Ninilchik EMS board sues to collect fees

In the state and national health care debate, one issue keeps coming up. Medical providers cannot refuse to treat patients with emergencies, and yet many patients don’t have health insurance. How do hospitals, doctors and emergency medical services collect from the people who can’t or won’t pay?

One small town fire and EMS department’s solution? Take them to Small Claims Court. 

Early morning fire destroys storage building

An early morning fire on Sunday destroyed one of 16 storage buildings at East End Mini Storage, a storage and business complex on East End Road near Redden Marine. Building O was 95-percent destroyed, said Homer Fire Chief Bob Painter.

Neighbors did not notice the fire until about 4:10 a.m. Aug. 4, when they heard explosions coming from the building. Ten Homer Volunteer Fire Department firefighters responded with five units. Kachemak Emergency Services also provided mutual aid.

‘Unalaskana’ show challenges Alaska clichés

In Alaska art and culture, a spirit of irreverence often runs counter to serious or commercial images of Alaska. Done well, traditional Alaska art celebrates the state’s natural beauty and character of its people. When this celebration runs to excess — think painted gold pans or romanticized landscapes — artists and entertainers like Mr. Whitekeys stand ready to throttle back on an overly sentimental vision of Alaska.

Power outage shuts down Spit, other Homer areas

An electrical equipment failure shut down power from the Safeway grocery store on the Sterling Highway to the end of the Homer Spit on Monday afternoon. Power was out from about 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 5.

Related to the outage, Harbormaster Bryan Hawkins ordered a precautionary evacuation and closure of the Fish Dock Road area about noon after Kevin Hogan of the Auction Block notified police and other officials that there could be a carbon dioxide leak in his refrigeration plant. The loss of power caused a pressure build up in the unit, Hawkins said.

Homer youths creating suicide-prevention film

It’s a scene common to most any American high school. A girl walks down a crowded hallway, students milling around lockers. Clutching her notebook, the girl shuffles her feet, looking down at the floor, as she walks by other teenagers. You can almost imagine their thoughts — “What’s up with her?” “Why’s she acting so weird?” “What a dork.”

Then, out of the blue, a mean kid rushes by and knocks the books out of her arms. The girl goes to a locker and kicks it.

Top to top family explores world

By land and sea, world explorers often visit Homer on their way north for further adventures or an end-of-the-road finish from points further south.

Last Thursday, a 50-foot silver sailboat slipped into the Homer Harbor on an expedition that outshines anything else by comparison.

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.”