Anna Frost

Chamber's member relations coordinator taking job in Texas

Homer Chamber of Commerce Communications and Member Relations Coordinator Jorge Davilla is leaving his position at the chamber and the town of Homer.

Davilla, who has worked at the chamber for nearly two years, plans to leave Homer in late July or early August. His last day has not yet been determined as the chamber is still in the process of finding his replacement, he said.

Mushroom guide revised, expanded by UAF report

Twenty-two years ago, Harriette Parker published “Alaska’s Mushrooms: A Practical Guide,” with photos and descriptions of 34 species of mushrooms, many of which she and her husband, Neil McArthur, found and photographed in the Homer area.

“Harriette had an interest in mushrooms when she used to live in New Brunswick in Canada, and she decided she wanted to write a mushroom book and she approached Alaska Northwest Books, who were independent at the time, and got a contract. And then we had to deal with it,” McArthur said, laughing.

Angler takes lead in derby by two pounds

Three days after the derby gained a new leader with a 165-pound halibut caught by a Washington State woman, Gayle Muggli of Miles City, Mont., caught a 167.2-pound halibut on July 8.

Muggli is the third of three women to take the top position in the Jackpot Halibut Derby.

Muggli caught the fish while on the Diamond Cape with Captain Travis Blount from Homer Ocean Charters. Her halibut beat out the previous fish by 2.2 pounds, according to derby coordinator Kim Royce.

Other derby news includes:

Kayak smart and safe this summer

Kayaking, though a popular summer activity in Homer, can prove dangerous if not approached with the proper information and equipment.

“Homer has had, I think, two kayak deaths. There have been numerous people who have gotten into trouble and had to be rescued,” said True North Kayak Adventures founding member Alison O’Hara. “That happens occasionally and that can be the realm of people not being aware of the tides … and get swept out to sea. Kayaks tip over. The occasional person gets into trouble because of poor judgment or the weather kicks in.”

Sports physical clinic open to high school students, one day only

Homer Medical Center is hosting a sports physical clinic from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, July 16.

The clinic is for high school students in need of a physical for participation in school-sanctioned activities. Exams on this one-day event are offered free of charge by volunteer health care providers from Homer Medical Center, according to a press release from South Peninsula Hospital.

Community celebrates SP hospital's 60 years with barbecue, camaraderie

Homer residents — young, old and in between — came together on Saturday, July 9, to celebrate the 60 years South Peninsula Hospital has served the lower Kenai Peninsula area.

Many chowed down on a barbecue lunch provided by Black Jaxx BBQ, a local food truck in Homer and Soldotna, enjoying ribs, salad, watermelon, popsicles and other classic summer picnic fare. Local bands — Seaside Singers, Vheneka Marimba, and Cathy Stingley and Friends — performed throughout the event, as well as a ukulele audience sing-along.

Synergy Gardens celebrates garlic, local produce

One greenhouse, two high tunnels, three fenced open-air garden plots and three-and-a-half years of work make up Synergy Gardens, a producer of Homer-grown vegetables.

Located about 10 miles out East End Road on Wilderness Lane, Synergy Gardens is owned by three humans and one dog — Lori and Wayne Jenkins, their son Obie, and a Golden-Bernese mountain dog mix named Lilu.

Hospital celebrates 60 years

The hospital at the end of the road: SPH celebrates 60 years of patient care

Over the last 60 years, Homer’s South Peninsula Hospital has transformed from a little hospital at the end of the road that had trouble attracting doctors, to a modern facility with a staff of 400 employees.

This year, as it celebrates these past six decades with an anniversary party on Saturday, July 9, the hospital continues to look toward the future and what it means to be a health-care facility on par with hospitals in major cities.

Washington state woman takes lead derby spot

Alisa Sands of Lake Stevens, Wash. snatched up the title of derby leader when she caught a 165-pound halibut on July 5. Sands caught the whopper of a fish while fishing with Captain David Bayes on the Grand Aleutian with Central Charters.

Previously, the derby leader was Marcella Kolberg of Palmer, who caught a 142.4-pound halibut on May 29.

Other than Sands’ big catch, the derby waters have been fairly quiet, with only two new fish brought in in the last couple weeks.

A little bit of Italy opens in Homer

On a trip to the Spit one can find freshly cooked seafood, gift shops, fishing charters, tourists from a variety of places and, now, gelato.

Nestled in between AK Starfish Co. and Alpaca Connection, Carmen’s Gelato serves up authentic Italian gelato, made by 29-year-old Homer native Carmen Ricciardi. Previously, Carmen’s Gelato existed as a cart that sold gelato on the streets of Anchorage, starting out when he was 25.

Youth rules the day at Spit Run

Homer and Anchor Point’s speedy young adults took over the top 10 in the runners division of the 6-K Homer Spit Run on Saturday, June 25.

Pedro Ochoa, a 19-year-old Homer High School alumnus, crossed the finish line first. Ochoa was nearly two minutes ahead of the second place runner, 16-year-old Homer High School junior Jacob Davis, with a time of 35:12.58. Davis came in at 37:00.81, just a second past his goal time of 37 minutes, he said.

“It feels amazing and it hurts,” Davis said. “I was going for the big improvement this year.”

Ohio teen fulfills wish of halibut fishing in Alaska

David Stammen of Sidney, Ohio reeled in his first halibut aboard a Homer Ocean Charter boat on Tuesday, June 21 — followed by 12 more over the course of his fishing trip on Tuesday and Thursday, June 23.

“It was amazing, other than the fact that you’re just about falling off the boat,” David said, who isn’t used to the choppy waters of Kachemak Bay. “The longest one (fish) I had was 37 inches.”

Senator makes a fresh stop

Sen. Lisa Murkowski paid a visit to Homer on Saturday, June 25, where she visited the Homer Farmers Market, talked with locals, and chowed down on a local favorite — Alibi’s halibut taco — in the early afternoon.

Murkowski stopped in Homer on her way to the BlueCrest Energy’s ceremonial opening of Hansen Production Facility, an oil wellpad on the shore of Cook Inlet near Anchor Point.

For the Shire! LARP group includes fun for all ages

Every Saturday from 4-7 p.m. in Homer, often at Karen Hornaday Park, brave warriors fight evil lizards, or escort a princess with a flag across a battlefield, or simply take part in a free-for-all death match.

But it’s not as violent and bloody as it sounds.

The arrow tips are made of cloth-stuffed socks and the swords forged of foam. Most weapons weigh about as much, or less, as the average foam swimming pool noodle. However, to the subjects of the Shire of IceFire Bay, the glory — and fun — of the games are quite real.

Syringe exchange provides health services, sterile tools

If an intravenous drug user goes into The Exchange at the South Peninsula Hospital Training Center to dispose of their used needles, they can receive a “safer injection kit,” condoms, Narcan overdose response kits, free rapid HIV and Hepatitis C tests, and other health-related information.

They will not receive judgment or scrutiny from the police department, said Catriona Reynolds, Homer city council member and organizer for The Exchange.

It takes a village to raise a doctor

If all goes according to plan, one day Homer native Ben Kuhns will be a doctor. However, before deciding to pursue a medical career, he was a slope worker, crab fisherman and a gold miner. This was all after he graduated with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in forensic science, of course.

“I tried to get the whole Alaska experience because I didn’t know when I’d be able to get that experience again,” Kuhns said. “I was paid dividends not only in it gives you life experience but you’re able to have conversations with people and relate to people.”

Basketball takes Nikolaevsk native to next level

Two years ago, Nianiella Dorvall left her hometown of Nikolaevsk to attend Skagit Valley College in the state of Washington, making her Nikolaevsk School’s first female to play basketball at the college level. This June, Dorvall graduated with an associate degree in biology, a 3.97 grade point average, an award as a top scholar-athlete, and a full-ride scholarship to the public Washington university of her choice.

First tagged fish of the season caught

Anglers visiting Homer from various spots in the Lower 48 caught four tagged fish in the past two weeks, according to Jackpot Halibut Derby coordinator Kim Royce. Two of the fish caught had previous years’ tags, which are worth $100. One fish was released as part of the over-48-inches catch-and-release drawing for $1,000.

Garrett Tyson from Orlando, Florida, caught a fish with a 2015 tag on June 9. Tyson was fishing on the SeaWolf with Capt. Philip Warren from Inlet Charters.

Singletrack minds

The Homer Cycling Club rounded up workers to help improve the singletrack mountain bike trail in the Diamond Creek area for Trails Day on Sunday, June 5. The group has been slowly establishing a bike trail that starts about 50 yards from the top of the dirt road that leads to the trailhead of the existing Diamond Creek hiking trail.

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