Homer writer, teacher publishes first poetry collection

Reading Erin Coughlin Hollowell's first poetry collection, "Pause, Traveler," is like sipping single malt Scotch whisky, with its complicated and subtle tastes. Seasoned in New York and then matured in Alaska, the palate of her poetry evokes the nature writing of Robert Frost, the simplicity of Marianne Moore, the metaphors of Hart Crane, the imagery of Ezra Pound and the pure delight in language of Walt Whitman.

"If you go all the way back, like when I was young, I read Yeats," Hollowell said when told of the analogy. "That list could go on forever."

Homer Physical Therapy marks 10th anniversary

On May 1, 2003, when Sallie Rediske started Homer Physical Therapy in a rented space on Pioneer Avenue in what’s now Refuge Chapel, she took a lunch break and walked across the street to another new business that also opened May 1, 2003, Cosmic Kitchen.
“I remember thinking ‘I hope we both make it,’” Rediske said.
Ten years later, both businesses are going strong.

Woman charged with Medicaid fraud

State prosecutors have charged a Homer woman with two counts of medical assistance fraud. Heather Platter, 31, was charged late last month, the Alaska Department of Law, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, announced in a press release.

In the first count, a class C felony, Platter is alleged to have knowingly submitted a claim with reckless disregard that she was not entitled to services or a benefit. In the second count, a class A misdemeanor, she is alleged to have knowingly made a false entry on a medical assistance record.

Accomplice in July killing pleads guilty to drug, weapon charges

An accomplice in the murder of Damian Sagerser last summer pleaded guilty last week to federal drug and weapons charges. 

Appearing before U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason April 11 in Anchorage, Nancie Modeste, 27, admitted being guilty to possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute and felon in possession of firearms.

Court cracks down on scofflaw jurors

If you were one of the lucky 3,900 jurors last year who got summonses and forgot to show up for jury duty in your month of service at the Homer Court, guess what?

You’ve got mail.

Coming your way soon, if not already, is an order to appear in court at 3 p.m. April 26 before Judge Margaret Murphy. As Ricky Ricardo said to his wife Lucy in the 1950s sitcom, “I Love Lucy,” “You’ve got some ’splaining to do.”

Cruise ship tax projects proceeding

While an extension of the Homer Spit Trail and construction of the Deep Water Dock Trail are two of the major projects using cruise ship tax revenues starting this construction season, several other projects also are being done. This week, contractors started installation of ship fenders at the Deep Water Dock, a $2 million project. Also in the works are these projects:

• Restrooms, a guard house and a waiting area at the base of the Deep Water Dock;

• Paving of the parking and staging area at the dock;

Stabenow seeks to build women writers retreat

Norman Vaughan, the explorer and Iditarod musher, used to say, “Dream big and dare to fail.” That could be the motto of Homer writer Dana Stabenow, who grew up in Seldovia.

In 1990, Stabenow was down to the last $1,100 of a grubstake from her North Slope oil work savings, trying to break into writing. Just before her 37th birthday, she sold her first novel, “Second Star.”

Nanwalek-Port Graham airport plan moving forward — slowly

With the release last month of an environmental assessment, planning has moved forward for a new airstrip to serve the lower Cook Inlet villages of Nanwalek and Port Graham — the main transportation connection between them and Homer and the road system. 

The two Alaska Native villages now have separate airstrips, but because of safety concerns, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities proposes building one new airstrip between the two communities on English Bay south of Seldovia.

Credit union burglary take: $1

Most bank robbers try the direct approach in stealing cash: Enter a bank or credit union during business hours and demand it. Homer Police last week charged a Homer woman with taking a back-door approach when she allegedly broke into the Alaska USA Credit Union at about 1:45 a.m. last Friday. 

Sierra M. Steen, 23, was charged with second-degree burglary, third-degree theft, both felonies, third-degree criminal mischief and resisting arrest.

Daugherty gets time served in assault conviction

Kenai Superior Court Judge Charles Huguelet has sentenced William Daugherty, 47, to time served for a fourth-degree assault conviction. A Homer jury had found Daugherty not guilty on three felony counts of kidnapping, third-degree assault and third-degree weapons misconduct in a trial held last month, but found him guilty of two counts of fourth-degree assault, domestic violence.

Homer man charged in rare DUI marijuana case

Alaska State Troopers last week charged a Homer man for driving under the influence. That in itself isn’t rare, but the nature of the alleged intoxication is: troopers claimed Paul Frary, 24, was under the influence of marijuana and nothing else. Also unusual is the time between when the incident happened, July 11, 2011, and when charges were filed.

The Bagel Shop brings big-city bagels to town

Like juggling, playing the piano and tap dancing, the art of making bagels appears simple when done, but takes years of practice to perfect. At The Bagel Shop, Homer’s newest bakery and café at the corner of East End Road and Kachemak Drive, bagel baker and co-owner Gabe Chapin worked 10 years to perfect a recipe and process that has its heart and soul in the classic New York City bagel, but with a local twist.

“We pay homage to that art,” said co-owner Mikela Aramburu of their bagels. “This is an Alaskan bagel. This is from us and we are Alaskans.”

Task force to present new water, sewer rates

After a year-long review of Homer’s water-sewer rates, the Water and Sewer Rate Task Force will present its final recommendations to the Homer City Council at the council’s 4 p.m. work session Monday at city hall. 

For new rates to take effect, the council must consider and pass by July 1 a resolution adopting a new schedule, meaning the council will consider a resolution sometime in May or June.

Youth art featured in show

With youth art shows at the Homer Council on the Arts, the Pratt Museum and Paul Banks Elementary School, April First Friday is all about the kids. The annual Jubilee art shows open at HCOA and the Pratt, and once again Paul Banks features its Art Extravaganza. Artist Gail Baker has been doing an artist’s residency at Paul Banks, inspiring students to create space-themed masks in association with the school’s read-a-thon.

Public testimony on anadromous stream ordinance clear: Repeal it

A political science student could have garnered good field research Monday night at the Anchor Point Senior Center when the Kenai Peninsula Borough Anadromous Fish Habitat Task Force held a town hall meeting. Public testimony spoke to a classic question that has vexed American political theory since the American Revolution: What is the role of government in protecting the common good?

Hearing continued in highway shooting

A court hearing for an Anchor Point woman accused of shooting at an Alaska Wildlife Trooper on the Sterling Highway has been postponed to April 18, with a possible trial set for the week of April 22.

Tonee Walker, 58, was charged with attempted first-degree murder and four counts of third-degree assault. Troopers allege that on July 15, 2012, Walker shot at Trooper Trent Chwialkowski in his patrol car when he tried to stop Walker.