NOAA to hold teleconference on halibut plan

Officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries and the Homer Chamber of Conference and Visitor Center hold an informational teleconference on the halibut Catch Sharing Plan from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the chamber office. Seating is limited to 20 participants, so those interested should e-mail Jim Lavrakas at jimlav@homeralaska.org.

Reward doubled in trail homicide

Following a forensic examination and further investigation, Homer Police have ruled the death of Mark Matthews, 61, a homicide. Matthews was found dead about 10:15 p.m. July 28 by two people walking on the Poopdeck Trail, a path connecting Pioneer Avenue to Hazel Avenue and Poopdeck Street in downtown Homer.

Police also doubled the reward to $2,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Matthews’ killer.

Hearing continued in 2012 boat arson case

A change of plea hearing scheduled for Monday in the case of Makai “Mike” Martushoff, 59, has been continued to 1 p.m. Aug. 8 at the Homer Courthouse. 

According to one of the alleged victims in the case, lawyer Michael Hough, Martushoff was scheduled to appear for a hearing in which a charge of first-degree arson, a class A felony, would be reduced to criminally negligent burning, a misdemeanor. If the plea deal stands, Martushoff would serve no more than one year in jail.

Latest election districts a lot like pre-2012

Homer will go forward into the past with a redistricting plan passed last month by the Alaska Redistricting Board. Following an Alaska Supreme Court decision that the board redo the 2012 plan, the board last month approved new House and Senate districts and, if it wins court approval, will include these changes:

• The lower Kenai Peninsula will be put into Senate District P, a district that includes a House district of Kodiak Island. If re-elected in the 2014 elections, Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, would again represent Homer, as he had until 2012.

Gov. Parnell talks Alaska with Homer

On his visit to Homer last Thursday to be the host of the fifth Governor’s Family Picnic held in Alaska this summer, Gov. Sean Parnell stopped by the Kachemak Bay Rotary Club weekly noon meeting for a short speech and a lot of questions.

“I like to spend a lot more time interacting with you than giving a prepared speech,” Parnell said.

Homer planning commission rejects heliport permit

The Homer Advisory Planning Commission has denied a conditional use permit application by Eric Lee of Slingblade Aviation to put a heliport on the Homer Spit. Lee proposed a helipad that would be on the beach across the Homer Spit Road from the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon. He would run about five flightseeing tours daily using a three-passenger helicopter. Heliports are allowed in the Marine Commercial District on the Spit as a conditional use.

Hearing continued again in HHS fake bomb case

A preliminary hearing was continued on Friday, July 26, in the case of Zachary Fraley, the Homer High School student charged with first-degree terroristic threatening, a felony, for allegedly placing a bomb-like device at the high school that caused an evacuation of the school on May 16. 

Judge Margaret Murphy continued the preliminary hearing to 3:30 p.m. Aug. 23.

Fraley had been released on $1,000 bail at his first hearing on May 17. His Soldotna lawyer, Kenneth Cole, entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf then. 

Homer boy still in Providence Hospital after near-drowning at Bishop’s Beach

A 9-year-old boy who nearly drowned at Bishop’s Beach last Thursday is in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Providence Hospital recovering from his injuries. 

According to Homer Police, at about 3:45 p.m. Katie Brock, the mother of the boy, Anthony Brock, 9, reported him missing at Bishop’s Beach. Homer Police responded and within a few minutes found him floating face down in the outflow of Beluga Slough where it enters Kachemak Bay.

First Friday Events

In years past, the late Gaye Wolfe inspired art supporters to make August an “artrageous” month of shows, workshops and musical events. Though Artrageous August is no more, the spirit of the idea lives on in shows opening this month. In technique, form and subject, shows this month are a little bit outrageous.


Salmonstock, the annual three-day music festival celebrating wild Alaska salmon, returns this weekend to the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik. Today is the last day to buy tickets at the advance rate of $113 for Friday through Sunday or $95 for Friday-Saturday or Saturday-Sunday tickets. After today, tickets are $50 a day Friday or Sunday and $65 a day on Saturday at the gate. Tickets can be purchased online at salmonstock-2013.eventbrite.com.

Buccaneer announces latest drilling report for Cosmopolitan site

Buccaneer Energy Limited this week announced the latest results for its Cosmopolitan well site in lower Cook Inlet off Stariski Creek.

According to a July 30 press release, the jack-up rig Endeavour-Spirit of Independence has drilled into two oil zones in the Tyonek formation totaling 86 feet between 5,824 feet and 6,092 feet. Good oil recovery resulted. 

Because the Endeavour has limited oil storage, more extensive flow testing of the zones cannot be done. The recovered oil is being analyzed.

Man injured in gas pipeline construction accident

A worker with a subcontractor on the Enstar Natural Gas pipeline project suffered a serious injury last Friday afternoon. The man had an injury to his leg and was taken to an Anchorage hospital for treatment, said Enstar spokesperson John Sims. 

While not life threatening, Sims said the injury was very serious.

“We consider every injury a serious thing,” Sims said. “We have a great safety record. It was disappointing. It’s dangerous work everyone does out there.”

Another hearing set on water-sewer rate changes

A proposed new water-sewer rate schedule is back on the table for the Homer City Council. At its Monday regular meeting, the council agreed to reconsider the new rates after it spiked the resolution last month. The council added two amendments eliminating minor fees and postponed action until its Aug. 12 meeting. It also will hold a public hearing then on the amended fee schedule.

NOAA extends Catch Sharing Plan comment period by only 14 days

In response to requests by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, the Homer Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center and the Alaska Charter Association, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries announced Wednesday it had extended the comment period on the controversial Catch Sharing Plan — but only by 14 days. The new comment period ends Aug. 26.

Pilgrim daughter’s heroism at heart of new Kizzia book

Homer writer Tom Kizzia’s “Pilgrim’s Wilderness: A True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier” works as something of a Rorschach test. What the reader sees in the story of the Pilgrim family’s Bush experience might reflect the reader’s own expectations of Alaska. The book could be some or all of the below:

• A tale of a pious, Christian family seeking a refuge from the distractions of the modern world so they can better know God and their faith;

Cottonwood trail: an easy hike with a great view

On the Homer side of Kachemak Bay, finding a good, short hike can be a challenge. Across the bay, Kachemak Bay State Park has some marvelous hikes — if you have a boat and can afford a water taxi. If you’re a visitor or local, the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies has a little gem of a hike off East Skyline Drive, the Billie Fischer Cottonwood Trail.

‘Living Alaska’ picked up for series

Following the success of a pilot episode for “Living Alaska” produced by Orion Entertainment of Colorado, HGTV has picked up 12 half-hour episodes of the series. Orion is now looking for real estate agents and their buyers for the series. Part travel show, part home show, this new series showcases all the wild wonders that Alaska has to offer, said Orion casting producer Cindy Baggish.

Council considers new rates on Monday

A proposed new water-sewer rate schedule comes back for reconsideration at 6 p.m. Monday for the Homer City Council’s regular meeting. Near the top of the agenda right after public comments, the motion to reconsider asks the question “Does the council want to look one more time at changing water and sewer rates?”

If the motion to reconsider fails, the proposed new fee schedule dies, and the current water and sewer rates remain unchanged.

Street Faire returns to its Hazel Avenue spot

Started in 1987, and held in locations as diverse as Heath Street and even Homer High School, the Homer Council on the Arts Street Faire once again is held at its current location on Hazel Avenue, offering a day of arts and crafts vendors, food booths, activities and music. Now in its fourth year at its new spot, the festival runs 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at the venue between Safeway and the Homer Public Library.