It’s been a busy spring for Friends of the Homer Library coordinator, Mercedes Harness. From the Big Read to the book and plant sale, Harness — along with numerous volunteers and board members — has been working on behalf of the FHL to promote what she describes as one of Homer’s favorite places: the library.
Homer City Clerk Jo Johnson on Wednesday certified a recall petiton against Homer City Council members Donna Aderhold, David Lewis and Catriona Reynolds. Johnson set a special election for June 13. Recall organizers on March 31 turned in signature petitions.
After being postponed a week, ice melted in the Homer Harbor and sun shone on Kachemak Bay, allowing 1,007 anglers in 299 boats and 12 kayaks to cast lines in search of monster winter king salmon in the 24th Annual Homer Winter King Tournament. Homer fisherman Ron Johnson on the Olyjohn took home the biggest fish of 25.65 pounds, winning $21,147 and $32,381.25 in side bets, for a total of $53,528.25 — but he wasn’t the only winner on the Olyjohn.
Dramatic increases in borough property tax assessments on the lower Kenai Peninsula have raised a storm of protest. After assessments came out March 1, property owners and real estate professionals have criticized them as being too high, too sudden and not an accurate reflection of market changes.
NOAA’s National Weather Service, the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the Alaska Broadcasters Association plan to conduct a test of the tsunami warning communications system on Wednesday, March 29, at approximately 10:15 a.m. Alaska Daylight Time in coastal areas of southern Alaska. This test will be conducted for portions of coastal communities in Southeast Alaska, the Kenai Peninsula, Kodiak, the Aleutians and Pribilofs. People in Anchorage may see or hear that a tsunami warning has been issued for the Kenai Peninsula.
The Homer City Council at its 6 p.m. meeting on Tuesday considers three options for extending Greatland Street, the short road from the Sterling Highway west of Main Street that dead-ends for now at Save-U-More.
By MICHAEL ARMSTRONG
Organizers of a recall effort targeting Homer City Council members Donna Aderhold, David Lewis and Catriona Reynolds say emails showing the evolution of the failed so-called “inclusivity” resolution indicate why a recall is necessary.
In a special election in 2015, voters passed Proposition 1 to suspend for three years the .75 percent of city sales taxes that goes into the Homer Accelerated Roads and Trails fund. That suspension allows the city to use HART sales taxes to fund general government, about $1 million in some years. With the suspension ending next year, the Homer City Council for the past few meetings has debated the future of HART and how that .75-percent sales tax could be used. Should the HART language be changed to allow other uses such as maintenance? Or should a portion of the tax be permanently redirected to the general fund?
As Homer City Clerk Jo Johnson this week prepared petitions for a citizen group seeking to recall Homer City Council members Donna Aderhold, David Lewis and Catriona Reynolds, the city attorney at Monday’s council meeting provided guidance on the recall process.
Northerly winds last week pushed ice from the head of Kachemak Bay up against the end of the Homer Spit, choking off the harbor entrance and the southeast end of the Homer Harbor. Some mariners reported being unable to get out of the harbor over the weekend. Brash or slushy ice has been freezing together and begun filling in slips and around the load-launch ramp, but there are channels around larger vessels where they have been moving, said Homer Harbormaster Bryan Hawkins. Plus 20-foot high tides next week could bring in more ice from the head of the bay, particularly if north to northeasterly winds continue.
The last few winters have featured weather more akin to petulant autumns throwing diminutive snit-fits of snow, wind and bawling bursts of waterfall rains.
A group of 10 Homer citizens on Monday filed an application for a recall petition against Homer City Council members Donna Aderhold, David Lewis and Catriona Reynolds. The three council members sponsored an inclusivity resolution at the Feb. 27 council meeting, although only Reynolds voted for Resolution 17-019. Following almost three hours of public testimony, most of it against the resolution, it failed 5-1. The application cites their sponsorship for that resolution as well as Resolution 16-121, a resolution supporting the Standing Rock Lakota tribe and opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline, as grounds for recall. Resolution 16-121 passed 4-3, with Homer Mayor Bryan Zak breaking a tie vote that Aderhold, Lewis and Reynolds also voted yes on.
Editor’s note: In public comments lasting almost four hours, more than 100 people spoke on Resolution 17-019, Stating that the City of Homer Adheres to the Principle of Inclusion. Here are some selected quotes:
As they defoliated Sitka spruce trees in Homer and other areas around Kachemak Bay, spruce aphids have been under the watchful eyes of state, local and federal agencies. Although many trees look like they have lost their needles, aphids spared much of the new foliage that developed last year.
The Homer Harbor Deep Water Dock has served chip ships, crab boats, cruise ships, several jack-up rigs, US Navy destroyers and even a Greenpeace vessel. Like the saying goes, it’s a jack of all trades, but not a master of one — except the purpose it was designed for, a fish processing facility.
The Club Bar incident. Removing the Veterans Memorial from WKFL Park. Nuclear Free Homer. Annexation. Banning commercial cannabis. In the 53-year history of the Homer City Council, civic disputes have often flared up into hours-long public testimony that can test the patience of even the most seasoned citizen.
At next Monday’s Homer City Council meeting, the council considers a resolution that “calls on all its citizens to stand against intolerance and resist expressions of hate toward any members of the community.”
Alaskans who had a Moda health insurance plan through healthcare.gov, but who do not yet have coverage, can apply during a special enrollment period for new coverage until March 1.