Local News

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.

No changes in works for Era in Homer

Contrary to what you may have heard, Era Alaska is not departing. The airline company has no intention of abandoning its service to the southern Kenai Peninsula.

However, rumors of a possible pullout from Homer have spread all the way to Era Alaska's sales and marketing director, Steven Smith.

"A lady called me last week and said she had heard that," said Smith of speculation that Era's 30-year service to Homer was coming to an end. "I asked her who told her that and she said she'd heard it was a whole realignment. That's absolutely not true."

Big show

A great gray owl sits on a downed spruce tree just off West Hill Road early Monday evening. The owl caused a small traffic jam as people stopped to view and photograph it.

Young bird watcher Landon Bunting first sighted the owl and told another birder, Jason Sodergen, who then put out an alert on the Kachemak Bay Birders email list.

"It was just an amazing event," Sodergen said. "It was great to see it."

 

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.

So far, there’s been no rush of customers for natural gas

Enstar Natural Gas has chosen a contractor — Chumley Inc. of Sterling — to construct a trunk line to bring natural gas from Anchor Point to the southern Kenai Peninsula. The Homer City Council has voted to create a city-wide special assessment district within which will be built a natural gas distribution system. Kachemak City not only approved a similar scenario, but also is offering a rebate for residents signing up with Enstar.

With construction work scheduled to begin soon, what's missing? Users.

'Silver tsunami' hits Homer

It might be a dance with live music and a floor crowded with waltzing couples. It might be a forum for political candidates with non-stop questions being asked. It might be a parade float, an afternoon card game or swimming at the Kate Kuhns Aquatic Center. It might be grocery shoppers taking advantage of a 10 percent senior discount. Whatever the occasion, Homer's senior citizens are there.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough leads Anchorage, Fairbanks and the Matanuska-Susitna areas in percent of population 65 and older according to the 2010 census:

Peninsula legislators invite public to town hall meetings

Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, has invited his District O constituents to two town hall meetings to be held in Homer and Soldotna this week. The senator will discuss key issues and provide an update on the 28th Legislature.
The senator’s staff also will be present to help with constituent issues and provide information about contacting the senator in Juneau and participating in teleconferences. Ask questions, voice concerns and enjoy pizza and refreshments.
• March 8: Homer City Council chambers, 5-7 p.m.;

City OKs bond for gas distribution

The big-ticket item at the Homer City Council's regular meeting on Monday was Ordinance 13-03(S)(2), authorizing the city to issue a natural gas distribution special assessment bond in the principal amount not to exceed $12.7 million for the finance, design and construction of natural gas distribution improvements.
The 22-page ordinance, which includes a loan agreement with the Kenai Peninsula Borough as lender and the city as borrower, passed with all six council members, including Barbara Howard who attended telephonically, voting in favor of it.

Kenai grand jury indicts Gherman on kidnapping, assault charges

A Kenai grand jury last Friday indicted Ilya Gherman, 53, on two counts each of kidnapping and third-degree assault and one count of second-degree misconduct involving weapons. The grand jury charged that in a Feb. 12 incident, Gherman restrained by threatening with a firearm his wife and daughter at their Old Sterling Highway cabin. He also is charged with shooting up his cabin with a 9mm handgun and an AK-47 semiautomatic rifle. Alaska State Troopers arrested Gherman after the incident and he is at Wildwood Pretrial Facility.

Busy legislative session reaches halfway point

Begun Jan. 15, this year's legislative session is halfway toward its April 14 adjournment. Representing areas of the Kenai Peninsula that include the southern and portions of the central peninsula, Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, and Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, took time to reflect on the session's progress and what lies ahead.
"It's been very busy. I've learned I will never serve on eight committees again," said Micciche, the former Soldotna mayor who is serving his first term in the Legislature.

R - O - U - N - D - A - B - O - U - T

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.

Troopers seize meth lab in car

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.

State investigates alleged raw milk infection cases

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Section of Epidemiology is investigating four recent illnesses on the Kenai Peninsula believed to be associated with raw milk consumption, said Greg Wilkinson, a department spokesperson. The patients admitted to drinking raw milk a few days before getting sick, Wilkinson said. They have not told where they got the raw milk. Because of patient privacy rules, Wilkinson said he could not name the peninsula towns where the patients live.

Anchor Point "Up to snow good" Snow Rondi

Two weeks after the Homer Winter Carnival and it's time to get back to celebrating the season with the Anchor Point Snow Rondi, sponsored by the Anchor Point Chamber of Commerce.
This year's theme: Up To Snow Good.
The fun starts with an auction at Chapman School at 7 p.m. today and continues through a community fish fry at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10221 at 4 p.m. Sunday.

Woman pleads guilty to evidence tampering

KENAI -- An Anchorage woman pleaded guilty last Thursday at the Kenai Courthouse to a charge of attempted tampering with physical evidence. The charge stems from her connection with the July 7, 2012, homicide of Anchor Point resident Demian Sagerser, 40.
Nancie Modeste, 26, was originally charged with felony tampering with physical evidence, but the parties negotiated a plea deal. Modeste received a flat sentence of one year in jail.

Seldovia boater rescued off Port Graham

The first sign that Kelly Brennan, 54, of Seldovia was in trouble came about 4:30 p.m. Monday when the motor on his 12-foot skiff quit operating. Brennan was near Dangerous Cape at the time, between Seldovia and Port Graham, according to a report from the Alaska State Troopers.
Fortunately for Brennan, the rest of his day improved.
Using a cell phone, Brenna was able to make contact with a woman in Seldovia, telling her he had beached his skiff, become wet in the process and wasn't dressed for being outside overnight.

Investigation leads to changes at The Terrace

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."

Man arrested on kidnapping, assault charges

An Anchor Point woman and her teenage daughter escaped in their stocking feet on a cold and snowy night last week after the woman said her husband shot up their Old Sterling Highway cabin with a handgun. Alaska State Troopers and a Homer Police officer rescued the woman and girl walking along the Old Sterling Highway about 11:30 p.m. Feb. 12 after the woman called troopers.

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