Town Crier

Sandhill cranes have arrived in the Kachemak Bay area as of the weekend of April 16-18. Please report sandhill crane sightings to Kachemak Crane Watch at 907-235-6262 or reports@cranewatch.org. Date, time, location, behavior and number of cranes is helpful. Leave a name and number in case they need more details.

Cook Inletkeeper is hosting its annual electronics recycling event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 1 at Spenard Builders Supply. Plan to stop by to recycle any obsolete or malfunctioning computers, communications equipment or other electronic devices. For a full list of accepted electronics go to https://inletkeeper.org/recycling/.

If you are a business/organization with more than a few items, please call or email ahead of the event to preschedule a drop-off time. This will help prepare for your haul. Per the pricing of the recycler, $15 will be charged for each TV and monitor dropped off. All other electronics are free; however, donations are appreciated.

Individuals and households do not need to preschedule a drop-off time.

To preschedule a drop-off time or learn more about the event, please contact Mandy Bernard at recycle@cookinletkeeper.org or 907-235-4068, ext. 21.

The Homer Rope Tow will be operating for two more Sundays on May 2 and also on closing day, May 9, off Ohlson Mountain Road. For snow conditions call 907-235-SNOW or visit www.homerropetow.org.

The Homer Methodist Women’s group is holding an online auction. Items will be posted on a special site at www.charityauction.bid/HomerUMW and will be available for viewing and bidding fthrough Sunday, May 9, at 5 p.m. Items will be paid for, picked up or delivered, by Tuesday, May 11. For more information contact Ruby Nofziger, rknofziger@gmail.com, or Peggy Ostrom, peggy.ostrom@gmail.com.

The 2021 Safe and Healthy Kids Fair is noon-2 p.m. Saturday, May 15 in the Homer High School parking lot. This is a free, fun outdoor event for children of all ages to focus on safety, health and wellness. The fair will be outdoors this year, rain or shine, and will offer a much smaller than normal number of booths and stations with activities, demonstrations and giveaways.

The annual bike rodeo will also take place in the school parking lot from noon – 2 p.m. Kids can bring their bicycles for a free inspection to get ready for safe summer fun. Helmets are required and are available for purchase on site.

There will be numerous COVID-19 safety protocols in place, including limited gatherings at tables, mask requirements, COVID screening at the entrance, and the absence of food and beverage for sale. This event is sponsored by the Safe and Healthy Kids Coalition, a group of local agencies supporting the health and wellbeing of the children in our community. For more information, contact Red Asselin at Sprout at safeandhealthykidsfair@gmail.com.

Anchor Point Group of Alcoholics Anonymous continues to meet in person at the Anchor Point Chamber of Commerce at 34175 Sterling Highway (north of Chapman School) on Wednesday and Friday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. These are open meetings, and alcoholics and non-alcoholics are all welcome. For more information, call 907-223-9814. The group has a mitigation plan in place to ensure proper distancing between participants.

Step into Freedom is a narcotics anonymous group that will be held at 7 p.m. every Thursday at the Glacierview Baptist Church “Big House” next to the main church. This group is for both women and men, and is open to non-addicts who would like to sit in on the meetings. For questions, call Jaclyn at 907-756-3530.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Solid Waste facilities are now open on Sundays. 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.

The nonpartisan Homer Legislative Information Office at 270 W. Pioneer Ave. is now open for the first session of the 32nd State Legislature. At this time the office is able to assist by phone or email only.

To learn more about how you can participate in the legislative process or to obtain more information on issues of interest facing the Alaska State Legislature, please contact 235-7878 or lio.homer@akleg.gov.

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.

Homer Senior Citizens

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

Friendship Center Adult Day Services is now open six days a week. Call 235-4556.

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

The Homer Area Caregiver Support Group has resumed its monthly meetings on the second and fourth Thursdays in the senior center dining room. Enter through the back of the building where you get meals. The caregiver group provides support, information, referrals and friendship with other people dealing with the joys and challenges of caregiving. Speakers on related topics are scheduled at least once a month. For more information, call Pam Hooker at 907-299-7198 or Janet Higley at 907-235-4291. Newcomers are welcome.

Hospice of Homer

Hospice of Homer would like to graciously request that you return any equipment not currently in use. The need in our community is increasing, and we are short on hospital beds, wheelchairs, transport chairs, bedside commodes and walkers. Thank you for helping us help our neighbors.

Hospice seeks volunteers to serve as dog walkers, client visitation, shopping and other tasks. Call 907-235-6899 for more information. Volunteer paperwork is available at the offices at 265 E. Pioneer Ave., No. 3, in the lower level.

Widow’s Group: Losing a partner is one of the most devastating things a person can experience. Hospice of Homer has resumed its monthly Widow’s Support Group. This group is a place for those who have lost their partner to share and heal. It is a safe place for coming to terms with the powerful feelings and experiences only those who are walking the same path can truly understand. Participants will be following all COVID-19 protocols. RSVP is required if you plan to attend so organizers may plan accordingly for social distancing and group size limitations. Call 907-235-6899 to respond.

Homer Council on the Arts

Homer Council on the Arts holds a raffle for a 2021 Community Supported Agriculture share from Synergy Gardens. The share includes 21 weekly distributions from May 12 to Sept. 29. Tickets are $20 each or six for $100. The drawing is at 6:30 p.m. May 7 at HCOA’s First Friday show; need not be present to win. Tickets are available at HCOA, The Homer Bookstore, and at https://www.homerart.org/calendar/csa-raffle. Sales end at 6 p.m. May 7.

HCOA also is currently accepting submissions for its May exhibit, Maritime Art of Kachemak and Bristol Bays. The exhibit will serve as a fundraiser for the Bristol Bay Heritage Land Trust’s Sail Back to the Bay project. On view May 7-28; deadline to participate is 5 p.m. May 3. For more information, visit www.homerart.org/calendar/maritime.

Kachemak Bay Campus

Kachemak Bay Campus is live and in person this fall. General registration is open now. Classes are offered in-person, online in real time or distance to be completed at your own pace. On-campus seats are limited, so if you are looking for a face-to-face experience, register today. Look for our new class schedule in your mailbox, around town, or on campus.

The Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference returns to Homer and Kachemak Bay Campus virtually on May 15 with a faculty of award-winning authors bringing fresh perspectives and diverse ideas. Participants can enjoy four days of classes, conversations, public readings and a panel discussion by writers from the Peabody Award-winning PBS show, Molly of Denali, as well as networking and community building activities. Registration is open and is $100 for the general public. Registration for University of Alaska students is $50. Academic credits and financial aid available. Visit writersconf.kpc.alaska.edu or call 907-435-7743 to register.

Kenai Peninsula Votes tidbit

How can we engage reluctant voters? In the world of voting there is no easy way to encourage reluctant voters. According to Pew Research Center, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Countries ranked the U.S. 30th out of 35 nations for voter turnout.

As we know from our last election, the U.S. voter turnout was close to 67%. This was the highest voter turnout since the 1900 election. The Kenai Peninsula Borough election in October had a voter turnout of 28%. The turnout for Anchorage’s April election was around 30%.

What brings voters to the polls? Tradition and civic duty are major reasons. Another big draw is when people feel that a particular proposition or candidate has a direct impact on them. In our past national election, it was a decision of who will lead our country. On the peninsula, our largest borough election voter turnout in recent memory was in 2017, when 34% of the people voted, and it was believed that the issue of selling cannabis legally on the peninsula was behind this surge.

Some ways to increase voter turnout besides easier access to voting and voter registration are voter education programs, directly calling less interested voters right before the election, and as already mentioned, ballot or candidate issues that directly affect the voter. (I know that all elections have impacts on voters, but it is hard to convince the reluctant voter of that message).

In California and Connecticut there is legislation that would make voting mandatory. Some countries, such as Australia and Belgium already have mandatory voting. I think we all know how mandatory voting would play out in the United States.

In Juneau, we have an assortment of voting bills currently being heard. However, we have only one bill that is specifically designed to increase civic engagement and subsequently could help increase voter turnout. House Bill 39 proposes to preregister voters when they turn 16, if they would like to do so. Currently over 20 states have a law for preregistering voters before they turn 18. In Alaska, you can preregister 90 days before your 18th birthday. HB 39 can help make voting more real for younger people and the discussions involving the importance of voting take on a stronger civic message.

Trying to get reluctant voters to become more engaged is a herculean challenge and incremental steps are crucial for the development of this to occur. When younger people start believing that their voice matters sooner than later, it is another positive step in building a stronger democracy.

Pratt Museum

The Pratt Museum is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

“Familiar Faces: Portraits of Community” is on exhibit through May 29. During an era of social distancing, this exhibit provides visitors the opportunity to “meet” our neighbors and community members throughout history, with up-close observations of individuals and the stories that surround them.

On the first Friday of every month, please join us at the Pratt Museum. Enjoy live music, light appetizers and explore the museum. Opening in May is Alaska Positive, displayed in the People and Place Gallery. Now in its 49th year, Alaska Positive is a statewide juried photographic exhibition organized and toured by the Alaska State Museum. Its purpose is to encourage the practice of photography as an art form in Alaska.

In addition to Alaska Positive, this will be the opening for Finding Home in Homer. Finding Home in Homer is a new project hosted by the Pratt Museum for young people (ages 14-24) who have lived experience with homelessness, housing insecurity/at risk, couchsurfing, unstable home environments, or car camping, or teens seeking emancipation due to parent relations. The goal of this project is to connect young people in the community with local artist mentors, workshops, and a group of peers to create art, music, and writing in response to the question “what is home?” The hope is the project provides a platform for young people in the community to share stories, make connections and call Homer to action to work to end youth homelessness. Concluding this year’s program, youth participating have the option of submitting their artwork for the Finding Home in Homer exhibit. Come see what they have created.

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

South Peninsula Hospital offers free testing and vaccinations for COVID-19. Free testing is offered daily 9 a.m.to 6 p.m. at the test site on Bartlett Street. No appointment is necessary. Vaccines are offered walk-in or by appointment as supplies permit. Walk-ins are welcome daily noon-5 p.m. Appointments can only be made online at www.sphosp.org. Vaccinations are open to anyone 16 years and older for Pfizer, and 18 years and older for all other brands. Call the COVID nurse at 235-0235 to discuss symptoms, or the COVID vaccine info line at 435-3188 for recorded updates. Free testing is now offered for anyone who recently attended a social gathering or who was in a crowded indoor space and close to others. Details are in the weekly newspaper ad, at www.sphosp.org or at 907-435-3188.

South Peninsula Hospital, in coordination with the City of Homer, offers a free, walk-up COVID-19 vaccine clinic on the Homer Spit, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, May 7. This clinic will take place in the Boathouse Pavilion at the top of Ramp 2 near the public restrooms and will be offering the single shot Janssen vaccine and the two-shot Pfizer vaccines.

This clinic is open to everyone 16 years and older who lives or works in Alaska, but business owners, their employees and members of the sport and commercial fisheries are especially encouraged to attend. The May 7 clinic is part of Alaska’s Sleeve’s Up for Summer campaign and is a celebration of community and businesses working together and rolling up our sleeves to put the pandemic behind us.

Vaccination supports a fast and safe return of our economy by protecting the health of employees and eliminating the need to quarantine for two weeks after coming in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. That matters because two weeks is a large part of our short summer season.Vaccines are the best assurance that the short summer season will not be impacted.

Don’t let COVID ruin your season. Roll up your sleeve and stop by the Boathouse Pavilion, May 7 anytime between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. No appointment and no ID needed. Everyone age 16 or older who lives or works in Alaska is eligible for the vaccine. If you have questions about whether the vaccine is right for you, a health provider will be available on site to discuss your concerns.

Homer Steps Up! 2021 is a free community wide steps challenge from May 1 – 28. Everyone in the local area can participate. This year the community step goal is 150 million steps in May. Anyone in the community is invited to step up, step out and to join a team – every step counts. Enrollment is free. Great cash prizes are awarded to first, second and third place, and random prizes are given away throughout the challenge. Last year’s team winner was the City of Homer. Online registration has opened. Complete information is online at homerstepsup.com. Call 235-0970 or email wellness@sphosp.org for questions or more information. The Homer Steps Up! community challenge is cosponsored by South Peninsula Hospital, South Peninsula Behavioral Health, SVT Health and Wellness, The City of Homer and SPARC, and made possible with a grant from South Peninsula Hospital Foundation

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