Local News

Council considers new rates on Monday

A proposed new water-sewer rate schedule comes back for reconsideration at 6 p.m. Monday for the Homer City Council’s regular meeting. Near the top of the agenda right after public comments, the motion to reconsider asks the question “Does the council want to look one more time at changing water and sewer rates?”

If the motion to reconsider fails, the proposed new fee schedule dies, and the current water and sewer rates remain unchanged.

Seldovia feels impact of Tustumena’s lengthy repairs

Sharon Bond’s son, 14-year-old Trevor, has a close connection to the vessels of the Alaska Marine Highway System. Especially the M/V Tustumena, the ship that links the family’s hone in Seldovia to the rest of the world.

“Sometimes children with autism need a focus on something. His is on the ferry system,” said Bond, whose son is on hand every time the ship ties up at the dock. 

Road, gas line work cause traffic delays

Mix summer tourist traffic with construction projects and the end of the road got a taste of big-city bumper-to-bumper traffic. Work on the Sterling Highway repaving project combined with the installation of the Homer distribution gas line by the post office backed up traffic from Pioneer Ave to Lake Street today.

Drivers using the highway along that stretch should allow for delays of up to 20 minutes, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities advises, but some drivers today reported delays of 45 minutes.

Investigation into Soldotna crash begins

In stark contrast to the scores who witnessed a 777 crash that killed two in San Francisco the day before, no one saw the crash of a nine-passenger charter plane that killed 10 people in Soldotna Sunday.

All that was known about the crash, as of Monday night, was that the pilot was not able to keep the charter plane airborne and in control, said NTSB board member Earl F. Weener.

“Obviously, it got airborne,” he said during a press conference at the airport, responding to conflicting local accounts of the crash.

Homer man charged in motorhome arson

Homer Police this week charged a Homer man with first-degree arson, a felony, for allegedly torching his own motorhome. Alen T. Blatchford, 66, also was charged with failure to control or report a dangerous fire. Homer Police found Blatchford standing outside his motorhome on Jenny Way when they went to investigate the fire at about 8:20 a.m. July 4.

Homer Volunteer Fire Department firefighters put out the fire.

Second suicide in July reported

Alaska State Troopers on Sunday went to a report of a man with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. According to a trooper press release, at about 3 p.m. July 7 troopers responded to a Thurmond Avenue home in Anchor Point where they found a 58-year-old Anchor Point man had taken his own life by shooting himself with a handgun. Next of kin were at the home. The man’s remains were taken to the Alaska State Medical Examiner’s office in Anchorage for an examination.

Fisherman killed in gear accident

A Wisconsin fishermen who got his hand and body caught in an anchor winch on a Homer fishing boat on July 4 died of his injuries. Ninilchik Emergency Services medics responded to the boat and pronounced Lewis Byerly, 55, dead. The F/V Anna Lane was about 1.5 miles offshore of Ninilchik at the time of the incident and being worked as a fish tender.

More time for halibut comments sought

Both Alaska U.S. senators and the Homer Chamber of Commerce have asked for an extension to the 45-day period for comments on a revised version of the halibut catch sharing. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service on June 28 published the proposed plan in the Federal Register and seeks public comments by  Aug. 12.

That’s too short a time, said the chamber and the senators.

Assembly OKs salmon habitat protections

Two attempts to derail the inevitable and affirmative vote for borough-wide riparian regulations were thwarted last week as the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly voted 6 -3 to enact the broader protective regulations over local waters.

With the vote, the assembly largely agreed that some form of proactive protection of salmon rearing waters was needed now, while most of the runs are still healthy. 

Bayview Park gets some TLC

A year ago, volunteers young and old, locals as well as visitors turned out in force to transform Karen Hornaday Park’s aging playground into a wonderland for children of all ages. Wednesday, the spotlight was on Bayview Park, where community members gathered to work and to share ideas for improving the city’s “lovely little neighborhood park” at the top of Main Street.

Best Beginnings Homer, the park’s “adoptive parent,” organized the effort to repair the fence outlining the area, weed the sandbox and do general cleanup.

Homer High graduate serves as Murkowski summer intern

WASHINGTON, D.C.  — A recent Homer High School graduate is among the second group of summer interns working in the office of U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

Maggie Graham of Homer is one of 10 students from across Alaska who will observe and participate in the daily operations of the U.S. Senate and witness the legislative process. The students will spend the next four weeks assisting in the day-to-day clerical and administrative tasks such as directing mail, speaking with constituents and assisting staff with research projects.

House damaged in Fourth of July fire

A fire that started about 10 p.m. on the Fourth of July severely damaged a small house on a private driveway off Diamond Ridge Road. Kachemak Emergency Services and Homer Volunteer Fire Department firefighters had to string at least 500 feet of hose down a gravel driveway to get to the fire. About 20 firefighters from both departments responded, as did an Alaska State Trooper.

Hearing continued for brothers

A hearing held last Friday for Anthony Resetarits, 21, and Joseph Resetarits, 18, each charged with sexual assault following a Sept. 8, 2012, East End Road teen drinking party, has been continued until 3:30 p.m. Aug. 2 at the Homer Courthouse. Appearing telephonically, Phillip Weidner, Anthony Resetarits’ attorney, said he had hoped to have a resolution by the June 28 hearing, but was not ready. Weidner and Michael Moberley, Joseph Resetarits’ attorney, agreed to waive speedy trial rules.

Dead man found near school

Maintenance workers with the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District on Monday found the body of a 32-year-old Anchorage man near Paul Banks Elementary School on East End Road. Homer Police Chief Mark Robl said a worker called police about 10:40 a.m. July 1 saying a body was found in the woods near the school.

Friends celebrate Garrity’s life

The musician who helped bring New Orleans and Louisiana Cajun music to Homer, Ray Garrity, got a proper second-line send-off Monday afternoon. In the New Orleans tradition of a jazz funeral without a body, wearing black and waving white handkerchiefs, the Bossy Panties dance group and the Bossy Pants band, friends and family of Garrity marched from Homer High School down Pioneer Avenue to Café Cups.

Halibut changes on table

A revised version of the controversial halibut catch sharing plan is once again back up for federal review. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service on June 28 published the proposed plan in the Federal Register and seeks public comment. Comments are due by Aug. 12.

In letters sent this week to NOAA Acting Administrator Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, both Alaska's U.S. Senators urged NOAA to extend the comment period another 45 days. 

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