McKibben Jackinsky

Homer Middle School students pick Romney

While United States voters took to the polls to decide the nation’s next president, Homer Middle School eighth graders did the same thing in a mock election.

With 80 students voting, the results were:

• Romney, 37

• Obama, 29

• Johnson, 14

Those results came after weeks of studying the country’s election process in U.S. history classes taught by Holly Alston, Suzanne Haines and Darcy Mueller.

CaN-Do Spirit impresses Alaskans in New York City


A 6 a.m. alarm clock signaled the beginning of Tuesday for Trisha Davis of Nikolaevsk. By 5:30 p.m., she was finally having her first meal of the day. Around 7 p.m., she received word her day was far from over.

That’s not unusual for Davis right now. She is currently in New York, serving as a Red Cross staff wellness nurse supervisor in response to Hurricane Sandy.

“I’m usually in bed about 11 or 11:30 p.m.,” Davis told the Homer News.

Bear sign spotted near Roger’s Loop trailhead

It may feel like winter, but bears in the area are still active, according to area trails advocate Dave Brann who keeps a close watch on local trail conditions.
Tracks for a brown bear and a black bear have been spotted from the Roger’s Loop trailhead, throughout the lower Baycrest area, from the waste transfer site to Diamond Ridge and east.
“I think it’s one fairly large brown bear — probably the female that’s been there for three or four years; in the past she’s had a yearling with her, but I haven’t seen one this year— and a black bear,” said Brann.  

Group challenges Buccaneer; public comments sought

Conservation and Native groups joined together Monday to submit a Request for Adjudicatory Hearing relating to the state’s approval of Buccaneer Energy’s Oil Discharge Prevention and Contingency Plan, known at the C-Plan, for the company’s oil and gas exploration activities in Northern Cook Inlet. A revised version of that C-Plan also has been submitted by Buccaneer for its Cosmopolitan Project off Stariski.

COAST GUARD PUTS ANOTHER LOG ON THE FIRE

The U.S Coast Guard’s motto, “semper paratus,” means always being ready. That means being ready no matter what the role — search and rescue, homeland security, enforcement of maritime laws, protection of the marine environment or maintaining waterways and aids to navigation.
Beginning in 1999, Coast Guard personnel stationed in Homer aboard the CGC Roanoke Island applied the motto through service to the community and have continued that service by chopping firewood, selling it and using the proceeds to help community members in need.

Buccaneer reaches out to community

Everything from angry reminders of past disasters to pleas for responsible development were expressed by area residents at two community outreach meetings held by Buccaneer Energy last week.
Buccaneer held the Oct. 24 meeting at Best Western Bidarka Inn and the Oct. 25 meeting in McNeil Canyon Elementary School gym to discuss:
■ Cosmopolitan, an offshore drilling project near Stariski that will use the Endeavour-Spirit of Independence jack-up drilling rig currently undergoing repairs at Homer’s Deepwater Dock; and

What will gas cost?

On Monday, more than 60 local residents attended the last of three neighborhood meetings the city of Homer held to discuss plans for distributing natural gas to the area. City Manager Walt Wrede described details of the proposed project and associated costs. 

Also answering questions were John Sims, manager of Enstar Natural Gas’ corporate communications and customer service, and Charlie Pierce, Enstar’s southern region manager.

Hospice of Homer offers training, range of volunteer opportunities

Furniture movers to office helpers. Garden keepers to providing a compassionate presence in someone’s life. Hospice of Homer volunteers do all of that and more.

Beginning Saturday, training will be offered for those interested in providing direct, person-to-person care. The 33-hours of training are free.

“We do ask people who complete the training and feel they want to be a hospice volunteer, to commit to volunteering two to four hours a week for a year,” said Darlene Hildebrand, executive director of Hospice of Homer.

4th ‘Run to Altar’ marks 3rd anniversary

Saturday’s Run to the Altar — an uphill, 13.1-mile event — marks the third wedding anniversary for Jan and Megan Spurkland. The annual repeat of running the half-marathon distance makes this the fourth time the race has occurred.

Connor McCarron led the men in a time of 1:46:30, a slim one minute, 17 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Max Kaufman. Among the women, Jane Wiebe finished in 2:05:17, followed by Elizabeth Roedl and Annie Ridgely in 2:06:06. 

“It was a great turnout, considering the weather we’ve had,” said Jan Spurkland. 

Hallo Bay guide wins international award

Simyra Taback-Hlebechuk

A lot of miles separate London from the remote stretch of beach known as Hallo Bay in Katmai National Park. Brown bear guide Simyra Taback-Hlebechuk of Hallo Bay Bear Camp has bridged that gap and then some.

As proof, at an Oct. 4 awards ceremony of the Royal Geographic Society in London, Taback-Hlebechuk, who also serves on the Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council’s board of directors, received the silver 2012 Wanderlust World Guide award. 

Zak wins recognition for work with SBDC

Bryan Zak

Bryan Zak, southwest regional director of the Alaska Small Business Development Center, has been awarded the “State Star,” the highest honor for the state in America’s Small Business Development Centers. The Alaska SBDC is part of the nationwide association.

“I cannot tell you how proud we are, how grateful we are and how fortunate we feel that Bryan decided to work with the SBDC,” said Debi Fowler, director of the Alaska SBDC.

Pratt Museum invites all to see area's past, present

The skeleton of a 38-foot gray whale  will be on display soon;

Saturday was "free day" at the Pratt Museum. All ages — infants in baby-carriers, handholding couples, grandparents with grandchildren — took time from Saturday's sunny, no-rain, no-wind weather to see what the museum had to

Saturday was "free day" at the Pratt Museum. All ages — infants in baby-carriers, handholding couples, grandparents with grandchildren — took time from Saturday's sunny, no-rain, no-wind weather to see what the museum had to offer.

Local student, now professor, brings students home

If you think only the edible parts of halibut are valuable, think again.

Throughout the summer and into Alaska Pacific University's current school year, Dr. Bradley Harris, assistant professor of marine biology, and students in Harris' fisheries ecology class and in APU's applied fisheries science laboratory put to good use what normally goes into Dumpsters. 

New track requires new rules of conduct

It's been a long time coming, with the past year's extra effort including not only the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, but also support from community members, the city of Homer, Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Mike Navarre, KPB Capital Projects Director Kevin Lyon, the KPB assembly and legislators representing the area. It also required a $1.1 million appropriation in the state's capital budget and, finally, Gov. Sean Parnell. As of Monday, Homer High School has a brand new track.

XC teams claim 2nd, 3rd at state

On Saturday afternoon, the Mariner varsity football team was sailing away with the homecoming game against the Houston Hawks when announcer Aaron Selbig interrupted his play-by-play comments with news from the 2012 Cross Country Running State Championships. Homer, a 3A school, took second place in the 1A, 2A and 3A girls' team competition and the boys took third.

The crowd broke out in a loud cheer.

Sobriety is message of new video from Ahtna

Driving to the funeral of a Copper Center teenage girl whose death was alcohol-related, Ken Johns, of the Glennallen area wondered what he could do to curb the use of alcohol among young people.

"The song 'Staying Alive' came on the Anchorage radio and I thought maybe I would try to use that song to put it in perspective," said Johns, a current board member and former president of Ahtna Inc., one of 13 Alaska Native regional corporations established under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act in 1971.

Buccaneer Energy seeking permits for project 20 miles east of Homer

Work on the jack-up rig Endeavour-Spirit of Independence, with its three 410-foot legs towering above the harbor, isn't Buccaneer Energy's only work on the southern Kenai Peninsula. The oil and gas company also has drilling planned for West Eagle, an area approximately 20 miles east of Homer.

On Monday, Mark Landt of Buccaneer will give a 10-minute visitor presentation about the company's plans at a regular meeting of the Homer City Council. The council meeting is held in city hall beginning at 6 p.m. 

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