Evelyn Carpenter sits at a small table surveying a scattering of unassembled puzzle pieces. She is backlit by soft sunlight radiating through a window of her cozy Anchor Point home just off North Fork Road. Her delicate 80-year-old hands shake slightly, a symptom of the Parkinson’s disease that has rendered her life increasingly difficult over the past few years.
Hospice of Homer has been serving the greater Homer area for 31 years, and this Saturday, its staff and board of directors are throwing a party to celebrate.
Last year’s event drew about 70 people, said Hospice Director Darlene Hilderbrand. If the weather cooperates, the outdoor cookout at the hospice office on Pioneer Avenue could be as big, she added.
“It’s almost the end of summer, a perfect opportunity to have a lot of fun and support hospice,” Hilderbrand said.
Anchorage athletes competing in Saturday’s triathlon in Homer said the grueling climb up East Hill Road during the bike segment was what made the Homer High School Swim Team-sponsored event so attractive.
“It’s a unique course. That nearly three-mile uphill is a challenge,” said the 43-year-old overall winner Jens Beck, a CPA and the CFO of ASRC Energy Services, a subsidiary of Arctic Slope Regional Corp. A challenge, yes, but when Beck rounded the corner at East Hill Road and Skyline Drive well ahead of his nearest competitor he hardly looked winded.
Like many seniors whose expenses often include costly medications, Homer resident Kay Jones was on the lookout for cheaper alternatives when she saw an ad that promised significant savings.
Those savings turned out to be a scam that fortunately did not cost her too dearly, but did result in the loss of everything on her computer. She wants to warn others so they might avoid unscrupulous cyber thieves.
Recent figures dissected by economists with the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development show increases in the cost of living in Alaska slowed last year compared to 2011, but the state remains one of the most expensive places in the nation to live and work.
Writing in the department’s monthly magazine, “Alaska Economic Trends,” economist Neal Fried said the state’s only measure of inflation is the Anchorage Consumer Price Index, but, in most cases, price fluctuations in Anchorage “don’t differ radically from other communities in the state.”
When their ice-encrusted lawns finally thawed in late May, property owners living at Homer’s lower elevations found broad swaths of brown where they’d come to expect explosions of green.
Let’s face it: Winter was tough on the turf.
As Homer’s winters go, this past season was a lulu that just seemed to go on forever, with near-freezing temperatures lingering deep into May, well beyond the normal advent of green-up.
An area biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said he won’t be surprised if population surveys of moose show decreased survivability among the ungulates, especially among cows and calves.
Most of us living here in the Cosmic Hamlet by the Sea have always suspected that we are, well, a little different. Turns out state labor analysts agree.
Writing in the latest issue of Alaska Economic Trends, Economist Alyssa Shanks, of the Alaska Department of Labor, confirmed what a simple look around would lead you to believe about Homer.
“Despite some similarities to the rest of the state, Homer has key differences in industry make-up, income and demographics,” she said.
As Homer heads into the 2013 tourist season, it appears visitors are reacting positively to an improving economy; local charters and lodging concerns are reporting increased and earlier bookings; and many are saying it could be the best summer in several years.
Meanwhile, the Alaska Department of Commerce, Commu-nity and Economic Development’s tourism marketing program has been conducting a $5.7 million national TV ad blitz and investing heavily in magazine and online pitches.
For nearly a dozen years, writers have been gathering annually on the shores of Kachemak Bay, sharing their talents, insights and expertise, and celebrating their enchantment with literature, thanks in no small measure to the enthusiasm of one woman.
Imagine, for just a moment, you’re holding a backstage pass for a concert by your favorite band. There in your grubby little mitts is the key to that storied sanctum only select fans are privileged to see. Cool, eh?
Yeah, right, like that’ll ever happen.
Homer resident Jim Stearns, however, can give you the next best thing. For the better part of a decade, beginning in the late 1980s, his company provided catering and hospitality services for the Grateful Dead and other rock icons.
As members of the baby-boom generation age into Medicare at 65, for those inspired to care for the elderly, Alaska’s health-care industry will blossom like no other with good-paying, long-lasting jobs, according to analysis of industry growth patterns by state Labor Department economists.