By KYRA WAGNER
“When the audience at ‘On the Wing’ laughed as I began my story, I was surprised,” Skywalker Payne said. “But as the story ended, they were surprised. That event clarified why I’ve decided to devote the rest of my working life to storytelling.
Rusted or pitted steel discovered during the M/V Tustumena’s overhaul will mean another delay in the 53-year-old state ferry’s return to service — this time to 5 p.m. July 18, when the Tustumena returns to Homer. Now undergoing work at the Vigor Ketchikan shipyard, workers discovered the rusted or pitted steel, called steel wastage, in the engine room. The ferry went in for its overhaul on March 13.
The M/S Amsterdam returns to Homer this summer for nine visits, one of three ships to call on town at the Deep Water Dock on the Homer Spit. The Silversea cruise ship M/S Silver Shadow makes the first cruise ship visit of the season, arriving about 8 a.m. May 17 on its transit from Tokyo, Japan, to Seward. At about 8 a.m. May 24, the Hapag-Lloyd cruise ship M/S Europa calls on Homer on a Vancouver, B.C., Canada round-trip tour. Those will be the only visits of the Silver Shadow and Europa.
When it comes to marking milestones, it’s a fairly safe bet that Monica and Patrick Mede will have a hard time topping the first six months of 2016: they moved back to Alaska from Texas in January, immediately bought a house in Homer and started the process of buying a business, got a puppy in May, officially became the new owners of Ulmer’s Drug &Hardware on June 1, got married on June 4 and flew out for a week-long honeymoon on June 5.
Homer News Editor and Publisher Lori Evans has announced she is leaving the newspaper at the end of June to travel and spend time with extended family.
Free speech and swallowing screenings are being offered at South Peninsula Hospital’s Rehabilitation Department throughout the month of May in recognition of Better Hearing and Speech Month.
Sales tax returns for the city of Homer increased $250,000 or 4 percent over the city’s anticipated tax revenues for its 2016 budget, City Manager Katie Koester wrote in her report for the April 24 Homer City Council meeting. In last year’s budget, the city projected receiving $6.15 million in sales tax revenues but actually received $6.40 million, a $250,000 gain. Those surplus revenues were put in the city general fund. For the 2017 budget, the city projects receiving about $6.5 million, a 5.5 percent increase over the 2016 budget projections. For first-quarter 2017 receipts compared to 2016 first-quarter receipts, revenues are up 1.5 percent.
In a ceremony at Monday’s Homer City Council meeting, former Homer Police Officer Larry Baxter was promoted to sergeant. Baxter’s wife, Tamarron, pinned new insignia on her husband. Mayor Bryan Zak also administered the oath of office. Sgt. Baxter now serves as the department’s investigative sergeant, replacing Sgt. Lary Kuhns, who retired last month. In his new role as the department’s detective, Baxter investigates major crimes such as murder, sexual assault and burglary. A U.S. Army veteran, Baxter previously worked with the Saint Paul Police Department.
TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) members from around the state will gather in Homer today through Saturday at Land’s End Resort to celebrate their successes.
By McKibben Jackinsky
Hospice of Homer announces that Jessica Ramsey Golden has been hired as the organization’s new executive director. Golden is a lifelong Alaskan, and she and her family recently relocated to Homer from Anchorage.
Optimism, it seems, has always been a part of Darlene Hilderbrand’s style, and that’s a good thing because, at 70, she’s leaving her job as executive cirector of Hospice of Homer to start enjoying the “last third of my life.”
Five members of the Mongolian Parliament and an interpreter participated in an Economic Development Roundtable at the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center on Saturday, March 25. The Mongolian Delegation was sponsored by the Kachemak Bay Rotary Club and managed by the Open World Leadership Center. Roundtable Panel presentations were made by Chamber business members. Topics included attracting visitors to Homer and the burgeoning high tunnel agriculture businesses which produce more vegetables on a year-round basis as well as peony farming and cattle ranching.
By MCKIBBEN JACKINSKY
Directors of Alaska farmers markets came together last week for the first Alaska Farmers Market Organizers Conference in Homer. The idea of Homer Farmers Market Director Robbi Mixon, organizers from 18 state farmers markets attended the three-day event, held at Second Star, a local resort hotel.
The Homer Marine Trades Association was well represented at the Anchorage Boat Show, held Feb. 17-18 at the Denaina Center. Two boats from BayWeld proved to be a big draw. Also attending were representatives from Southcentral Radar, NOMAR, In Demand Marine, Lower Peninsula Power Sports, Desperate Marine and Northwest Signs. Homer Harbormaster Bryan Hawkins also attended.
Alaskans who had a Moda health insurance plan through healthcare.gov, but who do not yet have coverage, can apply during a special enrollment period for new coverage until March 1.
Fishermen, regulators, biologists and stakeholders will gather in Anchorage later this month to clash over and collaborate on Upper Cook Inlet fisheries policies.
By DJ Summers
Morris News Service - Alaska
Discussions continue on how to patch up the state’s $3 billion budget hole, and again fishermen will feel the cuts from one realm or another.
Meanwhile, legislators are hinting at an overarching message: find money anywhere but here and prove that your job matters.