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.
BY MICHAEL ARMSTRONG
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Alaska’s annual flu season has started early, with reports of increased flu activity being reported to the Alaska State Virology Laboratory, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services said last week in a press release.
“The flu is here,” said Dr. Joe McLaughlin, chief epidemiologist for Alaska.
Shoppers could see their weekly grocery bills go up $7.44 a week if the Homer City Council passes at its next meeting an ordinance it moved forward Monday night.
A fire Saturday evening that involved five Kenai Peninsula fire departments completely destroyed a landmark building at Whiskey Gulch. Firefighters could not save a five-story log home built by Robin and Margareta Lipinski and recently sold at an auction. Unoccupied at the time, no one was injured in the fire or in the response.
“It was a towering inferno,” said Anchor Point Fire and Emergency Medical Services acting chief Kayt Andrews.
Homer’s fiber artists can be found all over, at shows like Wearable Arts, in galleries and even in small couture shops. If you want to find the heart of the art and its historical center, look no further than the Pratt Museum.
Long a home to community quilters, who for decades have created raffle quilts like this year’s “From the Sky to the Sea,” through acquiring quilts for its collection and in shows like the 2007 exhibit, “Celebrating Quilts and Quilters,” the Pratt has examined quilts as a genuine art form.
In the introduction to his book, “Snap Decisions,” photojournalist Jim Lavrakas calls himself “the last ambulance chaser.” A big hunk of the 152-page photo-filled memoir includes pictures of what a 20th century daily newspaper photographer did — shooting fires, car wrecks, crime scenes and even a fiery bomb blast.
A 20-year-old Homer man was found dead on Friday morning in his car parked at a Skyline Drive overlook near Clearwater Drive. Homer Police said Nickolas Phillips died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
According to a press release, a person called police at 9:18 a.m. Nov. 9 saying he saw a man in a car at the overlook near a cluster of radio towers, but the man did not appear to be moving.
The caller said the left rear window of the car had been broken out.
For women and children staying at South Peninsula Haven House, the domestic violence shelter has an in-house second-hand clothing supply. Called “My Sister’s Closet,” it’s provided clients with clothing and other supplies to help them get their lives back together. Now, Haven House has expanded that idea with its new second-hand store, Homer Thrift.
In summer, thousands of visitors hike, raft, fish and camp in Kachemak Bay State Park and Kachemak Bay Wilderness State Park. Many of them make their own way there by private boat, but others arrive through water taxis, air taxis and guides, all permitted under Alaska State Parks regulations.
In the winter, though, the bay quiets down, with only a few water taxi operators running. Local backcountry skiers have long known that the slopes of the Kenai Mountains offer awesome runs — runs earned the hard way, through muscling up mountains.
Editor's Note: How rigorously do Homer High School officials enforce rules against drinking by students and student athletes? Are those rules enforced fairly? How does Homer High compare in overall disciplinary incidents to other Kenai Peninsula Borough School District high schools? In this two-part series, the Homer News examines those issues. This week's story looks at how Homer High enforces its rules and how it compares to other schools. Next week, we'll look at recent investigations, punishments, reactions and suggestions for change.
A 58-year-old Homer area man last week suffered burn injuries in a suicide attempt when he tried to kill himself by burning a fishing boat in dry dock at Northern Enterprise Boatyard. Homer Volunteer Fire Department emergency medical technicians treated the man about 10 minutes after the boat, the Slava II, exploded on fire and he came out of the burning boat. Because of fears that the man might be armed, EMTs and firefighters were delayed in fighting the fire until Homer Police could secure the scene, said Homer Fire Chief Bob Painter.
Compared to the whooping and hollering of four years ago when Barack Obama won the presidency, the tone was celebratory but subdued at Alice’s Champagne Palace on Tuesday night. Many in the mostly left-leaning crowd of about 100 smiled and hugged as state by state the electoral votes added up for Obama.