HAL SPENCE

ACLU takes on noble cause

I want to express my appreciation for the attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union Alaska who have taken up the cause of Homer City Council Members Catriona Reynolds, Donna Aderhold and David Lewis. Defending their right to freedom of speech is praiseworthy.

It’s all about free speech

I find it disappointing, to say the least, that a recall effort has begun against Homer City Council members Catriona Reynolds, Donna Aderhold and David Lewis. They have done nothing to merit such action or disrespect. Some may have disagreed with the aim of the inclusion resolution or the resolution concerning the pipeline, but bringing to the table matters constituents have urged the council to consider is precisely what representative government requires.

Hospice of Homer offers array of services

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 celebrates birthday with community party

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.

You’re invited.

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.

Triathletes brave hills, rain for swim team fundraiser

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.

If it sounds too good to be true ...

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.

Alaska: Still expensive place to live

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.” 

Effects of hard winter on area’s fish, game still being assessed

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.

It’s not just our imagination: Homer is different, say economists

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.

2013 tourist season showing promise

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.

‘Feeding the Dead’

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.

Demand for health care means stable, high-paying job opportunities in industry, say state economists

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.

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