Local News

Probe follows ‘prank’

A week after the discovery of a suspicious bomb-like device that caused Homer High School to be evacuated, Homer Police are still investigating the incident and looking to work with Kenai Peninsula Borough School District officials on how to better respond in similar situations.

“That’s definitely my goal, to get a meeting between us and school officials and hammer out what went right and what went wrong and how we can do this better in the future,” said Homer Police Chief Mark Robl.

Graduates inspire with challenges, achievements, plans for future

“Tonight is all about you,” Dr. Allan Gee, Homer High School principal, told the graduates at Monday’s commencement ceremony. 

The same could be said at schools across the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District this week as high school seniors are handed their diplomas and tell their high school years good-bye.

Giving Homer High’s commencement address, teacher Matt Stineff encouraged the graduating students not to be discouraged by bad decisions they might make in their lives.

Teen charged in fake bomb incident released on bail

Kenai Magistrate Jennifer Wells on Friday morning released on bail a Homer High School teenager charged with terroristic threatening for placing a fake bomb in a stairwell at the high school. Wells set a $1,000 performance bond for Zachary T. Fraley, 18, a graduating senior.

Wells said $1,000 — the amount suggested by assistant District Attorney Amy Fenske — was an extremely low bond for a class B felony.

Fraley’s lawyer, Kenai attorney Kenneth Cole, entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf.

Alaska In Brief

Parnell adopted into Tlingit clan

SAXMAN — Gov. Sean Parnell was adopted into the Eagle Killer Whale Clan of the Tlingit people during a ceremony in southeast Alaska.

He was among a number of people adopted into the clan after a totem raising Saturday in Saxman, KRBD reported.

2 teens arrested for terroristic threatening after incident at Homer High

Homer Police this morning have two suspects in custody after Homer High School was evacuated this morning when a suspicious device was found in a stairwell at about 8:55 a.m. All 370 students and staff were evacuated safely within three minutes. Classes have resumed and the school is back on a normal schedule, the Kenai Peninsula School District said in a release.

“At all times, students were safe which is our number one priority,” Pegge Erkeneff, a school district spokesperson Erkeneff said in the press release.

Good aim puts officials in cold water

It was cold water for some warm-hearted city officials, Homer Police Department personnel and Alaska State Troopers on Saturday at “Dunk the Fuzz,” a fundraiser benefiting the Homer Special Olympics.

“It needed to be warm,” said a laughing Homer Police Chief Mark Robl, who found himself repeatedly splashing into the dunk tank in the Homer High School parking lot.

Council OKs Spit rezoning

A revised Homer Spit rezoning ordinance almost died on a 3-3 tie vote at Monday’s Homer City Council meeting after the council got hung up on the issue of allowing heliports as a conditional use. An amendment also died in a 3-3 tie vote to eliminate heliports from the rezoning ordinance. 

With the ordinance in limbo, and with Mayor Beth Wythe absent and not able to break the tie, the council on reconsideration passed in a 5-1 vote the ordinance with the heliport conditional use provision included. 

Council ponders possibilities for future of Pier One area

A Homer City Council work session Monday afternoon started with a simple question: Should the city lease a 10,000-square-foot lot at the Pier One Theatre campground lot — officially, Tract A, the Fishin’ Hole Subdivision — to the Kachemak Bay Wooden Boat Society?

The topic, however, morphed into a broader discussion of an overall plan for the 11-acre lot that’s now a mixture of industrial, recreational and cultural activities. 

Enstar hosts grilling fair

The public is invited to a grilling fair held by Enstar Natural Gas at Best Western Bidarka Inn from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday. Representatives of Enstar will be on hand to answer questions about the project currently underway to bring natural gas from Anchor Point to Homer and Kachemak City. The fair also offers an opportunity for residents to complete a service line application. A free lunch will be provided.

Bald Mountain Air holds mixer

Bald Mountain Air Service is the host of the May Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center mixer. The mixer is from 5 to 7 p.m. today at Bald Mountain’s hangar at 3758 FAA Road next to the Homer Airport. There will be pizza and sodas, the chance to win a bear viewing trip and other door prizes. Bald Mountain Air also shows videos of the bear viewing adventures it offers throughout the summer.

Stolen safe found, contents returned

Like other business owners in the area, Anchor River Inn general manager Jesse Clutts had to make some adjustments to the winter slowdown in business: fewer days, shorter operating hours. An after-hour burglary of the long-time restaurant and bar business didn’t help.

“About seven months back we were broken into,” Clutts told the Homer News last week. “Someone busted through three different doors and picked up our safe in the bar and hauled it off.”

Snow dampens, doesn’t quench area’s annual cleanup day

In spite of the best laid plans for the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center’s annual cleanup day, event coordinator and visitor center manager Maya Rourke said participation was down this year.

The culprit: a Friday night snowfall that brought chilly temperatures and left a layer of slush on the ground Saturday morning.

St. Augustine’s trains lay leaders to offer regular worship services

Christmas 2011 was a turning point at St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church in Homer. 

On this particular holiday with parishioners out of state, snowy weather and illness, the church closed its red door on the very night when every church’s door should be open, Christmas Eve. 

The church that the Reverend Joe and Elizabeth Aprill foresaw since the 1950s and worked to establish with hope and perseverance, had survived many problems including meeting locations, fluctuating congregation size, and lack of a regular priest. 

Family loses $1,200 in scam

A Homer man is warning people not to be taken in a phone scam in which he lost $1,200 for a “bond” to claim a $550,000 sweepstakes prize. Although the man suspected the phone call was bogus, he said he took a gamble and last week and wired three $400 payments through Western Union to accounts in Jamaica. The scam artists said they would meet the man at Wells Fargo bank, but never showed up, and he realized he had been taken.

21st Shorebird Fest Starting Out Strong

The 21st annual Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival has started with a junior birders discovery lab held Wednesday morning. The festival kicks into gear today with a spread of events, starting at 12:01 a.m. this morning with the Big Spit Plus Birding Challenge, a three-day event spread over the festival, challenging birding teams to spot as many species as possible, but without the one-day rush of previous versions of the contest.

Public hearing on Spit rezoning set for Monday

The Homer City Council at its 6 p.m. Monday meeting holds a public hearing and could act on proposed changes to zoning regulations and maps for the Homer Spit. Citizens can speak on two ordinances, 13-11(s) and 13-12, during the public hearing portion of the agenda.

The ordinance adds these activities as permitted uses in the Marine Commercial District, generally the area around the harbor:

• Accessory lodging, that is, apartments or rental rooms as part of building use such as fishing charter offices;

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