MICHAEL ARMSTRONG

What next? Enstar, city officials urge residents to do their homework

Editor’s note: With natural gas to Homer getting closer every day, questions abound. In a three-part series starting this week, the Homer News will look at the challenges in converting to natural gas; the positive effects of natural gas on southern Kenai Peninsula communities; and the negative effects. This week’s story looks at how homeowners and business owners can be prepared to hook into natural gas.

Crashes in Ninilchik, Voznesenka injure three

Two separate car crashes, one involving a pedestrian and the other a four-wheeler, sent three people to the hospital over the weekend. 

One man in Ninilchik was taken to Central Peninsula Hospital after being hit by a truck, and two boys in Voznesenka were taken to South Peninsula Hospital with serious injuries after being thrown from a four-wheeler that hit a sport-utility vehicle. 

None of the victims suffered life-threatening injuries.

Buccaneer files counterclaim in suit

In a counterclaim responding to a $6.5 million lawsuit filed by Archer Drilling, Buccaneer Energy Ltd. charges that Archer Drilling’s work on the jack-up rig Endeavour-Spirit of Independence has cost Buccaneer up to $30 million. Buccaneer filed the counterclaim last week in Texas District Court, Harris County.

Buccaneer alleges that Archer Drilling’s “misrepresentations, misconduct and delays” cost Buccaneer $30 million in revenue because the Endeavour could not be used to drill in Cook Inlet last fall and this winter.

Moose population healthy, bulls recovering

In thinking about our own backyard, the wilderness and near-wilderness surrounding us isn't just our playground. It's the home of the almost 3,000 moose that live there.

How many moose live on the lower Kenai Peninsula? How many bulls to cows? Those are all questions people want to know about alces alces, the moose we love to look at, photograph, hunt and eat.

Condo owner files suit over gas line assessment

The owner of several business condominiums has filed a lawsuit in Superior Court against the city of Homer and the Homer City Council seeking to overturn the ordinance that created the Natural Gas Homer Special Assessment District. Ken Castner III said the ordinance violates his rights to equal protection and due process of law, and that the city's natural gas line assessment scheme violates statutory law.

Artists combine talents in ‘Sticks and Stones’

Sticks and stones may break your bones, but when it comes to nature inspired art, they do something else: bring two artists together. The title of a collaborative exhibit showing this month at Ptarmigan Arts, it's also the media Homer artists Deb Lowney and Dan Fischer use independently and together to create organic sculptures that can be displayed indoors and outdoors.

Jury acquits Homer man on kidnapping, assault charges

After two-and-a-half days of deliberation last week, a Homer jury last Friday morning found a Homer man not guilty on three felony counts of kidnapping, third-degree assault and third-degree weapons misconduct. The jury did find William O. Daugherty, 47, guilty on two counts of fourth-degree assault, domestic violence.

Because of Daugherty's roots in the community and his criminal past, almost 300 potential jurors were called.

The charges came about after an incident where Daugherty drove around Homer with a woman, then 18, in early July 2012.

Jury rules in favor of police

A federal civil jury last Thursday exonerated three Homer Police officers and the city that employs them.

In a unanimous verdict delivered about noon March 7, the 8-member jury found that Cherry Dietzmann and her children, the plaintiffs in a $45 million suit against the city and officers, did not prove that Homer Police officers Will Hutt, Stacy Luck and Dave Shealy shot Jason Anderson Jr., then 2, in a shootout with Homer Police and U.S. Marshals seven years ago at the Homer Airport.

Homer fish, game panel seeks more community involvement

With the Alaska Board of Game meeting coming up March 15 to 19 in Kenai, the Homer Fish and Game Advisory Committee's work is done for that meeting, but the "AC," as it's called, would like to see more interest in Homer's local voice on fish and game issues.

"We're a committee to represent the constituents of Homer," said Dave Lyon, a longtime hunter and fisherman, former guide and water taxi operator who is the new AC chairman.

The Homer AC meets at 6 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month at the NERR building on Kachemak Drive, and meets this Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Trial delayed in kidnapping case

It wasn't only that the defendant's lawyer said he wasn't ready to go to trial next week in the case of a man charged with kidnapping.

In the trial of Bret Herrick, 52, on kidnapping and other charges, the main witness in the trial, a Homer fisherman, is off fishing in the Bering Sea and might not be back in time. On that basis, Superior Court Judge Charles Huguelet on Friday postponed until March 26 Herrick's trial.

Herrick is charged with kidnapping, first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary, four counts of third-degree assault and third-degree theft.

Holland America's Amsterdam to visit Homer in 2014

Although Holland America has no scheduled visits to Homer this summer, the cruise ship company announced last week that the S/V Amsterdam will return for four visits in 2014.

The 1,380-passenger Amsterdam visits May 26, June 30, Aug. 4 and Sept. 1 next year.

The Homer stop is part of a 14-day cruise starting in Seattle that includes Southeast Alaska and visits to Anchorage, Homer and Kodiak in Southcentral Alaska.

"We are very excited that they are coming back to Homer," said Monte Davis, executive director of the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center.

St. Pat’s Day Scavenger Hunt: A fun fundraiser for 29 years

Like a lot of Homer history, the origins of the St. Patrick's Day Scavenger Hunt are shrouded in mystery. This isn't an organized fundraiser where a bookkeeper holds meticulous accounts and an organizing committee records everything.

Actually, said current organizer Cindy Burns, manager of Alice's Champagne Palace, the materials are stuffed in a box and passed on from year to year.

‘The Things They Carried’ author says writing about Vietnam was way to ‘salvage that waste’

Lies, two-headed boys and hope. Out of the shared experience of Tim O'Brien's Big Read book, "The Things They Carried," Homer readers received those odd gifts from a visit last week by the writer himself.

Thursday night, high school and college students and local writers attended a master class by O'Brien at Kachemak Bay Campus. The capstone event was on Friday, when O'Brien read from his book and talked about writing at the Mariner Theatre.

No foul play suspected in Ninilchik woman’s death

The state medical examiner has ruled out foul play or anything suspicious in the case of a Ninilchik woman found dead in a field in Ninilchik last Wednesday. Alaska State Troopers identified the woman as Kathy L. Kvasnikoff, 40.

Next of kin has been notified, and an autopsy with toxicology screening was done on Kvasnikoff last Friday. The body was released to a funeral home. Troopers are still waiting for the results of the toxicology screening, which can take several weeks.

Planning commission chair resigns

The chairperson of the Homer Advisory Planning Commission, Shelly Erickson, resigned last month. In a letter dated Feb. 20, Erickson said she resigned because she has been distracted by the pressure of trying to save her business, HomeRun Oil.

In 2000, Erickson and her husband, Jeff, started their heating fuel oil and gasoline station, the only locally owned heating fuel company.

First Friday Events

By coincidence, common themes sometimes happen at new shows opening at Homer galleries. This month, that theme is explorations in natural media like clay, wood and stone. At Ptarmigan Arts Back Room Gallery, local artists Deb Lowney and Dan Fischer collaborate on "Sticks and Stones," using found objects like driftwood, beach stones and pushki stalks to create durable art suitable for display indoors and outdoors. "Being Here," Sitka artist Rebecca Poulson's show at Fireweed Gallery, uses wood to create wood-cut engravings and prints.

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