MICHAEL ARMSTRONG

Fisherman killed in gear accident

A Wisconsin fishermen who got his hand and body caught in an anchor winch on a Homer fishing boat on July 4 died of his injuries. Ninilchik Emergency Services medics responded to the boat and pronounced Lewis Byerly, 55, dead. The F/V Anna Lane was about 1.5 miles offshore of Ninilchik at the time of the incident and being worked as a fish tender.

More time for halibut comments sought

Both Alaska U.S. senators and the Homer Chamber of Commerce have asked for an extension to the 45-day period for comments on a revised version of the halibut catch sharing. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service on June 28 published the proposed plan in the Federal Register and seeks public comments by  Aug. 12.

That’s too short a time, said the chamber and the senators.

Highland Games: bring a bit of Scotland to Homer

OK, first let’s get the obvious question out of the way. What do men — and women — wear under their kilts at the Kachemak Bay Scottish Highland Games? If you were one of about 450 people who watched the 30 athletes compete at Karen Hornaday Park last Saturday, the way those kilts swirled about as athletes threw big stones and tossed huge logs, you know the answer.

Friends celebrate Garrity’s life

The musician who helped bring New Orleans and Louisiana Cajun music to Homer, Ray Garrity, got a proper second-line send-off Monday afternoon. In the New Orleans tradition of a jazz funeral without a body, wearing black and waving white handkerchiefs, the Bossy Panties dance group and the Bossy Pants band, friends and family of Garrity marched from Homer High School down Pioneer Avenue to Café Cups.

Halibut changes on table

A revised version of the controversial halibut catch sharing plan is once again back up for federal review. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service on June 28 published the proposed plan in the Federal Register and seeks public comment. Comments are due by Aug. 12.

In letters sent this week to NOAA Acting Administrator Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, both Alaska's U.S. Senators urged NOAA to extend the comment period another 45 days. 

Council deletes Pier One from request for proposal

The Homer City Council on Monday amended a request for proposals to limit inquiries of its use to only the southeast two-thirds of an 11-acre lot zoned marine-industrial on the Homer Spit. That lot also contains Pier One Theatre, which leases the lot and an old warehouse building, and a city campground. Earlier, the council had proposed soliciting ideas for use of the lot so as to gauge commercial industry for activities such as a barge haul-out facility.

Homer man arrested in shooting SERT uses armored truck to respond

Alaska State Troopers used an armored tactical response vehicle last Wednesday to persuade a Homer man to surrender after troopers said he fired a .44-caliber revolver when troopers announced themselves outside his house on Char Court. 

Timothy A. Magee, 39, was arraigned last Thursday on two counts of third-degree assault, a felony, for allegedly causing fear of injury to Wildlife Trooper Trent Chwialkowski and Trooper David Chaffin. He also was charged with fourth-degree misconduct involving weapons for allegedly being drunk while shooting a weapon.

Facing the elements to take hiatus

Moose have trampled on its art. Vandals have stolen and trashed works. Some sculptures have been left in place, slowly returning back to the earth. Since 1994, Facing the Elements has merged art and nature on the Pratt Museum’s Forest Trail, testing creative ingenuity and inspiring imaginations.

The 19th annual show opened June 14, but when the museum begins construction of its new building in late 2014 or early 2015, this will be the last summer of Facing the Elements until completion of the new museum in 2016 or 2017. In the meantime, the show will take a hiatus.

Water-sewer rate changes fail — back for reconsideration

To an observer at Monday night’s Homer City Council meeting, it might have looked like a tennis match between Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams as action on  proposed changes to the water-sewer rates bounced back and forth. When the dust had settled, the council struck down the proposed rate changes — for now — but along the way made these decisions:

Quick response stops half-acre wildfire off East End Road

With the Kenai Peninsula under very high to extreme fire danger, a prompt response by Alaska Division of Forestry, Homer Volunteer Fire Department and Kachemak Emergency Services firefighters stopped a grass fire in its tracks on Alan Street off East End Road about 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon. 

Between the time when firefighters arrived and they got it contained the fire had doubled in size and was running upslope, said Andy Alexandrou, a Division of Forestry public information officer in Soldotna.

Enstar gas line build-out — questions answered

Anyone wondering about the progress of the Enstar Natural Gas trunk and distribution lines on the lower Kenai Peninsula doesn’t have to look far. From Anchor Point along the Sterling Highway to West Hill Road and Fairview Avenue, big 8-inch lines snake in and out of the ground on the trunk line, now about 45 percent complete. On side streets, workers in hard hats and bright green safety vests bring the 2-inch and 4-inch distribution lines to homes and businesses in Kachemak City.

Keynote poet shares advice with writers

One of the treats of the Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference comes the opening Friday of the five-day event when the keynote writer or poet does a post-banquet speech. In the 12 years of the conference, talks have ranged from treatises on the meaning of literature to stand up comedy. Often, writers offer practical advice.

This year’s keynote speaker, poet and writer Naomi Shihab Nye, combined the best of those approaches.

The meaning of literature?

Man dies in motorcycle crash

A motorcycle crash on Sunday afternoon killed a Homer man. Travis Coffey, 34, died of his injuries at the crash scene near Mile 19 East End Road. No services have been announced yet for Coffey.

According to an Alaska State Trooper press release, Coffey rode his 2000 Triumph motorcycle with a friend riding on a separate motorcycle. The pair headed east when Coffey lost control of his motorcycle and slid into the oncoming lane, hitting a 2010 GMC Sierra truck driven by a 20-year-old Delta Junction man.

Auction Block claim rejected

An administrative law judge has rejected a claim for Kevin Hogan and the Auction Block against the city of Homer, city attorney Thomas Klinkner announced in a memorandum to Mayor Beth Wythe and the Homer City Council at its meeting Monday night.

“We are excited about that,” attorney Holly Wells said at the meeting.

Wells said the city is prepared for an appeal. Hogan, a former city council member, said that on advice of his lawyer he did not want to comment on the decision.

Bag ban repeal initiative certified for Oct. 1 ballot

Homer City Clerk Jo Johnson certified that a citizen initiative to repeal a plastic bag ban had at least the 230 signatures necessary to put the question on the Oct. 1 ballot.

Petition organizer Justin Arnold submitted 300 signatures, and of those, the clerk’s office determined 260 were of registered voters in city limits. To be valid, organizers needed at least 20 percent of the votes cast in the last city election.

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