Camille Botello

Nikiski's Rylee Ellis puts the ball between Kenai blockers Erin Koziczkowski and Jorgi Phillips during their volleyball game on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, in Nikiski, Alaska. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai netters overcome Nikiski

The visiting Kenai Central volleyball team swept Nikiski on Tuesday night in Southcentral Conference play. Bruce King, Kenai’s assistant coach, said the Kardinals executed their… Continue reading

Nikiski's Rylee Ellis puts the ball between Kenai blockers Erin Koziczkowski and Jorgi Phillips during their volleyball game on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, in Nikiski, Alaska. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai Courthouse is photographed on February 26, 2019 in Kenai, Alaska. (Clarion file)

Man gets 100 years in prison in sexual assault case

The Kenai Superior Court sentenced Kevin Tuckfield, 35, to serve 100 years for sexual assault in the first degree and assault in the third degree… Continue reading

Kenai Courthouse is photographed on February 26, 2019 in Kenai, Alaska. (Clarion file)
Alaska state data shows COVID-19 caseloads have far exceeded the winter 2020 surge. (Photo from the Alaska DHSS)

Alaska reports 4,025 COVID cases over weekend

Alaska had the most per-capita COVID-19 cases in the country again Monday, as the Department of Health and Social Services reported an additional 4,025 new… Continue reading

Alaska state data shows COVID-19 caseloads have far exceeded the winter 2020 surge. (Photo from the Alaska DHSS)
COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19 death toll spikes due to backlog of data

Health officials struggle to keep up with coronavirus tracking.

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Mike O’Brien checks on his peaches at O’Brien Garden and Trees in Nikiski, Alaska, on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

A taste of autumn

Orchard in Nikiski shares apple harvest.

Mike O’Brien checks on his peaches at O’Brien Garden and Trees in Nikiski, Alaska, on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai's Valerie Villegas receives a serve during the team's volleyball game against the Soldotna Stars on Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai volleyball tops Soldotna

By JEFF HELMINIAK Peninsula Clarion The Kenai volleyball team took the win over Soldotna in four games Thursday night at Soldotna High School. Kenai head… Continue reading

Kenai's Valerie Villegas receives a serve during the team's volleyball game against the Soldotna Stars on Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
FILE - In this March 12, 2020 file photo, Dr. Anne Zink, Alaska’s chief medical officer, addresses reporters at a news conference in Anchorage, Alaska. Alaska on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, reported its highest number of new COVID-19 cases, a day after the state’s largest hospital announced it had entered crisis protocol and began rationing care. When many people become ill at the same time, it overwhelms the state’s health care system. "And then we start to see excess mortality where more people dying from other things such as heart attacks and strokes and car accidents and bear maulings or whatever else happens," Zink said. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen, File)

Zink: Health care workers face increasing hostility

Health care professionals with the state have borne the brunt of scrutiny during the COVID-19 pandemic, and have even reported violence on the job, officials… Continue reading

FILE - In this March 12, 2020 file photo, Dr. Anne Zink, Alaska’s chief medical officer, addresses reporters at a news conference in Anchorage, Alaska. Alaska on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, reported its highest number of new COVID-19 cases, a day after the state’s largest hospital announced it had entered crisis protocol and began rationing care. When many people become ill at the same time, it overwhelms the state’s health care system. "And then we start to see excess mortality where more people dying from other things such as heart attacks and strokes and car accidents and bear maulings or whatever else happens," Zink said. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen, File)
A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccination drive-thru clinic at Evraz Place in Regina on Thursday, April 15, 2021. Saskatchewan’s only children’s hospital is opening its pediatric intensive care unit to younger adults who have COVID-19 as the province runs out of critical care beds. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Taylor

Weekly vaccine lottery winners announced

The Alaska Chamber of Commerce announced the second week’s lottery winners Thursday, as part of the “Give AK a Shot” COVID-19 vaccine incentive program. Ashley… Continue reading

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccination drive-thru clinic at Evraz Place in Regina on Thursday, April 15, 2021. Saskatchewan’s only children’s hospital is opening its pediatric intensive care unit to younger adults who have COVID-19 as the province runs out of critical care beds. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Taylor
COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

State reports 7 recent COVID-19 deaths

The state Department of Health and Social Services reported another seven recent COVID-19 deaths Thursday. They were two Fairbanks men over 70, a Palmer man… Continue reading

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Skilak Lake can be seen from Hideout Trail in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge on July 5, 2020, in Alaska. (Photograph by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Refuge cancels ‘Fall Fun Day’ due to state of COVID

Peninsula Clarion The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge canceled its weekend “Fall Fun Day” on Saturday because of the continual surge of COVID-19 in Alaska. “Recently… Continue reading

Skilak Lake can be seen from Hideout Trail in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge on July 5, 2020, in Alaska. (Photograph by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

Another COVID death, more than 1,200 new cases reported statewide

Statewide, there were 213 COVID-related hospitalizations as of Wednesday.

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy addresses the state during a COVID-19 press briefing on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. (screenshot)

Health care workers contracted from Lower 48 to help Alaska’s COVID crisis

Alaska has been reporting the highest number of COVID cases per capita in the nation this week.

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy addresses the state during a COVID-19 press briefing on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. (screenshot)
The Soldotna Professional Pharmacy and Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management offered the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccines at the walk-in clinic at Soldotna Prep School on Friday, May 14, 2021. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)

Cases decrease as more get vaccinated, but officials say the pandemic isn’t over yet

Although positive COVID cases are decreasing overall, the state continues to see more of the B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant.

The Soldotna Professional Pharmacy and Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management offered the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccines at the walk-in clinic at Soldotna Prep School on Friday, May 14, 2021. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)
A sign explaining mask policy can be seen at Safeway grocery store in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, May 13, 2021. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)

Officials: New guidance positive sign but Alaskans still at risk

CDC says fully vaccinated people can safely gather without masks.

A sign explaining mask policy can be seen at Safeway grocery store in Kenai, Alaska, on Thursday, May 13, 2021. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. (CDC)

‘Only so long that they can sustain this’

Hospitals, health care workers facing burnout as COVID cases continue, officials say.

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. (CDC)
A sign instructing patients and visitors on the COVID screening process is seen in the River Tower of Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna, Alaska, on April 7, 2020. (Peninsula Clarion file)

COVID patients overwhelm hospital

Central Peninsula Hospital staff has opened up overflow space and put patients in old maternity wards.

A sign instructing patients and visitors on the COVID screening process is seen in the River Tower of Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna, Alaska, on April 7, 2020. (Peninsula Clarion file)
James Varsos, also known as “Hobo Jim,” poses for a photo during the August 2016, Funny River Festival in Funny River, Alaska, in August 2016. (Peninsula Clarion file)

‘Hobo’ Jim opens up about recent terminal cancer diagnosis

Varsos was named Alaska’s official “state balladeer” in 1994.

James Varsos, also known as “Hobo Jim,” poses for a photo during the August 2016, Funny River Festival in Funny River, Alaska, in August 2016. (Peninsula Clarion file)
Kenai Mayor Brian Gabriel spins the magic wheel to determine the winners of this year’s silver salmon derby at the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Taking the final spin

Silver salmon derby wraps up with magic number draw.

Kenai Mayor Brian Gabriel spins the magic wheel to determine the winners of this year’s silver salmon derby at the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
The Alaska SeaLife Center in downtown Seward is seen on Saturday, July 24, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

SeaLife Center restarts marine learning classes for kids

“Small Fry School” can be livestreamed on the SeaLife Center’s YouTube channel.

The Alaska SeaLife Center in downtown Seward is seen on Saturday, July 24, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Medical Assistant Louis Hubbard administers a COVID-19 test to Rick Dealba on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021 at Capstone Clinic in Kenai. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

‘Aggressively buying more rapid testing materials’

Public health officials work to stay ahead of testing need

Medical Assistant Louis Hubbard administers a COVID-19 test to Rick Dealba on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021 at Capstone Clinic in Kenai. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)