After more than two decades, Kachemak City, Homer’s neighbor to the east, has a new mayor. Bill Overway was chosen by his colleagues on the Kachemak City Council to take the place of Phil Morris, who chose not to run for re-election.
“I’ve got some big boots to fill,” said Overway. “(Morris) is a heck of a guy and really had the city at heart. The big thing is, he’ll be around for help and advice. That’s the one thing I’ve got going in my favor.”
Having begun serving the Homer area in 1976, Peninsula Funeral Chapels opened Homer Funeral Home on Diamond Ridge Road in 1986.
“Just because someone lives in Homer doesn’t mean they shouldn’t get the same services we provide in Kenai,” said owner Tim Wisniewski of making available to the southern Kenai Peninsula the same traditional funeral services, funeral pre-arrangements, cremation and monuments as the Kenai location. “We didn’t live here, but we wanted to offer people the same thing as if they were in Kenai.”
One minute the hallways at Chapman School in Anchor Point were empty. The next, with the fire buzzer going off loud and clear, the school came alive with students orderly and very quickly pouring out of their classrooms, into the hallways and out the door.
The Homer Middle School gym was rocking Saturday. Rhythm of fast-paced Latin and World music and an enthusiastic crowd of about 60 shook the floorboards for the “Party in Pink” Zumbathon breast cancer prevention fundraiser.
Celebrating 30 years as sister cities, the Japanese city of Teshio gifted representatives of Homer, including the Homer City Council, with “happi coats,” garments frequently reserved for festivals. Amidst an evening of budgets, ordinances and resolutions, the coats, which arrived in time for the meeting, added a splash of color in the council chambers as council members and staff modeled the bright yellow and orange garments.
The Homer Mariner swim team has returned from the Seward Invitational on Saturday. Participating teams included Colony, Kenai, Soldotna, Valdez and Wasilla, in addition to Homer and Seward.
“Lauren Kuhns, Cheyanne Smith and Remi Nagle had strong performances,” said Head Coach Scott Smith. “(Kuhns) placed second in the 500 Free and third in the 200 IM, perhaps the most challenging races to swim.”
Smith claimed third place in the 500 free and 100 breast. Nagle placed second in the 100 fly and third in the 200 IM.
Southern peninsula residents may not be eager for the upcoming season of ice, but you couldn’t tell that by the skaters at the Kevin Bell Arena on Sunday. Joining in a global opportunity for girls to explore the sport of ice hockey, females of all ages, from the central to the southern Kenai Peninsula, slipped into skates and took to the ice to see what the sport is all about.
With community members still asking for more discussion, a committee last week recommended city-owned property at the corner of the Sterling Highway and Pioneer Avenue as the site of choice for a new public safety building.
This week, an ordinance was introduced at the borough assembly that would lift a deed restriction on the property popularly known as HERC, the Homer Education and Recreation Complex.
After months of training, not to mention time spent fundraising, five local girls in the Popeye Wrestling Club will participate in the Pre-Season National War of the Roses, a girls-only wrestling tournament held in Dayton, Ohio, Oct. 24-25.
Representing the Homer area will be Jadzia Martin, 16; McKenzie Cook, 13; Allison Wells, 13; Mina Cavasos, 12; and Saoirse Cook, 6. Traveling with them are coaches Janie Martin and Todd Cook.
The U.S. Coast Guard’s motto “Semper Paratus” — Latin for “always ready” — perfectly sums up the decades-long attitude of local Coasties using a Homer-based cutter to deliver a Halloween fright.
Twenty-three years ago, the USCGC Sedge treated area residents to the first ship-based haunting. According to Nov. 7, 1991, Homer News coverage, it “scared the socks off more than 650 visitors.” Thirty crew members and their families worked together to provide the public with a “bloody good time,” Petty Officer Raymond Harrod is quoted as saying.
Nearing the end of what he called a “very, very close campaign,” Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, made a swing through Homer on Sunday, asking for support and answering questions from a crowd of about 75 people at the Homer Middle School library.
In her introduction, Homer resident Liz Downing described Begich as “a lifelong Alaskan” who has “risen through the ranks.” Along with Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican, Begich serves on the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations.
Almost a year after it began, a move to redefine Homer as a home-rule city was voted down by voters in Tuesday’s election. Proposition 1, asking city voters if a charter commission should be elected to prepare a proposed home-rule charter for the city of Homer, received 503 no votes, or 54 percent of the vote, and 429 yes votes, 46 percent.
With the volume of the cheers from the blue-and-gold clad fans, it wasn’t necessary to be at Saturday’s homecoming game to know the Mariners had beat the Houston Hawks. Being there made the 17-6 victory even better, however.
“Lots of fans in the stands always makes for a great atmosphere,” said Mariner Head Coach Josh Fraley.
“And the team wanted to finish strong. It was important for the entire team, especially the seniors, to finish the way they did. They were happy for that.”
The Mariner swim and dive team claimed third place at the five-team Kenai Invitational at Kenai Central High School on Saturday.
“Eighty percent of the races were best times for our swimmers for a total of 32.35 seconds of improvement,” said Head Coach Scott Smith.
Soldotna had a double win, with both the girls and boys teams taking first place, Kenai’s girls and boys teams took second, Homer anchored third, Unalaska was in fourth and Seward in fifth.
If the Homer Elks annual winter king salmon derby is a good way to tell the changing of seasons, it must be winter. The 18th annual Homer Elks Winter King Salmon Derby was held Oct. 4 and 5.
The two-day event drew 128 anglers who turned in 222 salmon. The total weight of the two-day catch was 2,338.05 pounds.
At $100 per entrant, that’s a total $12,800 raised, with prizes equaling a percentage of the total gross ticket sales:
Hats off to the Homer Mariner varsity girls cross country team who just earned the 2014 123A state championship crown at competition in Anchorage on Saturday. The boys team secured a hard-earned third-place state finish.
“The girls rocked it,” said Head Coach Bill Steyer. “They had great times, great performances.”
With almost 39 years in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, Karen Wessel is in her 18th year at Homer Flex High School.
“Every morning I come in with the hope that I can help make a difference in a young person’s life,” said Wessel, the school’s principal.
Hope has guided this alternative school for grades 9-12 since it opened its doors in 1989, even though the school has changed since its early days.
With 28 of 29 precincts reporting, current Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Mike Navarre has taken 53.52 percent of the vote in a three-way race against Tom Bearup of Soldotna and Carrol J. Martin, also of Soldotna.
Navarre had 4,794 votes. Bearup was in second place with 3,270 or 36.51 percent of the vote. Martin was in third, with 846 votes of 9.45 percent of the vote.
Looking at the spread of votes between the candidates, Navarre said, “I don’t think we’re headed to a runoff and I’m really pleased with that.”
At Paul Banks Elementary School’s first “Paul Banks Day,” Sept. 16, the K-2 students, faculty, staff and visitors celebrated the school’s namesake, the late Paul Banks. Having worked on the construction of East Homer Elementary School in 1964, Banks also was the school’s first custodian.
The only charter school in the southern Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, Fireweed Academy opened its doors as “Homer Charter School” in 1997. Two years later, using a consensus decision-making model, the teachers, parents, staff, the school’s Academic Policy Committee and community members renamed it “Fireweed Academy.”
One of KPBSD’s 43 public schools, what sets Fireweed apart is a charter that presents an alternative curriculum based on theme immersion, a specific theme chosen each quarter to be incorporated throughout the school.