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Alaska Bible Institute built on faith, hard work

Alaska Bible Institute began its 49th year of training and equipping Christians for life and ministry this month.  

What words would describe nearly half a century of hard work and faith?

Pastor Ray Arno leans back at his desk. “Brief,” he pauses, thinking, then adds, “rewarding.”

Arno continues to speak, his voice thoughtful. “If I had it to do over … I would do it again.” 

Haunted Hickory: Always ready for frightening fun

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.

Hospice of Homer: End of life care since 1985

The birth of Homer of Hospice started the way many lower Kenai Peninsula organizations began: Someone saw a need, jumped in and inspired others to create an organization. For Hospice of Homer, that person is Jean Hatfield, who founded the organization in September 1985. 

Now in its 29th year, Hospice of Homer holds an open house 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at its new offices on Pioneer Avenue in the lower level of the historic Pioneer Hardware building next to Captain’s Coffee.

East End Road: Under construction since 1925

For the past summer, residents and visitors driving East End Road past Kachemak Drive have had to endure waits from 15 to 30 minutes — and sometimes longer — as flaggers restrict traffic to one way. Tempers have flared and people haven’t been shy about complaining.
“My chair rumbled under my butt all day long,” said Kelly Cooper, who lives about a half-mile from the Kachemak Drive intersection. Cooper also owns Glacier View Cabins. “Hence my post on Facebook: I’m done completely.”

Coastwalk: 30 years of monitoring beaches

Since November of 1984, volunteers have been walking Kachemak Bay beaches, trash bags and clipboards in hand, with two goals in mind: clean up the beaches and monitor shore life and human activities. Now in its 30th year, the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies’ CoastWalk has become a fall ritual for many who annually return to beaches they’ve adopted to track.

Annual festival honors boats, boatbuilders

When it began, the Kachemak Bay Wooden Boat Festival was timed to happen in May, the same time as the Shorebird Festival. Having grown into an event all its own, the 22nd annual Kachemak Bay Wooden Boat Festival has its very own place on Homer’s busy calendar. 

This year’s festival begins tonight, with a singing of sea chanteys and the telling of tall tales, as only those who have spent time on the sea can creatively present, and continues through Sunday with a group paddle from the Spit to Green Timbers and back.

Kenai Peninsula Fair: 63 years old and counting

In 1951, the southern Kenai Peninsula had two fairs, one in Homer and one in Ninilchik.

According to a newspaper story on Aug. 11, 1951, plans were being finalized for that year’s Homer fair, with the Skyway Theatre offering space for baking and canning displays, as well as textile, clothing, knitting and crocheting exhibits.

That also was the year Mary Hawkins of Ninilchik founded the Ninilchik State Fair, collaborating with the community’s Parent Teacher Association. It was held in the Ninilchik School basement.

Homer Spit Campground: 40 years a family tradition

As long as people have been visiting the Homer Spit, they have camped outdoors. Archaeologists have found shell middens at Green Timbers, the former forest on the Spit destroyed by the 1964 earthquake when the Spit sank 5.9 feet. In 1896, 800 miners on their way to the gold fields of Hope and Sunrise camped on the Spit. In the July 8, 1964, Homer News, Dr. John Fenger, a city council member, found some campers at Green Timbers and had to warn them of an upcoming 20-foot tide.

PARKS DAY: CELEBRATING EARLY HOMER SPIT HISTORY

Most everyone knows the story of the naming of Homer, and how in April 1896, 50 men and one woman, Della Banks, came with the Alaska Gold Mining Company and settled on the Homer Spit. Needing a name for a post office, the crew decided to name it after Homer Pennock, one of the group.

Not as well known, though, are earlier incarnations of Homer: Uzintun, or “extends out into distance,” the Dena’ina name for the Spit; Mys Ugolnoy, or Coal Cape, the Russian name; Coal Bay, a mining camp at the base of the Spit; and even Andersonville, a tent camp.

Harbormaster office: an unclear chapter of Homer history

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff writer
With work already begun on a new harbormaster office, the future of the existing one is uncertain. (See related story, page 1.)
“If you want my two cents, this building needs to be removed and we should create parking in this area… until a higher and better use comes along,” said Harbormaster Bryan Hawkins.
Carey Meyer, the city’s public works director, is of a similar mind.
“Maybe the old site can be — and this is a decision for the city council and others — used for additional parking,” said Meyer.

KBBI: Homer's oldest radio station

Forty-five years ago humans first walked on the moon. By 1979, it’s hard to believe that with advances in science and technology, including satellite broadcasts, Homer didn’t have a radio station. A live broadcast on Aug. 4, 1979, changed all that when Beverly Munro, one of the founding members of Kachemak Bay Broadcasting Inc., walked up to a microphone in the old Homer High School gym, and said, “This is KBBI, Homer, Alaska, signing on the air.”

Fourth of July fun a long-time tradition

From Seldovia to Homer to Happy Valley, Fourth of July events have been a long-time tradition. Seldovia turns its Independence Day into homecoming for far-flung Seldovians as well as a good old-fashioned, small-town festival. The day’s events include a parade, picnics and events like three-legged and sack races and the popular canoe jousting in the harbor.

Homer Yacht Club: Sailing Kachemak Bay a time-honored activity

Sailors have been coming to the shores of Kachemak Bay for, well, who knows how long. Riding the waves, moved along by the current, driven by the wind. 

Only makes sense a club and races would follow. The front page of the Aug. 17, 1967, Homer News carried the headline, “Sailing Club for Homer?” The previous Sunday sailboats from Anchorage were in Homer for the Regatta Day races, an event coinciding with a two-day silver salmon derby. 

Etude: More than a music studio

On June 6 for Mary Epperson Day, artists Judy Wynn and Laura and Jennifer Norton once again transformed Epperson’s Etude Studio. A swirling keyboard and other designs decorate it.

Etude hasn’t always been a music studio, and since its start as a small trailer in the 1950s, has been a house and store, with additions over the years.

Kachemak City: East of Homer, where less is better

The current residents of Kachemak City — all 472 of them according to the 2010 census — weren’t the first ones interested in this small stretch of land east of Homer.

Russians took a liking to the area more than 200 years ago and set up house near a settlement of Dena’ina. No physical evidence of that community can be found, but local historian and author Janet Klein said contemporary authors suggest the site may have been the area known today as Kachemak City.

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