Town Crier

In place of its annual lights tour, Bear Creek Winery and area neighbors have teamed up to offer the Bear Creek Holiday Lights, a drive-through event happening now through Sunday, Dec. 20. This driving tour of holiday lights along the Bear Creek Drive loop is free every evening. The lights are best viewed when it gets dark, generally by about 5 p.m.

The Homer Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center will host a Drive Up & Visit Santa event from 2-4 p.m. this Saturday, Dec. 19 in the visitor center parking lot. Family cars may enter the chamber parking lot from Ohlson Lane in Old Town near the church. Families can stay in their cars and roll down the windows to give their wishes to Santa and/or the kids and family may get out of their cars for a photo shoot with Santa while social distancing from 6 feet apart. Santa will be wearing a face covering and all kids over the age of 6 and family members are encouraged to wear face coverings. Kids may give their written wishes to Santa and he will put them in a big bag and deliver them to the North Pole. One of Santa’s helpers will play holiday music on his tuba for the occasion. Families cars will depart from the other end of the chamber parking lot located at 201 Sterling Highway to go either direction onto the highway.

The annual Homer Audubon Christmas Bird Count will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 19. For safety reasons, all participants will wear masks, stay distanced and work in very small groups. Unfortunately there will not be gatherings before or the potluck afterward. The intent is to continue the collection of the bird count information that has been done for over 40 years in Homer.

If you are interested in participating, contact Dave Erikson, the Count Compiler, at 907-441-7931. If you would like to participate by watching what comes to your feeder and yard, contact Kathy Eagle, the Feederwatcher Coordinator, 907-323-3789. For more information about this event, see the Kachemak Bay Birders’ website,kachemakbaybirders.org.

The Homer Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center will be closed for the holidays starting Monday, Dec. 21 and will reopen on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021.

The Seldovia Fish & Game Advisory Committee will be meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 22 via Zoom. Agenda items include Statewide Board of Fish proposals 235-236, 241-242, 244-245 and 255-262, Board of Game proposal 180, and king salmon stocking. Please see the online public notice for details on how to join the Zoom meeting: http://notice.alaska.gov/200781.

The Homer Hockey Association Inc. will host Skate the Lake from 1-4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 24 at Beluga Lake. This is an outdoor, family-friendly event for people of all ages and abilities. Skates will be available for use when presented with a valid ID. COVID protocols will be followed at this event. Email prez.kevinbellarena@gmail.com with any questions.

The third annual Homer’s Crowdfunded New Year’s Eve Fireworks Fantastical will take place at 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 31 at Mariner Park on the Homer Spit. The fireworks are crowdfunded, and money to help purchase them can be sent to organizer Aaron Weisser. For details, visit the event’s Facebook page. Participants the night of the fireworks are encouraged to enjoy them from inside their vehicles, or socially distanced while outside. Face coverings are requested. The fireworks will be streamed live on the event Facebook page, and Peninsula Radio will accompany the fireworks show with a commercial free, live radio music soundtrack beginning at 8 p.m. The fireworks will be delayed if there are heavy winds, rain or snowfall.

The Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is hosting its 3rd annual beer label design contest. Design a beer label for the Grace Ridge Brewing ‘64 Afterbock beer and have your art displayed on each bottle. The theme this year is resiliency. The deadline for submission is Jan. 15. Submit all artwork to Dana Nelson by email, ddnelson4@alaska.edu, or by mail, 2181 Kachemak Drive Homer AK 99603. The winning artist will be announced at 6 p.m. on Feb. 5, with all submissions on display at Grace Ridge Brewing and showcased virtually following CDC guidelines. Contact Nelson for more information.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Solid Waste facilities are now closed on Sundays through April 25, 2021. For more information, contact the KPB Solid Waste Department at 907-262-9667 or check their webpage at https://www.kpb.us/swd-waste/about-solidwaste.

Kenai Peninsula Votes tidbit:

This week the Electoral College cast their ballots reflecting the choices made by the voters in their states. The next step in this process is the counting of those electoral votes by the House and the Senate on Jan. 6, after which, they will officially announce who is to be the next President and Vice President of the United States. It is a long process, but it gives ample time to recount where there is doubt, to ensure there were no errors. Our democracy allows for such reassurances.

As citizens, we have done our part in the election process — we cast our ballots. However, that does not mean our job is done. Now we must let our representatives know what we expect from them as we sort through new policies, laws and mandates and/or we can leave them to make all our decisions for us and grumble about their choices. As a free people, we have the right to influence those decisions, and, if you feel they are not in the best interest of country, state, borough, city, or yourself, take heart — it will be election time before you know it.

Anchor Point Senior Citizens

The Anchor Point Senior Center on Milo Fritz Avenue serves take-out meals on Thursday evenings with pickup from 5-6 p.m. Helping Hands Thrift Store is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and donations can be dropped off any time. The office staff are at work and available by phone for addressing needs. For information, call 235-7786.

Friendship Center

Friendship Center Adult Day Services is closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Call 235-4556.

Homer Senior Citizens

All activities are canceled and the Homer Senior Center is closed to the general public during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Homer Senior Citizens congregate lunch is closed, but meals can be picked up at noon from Monday-Friday. You must call 907-235-7655 by 10 a.m. daily to reserve your meal.

Hospice of Homer

Light Up A Life with Hospice of Homer — Bring a little light to the darkness this holiday season. Celebrate a loved one or share a message this holiday season with a luminaria. Hospice will display your luminary at the 35th Anniversary Gathering on Dece. 18. Your donation will help HOH continue to provide vital services and support to our community. $20 for one or $16 each for two or more. Call 236-6899 or stop by the office to purchase. Hospice will decorate the luminaria with the name or message of your choice. Luminarias will be used at the 35th Anniversary Gathering. You can take them home with you after the gathering or pick them up at the office the following week.

Hospice of Homer’s 35th Anniversary Gathering — This event takes place at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18 at WKFL Park. Celebrate 35 years of Hospice of Homer serving the community. Hospice will honor all of its volunteers, and congratulate those being awarded Volunteer of the Year and the Compassion In Action awards. Hospice will commemorate those who have passed at the Memorial Paver Wall and bring light to the darkness with our Luminarias. Contact the office at 235-6899 if you’d like to purchase a luminaria or memorial paver to honor a loved one or share a positive message with the community.

Hospice of Homer is seeking new board members. Are you interested in using your compassion, enthusiasm, and love of community to help your neighbors in their times of need? The organization hopes you’ll consider joining the Hospice of Homer Board of Directors.

Qualifications:

Prior knowledge of non-profit boards is helpful but not required—just an interest and willingness to participate in monthly meetings, occasional fundraising events and community outreach.

Time Commitment:

Meetings are once a month for 1.5 – 2 hours on the third Wednesday of the month. The board expects members to attend these monthly meetings as well as to be an active participant on sub-committees as needs and interests warrant. Sub-committees include areas such as finance, personnel, events, and policy review and revision.

Interested? For more information or to express your interest, please contact Board President Charlie Franz at Kachemakcharlie@gmail.com

To learn more about Hospice of Homer and to find a more detailed description of board member job expectations, please visit their website at hospiceofhomer.org

Homer Council on the Arts

The council is quickly approaching the deadline for the 23rd Kenai Peninsula Writers Contest. Submit your original poetry, fiction, and nonfiction by 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 20 for a chance to win cash, Homer Bucks, and gift certificates. The contest is open to Kenai Peninsula residents of all ages. For participation guidelines and to enter the contest, visit homerart.org/writers-contest

The 2020 Nutcracker Faire in-person event has been canceled. Homer Council on the Arts is pleased to offer a Virtual Nutcracker Faire to help you shop local and support artists this holiday season. The Virtual Nutcracker Faire is live now at homerart.org/shoplocal and will remain on our website through the end of the year. The council will continue to add vendors as registrations come in; to participate as a vendor, register at homerart.org/2020-nutcracker-faire.

Kachemak Bay Campus

Registration for Spring 2021 is now open. Kachemak Bay Campus has new classes in business and science as well as the arts, history, writing across subjects and more. Visit kpc.alaska.edu and spend your spring with Kachemak Bay Campus.

$500 COVID relief grants available for KPC students. This funding has been made available through grants via the CARES Act from the City of Homer and the City of Soldotna, as well as through the Damon Foundation Endowment. Applicants must be enrolled in six or more credits at KPC (either or both campuses) and meet the criteria listed on the Covid-19 relief funding web page found at kpc.alaska.edu. Applications due December 18, 2020. Prompt submission of applications for assistance is strongly encouraged. Funds are limited.

KPC is now offering UAA’s fast-track certificate in Business Leadership that students can achieve in one or two semesters! If you are looking for a quick way to boost your resume or to make a career shift, this Occupational Endorsement Certificate (OEC) is for you. Perfect for individuals in entry-level leadership roles and people wanting to build skills and stand out in a crowd, and for the Spring 2021 term, applicants may be eligible for financial awards up to $1000. The OEC includes six classes that cover key business concepts in business foundations, supervision, selling, computer skills, leadership and communication. Students will also learn principles of finance, establishing goals and problem solving, marketing, and spreadsheet applications. Some of these classes are part of the general education requirement so if you have already taken one or more you are well on your way. General registration began Nov. 23. Interested parties can call KBC at (907) 235-7743 to be connected to an advisor.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Homer Annex is open with some restrictions at 638 East Pioneer Ave. in the Homer Borough Maintenance building east of the Homer Volunteer Fire Department. Please limit visits to one person at a time and wait in the parking lot or in vehicles while other people are inside. Masks are recommended but not required. The office is staffed for help by phone or email. For more information call 235-9837 or email Tamarron Baxter at tbaxter@kpb.us. Forms for property tax exemptions or appeals are available outside on the door, and a dropbox is available for completed forms.

Pratt Museum

The Pratt Museum is closed for regular hours due to an increase in COVID-19 cases. However, small groups or pods may visit by appointment only starting today. For more information and to set up an appointment, call 907-235-8635.

“Greetings from the Past: History in Postcards” and “Shifting Tides: Convergence in Cloth” are on exhibit through Dec. 19.

Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center

The Alaska Islands & Ocean Visitor Center operations are temporarily suspended, but please visit virtually and take a 3D tour by going to http://ow.ly/hf3f50Bf4HB. The Beluga Slough Trail and other outdoor areas on the refuge will remain open to provide healthy options for recreation and relaxation. Kids can download the Agents of Discovery App and play an interactive learning game on the trail.

To reach refuge staff call 907-235-6546 or email alaskamaritime@fws.gov.

South Peninsula Hospital

Free COVID-19 tests are offered 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week at the lower level of the SPH Specialty Clinic, at 4201 Bartlett Street, Homer. Please use the Danview Avenue access. Tests are for those who have had recent travel out of state, have been exposed to someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19, they have new onset of any symptom related to COVID-19, or have a provider referral. See complete list of eligible individuals at www.sphosp.org or call the COVID information line at 235-0235. Please call and pre-register before coming if and when possible.

The testing site will have shortened hours on Christmas Day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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