A nonpartisan community discussion about the importance of voting no matter what your views is from 5:30-8 p.m. today at the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center. Refreshments will be provided.

The Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies holds its annual meeting from 6-8 p.m. today at its headquarters, 708 Smokey Bay Way. The meeting will include a “zero-waste” potluck. Those attending are asked to bring their favorite appetizer and a bowl or plate and challenge themselves not to use anything disposable. For more information, call 235-6667 or email info@akcoastalstudies.org.

A square and contra dance on Saturday starts at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at West Homer Elementary School. Beginners are welcome. Please bring clean, soft-soled shoes to dance in. Laura Patty will call to music by the Boat Shop Boys. Admission is $7. Kids under 16 get in free.

University of Alaska Fairbanks doctorate student Elizabeth Figus presents a talk based on her recent research, “Eyes on the Sea: What halibut fishermen have to say about bycatch and data collection in their fishery,” at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 25 at the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center. Figus is a fourth year fisheries doctorate student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/halibutresearch.

The Homer Fish & Game Advisory Committee meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the NERRS building on Kachemak Bay Drive. The agenda will include preparing comments on Lower Cook Inlet Board of Fisheries commercial and sport fishing proposals and any other business that may properly come before the committee. For more information, contact Dave Lyon at 399-2340.

Halloween is just around the corner and the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Hickory is gearing up for its annual Haunted Hickory food drive on Thursday, Oct. 27 at the Pioneer Dock on the Homer Spit. Tours of the Haunted Hickory are from 3:30-4:30 p.m. for a less-intense tour suitable for children under age 13 and those who frighten easily and from 6-9 p.m. for older children and more mature audiences wanting intense thrills. Admission is free, but a donation of two nonperishable food items is request. Donations support the Homer Community Food Pantry. The food collected from the annual event helps the pantry meet the upcoming holiday demands.

As Halloween has grown in popularity (now ranked as the third most popular holiday in the country) so has Haunted Hickory grown in its reputation from year to year, not just in the Homer community, but over the whole Kenai Peninsula. The crew has hosted this highly anticipated event annually for over the decade that Hickory has been around. Before them, the crew of the Sedge, which predates the Hickory as the Coast Guard cutter home-ported in Homer, began the thrilling trend of opening up a “haunted ship” to the public each year around Halloween. Every year, the haunted ship draws larger crowds to enjoy the thrills, last year seeing more than 1,200 guests come aboard. It has been enjoyed by locals for the festive thrills, while the crew uses it as an opportunity to give back to their local community and collect donations of food to give to the local food pantry. Last year, over 1.5 tons of food was donated through this event.

Guests are reminded that Hickory is a working vessel and is not ADA compliant. There are many steep staircases and cumbersome walkways. Moderate physical activity is required for guests to transit along the tour. Crewmembers of the Hickory will not touch any guest during any scare portion of the tour, and request that guests refrain from touching their tour guides. Guests should dress warm, as the staging area for the tour will be on the pier and exposed to the elements. No alcohol or weapons are allowed on the ship or the pier.

All attendees are encouraged to bring two nonperishable food items to the event.

Friends of the Homer Library will be offering a series on Romeo and Juliet with Bette Van Dinther. This three-part class will begin on Thursday, Oct. 27, at 6 p.m. and will run through Nov. 10. Space is limited. Please sign up in advance by emailing mercedes@friendshomerlibrary.org, calling 435-3195 or stopping by the front desk at the library.

Homer Community Food Pantry holds its annual Empty Bowls Soup Luncheon on Nov. 4 at the Homer United Methodist Church. Local restuarants will donate soup and the Homer potters have made bowls for the event. To-go orders may be placed the morning of the event by calling 399-4574 and then picked up at the church.

Tibetan Buddhist monk Khentrul Lodrö T’hayé Rinpoche visits Homer for a two-day presentation, “Bringing Suffering and Happiness onto the Path,” from 10 a.m.-noon and 2-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 29-30, at Many Rivers, Mile .25 East End Road. He will speak about true mindfulness and how it can change lives. Khentrul Rinpoche grew up in Tibet where he became a monk at the age of 7. Since then, he has studied the mind and how our happiness lies within our mind. He is now sharing what he learned with the world. For more information, visit katogcholing.com or contact Deborah Poore at 235-6266 or pooregib@xyz.net.

Anchor Point Senior Citizens

The Anchor Point Senior Center on Milo Fritz Road is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 9 a.m.-noon Friday. The center serves Thursday night dinners starting at 5:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome. Bingo is at 6:30 p.m. with doors opening at 6 p.m. on Friday nights. The Helping Hands Thrift Store is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Exercise sessions are at 10 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. For more information, call the senior center at 235-7786.

Friendship Center

Friendship Center Adult Day Services is open 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday with extended hours for special situations. Programs are offered daily, including story time, crafts and musical performances. Call 235-4556.

Homer Senior Citizens

Homer Senior Citizens sponsors today’s Homer Chamber of Commerce mixer from 5:30-7 p.m. , at the Homer Senior Citizens Center, 3935 Svedlund Street.

Homer Senior Citizens lunch is open to seniors and guests and is served noon-1:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. The lunch menu for this week is: today, pot roast with mashed potatoes and gravy; Friday, baked tilapia; Monday, baked chicken teriyaki; Tuesday, pork schnitzel; Wednesday, beef tacos; next Thursday, corned beef with cabbage, carrots and potatoes.

Strong Women classes are 1:30-2:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the Homer Senior Center. The cost is $3 for members and $6 for nonmembers per class.

Zumba Gold classes with Maria are 11 a.m.-noon Tuesdays and 1:30-2:30 p.m. Thursdays at the Homer Senior Center. The cost per class is $4 for members, $6 for nonmembers.

Duplicate Bridge meets at 1 p.m. Thursdays. Tai chi classes are Thursdays at 3 p.m. The cost per class is $3 for members and $6 for nonmembers. Call Daniel Weisser at 235-4555.

Caregiver Support Group meets 2-3:30 p.m. the second and fourth Thursday in the senior center conference room. Call Jacquie Thaute at 299-2924 or Daniel Weisser at 235-4555.

Kachemak Bay Campus

Registration for special short credit and noncredit workshops and classes is going on now. Courses include Science and Nature Writing, Grant Proposal Writing (Oct. 21), Watercolor Painting (Oct. 21), Fiberglass Gel Coat Repair (Oct. 14-15), Qaspeq-making (Oct. 14-16), Aluminum Fabrication (Nov. 4-5, 11-12), and Marine Electronic Navigation (Dec. 6). Call 235-7743 or visit kpc.alaska.edu.

KBC Professor Emeritus Michael Hawfield facilitates a community conversation, “Alaska and the Ballot: The Importance of the Vote on the Road to Civil Rights in Alaska” at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the college. The community conversation includes opening remarks by Victor Fischer, one of three surviving delegates to the Alaska Constitutional Convention of 1955. Fischer’s remarks are followed by a the conversation facilitated by Hawfield and Jeffrey Meyers, assistant professor of history and political science at Kachemak Bay Campus.

Pratt Museum

The museum gallery winter hours are noon-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Business offices are open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. The 31st annual Ritz gala fundraiser is Nov. 5 at Wasabi’s, with the theme, “A Black and White Cabaret Ball.” For more information, call 435-3334. The Ritz art preview exhibit opened last week.

Rotary Health Fair

The 33rd annual Rotary Health Fair is 7:30 a.m.-1: p.m. Nov. 5 at Homer High School. “It’s Your Life … Take a Day to be Well” is the theme of the fair, sponsored by Homer Kachemak Bay Rotary Club in cooperation with South Peninsula Hospital. As part of the health fair, comprehensive blood analysis is available for only $40, a sizeable discount from the average cost of a comparable test. In addition to the basic wellness test, additional tests are available for purchase, including prostate, thyroid, cardiac, vitamin D and hemoglobin A1C.

These tests are offered by appointment at the fair, or before the fair at the hospital with the results available for pickup at the fair. Appointments are offered from Oct. 17-Nov. 4 in the hospital conference room on the hospital’s lower level. Appointments can be made at www.sphosp.org or by calling the health fair hotline at 399-3158.

More than 50 exhibitors will be available to offer various health screenings, demonstrations and services, including blood pressure, vision tests, hearing tests, flu shots, fitness tests and more.

South Peninsula Hospital

South Peninsula Hospital offers a Safe Sitter class 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday at the hospital. The class is designed to prepare students in grades 6-8 to be safe when they’re home alone, watching younger siblings or babysitting. The cost is $75 per person; scholarships are available based on need. Space is limited. To register or for more information, call the hospital education department at 235-0285.

South Peninsula Hospital offers “Living Well Alaska,” a six-session chronic disease self-management class. This group workshop is for people dealing with ongoing health conditions or the family members who support them. People with all kinds of long-term conditions such as arthritis, asthma, diabetes, heart disease and other illnesses can benefit. The workshop meets Mondays and Wednesdays from 3-5 p.m. Oct. 31 to Nov. 16. The cost is $10 for the entire six-week series. Registration is required. For more information and to register, call 235-0285.

South Peninsula Hospital welcomes dermatologist Dr. Jeffrey Weiss, the newest provider in the SPH Specialty Clinic. His first clinic in Homer will be Saturday, Oct. 22. Dr. Weiss is a Board Certified Dermatologist and Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology. He offers general medical dermatology, skin cancer evaluation and treatment, acne treatments and cosmetic services. Dr. Weiss practices at Valley Dermatology in Eagle River. Call 357-2800 for more information and to make an appointment.

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