A $10,000 grant awarded by The Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority will keep The Exchange, Homer’s syringe exchange program, open and stocked with supplies for two years, said Ginny Espenshade, a co-founder of The Exchange.
BY ANNA FROST
Homer’s U12 Pee Wee hockey team’s hard work has been paying off, as the team is currently 8-0-1 and has won three tournaments during the 2016-17 season. The Pee Wee team took first place at the Peninsula Power Play tournament in Kenai, Turkey Shootout in Anchorage, and Big Lake Hard Ice Classic in Wasilla.
Coach Steve Nevak and assistant coach Matt Stineff credit the group of highly skilled players and the excellent coaching staff at all levels of Homer youth hockey, whose home base is Kevin Bell Arena on the Spit.
Homer resident and Kachemak Land Trust board member Larsen Klingel qualified for the 2018 Boston Marathon without running a single mile. He was, however, pushed in a wheelchair by his longtime friend Andy Beardsley for all 26.2 miles.
The idea was Beardsley’s, who was inspired by a father-son team who competed in marathons as a wheelchair team. Klingel, who was born with cerebral palsy that requires him to walk with crutches, took a little more convincing.
“I wasn’t too keen on it, but finally he got me to do it,” Klingel said.
The Homer Sour Girls is comprised of five sweet and business-minded girls — 8-year-olds Jocelyn Stillwell, Evelyn Sherwood, Jasmine Kupetz and Katie Miller, and10-year-old Natalia Sherwood — who are raising money for Homer’s community organizations one refreshment stand at time.
It started with lemonade. The lip-puckering drink was perfect to sell in the summer to locals and tourists alike as relief from the unrelenting Alaska sun. The girls’ group name also came about as a result.
Community members are working to find solutions for the issue of teen homeless in the Homer area ranging from providing resources for clothing and food to searching for a way to legally house minors without a roof over their heads.
Homelessness in Homer looks different than many people picture the situation, said Jane Dunn, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District homeless liaison serving southern peninsula and Ninilchik schools. Very few homeless people are sleeping out on the streets, as one might see in a metropolis.
Homer Senior Citizens Inc. wants to better connect all generations in the Homer community to ease loneliness, improve health and spread knowledge.
The new intergenerational program, which the organization announced at the Senior Summit in October, is recruiting participants and ramping up to start in the new year.
HSC Executive Director Keren Kelley’s idea for the intergenerational program started with a vision for the community as a whole.
Santa sent over more letters from Paul Banks Elementary School’s kindergarten class, by way of teacher Wendy Todd. This week’s kids have some wishes in common. Two little ones pine for a dog stuffed animal, while another plies Santa with a loving greeting in hopes of getting a race car. One bold youngster dares to inquire on the number of presents that will be under the tree and draws a picture to illustrate his hopes.
Paul Banks Elementary School teacher Wendy Todd’s kindergartners say the darndest things in their letters to Santa Claus.
From wondering if Santa will make it to their house and pondering the reality of flying reindeer to asking for specific toys and help finding a lost bat, Homer’s children will keep St. Nick on his toes.
Though official practice for the Mariner boys and girls basketball season began about two weeks ago, both teams haven’t spent much time off the court this year. Both teams play their first games of the season Dec. 15-17. The boys will play at the Soldotna High Tip Off while the girls compete at the Kenai Classic Tournament.
South Peninsula Hospital now shares patient data on the statewide Health Information Exchange, which allows providers to easily access a patient’s electronic health records in the case of referrals, specialty consulting and emergencies, according to the Alaska eHealth Network website.
Erin Aklestad, an Alaska eHealth Network account manager, is visiting Homer to present what the exchange means for the Homer healthcare community to health clinics today.
Homer Community Special Olympics Bowling brought home 31 medals and four highest pinfall awards from the State Bowling Tournament in Anchorage on Nov. 18-20.
“I think this is the best we’ve done at the tournament with all the medals and pinfall awards,” said Special Olympics Community Director Carol Shuler. “We’ve only gotten one (pinfall award) before.”
Two Homer elementary schools are cleaning up their act by looking at the amount of amount of single-use plastics are thrown out. Single-use plastic waste is most often produced at lunch time and is a significant threat to the marine ecosystem, said Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies Marine Debris Coordinator Henry Reiske.
Thanksgiving dinner coming out of Homer Senior Citizens kitchen lacks much of one item many people tend to consume on this turkey-eating holiday — sodium.
When David Pruett took over as chef at Homer Senior Citizens about five years ago, it didn’t take him long — about day two — to start changing what went into the mouths of Homer’s seasoned citizens. Like many food service establishments, the senior center’s kitchen used processed foods — boxes, cans and bags of items that can shorten the amount of cooking time but that also contain unsavory ingredients.
“Homestead Kitchen” was born out of the same kind of connection that started the Kilcher family’s reality television show — a Facebook message to Eivin Kilcher.
“Alaska: The Last Frontier,” the Discovery channel show that made the Kilchers a family name known in households across the United States, had been on for about three years when a literary agent reached out to Eivin and asked if there was interest in writing a book. Coincidentally, he and his wife Eve had tossed the idea around of writing a cookbook around before, so they pitched it.
Nine games and three weeks into the season, the Homer High Mariner hockey team are 5-4. Two of their three wins were achieved at home in Kevin Bell Arena at the End of the Road Shootout on Nov. 18 and 19.
The team is starting off on a different foot than last year. Last year’s team was goal shy, whereas even when the Mariners lose, they get a goal or four in for good measure. The Mariners are also under new leadership, with Homer High School alum and former Mariner hockey player Justin Adams as their head coach.
Lauren Kuhns knew she wanted to commit to swim at Assumption College within a day of stepping on campus, she said. On Saturday, Nov. 12, at the Kachemak Swim Club semi-annual membership meeting, Kuhns sat in front of her fellow swimmers and community members at a table adorned with an Assumption College pennant and signed a letter of intent, officially telling the school that she plans to attend after she graduates in spring 2017.
Construction on the South Peninsula Athletic and Recreation Center, or SPARC, building is making steady progress toward organizers’ goal of having the community recreation building open for games before the end of the year.
Volunteers began building the steel frame structure on Monday, Nov. 14 and plan to put up the fabric covering that will enclose the building shortly after Thanksgiving, said Daniel Zatz of the soccer association.
Principals of Homer-area schools recommended Option X to the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District as the best choice for the change in school start and end times on the lower Kenai Peninsula. Parents, school staff, school board members and district administrators discussed the proposed schedule, which will be effective August 2017, at a meeting on Nov. 2 at Homer High School.
With the cold, autumn and winter weather Homer has begun to experience, also comes illnesses such as the common cold, stomach bugs, hand, foot and mouth disease, and influenza, also known as the flu, according to Homer Middle School and Homer Flex school nurse Janette Latimer.
While a sneeze or two might not warrant keeping a child home from school — much to their disappointment — certain symptoms do point to a day in bed rather than a desk. Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s policy requires parents to keep children at home if they have the following symptoms: