Years Ago

Homer happenings from years past

20 years ago

Three Ohlson Mountain residents survived a shooting spree when John R. Powell, then 38, also known as “Walking John,” shot at a couple in their cabin and then at a passing snowmachine. The incident happened on April 5, 2001, when the couple heard buckshot and then slugs hitting their cabin. They called 911 and Alaska State Troopers, but it would take them an hour to arrive. Meanwhile, Powell shot at the snowmachiner, missing him and causing him to crash. Powell told the snowmachiner he would spare him if he went into the cabin and told the couple to come out. The man stumbled inside, and then the three escaped out back. The snowmachiner made it safely home. The couple hid in the woods until they saw a Trooper helicopter searching for them and then started a signal fire.

Troopers responded to the cabin, where they took up rifle positions and eventually got Powell to surrender. Powell told Troopers he was mad at the couple for “harassing” him and at snowmachiners for trespassing on his property. Powell had previously threatened the couple.

— From the issue of April 12, 2001

30 years ago

A houseless man challenged the city on behalf of people struggling to find a place to camp on the Homer Spit in the off season. Steve Honig had been playing cat-and-mouse with officials, parking his van at Bishop’s Beach and the Spit. Camping at Bishop’s was prohibited and on the Spit until May 15. Honig was issued seven citations for camping at Bishop’s. His lawyers, Marty Friedman and Virginia Espenshade, challenged the citations on constitutional grounds. Issues involved included the right to privacy, the right to sleep in a car on public land and whether the city hindered intrastate travel because of a lack of available camping. City officials said they didn’t allow camping on the Spit because services like bathrooms weren’t available.

— From the issue of April 11, 1991

50 years ago

The issue of April 8, 1971, is missing from the Homer News archives.