Local News

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.

Bill would provide low-interest loans to help replace home heating systems

A bill creating a low-interest loan program for homeowners wanting to improve or replace their home heating systems is making its way through the Alaska House of Representatives.
Sponsored by Rep. Tammie Wilson, R-North Pole, House Bill 35 would provide homeowners with an opportunity to receive a maximum, one-time loan of $15,000 to be repaid over 10 years at 1 percent interest.
Now that natural gas is headed toward the southern Kenai Peninsula, passage of the bill could benefit area residents.

Bill would make some drug crimes misdemeanors

JUNEAU -- One lawmaker is trying to establish an escalating scale of punishment for certain drug possession crimes, similar to what Alaska has for those convicted of driving under the influence.
Senate Bill 56, by Sen. Fred Dyson, would make the possession of a small amount of certain drugs a misdemeanor if a person has not been convicted of more than two drug-related offenses.
Currently, the possession of any amount of certain drugs, like heroin, is a felony.

Federal jury trial starts in airport shooting suit against city, police

A federal jury trial started on Feb. 4 in U.S. District Court, Anchorage, in the case of a Minnesota woman against the city of Homer and Homer Police alleging misconduct for their role in the March 2006 Homer Airport shooting. Cherry Dietzmann seeks compensatory damages for injuries to her son, Jason Anderson II, who was shot in the head and severely wounded. The boy has been under 24-hour care since then. Dietzmann also seeks damages for her daughter, Darla Anderson, and herself.
Judge Robert Bryan is presiding over the case.

Grant Aviation halts Homer operations

Less than three years after expanding operations to include Homer, Grant Aviation has dropped the southern Kenai Peninsula from its schedule. The last day of flights in and out of the Homer Airport was Feb. 9 and the first day with no service into Homer was Feb. 10, Grant Aviation station manager Phaedra Bennett told the Homer News.
Requests for reasons about the company's change of plans were referred to Grant Aviation's Anchorage offices. No response had been received by noon Wednesday.
However, Bennett said the changes were being made "indefinitely."

Invasive species bill advances in House

A bill requiring the state to create a rapid response and management plan to deal with invasive aquatic species moved out of the House Fisheries Committee Tuesday and will now come before the House Resources Committee.
House Bill 89, introduced by Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, would authorize the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to control or eradicate invasive species in Alaskan waters, following the plan it would craft in conjunction with the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and other entities.

Hunters being notified

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game will notify hunters who applied for big game drawing hunts, Tier I and Tier II hunts by email for the first time this year. The emails will be sent early Friday morning.
By noon Friday, links to the results will be posted on the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's website at hunt.alaska.gov and the highlights section on homepage adfg.alaska.gov. Frequently asked questions regarding the drawing hunts and species-specific hunting information also is available on the website.

Homer charter captain gets 10 years for meth dealing to teens, child porn

A federal judge on Feb. 8 sentenced a Homer sport fishing charter captain to 10 years in prison for distributing methamphetamines and oxycodone to teenage girls and for possessing child pornography. Randall Hines, 34, also was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess to 10 years supervised release and to register as a sex offender for 15 years.
Hines also is to fund a $160,000 trust fund that will help victims get drug treatment and counseling.

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