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.
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.
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.
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.
In a town hall meeting last Friday that was part Q & A and part roundtable discussion, District O Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, gave Homer a look and a listen to its freshman senator after he'd been battle tested halfway through the legislative session.
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.
The jack-up rig Endeavour-Spirit of Independence received one of its certifications that will allow it to move soon to the Cosmopolitan oil and gas lease site off Anchor Point. The city of Homer has set a March 20 deadline for the jack-up rig to move because of a fender repair project on the Deep Water Dock.
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.
The trial of an Anchor Point woman accused of shooting at an Alaska Wildlife Trooper on the Sterling Highway has been postponed to March 21.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It's been almost 17 years since lower Kenai Peninsula residents spoke in informal sessions for the Alaska Communities of Memory Project, but now those recorded interviews have come into the digital age in a new online format.
Through Project Jukebox, 11 interviews with more recent and longtime Kachemak Bay residents are now available on the web. Project Jukebox has been organizing and putting online Communities of Memory oral histories from around the state. Videotapes were made and archived, but not easily available.
Over the next few years, downtown Homer will see several intersection and road improvements that will make safer two of the city's worst intersections and get rid of several stretches of notorious potholes on Pioneer Avenue and Lake Street.
One intersection change, at Main Street and the Sterling Highway, also could bring the first roundabout to Homer.
A common traffic violation-- failure to signal a turn -- led to an arrest last Saturday for methamphetamine possession. The incident shut down a side street near the Homer Post Office when in the process of the arrest an Alaska Wildlife Trooper discovered a suspected meth lab in a 26-year-old Homer man's 2000 Oldsmobile Alero sedan.
The Terrace, an assisted living facility run by Homer Senior Citizens, has made numerous changes to its operation and management following an investigation and report by state health officials, Homer Senior Citizens executive director Keren Kelley said this week.
"We did some things wrong. We've improved. We're human," she said in response to the investigation.
"My staff has worked above and beyond those issues that were presented ... We went further than the report did."