MICHAEL ARMSTRONG

Pulitzer Prize winner Anthony Doerr passes on lessons as Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference keynote

The role of the keynote speaker at the annual Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference can range from Rotary Club toastmaster to Marine Boot Camp drill instructor — “All right, you maggots, get out there and write.” Sometimes it turns into stand-up comedy, like the time Amy Tan read from the Cliff Notes edition of her novel, “The Joy Luck Club”

Balsamic vinegar adds sweet, tangy flavors

Traditional balsamic vinegars are made from a pure and unfermented reduced grape must and aged for several years in a series of wooden barrels. Balsamic’s flavor is deeply sweet and tangy with a thick viscosity and boasts variations of rich brown to dark, inky purple colors. Produced exclusively in either the province of Modena or the wider Emilia region of Italy, it is magical and mysterious must-have vinegar staple in my pantry.

Pride Month recognition causes controversy in Homer

Right after Call to Order, the Pledge of Allegiance and Agenda Approval on the Homer City Council agenda comes the item of “Mayoral Proclamations and Recognitions” — a time to honor new firefighters, medics and police officers, winning sports teams and distinguished citizens, and support causes like breast cancer or domestic violence awareness. On Monday, a proposed mayoral recognition ballooned into controversy that caused the meeting to be canceled for lack of a quorum.

Firefighters save two East End Road homes from wildfire

A quick response from firefighters on Sunday afternoon saved two East End Road houses from being destroyed by a swift, wind driven wildlife. Kachemak Emergency Services, Alaska Division of Forestry, Homer Volunteer Fire Department and Anchor Point Emergency Services all went to the fire in the woods behind two homes between Yukon Avenue and Greer Road on the north side of East End Road near about Mile 9.

Tutka Bay net pens come loose, now back in lagoon

Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association pink salmon rearing net pens placed at the head of Tutka Bay — but in an area not allowed by Alaska State Parks — last week got an unintended assist from a spring storm toward the permitted location. Following the incident, on Monday afternoon, May 14, CIAA moved its two net pens into Tutka Bay Lagoon, where CIAA has a hatchery, resolving for now a technical permit violation.

Big pulse of shorebirds hints at what’s to come during festival

A dramatic pulse of about 20,000 shorebirds that dazzled local birders on Sunday night gave a preview of what could be expected with the 26th annual Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival, which started Wednesday. Running through Sunday, the festival is timed to happen when migrating shorebirds pass through the bay.

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