Local News

Neither wind or rain

Joanne Thordarson, left, and Betty Siegel look for shorebirds on Friday at Mud Bay on the Homer Spit as the morning tide was going out. Siegel, the volunteer coordinator for the Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges, was counting and identifying shorebirds as part of a shorebird monitoring project. Dunlins, black bellied plovers and a western sandpiper were seen on Friday.

Tustumena June sailings canceled

June sailings for the M/V Tustumena have been cancelled, the Alaska Marine Highway System announced last week. The Tustumena will not return to service until July. The Tustumena has been undergoing repairs and retrofitting since last November, and had been scheduled to return to service in April. Unexpected repair items, including steel work, pushed that date to the end of May, but that work now isn’t expected to be done until July 4, the AMHS said in a press release. 

Enstar provides gas project update

Enstar Natural Gas has provided the following update on its project to bring natural gas from Anchor Point to Homer and Kachemak City.

Chumley crews are working near the bottom of the Homer hill and will continue onto West Hill Road later this week. The 8-inch diameter trunk line bringing natural gas from Anchor Point will follow West Hill Road for about a quarter mile and then turn east to Fairview Avenue. The Fairview section of the line is scheduled to begin this week, with crews focusing their attention on areas scheduled to be repaved later this summer.

Sow and cub reported at SPH

The first in-town bear of the season was reported seen Tuesday morning near South Peninsula Hospital. According to a police report, a hospital employee about 9:30 a.m. reported seeing a black bear sow and cub heading from above Karen Hornaday Park to the park. At press time on Wednesday, police and Alaska Department of Fish and Game officials were not available to comment on if officers or biologists responded to the report.

KBC director being honored for ‘meritorious service’

Among those being recognized at commencement ceremonies for Kachemak Bay Campus, Kenai Peninsula College-University of Alaska Anchorage, is Campus Director Carol Swartz. Honoring her 27 years of commitment and service to the university and to the community of Homer, Swartz will be presented with the 2013 UA-UAA Meritorious Service Award by Patricia Jacobson, chair of the University Board of Regents, UAA Chancellor Thomas Case and KPC Director Gary Turner.

Man arrested in shooting tries, fails at jail break

An Anchor Point man arrested last week for a shooting incident faces a new charge after he allegedly tried to escape from the Homer Jail two days later. A Kenai grand jury last week indicted Niko Mogar, 22, for attempted second-degree escape. It also indicted him and his co-defendant, Christopher Murphy, 24, also of Anchor Point, for second-degree weapons misconduct. 

‘Relay for Life’ gets slow, but sure start

With 16 teams and an organizing committee hard at work, the 2013 Relay for Life of Homer is lining up to be a success. 

“It’s going good,” said Marilyn Parrett, co-chair for the event, adding there’s been a bit of a slow start, which she attributes to a long winter. “Usually spring is kind of invigorating and you feel that energy to move into Relay season, but this year we’re still kind of getting our inspiration back.”

June 3 deadline for initiative to repeal ban on plastic bags

With a month to the June 3 deadline for turning in petitions, a citizen initiative to repeal Homer’s plastic bag ban as of this week has collected more than half the 230 signatures needed to get the initiative on the October ballot. 

Organizers need 25 percent of the ballots cast last October, said Justin Arnold, 27, the initiative organizer. As of Tuesday, Arnold, who is recovering from a broken collarbone, said sponsors had gathered about 150 signatures from registered Homer voters.

Homer holds nose at spring scent

If the print edition of today’s Homer News had scratch ’n’ sniff ink, an eau de Homer this spring would have a recipe like this:

• Start with a generous dose of wet dog;

• Add a sprinkle of sewage sludge;

• Toss in a dead sea otter;

• Throw in that yucky black stuff at the bottom of an unturned compost heap;

• Marinade in fresh horse manure, and

• Let stand in a sealed 5-gallon bucket.

Huge flock of geese feeding at Beluga Slough

A huge flock of greater white-fronted geese flew in this weekend over Kachemak Bay, drawing a steady stream of bird watchers on Saturday, Sunday and Monday morning. At Beluga Slough, hundreds of geese fed in the slough, some within yards of the Lake Street path. Along with the greater white-fronted geese could be seen smaller flocks of cackling geese, a species similar to Canada geese but not as large, and snow geese. Shorebirds also can be seen in the slough, including greater yellowlegs.

Homer’s winning entries dominate ‘Caring for the Kenai’ competition

Ask a Homer High School student what he or she can do, invent or create to better care for the environment of the Kenai Peninsula or to improve the area's preparedness for a natural disaster, and you'll get an answer. A winning answer, as was proven in the 23rd annual Caring For the Kenai competition.

Council: Where’s money for HERC building, bike path?

Show me the money.

While Mayor Beth Wythe and some council members didn't say it in exactly those words, that was the sentiment at Monday night's Homer City Council meeting and council work sessions earlier that night and the previous Monday.

Several items prompted Wythe and others to express an austerity philosophy driven by discussions with Alaska legislators on a recent trip to Juneau and what Wythe sees as overuse of city staff resources. Among them:

Chamber seeks local buy-in to make shorebird fest financially sustainable

With this year's Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival quickly approaching, the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center is asking the community's help in ensuring the festival is a financially sustainable event.

"This year everybody who has registered for an event gets a keychain figure they have to show when they come into events," said Monte Davis, the chamber's executive director. "Anyone who doesn't have that is given the opportunity to pay the $15 registration."

Council postpones action on Kachemak Drive path

In a work session on April 15 and at the Homer City Council meeting Monday night, the council got in a bit of a tussle with the Parks and Recreation Commission over a misunderstanding on the Kachemak Drive nonmotorized path. Last December, the council appropriated $20,000 in a resolution "to determine the cost of the initial one-half mile of the proposed Kachemak Drive Non-motorized Pathway."

Council moves forward on Spit rezoning

At the top of a list of items on the Homer City Council's consent agenda were two items that, if passed, would change the Homer Spit zoning code and allow accessory uses like lodging in the Marine Commercial zoning district. Monday night, those two ordinances, 13-11 and 13-12, were only being introduced, with a public hearing and action scheduled for the May 13 council meeting.

Relay sponsor deadline nears

With 16 teams and an organizing committee hard at work, the 2013 Relay for Life of Homer, benefiting the American Cancer Society, is lining up to be a success. Anyone wanting to help sponsor the June 7-8 event has until April 28 to sign up, with payment due in May.
For more information on being a Relay for Life sponsor, contact Kelly Cooper, 299-1519. To know more about Relay for Life of Homer, contact Tammy Ackerman, 299-1994, or Marilyn Parrett, 299-3256, or email relayforlifeofhomer@gmail.com.

Woman arrested for terroristic threats

Alaska State Troopers last week charged a Port Graham woman with making terroristic threats against her 1-year-old son.

After checking to make sure the boy was OK, troopers arrested Elizabeth Kvasnikoff, 27, on one count of second-degree terroristic threatening, a class C felony.

Kvasnikoff was charged for knowingly making a false report that a danger to human life existed or was about to exist and which placed a person in fear of injury to any person.

Kvasnikoff is at Wildwood Pretrial Facility in Kenai.

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