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Council tackles budget Monday

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to note how the city provides health insurance and that council member Tom Stroozas' proposed cut to the library is for the personnel budget. It also has been updated to include information on proposed amendments by council members to the budget that were made public on Thursday:

The Homer City Council on Monday will make probably its most important decision of the year: how much to spend on city services and how to fund them.

Fisheries board meeting in Homer

In the winter, those looking for a shot at some fresh king salmon can head to Kachemak Bay and drop a line.

King salmon arrive in the bay and in the salt waters of Cook Inlet during the winter, where they are known as “feeder” king salmon because they are eating and growing. Sport fishermen catch them for personal consumption and recreation alike, harvesting thousands during the winter months from shore, powerboats, drift boats and kayaks.

Crocheting together help, hope

Editor's note: The spellings for the names of Ardith Lee and Paula Lee have been corrected.

In the fiber art of crocheting, yarn gets connected together by making loops with a hook — “crochet” means “small hook” in French. Loop enough strands together and you can create shawls, scarves, hats, bags and sweaters.

Crocheting doesn’t just connect fiber. On the Kenai Peninsula, crocheting also connects two programs serving women: Alaska Correctional Ministries in Kenai and South Peninsula Haven House in Homer.

Kenai marijuana store open for business

Kenai marijuana store open for business

By BEN BOETTGER

Morris News Service - Alaska

When Roger Boyd was getting Red Run Cannabis Company, his marijuana cultivation and retail business, licensed by the Kenai city government in April, he told the city Planning and Zoning commission he considered it a statement as much a business. He now considers his statement made.

At Red Run’s opening at noon on Monday, a line stretched to the end of the business’s parking lot. By 1:30, the line remained about the same length.

Trial set for January in Homer murder case

KENAI — A Homer man accused of the city’s only previously unsolved murder appeared in Kenai Superior Court on Monday.

Lee John Henry, 55, is charged in the 2013 death of Mark Matthews, then 61, near the Poopdeck Trail in Homer.

He was indicted by a grand jury on Oct. 20 on one count of first-degree murder, three counts of second-degree murder, one count of manslaughter and one count of first-degree robbery. Homer police arrested him for first-degree murder on Oct. 19 after the department got a tip from an area resident, the Homer News reported.

HEA members file complaint

Two Homer Electric Association members last week filed a complaint with the Regulatory Commission of Alaska regarding a petition by the Alaska Electric and Energy Cooperative Inc., or AEEC, to be exempt from regulation from the RCA.

HEA members are currently voting by mail on the question of if HEA should be deregulated. Members have until Nov. 27 to return ballots, with the tabulation to be done in December. AEEC is a subsidiary of HEA, with HEA its sole member. The HEA board of directors also is the AEEC board of directors.

Senior citizens chef keeps it fresh

Thanksgiving dinner coming out of Homer Senior Citizens kitchen lacks much of one item many people tend to consume on this turkey-eating holiday — sodium.

When David Pruett took over as chef at Homer Senior Citizens about five years ago, it didn’t take him long — about day two — to start changing what went into the mouths of Homer’s seasoned citizens. Like many food service establishments, the senior center’s kitchen used processed foods — boxes, cans and bags of items that can shorten the amount of cooking time but that also contain unsavory ingredients.

Council spikes merging dispatch

Like Buffy the Vampire Slayer rooting out the living dead, the Homer City Council at its Monday meeting put a stake in the heart of the idea of consolidating 911 dispatch service.

In two separate actions Monday night, Mayor Bryan Zak broke 3-3 tie votes to stop for now consideration of moving 911 dispatch from the Homer Police Department to the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s dispatch center in Soldotna.

Coast Guard rescues AP man, friends off Knight Island

A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew rescued an Anchor Point man and three other people last Friday after their boat capsized off Knight Island in Prince William Sound. Crew in a Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak found and hoisted to safety Roy Whiteside, 45, of Anchor Point, Uriah Rolando, 40, of Anchorage, Orin Rolando, 28, and Joel Balzer, 43, both city unknown. According to a Coast Guard press release, the four men were taken to Cordova with no medical concerns.

Fishing hole pavilion finished

A new picnic pavilion near the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon and at the trailhead and kayak launch site for the Kachemak Bay Water Trail was completed last week. The pavilion in the campground by the fishing hole and Pier One Theatre replaces a picnic shelter torn down several years ago that had been by the Homer Spit Road. Last week, volunteer builders finished attaching the green-metal roof to the timber-frame structure.  

Governor has power over PFD, judge says

ANCHORAGE — Gov. Bill Walker had every right to cut Alaskans’ Permanent Fund Dividend in half, according to a state court judge.

The court has ruled in favor of the state in the PFD case filed by Sen. Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage, and former state Sens. Rick Halford and Clem Tillion.

Oral arguments were heard in Superior Court Third Judicial District in Anchorage on Thursday, Nov. 17. Judge William Morse ruled immediately following the arguments.

Turkey shortage averted

A barge en route to Alaska from Washington that broke down this week caused a temporary turkey shortage at the Homer Safeway grocery store on Wednesday and Thursday. A check of the store on Thursday afternoon showed chickens, ribs and hams, but not the main dish for the traditional Thanksgiving meal.

“What the hell? A week before Thanksgiving? Are you insane?” irate customer Allison Schaefer told the Homer News after she tried to get a turkey on Wednesday.

Fear not — the turkeys arrived at Safeway on Friday, Nov. 18.

Senate caucus similar to previous sessions

Although the Alaska House has organized a bipartisan caucus, the Alaska Senate will look much the same as it has for several years, but it will be led by Fairbanks Republican Sen. Pete Kelly as the state’s new Senate president, taking over for Anchorage Republican Sen. Kevin Meyer. Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kenai, will be chair of the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee.

Meyer is now chair of the Senate Rules Committee.

Hearing continued in Boyle case

A change of plea hearing for Stephen Boyle set for Nov. 9 has been continued to 3:30 p.m. Nov. 28 at the Homer Courthouse. Boyle had been scheduled to enter a plea, but his lawyer, Andy Pevehouse, said they had just that day received a plea agreement and offer from the state.

Boyle, 43, was charged in June with six counts of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor. Boyle was the deputy fire chief for Kachemak Emergency Services but no longer works for KES.

Longtime Homer fisherman Jones dies in kayak accident

Fishermen this week remembered the contributions to the Alaska fishing community of veteran Homer commercial fisherman Kenneth Jones.

Jones, 72, died sometime Sunday or early Monday in a kayak accident. A memorial service for him is at 6:30 p.m. today at Land’s End Resort.

“He was really, really well known around the state as a good fisherman,” said Ken Castner, who fished one winter with Jones. “He was always one of the top fishermen. He taught a lot of people how to fish.”

Build it so they can play

Construction on the South Peninsula Athletic and Recreation Center, or SPARC, building is making steady progress toward organizers’ goal of having the community recreation building open for games before the end of the year.

Volunteers began building the steel frame structure on Monday, Nov. 14 and plan to put up the fabric covering that will enclose the building shortly after Thanksgiving, said Daniel Zatz of the soccer association.

Seaton joins bipartisan caucus

The day after he was elected to an eighth term representing District 31 in the Alaska House, Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, joined two other Republicans, 17 Democrats and two independents to form a new House majority caucus. Seaton will be co-chair of Finance for the operating budget — his only committee assignment.

“Writing the operating budget is a big enough job,” Seaton said on Monday in a phone call from Seattle.

Homer fisherman dies in kayaking accident

A longtime Homer fisherman reported overdue from a kayaking trip on Sunday was found dead by a fellow fisherman early Monday morning. The body of Ken Jones, 72, was found in the water off the Anchor Point bluff about 2:30 a.m. Monday, said Homer Police Chief Mark Robl. Six fishing boats had gone out searching, and another fisherman found Jones’ single-person kayak about 1 mile from his body. Police do not suspect foul play, Robl said. Next of kin have been notified.

The turkeys are on the loose

It’s that time of year again at the Homer News – the Great Turkey Giveaway is back and we’ve partnered with fantastic advertisers to help you put Tom Turkey on the table this Thanksgiving season.

To enter, pick up a copy of the Homer News and fill out a turkey for one of our advertisers, then drop by the business listed on the turkey and drop it off in one of the Homer News turkey boxes. Winners will be chosen and notified November 18, 2016.

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