Anna Frost

Farmers reap honors for respecting stream

When working with nature, doing nothing often means a great deal.

Such is the case of Paul and Jen Castellani, the owners of Will Grow Farm, and their home located off the beaten path between Homer and Anchor Point. Despite the Castellani’s efforts to leave the land on which they live and reap the produce of their labor unspoiled, they were stunned by the recognition when they heard they would be the second recipients of the Kachemak Heritage Land Trust’s new King Maker award.

2013 Homer High graduate returns as volleyball coach

Homer High School graduate and former varsity volleyball player Kristie Mastre has taken on a job that no one else wanted — head coach of the volleyball team. With the beginning of fall sports falling in alignment with the end of fishing season, coaches can be hard to find. Even though Mastre is leading the team, the school is still searching for an assistant coach, said Homer High School Assistant Principal Alison “Sunny” Mall.

North Pole angler snags derby lead

The pace is picking up in the race for the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby winner.

On Aug. 11, Daniel Spies of Soldotna reeled in a 251-pound halibut taking the top spot with a 6-pound difference from the previous leader. His victory was short lived.

On Aug. 16, Austin Nelson of North Pole snatched the lead from Spies with a 252.2-pound halibut — just 1.2 pounds heavier.

Spies reeled in his winner when he took his construction company employees out fishing on his boat, “On the Job.”

New Homer school principals eager to connect with community

Two Homer area schools welcome new leadership at the beginning of the 2016-17 school year as Eric Waltenbaugh and Todd Hindman take the helms of Fireweed Academy and West Homer Elementary. The two new principals are long-time Alaska educators, both of whom have dreamt of living in Homer for some time.

Eric Waltenbaugh

Wilderness setting, unique opportunity lure young culinary talent to Tutka Bay

Tutka Bay Lodge, located across the bay from Homer, attracts their employees with the same ingredients that bring in guests from around the world — thoughtful, anticipatory service and pristine Alaska wilderness.

Kirsten and Carl Dixon, who own Tutka Bay Lodge and Winterlake Lodge in partnership with their daughters Mandy Dixon and Carly Potgeter, bought the lodge in 2009. They later purchased additional property adjacent to their lodge, placed a renovated crabbing vessel called the Widgin II on it, and turned it into the Tutka Bay Cooking School.

John Cox

Interview with John Cox

John Cox, one of the three candidates for the State House District 31 seat, is a business owner in Anchor Point, where he has lived for the past 10 years.

Cox moved to Alaska originally with his family when his father, who was in the Army, was stationed in the state. When Cox turned 18, he declared Alaska residency before joining the Navy. He served for 30 years, and then moved to Anchor Point to settle down as a businessman.

Library celebrates Homer readers

A record number of people – a total of 423 kids, teens and adults – took on the Homer Public Library’s summer reading challenge, which received an upgrade due to a new program.

The 10-week challenge is meant to keep kids engaged in learning during the summer months, said Claudia Haines, Homer Public library’s use services librarian.

Tiebreaking championship game ends Homer city league softball season

Fifteen minutes after Mean Machine beat Beluga Lake Lodge with a score of 9-5 in the championship game, the teams took the field to play again. In order to win, Mean Machine needed to defeat BLL again.

The Homer Softball Association’s city tournament rules require a team to lose twice before they could be declared out of the running for the championship. BLL won all of their games over the July 30-31 tournament weekend until the final game against Mean Machine.

Derby update

Kim McCallum of San Antonio, Texas, brought in a 149.9-pound halibut. McCallum’s catch was 17.3 pounds short of the 167.2-pound derby leader. McCallum reeled in the halibut while fishing with O’Fish’ial Charters with Captain John Osteen.

Anna Frost can be reached at anna.frost@homernews.com.

School-required vaccinations boost immunity, reduce child disease risk

Children entering public and private schools in Alaska, as well as certified preschools and licensed daycares, must be immunized, unless he or she is given an exemption for medical or religious reasons.

Overall, the state does not see a high percentage of exemptions, said Gerri Yett, program manager for the state immunization program.

Russian music stars in KPO's gala concerts

The final piece that the Kenai Peninsula Orchestra plays at its gala concerts this August will be the result of two years of passion and planning.

When Simon Nissen, the choir and world music instructor at Kenai Central High School and founding director of the Kenai Peninsula Singers, moved to the Kenai Peninsula about two years ago, he half-jokingly suggested to KPO Artistic Director Tammy Vollom-Matturo that they perform “Alexander Nevsky.”

A year later, KPO purchased the scores for the piece.

Anglers miss derby position without tickets

Two anglers in the last week found themselves pulling giant halibut out of the ocean without a derby ticket to their names.

David Pudlosky of Mountain Top, PA, caught a 246-pound halibut on July 25 while fishing with Captain Heath Harrington from Inlet Charters on the Dutch Treat. Pudlosky, 68, said the fish is the biggest one he has caught in his entire life.

“It was hard getting it on the boat after we got it. I had to harpoon it and then shoot it with a .410 shotgun,” Pudlosky said.

Mariner softball pitcher, shortstop McKi Needham signs with junior college

After being named as a player on the All Conference Team for Northern Lights Softball and recognized by the National Fast Pitch Coaches Association for her academic achievements, Mariner softball player McKi Needham is going to college to play ball.

The 2016 Homer High School graduate signed a scholarship offer to play on the McCook College softball team in McCook, Neb., for the next two years. The scholarship covers all tuition fees, except room and board, Needham said. She heads down to Nebraska with her family to settle into school in mid-August.

Pokemon Go provides time capsules for Homer's past landmarks

When people in Homer play Pokemon Go — the augmented reality game that launched in the United States as a smartphone app on July 6 to mass popularity — a world in which they can catch pocket monsters isn’t the only place they are transported to. 

Players of Pokemon Go also travel back in time, inadvertently touring a Homer of the past.

Anchorage woman catches 2016 tagged fish

The halibut derby had nine days of quiet before another angler brought in a fish, as the last fish worth money was a 2015 tagged fish brought in on July 8. Gayle Muggli of Miles City, MT, remains the derby leader with the 167.2-pound halibut she caught, also on July 8.

Lita Lubitsh-White of Anchorage caught a 2016 tagged fish sponsored by Nauti Cs Charter on July 17. Lubitsh-White won $250 for the fish, which she reeled in on her private boat.

Anna Frost can be reached at anna.frost@homernews.com.

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