Local News

New cop shop still a priority for mayor

Newly elected Homer Mayor Bryan Zak and city council members Shelly Erickson and Tom Stroozas officially joined the ranks of city government at the end of the Monday, Oct. 10 city council meeting. The council also discussed the new animal shelter contract, potential consolidation of dispatch, and the proposed fiscal year 2017 budget.

City clerk Jo Johnson swore in the three individuals, who will take the place of departing Mayor Beth Wythe, council member Gus Van Dyke and Zak’s council seat. Carrot cake from Two Sisters’ Bakery followed the ceremony.

Alcohol law rewrite could affect area restaurants

The Homer City Council on Monday discussed updates to Alaska’s alcohol laws, spearheaded by Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, which would convert currently held public convenience licenses into seasonal licenses. If the proposed changes pass, the 12 establishments operating with public convenience liquor licenses in Homer would have their licenses converted to seasonal licenses.

Koester: Station still needed; next step up to council

In an election where all three Homer City Council candidates opposed a $12-million bond to build a new Homer Police station, voters followed the candidates’ lead and rejected Homer Proposition 1.

That proposition would have paid for a new station with a six-month, April-September, 0.65-percent sales tax increase. City officials calculated the average cost to taxpayers would have been $43 a year.

Borough bonds pass; tax proposals fail

Kenai Peninsula voters shot down two tax proposals but supported two bond issuances for new projects in Tuesday’s elections.

Voters in the Kenai Peninsula Borough decided on the future of four ballot propositions Tuesday.

Proposition 1 approves the issuance of more than $10 million in bonds to fund the construction of future cells at Central Peninsula Landfill outside Soldotna, which serves the majority of the borough’s population.

Hospice of Homer offers array of services

Evelyn Carpenter sits at a small table surveying a scattering of unassembled puzzle pieces. She is backlit by soft sunlight radiating through a window of her cozy Anchor Point home just off North Fork Road. Her delicate 80-year-old hands shake slightly, a symptom of the Parkinson’s disease that has rendered her life increasingly difficult over the past few years.

Council delays action on new moorage rates

The Homer City Council deliberative process generally follows three steps: 1) introduce an ordinance, 2) hold a public hearing and 3) deliberate and vote on the ordinance. At Monday night’s regular council meeting, the emphasis was on deliberation, with the council postponing action on several actions so it could get more information or even open up the process.

Among the actions put aside for future meetings were:

• Resolution 16-054, amending the city fee schedule to implement a new graduated harbor moorage rate;

Assembly to reconsider reducing size of borough's planning commission

In its annual visit to Homer, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly stalled on a revision of the borough’s Planning Commission opposed by both the Homer City Council and the Homer Advisory Planning Commission.

In a 4-4 vote, the assembly tied — and thus defeated — Ordinance 16-25, an ordinance that would reduce the size of the borough planning commission from a maximum of 13 to a maximum of 11.

Court reverses pot conviction

Court reverses pot conviction

by Michael Armstrong

Staff writer

The Court of Appeals has reversed a conviction for marijuana possession against a homeless Homer man. In a decision released Sept. 14, the court also rejected the claim of Michael L. Murphy, that his backpack should fall under the same privacy provisions of a home as laid out in the Ravin v. Alaska decision.

Assembly ties on planning commission change

In its annual visit to Homer, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly stalled on a revision of the borough’s Planning Commission opposed by both the Homer City Council and the Homer Advisory Planning Commission. 

In a 4-4 vote, the assembly tied — and thus defeated — Ordinance 16-25, an ordinance that would reduce the size of the borough planning commission from a maximum of 13 to a maximum of 11.

Officials make pitch to council for bonds

At Monday night’s regular Homer City Council meeting, with a bare-bones council attending and few controversial items on the agenda, much of the meeting involved pitches by city and borough officials on upcoming bond propositions. Speaking were:

• Homer Public Safety Building Review Committee chair Ken Castner on Proposition 1, a $12 million bond and a 0.65-percent seasonal sales tax increase to fund a new Homer Police Station;

Homer student wins scholarship, honored for community service

Homer High School senior Robert Martin became the first Homer youth to receive the Summer of Heroes scholarship from Alaska Communications at the Alaska State Fair on Aug. 28. In partnership with Boys and Girls Club – Alaska, ACS presents six young adults with a $1,500 scholarship to recognize their contributions to their local community through service.

Man killed in East End Road crash

A single-vehicle crash late last Friday killed a 32-year-old Homer man. In a press release, Alaska State Troopers said Jonathan R. Osteen died of his injuries when he was ejected from his truck.

Troopers said they believed Osteen died before they arrived at the scene. Kachemak Emergency Service medics confirmed Osteen’s death at about 12:40 a.m. Sept. 10. Next of kin was notified.

Troopers said Osteen had been involved in a disturbance troopers responded to about 11:25 p.m. Sept. 9.

Burning Basket vandalized; repairs made and event will go on Sunday

For the second year in a row, a vandal or vandals snuck in during the dark of early morning and tried to burn the Burning Basket at Mariner Park on the Homer Spit. As also happened last year, while badly damaged, the basket survived the torching. By noon Saturday, volunteers working with Mavis Muller, the organizer of the community art project, had started repairs.

Vet rescues darted jays

Editor's note: This article was updated to include information from Alaska Wildlife Troopers regarding the legality of using blowguns and darts to hunt small game.

Two Steller’s jays trying to fatten up for the winter almost met an early end last week. Someone in downtown Homer shot the bright-blue birds with 6-inch barbed, steel blowgun darts. In one bird, the dart went through its chest and in another the dart hit its neck. Both darts have bright orange cones on the end and got stuck in the birds.

'16 visitor season beats '15

Busy. Packed. Barn busters. Steady. Excellent.

In a survey of Homer tourist businesses last week, that’s how some described the season. While a few said the season didn’t turn out to be quite as busy as expected, most said the season ended on a high note, with visits up from slightly to as much as 15 percent over 2015.

LFS buys Redden Marine, Kachemak Gear Shed

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include a statement from LFS Inc.

After a bidding battle between a chain of two Pacific Northwest commercial fishing supply stores, LFS of Bellingham, Wash., made the top offer in a receivership sale and has purchased Redden Marine, including its Homer store, Kachemak Gear Shed. 

Englund Marine & Industrial Supply Co. of Astoria, Ore., initially appeared to have the best offer, but LFS made a late and better offer two weeks ago. The sale was final Aug. 31.

Bess won't seek to renew Animal Shelter contract

With a deadline of last Thursday for proposed bidders on the Homer Animal Shelter to do a tour of the city facility, one name isn’t on the list: Sherry Bess, the current animal control officer and the woman who has run the shelter for the past 26 years. In an email to the Homer News, Bess said she decided not to bid on a renewal of the contract.

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