Local News

Peninsula welcomes responsible development

"Cook Inlet -- Energy for All Alaska" was the theme of the 2013 Industry Outlook Forum, organized by the Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District and co-sponsored by the city of Homer. Certainly, there were presentations about energy -- oil, natural gas, electricity -- but the energy level among the 200-plus forum presenters and attendees also was evident.
"It was just great fun," said John Torgerson, executive director of KPEDD. "I think we accomplished our goal of having education seminars."

Seavey gets first T200 win

The sled dogs pulled Mitch Seavey to the finish line and the veteran musher smiled. He appeared comfortable wearing a lightweight jacket. A blotch of frost covered the left side of his mustache.
It was Seavey's first win at the Tustumena 200 Sled Dog Race. The win caught him off guard, he said.
"I went out for a training run and came back first," he said.

Oil, gas companies outline plans for Kenai Peninsula, Cook Inlet

By McKibben Jackinsky AND MICHAEL ARMSTRONG
STAFF WRITERS
"It's great being in Homer again," said homeboy John Hendrix in his opening remarks at last week's Industry Outlook Forum.
That was just one of the hats the 1975 Homer High School graduate was wearing Thursday evening. Hendrix also is the general manager of Apache Alaska Inc., an oil and gas company that, with more than a million acres, is "the largest acreage holder in Cook Inlet," he told forum participants.

City insurance won't pay for sewage flood damage

The city of Homer's insurance provider won't pay for damages to homes hit by a mid-January sewage flood. An insurance adjuster for the Alaska Municipal League told the city the event was "an act of God" -- a legal term for a natural disaster no one could have prevented. A third-party engineering report showed no negligence by the city, Public Works Director Carey Meyer said insurance adjusters told him.

Borough wants public input on land grant

Kenai Peninsula Borough officials are asking for the public’s help picking out which state lands the borough should gain ownership of as part of its long-standing municipal entitlement land grant.

To help, borough residents are being encouraged to use an online mapping tool and survey that will allow them to pick lands and comment on the fate of which 28,000 acres the borough ultimately chooses.

Snowmachine easement case settled — finally

Sixteen-feet wide.

That’s the final number and detail in a 14-year dispute between members of the Snomads snowmachine club and an East End Road landowner, Tom Price Jr. 

In Eastham et al. v. Price, a case dating back to May 1999, the court ruled in November that the width of a prescriptive easement going through Price’s 160-acre parcel should be 16-feet wide. That and other issues had been the last details of a case that went to the Alaska Supreme Court three times and kept being sent back to lower courts for resolution. 

Bear data could increase area hunting opportunities

For the first time in more than a decade on the Kenai Peninsula, wildlife managers have a recent brown bear population estimate to inform their game management decisions.

Ted Spraker, chairman of the Alaska Board of Game, said he suspects the new number — more than twice the old estimate — will increase hunting opportunities on the peninsula.

“This is what a lot of people have been looking for who are interested in maybe hunting brown bears on the Kenai,” Spraker said.

Man hurt in hit-and-run; police seek information

Homer Police are seeking information about a driver who hit and knocked unconscious a 47-year-old man walking on Ben Walters Lane last Wednesday morning. An unidentified driver hit the man about 9 a.m. Jan. 23 in the area of Lupine Court and near the entrance to Building D of the Conifer Woods Apartments. The driver stopped briefly and then left, police said in a press release.

The victim was struck hard enough to be knocked unconscious and suffered substantial, but non life-threatening, injuries. He was taken to South Peninsula Hospital and released. 

Cops charge third person in robbery

Homer Police last week charged a third person in the Dec. 17 armed robbery of the Grog Shop. James Mumey, 49, was arrested for first-degree robbery and is now at Wildwood Pretrial Facility, Kenai. Police said that Mumey provided the silver handgun that his older brother, John Mumey, 50, is alleged to have used in robbing the Pioneer Avenue liquor store.

T200 halfway point at McNeil Canyon

Temperatures in Homer were hovering around zero degrees Sunday afternoon, but at the Tustumena 200 volunteers’ meeting at Captain’s Coffee enthusiasm for this weekend’s sled dog race was anything but chilly. 

In 2012, the 200-mile race incorporated McNeil Canyon Elementary School as a checkpoint. Southern peninsula spectators took advantage of the accessible location to be on hand as 16 teams arrived on their way from the Kasilof starting line to the halfway mark, and a second time as they made their back to the Kasilof finish line.

Homer public transportation slow, but project still rolling

A plan to bring public transportation to Homer remains in the works, with a Chrysler handicap accessible van in Kenai and ready to roll sometime in the near future. 

However, due to some contract requirements, getting vouchers printed and other details, the rubber has not yet quite met the road for the Central Area Rural Transit System, or CARTS.

540 say no to gas proposal

Does Homer’s silent majority want natural gas or not?

That was the topic at the Homer City Council’s regular meeting on Monday when members of the public and the city council discussed creating the Natural Gas Homer Special Assessment District. As proposed by the city, boundaries of the SAD mirror the city limits and include 3,855 properties. Assessments estimated to be $3,283 per property would pay for a $12.7-million distribution system to deliver natural gas from a trunk line to be constructed by Enstar Natural Gas Company from Anchor Point to the cities of Homer and Kachemak.

Collaborating for a good cause

What does a pink-haired, tattooed, ear-pierced, outspoken, former hairstylist, current college student, 20-something single mother of twins from the central peninsula have in common with a soft-spoken, married, former nurse, current Homer author with sometimes evident strands of gray hair that hint at her age have in common?

Not much unless you’re talking about Maggie Winston of Kenai and Marianne Schlegelmilch of Homer. When it comes to these two women, you don’t have to look too far beneath the surface to discover a strong connection.

Enstar awards contract for constructing trunk line

There’s progress being made in Enstar Natural Gas’ plans to construct a trunk line to bring natural gas from Anchor Point to Homer and Kachemak City. 

For starters, the contract to construct the line has been awarded to Chumley Inc., a Sterling-based company.

“(Chumley) did our Girdwood extension from the Seward Highway into the city of Girdwood and the distribution system,” said John Sims, Enstar’s manager of corporate communications and customer service. “They have a lot of good experience.”

News Briefs

SPH Foundation holds annual meeting at 3:30 p.m. Monday

The annual meeting of the South Peninsula Hospital Foundation Inc. is 3:30 p.m. Monday in the hospital’s conference room at 4300 Bartlett St. in Homer. The meeting is open to the public. The agenda will include an annual financial report, review of the year and election of officers. 

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.

Assembly to consider $13 million loan for gas distribution system

Kenai Peninsula Borough officials are considering loaning Homer and Kachemak City a combined $13 million to help create a natural gas grid on the heels of last year’s state capital appropriations that will bring a gas line from Anchor Point south.

Although the borough helps connect residents with gas through utility special assessment districts outside of city limits, it usually does not make such large loans and therefore the assembly must consider whether or not to amend their investment policy to allow for the transaction.

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