MICHAEL ARMSTRONG

Alaskaloha shirts connect Alaska, Hawaii

On a blustery winter day with the temperatures dropping into the teens, the wind blowing 30 and the sun setting before 6 p.m., Alaskans look south — way south — and imagine themselves strolling a Hawaiian beach. Though thousands of miles apart and distant in latitude, we of the 49th state have deep connections with the 50th state.

That connection is the idea between Alaskaloha, a clothing line created by Homer entrepreneur Tiffanie Story. Her simple designs all feature the iconic Hawaiian state flower, the yellow hibiscus or pua aloalo.

Man charged with texting while driving after landing in ditch

A man who drove his car down a steep embankment last summer has been charged with texting while driving. In a criminal complaint filed last week, Alaska State Troopers charged Michael D. Mobley, 23, with driving a motor vehicle with a screen device operating, the formal charge for driving a car while having a TV, video monitor, portable computer or other similar device visible to the driver.

Herrick associate charged with hindering prosecution


The man driving a truck when Alaska State Troopers arrested Bret Herrick, 52, on Dec. 8 in Anchor Point has been charged with first-degree hindering prosecution, a felony. Troopers allege William R. Dalton, 35, knew that Herrick had a warrant for his arrest and had given him a ride knowing he had a warrant. Herrick is alleged in August to have kidnapped a man at gunpoint from his Skyline Drive home and forced him to get money out of a cash machine.

Andersen brings blues to Alaska — Canadian style

Listen to Matt Andersen’s music, and you hear a deep, growling voice that could come from blues country in Chicago or the Mississippi Delta. There’s also a bit of Appalachia twang — Johnny Cash crossed with B.B. King. Backing his strong voice is Andersen’s equally powerful slide guitar.

“You know it hurts so bad
 every time she cries / wishin’ I was there
 to wipe the tears from her eyes,” he sings in “When My Angel Gets the Blues.”

Hearings scheduled for major Homer criminal cases

Last year Homer Police and Alaska State Troopers arrested and charged nine defendants with major crimes ranging from murder to sexual assault. As the new year starts, Homer judges have a full docket as those cases move through the criminal justice system. Here are some major cases and the next scheduled court action:

• Alfred Jones, case number 3HO-12-00213CR. 

Incident: A May 29, 2010, car crash on the Sterling Highway that killed Kathleen Benz, 25, of Washington, D.C. 

new year’s eve at renn’s: the highlight of homer dancinG

On a howling New Year’s Eve night with snow and rain flying sideways, someone driving by Renn Tolman’s boat shop on Kachemak Drive might not know that inside his shop a full-on dance party rumbled. If not for a line of cars parked from Northern Enterprises Boat Yard for almost a half-mile to the west, you might not know anything went on.

New ordinance only applies to thin, disposable bags


Starting Tuesday, the city of Homer’s ban on thin, disposable shopping bags took effect. Ban supporters expecting an ecotopia where every shopper carries a reusable bag and plastic bags disappear overnight won’t see that. In fact, today, next week and even next summer might look a lot like last year as businesses use up plastic bags purchased in 2012.

Homer musician’s band ready to cut first album — in vinyl

When last we checked in with the musical career of Homer-grown musician Andrew Vait, Vait had these projects in mind:

• Distinguish his solo career as an acoustic, alt-country-folk singer from that of his retro-rock band, Eternal Fair;

• Produce an extended play album for Eternal Fair, “Eternal Fair: Volume 1,” and

• Build his and Eternal Fair’s fan following in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest.

Artists look at northern lights with low-tech, modern cameras

A new multi-artist exhibit at Ptarmigan Arts, “Aurora Borealis,” not only offers some of the best northern lights photographers in Homer, it also shows that to take awesome photographs of the Alaska winter sky you don’t need the newest and best digital camera equipment.

Opening last week, and on display through January, photographs by Dennis Anderson, Don Pitcher, and the Wild North Photography partners Tom Collopy and Mary Frische capture the amazing displays Homer wishes for — but doesn’t always get — in these dark winter months.

Food tax exemption still on table


How do citizens want to pay for city government and how much should that government cost? At Monday night’s Homer City Council meeting, council members and taxpayers debated — and acted upon — those issues which are at the heart of modern government.

On the big ordinance of the night, the budget, the council showed solid agreement, unanimously approving a 2013 budget of nearly $25.4 million.

State delays decision on heli-skiing

BY MICHAEL ARMSTRONG

STAFF WRITER

Following a comment period that brought 1,500 comments from all over Alaska and the United States, the Alaska Division of Parks and Recreation earlier this month announced it will postpone a decision on whether or not to allow commercial helicopter assisted skiing in Kachemak Bay State Park and Kachemak Bay Wilderness Park.

Endeavour's delay fattens wallets of workers, city

Although Buccaneer Oil Alaska got from the city of Homer an extension to Dec. 8 to moor its jack-up rig, the Endeavour-Spirit of Independence, at the Deep Water Dock, it doesn't look likely state permits will be issued by Saturday to allow it to put legs down at the Cosmopolitan site off Anchor Point and begin oil and gas exploration.
Buccaneer's original intent had been to stay for just eight days after its arrival in August.
"The next thing you know, we're in October," said Homer Harbormaster Bryan Hawkins.

So far, city receives only 110 objections to special district

With less than two months to go for property owners to object to the proposed Homer Natural Gas Special Assessment District, so far, objections have been light. As of this week, of the 3,855 lots in the assessment district, the city clerk’s office has received objections from owners of 110 parcels. Objections must be received by the clerk’s office by 5 p.m. Jan. 25.

Nutcracker ballet a mix of old, new

Now in its second year with the new generation of artistic directors, the Homer Nutcracker Ballet continues in the tradition of always bringing some fresh features to the classical holiday production. As they did last year, directors Breezy Berryman and Jennifer Norton ground Tchaikovsky’s ballet in the original story line of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” a tale of a curse put on a prince that turns him into a wooden nutcracker.

New venues join First Friday shows

The ever changing and evolving Homer First Friday circuit sees two new venues offering shows this week. With K-Bay Caffe's new location on Pioneer Avenue next to Refuge Chapel and the Grog Shop, the longtime coffee roaster now has a cafe with live music and, starting Friday, art. Adam Green, who also works as a barista at K-Bay Caffe, shows his bold mixed-media paintings that experiment with color, texture, form and negative space. Across the street from K-Bay Caffe, Photo Depot also has an art show this month.

Mindfulness meeting: finding weekly serenity

Stressed out? Anxious? Maybe the holiday chaos has gotten to you. Maybe the bills have stacked up and you're trying to figure out how to pay for a new car battery. Or, maybe you're dealing with some big life challenges, like domestic violence and substance abuse.
If you're looking for a calm place to cultivate wisdom, gratitude and serenity, try the weekly Mindfulness Meeting, run every Friday at noon by South Peninsula Haven House.

Anchor Point man charged in arson for boat burning

Homer Police on Monday charged an Anchor Point man with first-degree arson, a felony, for burning a fishing boat in dry dock at the Northern Enterprises Boatyard on Oct. 29.
Police allege Mike Makai Martushoff, 58, intentionally set his father's boat, the Slava II, on fire in an attempt to kill himself. The $240,000 boat had major damage, but firefighters kept the fire from spreading to nearby boats. The Slava II was not insured.

Teen brains explained

Think you know the teen brain? Sure. Most of us were teenagers once. All the thrilling experiences of adolescence should come rushing back just at the thought.
Yeah, right.
Last Thursday, five high school students with Promoting Health Among Teens, or P.H.A.T., spoke on "The Amazing Adolescent Brain" at the Youth Resource and Enrichment Co-op, or R.E.C. Room. Volunteer peer educators, the P.H.A.T. team present information on adolescent health through skits and other activities.

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