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.

Council postpones action on water-sewer rates

Although it held a second reading and a public hearing on proposed changes to the city water and sewer rate schedule, the Homer City Council in a 4-1 vote on Monday postponed action until its June 24 meeting.

The council said little during the regular meeting about why it postponed action, but at a work session earlier at 4 p.m. it discussed the status of the proposed rate changes and why some wanted to delay a vote. 

Lower peninsula streams closed until July 15

Because of low king salmon runs, an emergency order issued Wednesday by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game closes all sport fishing for any species of fish in the lower portions of the Anchor River, Deep Creek, Ninilchik River and Stariski Creek beginning at 12:01 a.m. Saturday. The closure is in effect until 11:59 p.m. July 15 or until another emergency order is issued.

King salmon fishing opportunities had already ended in June on Deep Creek and the Ninilchik River. In effect, the order closes fishing on the Anchor River one weekend earlier in June.

$500 reward offered in cow moose poaching; orphaned calf now at zoo

A hunters organization has put up a $500 reward leading to the arrest and prosecution of the person who killed a cow moose on East Skyline Drive on May 31. The death orphaned a male calf. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game rescued the calf, and it is now at the Alaska Zoo waiting transportation to the Columbus, Ohio, zoo in the fall, said Patrick Lampe, executive director of the zoo in Anchorage.

Love makes overcoming medical adversity easier

On May 25, my marimba band Shamwari played for the opening day of the Homer Farmers’ Market. One of the tunes I play is Warigamukono, a traditional Zimbabwean song. The title means “pulling the bull to the ground” and is about overcoming adversity. As I played, I thought of my mother, who had been medevaced from Summit Lake Lodge in July 2012 and almost died from respiratory arrest. Mom’s doing much better, but she faces continual challenges. She’s in my thoughts constantly.

Police arrest four in meth, heroin bust

Following a tip that an Anchorage man on parole for drug charges might be in the Homer area trying to sell drugs, Homer Police on May 29 arrested the man, Michael Delpriore Jr., 32, after stopping him near his rental condominium on the Homer Spit.

They also arrested his traveling companion, Regina Johnson, 30, also of Anchorage. Both were charged with fourth-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance, a felony. Johnson faces two counts for alleged possession of methamphetamine and heroin and Delpriore one count for possession of cocaine.

Changing of guard at Homer Police

Lt. Randy Rosencrans has retired after serving with the Homer Police Department for more than 20 years and in law enforcement for 25 years. Homer Police Chief Mark Robl praised him for his service.

“He’s done a great job,” Robl said. “He’s been very progressive in keeping the department up to date in current techniques and other trends in law enforcement.”

Rosencrans and his family plan to move to Arizona at the end of the summer, where he hopes to continue working in criminal justice, possibly in teaching.

Homer ready to relay

In five years the annual Homer Relay for Life has become one of the town’s bigger cancer fundraisers. The overnight event starts at 5 p.m. Friday at the Homer High School parking lot with a survivor and caregiver reception.

While raising money for the American Cancer Society is the big goal, Relay for Life also celebrates survivors of cancers, honors their caregivers and remembers those who fought hard and lost.

Airshow thrills spectators

The Alaska Aviation Centennial Celebration arrived at the Homer Airport the evening of May 24 to an appreciative crowd of about 150. Spectators marveled at the 1943 T-6 Texan trainer, the 1933 Stinson L-13 Grasshopper, and the 1938 AT-6 Texan “Harvard.” The planes were all used during World War II.

Centennial Air Show visits Homer Friday

With the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Attu being honored this month, there’s a bit of poignancy that a World War II era Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Zero is among the historic planes visiting Homer this weekend. 

The Zero, one of only five flying remaining such aircraft, is part of a squadron of vintage planes on tour for the Alaska Aviation Centennial Celebration that started May 9 in Cordova.

Probe follows ‘prank’

A week after the discovery of a suspicious bomb-like device that caused Homer High School to be evacuated, Homer Police are still investigating the incident and looking to work with Kenai Peninsula Borough School District officials on how to better respond in similar situations.

“That’s definitely my goal, to get a meeting between us and school officials and hammer out what went right and what went wrong and how we can do this better in the future,” said Homer Police Chief Mark Robl.

Creating home wherever you are

How do you find a home when you find yourself away from the land you’ve grown up in?
For Native Alaskans who have left the village for the big city, for young Alaskans who have moved to the Lower 48 to find careers and for new Alaskans who have left homes Outside, that can be a common theme. It’s one Minneapolis artist Emily Johnson has found herself exploring in her narrative-based performance installations.

Lavrakas named chamber director

The Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center board reached within its ranks for a new executive director and has named board member Jim Lavrakas to succeed current director Monte Davis after Davis leaves Homer in mid-August. 

Lavrakas, 60, has been a chamber board member for three years.

Teen charged in fake bomb incident released on bail

Kenai Magistrate Jennifer Wells on Friday morning released on bail a Homer High School teenager charged with terroristic threatening for placing a fake bomb in a stairwell at the high school. Wells set a $1,000 performance bond for Zachary T. Fraley, 18, a graduating senior.

Wells said $1,000 — the amount suggested by assistant District Attorney Amy Fenske — was an extremely low bond for a class B felony.

Fraley’s lawyer, Kenai attorney Kenneth Cole, entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf.

Council OKs Spit rezoning

A revised Homer Spit rezoning ordinance almost died on a 3-3 tie vote at Monday’s Homer City Council meeting after the council got hung up on the issue of allowing heliports as a conditional use. An amendment also died in a 3-3 tie vote to eliminate heliports from the rezoning ordinance. 

With the ordinance in limbo, and with Mayor Beth Wythe absent and not able to break the tie, the council on reconsideration passed in a 5-1 vote the ordinance with the heliport conditional use provision included. 

Council ponders possibilities for future of Pier One area

A Homer City Council work session Monday afternoon started with a simple question: Should the city lease a 10,000-square-foot lot at the Pier One Theatre campground lot — officially, Tract A, the Fishin’ Hole Subdivision — to the Kachemak Bay Wooden Boat Society?

The topic, however, morphed into a broader discussion of an overall plan for the 11-acre lot that’s now a mixture of industrial, recreational and cultural activities.