Community groups say thanks

Search team saves day

for this snowmachiner

I would like to acknowledge and say a huge thank you to the Search and Rescue (SAR) team within the SNOMADS snowmachine club based here in Homer. Phil Needham heads this team.

While out riding with a couple friends last Monday afternoon, I found myself in a situation that no one would ever want to be in. I had rolled my machine and couldn’t get it running again. Two other riders I was with had rode on, but when they realized I wasn’t with them, they started searching for me. This happened about 5:30 Monday afternoon. I could hear their machines as they searched.

After searching for 4 or 5 hours, they had no choice but to go seek additional help.

The SAR team was called and sent out a team of 8-10 riders. These locals are all very experienced riders and are very knowledgable in knowing the back country.

An organized search went out, and after 3-4 hours, I was found about 4:30 a.m. by Dave Mastolier, and Jared Bradshaw. I was cold but OK. Mike Arno and Barrett Moe were there shortly and able to get my machine running again and enabled me to ride it out!

This SAR team is an important team, and I think we need to acknowledge them, and remind everyone of their existence. They are ready to respond immediately, have the resources and knowledge to carry out an organized search. They are a valuable asset to this community.

Others involved in the search include Jake Wise, Mark Davis, Ron and Beth Anderson, Greg MackinTyer and Brody Jones.

I want to again thank the SAR team headed by Phil Needham, and the rest of you for your willingness, time and efforts to go search for me!

Alfred Huff

Many made Big Read big success

The Big Read was a community-wide event held during January and February to celebrate the joy of coming together to read two good books. This year the selections were “Our Town” and “The Bridge of San Luis Rey” by Thornton Wilder. Six hundred and fifty people came to more than 15 programs that included “Faith, Love and Loss: A Panel Discussion,” live performances of “Our Town” performed by Kenai Peninsula Borough School District students, a staged reading of “Our Town” at Alice’s Champagne Palace by Pier One Theatre, as well as a craft discussion and keynote address by Michael Dirda, a Pulitizer-Prize winning literary critic who writes for the Washington Post. Many organizations throughout the community were involved, including the Pratt Museum, KBBI, Bunnell Street Arts Center, Homer Council on the Arts, Homer High School, Pier One Theatre and The Homer Bookstore.

Friends of the Homer Library appreciates the involvement of all the community members and organizations during The Big Read. In particular, we would like to highlight the Homer Foundation and the Willow Fund for their financial contribution that made possible such wide-ranging programs. It is because of the Willow Fund that we were able to bring in special presenters and sponsor a student production of “Our Town.” It is with deep gratitude that we thank the Homer Foundation and the Willow Fund for their continued financial support of community programs like The Big Read.

See you at the library,

Mercedes Harness, coordinator

Friends of the Homer Library

Safeway Hunger Bag program helps

On behalf of the Homer Community Food Pantry board of directors, volunteers and clients, I wish to extend our sincerest thanks to Safeway and the community of Homer for their amazing donation of more than 3,500 food items, a culmination of items donated through Safeway’s Hunger Bag program last winter. Recently the food pantry had the pleasure of picking up 396 cans of peanut butter, Hormel chunk ham and Dinty Moore stew; 384 cans of sliced carrots, pears, and soup; 384 packages of macaroni and cheese and 400 pounds of spaghetti noodles. Thanks to all of the generous donations made by the wonderful people of this community, HCFP will feed an average of 1,400 individuals each month; emergency food boxes will be available at all times; snacks will be provided weekly for Flex, Chapman, Homer High and Homer Middle Sschools; and weekly deliveries will be provided to shut-ins, disabled and the elderly.

A big shout out to Bob Malone and all of the employees at Safeway whose efforts have not gone unnoticed. Thank you all for your caring support!

With gratitude,

Cinda Martin

Homer Community Food Pantry Secretary

HoWL appreciates support

HoWL would like to send out a heartfelt thanks to all the HoWL supporters who donated through the Grace Ridge Brewing Donation jar during the month of February. Many thanks to Don and Sherry Stead for their support of HoWL and all the other great non-profits in Homer.

HoWL looks forward to celebrating spring with our annual DiRtBaG clean up week. We hope you join us in empowering youth through action and community service.

Many thanks,

Susannah Webster for HoWL’s board of directors:

Joel, Susannah, Kate T., Kate C.,

Erik, Loreta, Olga and Levi

Students get technology boost

Chapman School in Anchor Point was the recent recipient of a grant from the Homer Foundation through their KLEPS fund. This grant gave us an opportunity to purchase iPad minis for students in first-fourth grades. In 2012, Chapman School was awarded a legislative grant through Rep. Paul Seaton that supported the implementation of iPods for each student in first-eighth grades. In 2015, Chapman school received a grant that helped provide iPads for grades 5-8. In total, the KLEPS fund has provided Chapman School $6,896 over the past two years to support this project.

This year the generosity of the Homer Foundation has allowed us to update these devices in our lower grades so that we can continue to provide high quality technology to our students We are grateful to the Homer Foundation and their KLEPS fund for their generous donations to Chapman School.

We believe that providing a wide range of learning tools to our students will give each of them the opportunity for academic success. This success is reflected in our ranking as the third highest performing school in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District. Our ability to provide high quality programs, such as our iPad program, is only possible through our relationships and community partnerships, such as the Homer Foundation.

To the Homer Foundation, thank you for all your efforts in supporting students and projects in our region. I also would like to thank those who donate to their causes. Donations can be made at, or by mail to The Homer Foundation, P.O. Box 2600, Homer, Alaska 99603.

Conrad Woodhead, principal

Chapman School

Backcountry beauty celebrated

You might be interested to know that the Kachemak Nordic Ski Marathon, held on Saturday, March 11, was a great success. This annual event, hosted by Kachemak Nordic Ski Club, celebrates the backcountry beauty of Homer and its community spirit. Fifty volunteers were involved in recreating the traditional race, following a course that stretches 42 kilometers, from Lookout Mountain to Baycrest. Ninety-nine skiers tested themselves on this challenging route, the fastest of which skied the distance in just over 2 hours! Many participants came from out of town, including Anchor Point, Ninilchik, Kenai, Soldotna, Nikiski, Seward, Girdwood and Anchorage .

Everyone who started the race finished it, with a couple of exceptions (one skier broke a ski about 8km in and had to walk back to the start; another one could not resist the siren call of his sauna so he skied to it instead of to the finish) and one clarification (one participant got a snowmachine assist up the most grueling hills by the sweeper.)

At the after party and awards ceremony, there were tales of spectacular crashes and equally spectacular saves, descriptions of flawless technique as well as portraits of flailing limbs. But most of all, the stories were about the beautiful country through which the trail made its way.

Needless to say, an event like this would not be possible without a supportive club, dedicated and talented volunteers, the cooperation of landowners, and lots and lots of snow. As marathon coordinator, I would like to express my gratitude to all who helped to make it happen.

Ski ya next year,

Deland Anderson

Thanks, KESA

Homer Middle School would like to thank Kachemak Emergency Service Area (KESA) for their generous and timely donation of a new Automatic External Defibrillator (AED). It replaces our current AED (a donation from the Arctic Winter Games in 2006) which after many years of service, replacement batteries, and pads has finally become outdated.

Many thanks and our appreciation for the support and dedication to community spirit of KESA.

Thank you,

Janette Latimer, RN

Homer Middle School

Ski trails not for walkers

The Kachemak Nordic Ski Club just held another successful Kachemak Bay Ski Marathon and Tour. The day was cool and the trail was excellent and I think there were a lot of tired but happy skiers. As a trail groomer that has been working for over a month to build and maintain the trail between the Lookout Mountain ski trail system and the Baycrest trails, I would like to thank all the snowmachine riders that avoided the ski trail and crossed perpendicular to the ski trail. Their behavior shows that there is plenty of room for multiple users of the backcountry.

Another user group that hasn’t shown as much respect for the groomers’ work are walkers. The Ski Club has a small core group of volunteers that has spent hundreds of hours packing and maintaining both ski trails and snowshoe trails in the Homer area. Some of the trails cross private land with the owners’ permission to maintain winter use only trails-specifically ski trails. These are not multiuse trails. They are not funded with public money. The Ski Club pays for them.

For the uninformed, it may not seem that big a deal to walk on a ski trail, but it is. As they walk, even if they’re not punching through, they’re breaking down the surface of the trail. The packed thickness of the trails in most places is only 6 to 8 inches thick. It will support a skier on skis no problem, but a walker almost always leaves footprints. The next time a skier comes through and sets a pole in the footprint, the pole punches through, breaking the pole and often causing the skier to fall.

So I invite everyone to come out and enjoy the ski trails or snowshoe trails, but bring your skis and snowshoes. The trails have been in great shape right now and we are going to keep them maintained for as long as the weather allows.

As spring approaches, the trails will become softer. So no walkers, please. Go walk on our lovely beaches or trails in town.

For information about ski and snowshoe trails go to

Thank you,

David Stutzer

Marimba Madness rocks

Once again, Marimba Madness rocked the house and uplifted the wonderful souls that came out for this annual fundraiser for Homer Council on the Arts. So many thanks are due to Vheneka, Shamwari and Tamba! Hadzi. You are all amazing and talented individuals that grace us with your beautiful music. Thanks to all of the gracious bakers that slaved over your ovens and stoves to create tempting desserts for the sweet tooth folks in the room. Most of all, thank you for the wonderful evening to all that participated.

Peggy Paver, director

Homer Council on the Arts

Ski season to remember

Is there any race as unique and supportive as Kachemak Nordic Ski Club’s Sea to Ski triathlon? Not that I’ve found. With all its decisions — which bike to ride uphill and through slush, how to wax skis for warm snow or sand, which transition to put on ski boots and gloves — it’s an event not to be overlooked. The Sea to Ski Triathlon culminates the ski season by encapsulating Homer’s finest qualities.


Only in Homer can a person compete in a race that starts at the beach and sand, and finishes on top of a snowy mountainside.


All volunteers cheer on all the racers from point to point, and throughout the transitions. The racers themselves seem to always be smiling and having a blast, only ever propelling each other faster and farther than if they were alone, emitting what is good about competition.


At the sea to ski, everyone is a winner. There are so many door prizes from localbusinesses, that bags full of swag are literally left over after everyone’s name has already been drawn.


Inclusivity, regardless of age, gender, athletic performance, fancy gear … did I mention the volunteers? Racers are supported in their quest from sea to ski, without judgemnt and reservation, creating oppertunity for risk-taking and growth. Take a look at Frida Renner — ironwoman competitor, taking risks at the age of 10, supported and believed in by her community … way to go Frida!

Living in Homer has always been a unique and uplifting experience, surrounded by a community of generous and supportive individuals. There is no place like Home/r.

Thank you, Kachemak Nordic Ski Club, for another great season, and thank you, Homer, for being the place that I am proud to call home.

Thank you members of our ski club for making it all possible (Derek Bynagle, event coordinator for Sea to Ski), and thank you, Homer community, for being you.

The 2016-2017 ski season has been incredible in Homer. Many thanks to our stellar groomers who volunteer long hours in all weather to make world class trails. Thank you to all our talented volunteers who keep our ski club thriving. Finally, thank you to our members who generously support KNSC each year to make it all possible.

Annie Ridgely

KNSC Administrative Assistant

Bowlers score big for kids

I wanted to share a few statistics from this year’s Bowl for Kids Sake Homer fundraiser:

• 38 bowlers raised a total of nearly $4,000;

• 11 businesses donated $3,700 in financial support

• 37 local businesses, individuals and nonprofits donated $6,000 in in-kind products and services;

• Our top youth fundraiser was Cassidy Carroll;

• Our top adult fundraiser was Laura Upp;

• Our top fundraising team was AJ’s Kharacters; and

• Total income, including bowlers’ fundraising, raffles, silent auctions and a few on-site donations, after expenses, is right around $7,000!

On behalf of everyone at Big Brothers Big Sisters Homer, thank you so much for being a part of our success story this year. Above is a photograph of one of our Big/Little matches, Amy Rattenbury and Alexis Schneider, so you can see who benefits directly from your generous support. If you are interested in becoming a Big, know of someone who could benefit from being a Little, or would like information on other ways you can participate with BBBS year round, please contact Trish Herrmann, Homer BBBS community cirector, at 235-8391.

Christina Whiting, coordinator

Bowl for Kids Sake, Homer

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska