Local authors like Michael McBride, Miranda Weiss and Nancy Lord aren’t the only ones to write books about Homer. Three recent books published by Lower 48 writers involve Homer and Alaska, either as setting or about people from here. All were written by people with Homer connections, too.
In a unanimous vote, the Homer Advisory Planning Commission last week approved a conditional-use permit to allow a 160-foot microwave tower to be built on Easy Street off Skyline Drive. The commission initially had voted 4-2, one vote shy of the supermajority city code requires to approve conditional-use permits, but after reconsideration and further discussion approved the CUP in a 6-0 vote.
Taking a glance at the Homer Council on the Arts online Artists Registry, one thing pops up immediately. There are way more than 18 artists, writers, dancers and musicians on the lower Kenai Peninsula.
Oh sure, it’s easy to count and identify birds during the balmy spring days of the Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival. In winter, when Homer only gets six hours of daylight, temperatures drop into single digits and it could be blowing snow sideways, that’s when the tough birders come out.
Homer city workers complaining about proposed increases of health-insurance premiums won’t find much sympathy among small businesses and employees also looking at increasing health insurance costs. In a survey of health insurance premiums for private-sector workers, some employees pay almost 10 times the monthly premium compared to city workers.
With Homer’s reputation as one of Alaska’s thriving arts communities, local art lovers can find creations worthy of sharing as gifts at shows opening Friday. First Friday exhibits won’t be the only place to find art. From 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Saturday and noon-6 p.m. Saturday at Homer High School, the Homer Council on the Arts holds its annual Nutcracker Faire, with almost 85 booths of arts and crafts by lower Kenai Peninsula and other Alaska artists.
Retailers might worry that the traditional post-Thanksgiving holiday season will be crammed into just 26 shopping days, but that’s not a problem at one of Homer’s biggest events, the annual Nutcracker Faire. It’s always a little hectic at the two-day event, held the first weekend in December.
“As full of magic as the story it tells,” reviewer Jan O’Meara called the Homer Nutcracker Ballet in the Dec. 14, 1989, issue of the Homer News. “From start to finish it was completely enchanting.”
That magic continues with the 25th production of the Homer Nutcracker Ballet, the homegrown, small-town version of Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet. The Nutcracker opens with performances at 3 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7, and continues Dec. 8, 13 and 14. All performances and all seats are $10 (see box, this page).
A Homer hunter entered a plea agreement last week with the Alaska U.S. Attorney’s Office admitting he hunted illegally in Denali National Park. Michael J. Barth, 29, was one of four men charged last week with the illegal take, possession and transport of two bull moose taken in the park between Sept. 3 and 7, 2012.
The last time the Alaska Department of Natural Resources updated its Kachemak Bay State Park and Wilderness Park Management Plan, the parks had gone through some major impacts, including the March 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, and adding 50,000 acres to the parks in 1989 and buying back 23,000 acres of private lands in 1993 to prevent logging. Those events prompted a 1995 update of the management plan.
As natural gas line projects on the lower Kenai Peninsula wind down for the end of the construction season, contractors can check off these items on their punch list:
• 22 miles of the Anchor Point to Homer Trunk Line: done;
• 9 miles of the Kachemak City expansion project: done;
• Phase 1, 37 miles of the city of Homer expansion project: near completion; and
• Installation of 668 paid service line applications: 90 percent complete.
Walking down a long hallway lined with teenagers at their lockers, Margret Maze’s body language shows that she’s not in a good way. Maze, played by Homer actor Sydney Paulino, clutches her notebook tightly. She seems oblivious to the stares of other students, but through the magic of film — and the writing of Homer High School graduate Adela Sundmark — the viewer can see what her friends think.
“I wonder if you are OK?” one student is shown thinking in a thought bubble.
Back after a two-year hiatus, Wearable Arts once again amazed viewers with fiber art from the fabulous to the frivolous. Even the concept of “fiber” got stretched, with artists creating outfits out of marine debris, cereal box liners, metal cookware and coffee bags. Two shows were held last Saturday at Land’s End Resort.
“Innovation and craftsmanship on anything that’s basically walkable and wearable,” is how Bunnell Streets Arts Director Asia Freeman described the show.
The Kenai Grand Jury last week indicted on felony assault charges a Homer man who in August 2008 shot and killed another man at an Old Town drinking partay.
Charles Young, 61, known as “Yukon Charlie,” faces counts of second-degree and third-degree assault in the latest incident. The grand jury charged that on Nov. 11, Young hit Robert Tech, 47, also known as “Turkey Joe,” with brass knuckles, the second-degree assault count, and that he also stabbed Tech with a switchblade, the third-degree assault count.
The $7,000 raised at the Empty Bowls fundraiser for the Homer Community Food Pantry will go a long way to keeping Homer families fed this winter. Nine potters and 14 restaurants donated bowls and soup in the lunch event last Friday at Homer United Methodist Church.
“We had such good support from the community,” said Homer Community Food Pantry Director Diana Jeska. “The turnout was outstanding, as was the help providing soup.”
On time and under budget: Those are words citizens like to hear when it comes to capital projects.
In Alaska’s short construction season, “on time” can sometimes be a challenge. For 2013 city of Homer projects, though, an above-average sunny and warm summer and fall allowed contractors to work into this week. Projects are done or mostly complete, with no projects running over budget.
“It was a beautiful construction year and the construction season lasted longer than normal,” said Homer Public Works Director Carey Meyer.
In the genre of war novels, the best books often come from soldier-authors, the men and women who have stared at bullets and mortar rounds and come back to write about war. These writers face a dilemma, though. They write not necessarily for other soldiers, but for civilians. As one Vietnam veteran said when asked if he wanted to participate in last year’s Big Read for Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried,” he’d lived that war and why did he want to read about it again?
Homer photographer Scott Dickerson has been selected one of 50 finalists in the third Red Bull Ilume international sports photography contest. Dickerson’s photograph of three people surfing the bore tide on Turnagain Arm made the final cut in the “Playground” category.
The top 50 photographs were exhibited at an awards ceremony in Hong Kong and will be in an exhibit opening Nov. 14 in Scottsdale, Ariz. The photos will be shown in light boxes along the Scottsdale waterfront.
Considering how spread out are the facilities of Homer Senior Citizens Inc., when you talk about something being in our backyard, that means many backyards. The main campus between Herndon Drive and Svedlund Street includes independent living apartments, assisted living apartments, the main center and cafeteria. Further afield are two more apartment complexes off Bartlett Street, Bartlett Terrace and Swatzell Terrace.
An Alaska State Troopers encounter last week with two armed men in Anchor Point ended peacefully when both suspects surrendered their weapons. Troopers David Chaffin and Luke Kumfer both carried AR-15 semiautomatic military-style assault rifles during the incident. Chaffin held his fire when troopers said one suspect, Richard Strassburg, 46, pulled a black handgun from behind his back and moved it in front of his body. Chaffin pointed his gun at Strassburg, said trooper spokesperson Megan Peters. Fortunately, Strassburg dropped the gun.