to hold two public hearings on whether to establish a 4 percent bed tax contingent on voter approval. The hearings will be at 6 p.m. at the July 1 and July 22 assembly meetings in the assembly chambers at the George A. Navarre Administration Building in Soldotna.

Kenai Public Health Center on alert for measles

Tourists this season could bring more than money to the area.

With a high number of measles outbreaks in the Lower 48 from Jan. 1 to June 6, Kenai Public Health Center Nurse Manager Charlie Barrows said Alaskans should be aware of the virus, especially during the summer travel season.

“We don’t want to frighten people, but with tourist season, people come from all over the place,” Barrows said.

Too early to answer: Nikiski residents have questions about proposed LNG plant

As the room filled to capacity, attendees willingly stood to hear updates about the proposed pipeline project to transport North Slope natural gas to a liquefied natural gas plant in Nikiski.

About 90 area residents came to the former Nikiski Senior Center on Island Lake Road Monday for the Nikiski Community Council meeting — one of the largest crowds the group has seen.

Legislators nix Agrium from tax credit bill

Lawmakers approved a tax credit bill for Alaska refineries during deliberations Sunday night, but excluded the Agrium Corp. fertilizer plant in Nikiski from the plan.

House Bill 287 was originally introduced by Gov. Sean Parnell to aid in-state refineries. As passed, companies may receive 40 percent of “qualified infrastructure expenditures incurred” which includes “in-state purchase, installation or modification of tangible personal property for the in-state manufacture or in-state transport of refined petroleum products or petroleum-based feedstock.”

Assembly defeats proposal to reduce its compensation

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly continued its debate about assembly member compensation at its Tuesday meeting in Seward.

For the second meeting in a row an ordinance to adjust compensation was up for public hearing, after being postponed at the April 1 meeting. The assembly defeated ordinance 2014-11. However, assembly member Brent Johnson gave notice of reconsideration, so the assembly might be voting on the issue again at its next meeting. 

Logistics firm renovates old Kenai cannery

Months of renovations and $2 million later, PRL Logistics Inc. CEO Ron Hyde said he expects to be open for business in Kenai in about a month.

“As we’ve continued to watch Cook Inlet and seeing this surge in activity, it just really made sense to start making plans to support work down here for many of our same clients,” Hyde said.

Hyde, who began Anchorage-based PRL in 2002, said he searched for a Kenai location for almost three years before deciding on a more than 100-year-old cannery at Kenai Landing.

Assembly talks about changes to compensation

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly discussed changes to its budget and considered changes to members’ compensation at its Tuesday meeting.

While an ordinance sponsored by assembly member Brent Johnson and a substitute sponsored by assembly member Bill Smith were both up for public hearings, an enacting vote was postponed to allow for additional public comment. 

Uncertainty surrounds muncipalities’ participation in LNG advisory board

Municipal leaders throughout the state say they are pleased with the development of the Municipal Advisory Gas Project Review Board, but participation concerns remain.

The concerns were expressed in a Monday press release.

Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Mike Navarre said while establishing the board is an attempt at giving the local government leaders some involvement, questions about what the board will have access to and how its recommendations will be incorporated remain.

KPBSD adopts six-year project plan

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education unanimously approved a six-year plan for improvement projects for fiscal years 2015 to 2021 at its March 3 meeting.

The district will submit the plan to the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development in late August to seek funding for various maintenance and capital projects.

Projects on the wish list for fiscal year 2015 in order of priority include:

Borough studies North Road options

Kenai Peninsula Borough officials are examining options to extend the Kenai Spur Highway north.

The North Road Extension Project, as it is commonly known, has held onto federal government dollars since 1998 when the borough received about $6 million earmarked to extend the Spur about 26 miles beyond its Captain Cook State Recreation Area terminus.

Chief of Staff Paul Ostrander said two options are being considered to make some progress on the project, which would be primarily used by Moose Point and Gray Cliff property owners.