“Ah, mom and dad, there’s nothing to do.”
If visitors to the 21st annual Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival thought they might have been skunked last Thursday with relatively few western sandpipers showing up, all they had to do was wait a day.
When angler James “Jimmie” Peeples of Chico, Calif., hooked into a 323.2-pound halibut last August, he and his fishing buddies “were amazed, flipping out,” he told the Homer News at the time. “I couldn’t believe it.”
That day of fishing netted more than food for the freezer.
It put Peeples in the winning seat for the 2012 Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby’s $10,000 grand prize.
Some nations celebrate the start of May with Beltane, the Celtic festival marking the halfway point between the spring equinox and the summer solstices. Other countries consider May Day as labor day, the day to honor workers. In Homer, we get down and dirty the first Saturday of May with our annual Cleanup Day as local volunteers pick up trash and recyclables all over town and wherever it emerges from breakup.
Think you know all there is to know about washing germs off your hands? Stick them under Scrub Club’s black light at Saturday’s 21st annual Safe Kids Fair and see how much you really know.
That and more activities, information and special guests will be available in the Homer High School commons from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., with a bicycle rodeo in the school’s parking lots from 10 a.m.-noon. The fair is sponsored by Safe Kids Coalition, comprised of agencies and nonprofits promoting child safety.
There’s a popular saying about being in the right place at the right time. For local wildlife biologists Carmen and Conrad Field, the right place was the Kachemak Bay Wilderness Lodge across Kachemak Bay from Homer, and the right time was the summer of 1989.
Judging by the look on her face, Gracie, a 6-year-old golden retriever, is proud of herself. Judging by the ribbons and trophies arranged around her, she deserves to be. Gracie recently earned fourth-place in the 20-inch preferred agility category in the National Agility Championship in Tulsa, Ok.
BY MICHAEL ARMSTRONG
Around and about Homer, not everything exists in the physical universe — at least, the universe beyond some server farm on a distant node of the information superhighway. Almost forgotten among social media websites is one of the earliest incarnations of the Internet, the blog. Of millions of blogs, some are by Homer writers or about Homer.
Welcome to the Homer blogosphere.
If you think Santa and his elves are busy during the Christmas season, check out what the Easter Bunny and his large band of helpers have scheduled for Easter Sunday on the southern Kenai Peninsula.
Actually, preparations begin before the sun rises Easter morning. Sherry Parish and her crew from the Emblem Club in Homer gather Saturday to dye 120 dozen eggs they hide Sunday for youngsters.
In thinking about our own backyard, the wilderness and near-wilderness surrounding us isn't just our playground. It's the home of the almost 3,000 moose that live there.
How many moose live on the lower Kenai Peninsula? How many bulls to cows? Those are all questions people want to know about alces alces, the moose we love to look at, photograph, hunt and eat.
Somewhere under the snow there are trails and boardwalks and viewing platforms, but in the winter, with the snow thigh-deep and then some, the Carl E. Wynn Nature Center is open for some unique exploration and educational opportunities.
"This is my favorite time of year at the Wynn," was the greeting Jenni Medley, school program coordinator and educator at the Wynn, had for students in teacher Lyn Maslow's West Homer Elementary School classroom the morning of March 7.
Like a lot of Homer history, the origins of the St. Patrick's Day Scavenger Hunt are shrouded in mystery. This isn't an organized fundraiser where a bookkeeper holds meticulous accounts and an organizing committee records everything.
Actually, said current organizer Cindy Burns, manager of Alice's Champagne Palace, the materials are stuffed in a box and passed on from year to year.
It's called Snow Rondi for good cause, as was clear to anyone who stepped outside in Anchor Point on Saturday afternoon. There was lots of snow. Big, wet flakes. So much snow that at times it was hard to see across the Sterling Highway.
That didn't dampen the four-day annual celebration organized by the Anchor Point Chamber of Commerce, however.
"I think it absolutely went wonderful," said Jennifer Henley, a member of the chamber's board of directors.
Chris Story's actioneering style set the festivities in action the evening of Feb. 21.
It began and ended with a murder of crows.
Wait -- I don't mean "murder" as in killing crows, but "murder" as in the traditional name for a group of crows. That kind of murder. Last Friday to Monday, from counting tidings of magpies to unkindnesses of ravens, I joined about 18 Homer area birders in the Great Backyard Bird Count, a four-day international citizen-science project to create a real-time snapshot of where birds can be seen toward the end of winter and right before they begin spring migrations in March.
Sunshine, slush, ice, rain, snow ... you name it, the 2013 Homer Winter Carnival had a little of everything.
It also had plenty of fun, thanks to the Homer Chamber of Commerce, the sponsorship of Alaska USA Federal Credit Union and a long list of volunteers who did everything from stopping traffic from interrupting Saturday's parade to judging parade entries.
Speaking of the parade, Homer Mayor Beth Wythe was the grand marshal. Judges Alita Mahan, Helen Phipps and Crystal Rogers selected the parade winners.
Nonprofit: Relay for Life
Once asked by an interviewer for the most important piece of advice she had for caregivers, Kate Mulgrew, the actress who played the part of Capt. Kathryn Janeway in the TV series "Star Trek" and is a member of the National Advisory Committee of the Alzheimer's Association, offered the following:
New Orleans has its Mardi Gras, Anchorage has Fur Rendezvous, but here in Homer we do our annual Winter Carnival Kachemak Bay style.
Sure, New Orleans might have a big parade, but does it have ice and snow? Anchorage might have ice and snow, but does it have ice racing on frozen lakes? When it comes to a small town winter carnival during the Mardi Gras season of Epiphany to Lent, you can’t get any more local than here.
Read the headlines and see new stories about murders, shootings and all manner of violence and it’s easy to wonder what the world is coming to. Homer resident Will Files is no different.
Taking that question to the next step, Files is inviting the community to a series of conversations organized under the question, “Thou shalt kill?” The conversations begin at 7 p.m. today.
BY MICHAEL ARMSTRONG
All your Facebook buddies might be posting photos of themselves surfing in Maui and you might think you’re the only one left in Homer. You’re not, of course. Lots of us remain in town enduring icy streets and erratic weather. Pity your poor friends not in town next week. They’re going to miss the Telluride MountainFilm on Tour festival.