Local News

Video, social media lead to arrest in SPARC theft

Live security video and social media last week led to the arrest of a man suspected to have stolen from the South Peninsula Athletic and Recreation Center, the 12,000-square-foot indoor multi-use sports facility under construction near Homer Middle School.

On Jan. 6, Homer Police charged Johnney Boy Newman, 25, with one count of second-degree burglary for entering the SPARC unlawfully with intent to commit a crime. The case remains under investigation, said Homer Police Chief Mark Robl.

Contentious resolution on Tutka Bay hatchery fails

The Homer City Council had 22 items on the agenda for its regular meeting on Monday night, but one item, Resolution 17-002, “supporting sustainable fisheries in Kachemak Bay through fisheries enhancement and habitat rehabilitation,” led to more than an hour of public testimony, all of it during the “public comments upon matters already on the agenda” portion of the meeting.

That resolution sought council support for Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association efforts in the Leisure and Hazel Lakes sockeye salmon stocking and the Tutka Bay pink salmon and sockeye salmon stocking.

Homer's legislators ready to start session, solve state's budget crisis

As Homer’s legislators get ready to head to Juneau for the start on Jan. 17 of the 30th Alaska Legislature, one big issue looms ahead: how to keep funding state government and services.

“The biggest thing is certainly going to be the budget and the revenue,” said Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, District P. “How do we fill that $3 billion plus hole we have in the budget before we go off the cliff?”

Sanding the beach?

A city worker spreads sand at the Mariner Park parking lot on the Homer Spit last Friday. Cold temperatures on top of recent rain creatid slick streets, sidewalks and parking lots. The forecast calls for clear skies and temperatures in the low to high 20s.

Homer man gets 14 years for child abuse, porn

In a case that dates back to 2008, a Homer man pleaded guilty to second-degree sexual abuse of a minor and possession of child pornography.

At a hearing held Nov. 28 at the Homer Courthouse, Kenai Superior Court Judge Charles Huguelet sentenced Corey Rosano, 39, to 15 years in jail with five years suspended on the sexual abuse charge and eight years in jail with four years suspended on the child pornography charge. The charges are to be served consecutively, meaning he will serve 14 years total, not counting the suspended time. The court released the judgment on Dec. 9.

Despite threat of repeal, sign up goes on for Obamacare insurance

Although President-elect Donald Trump has said he considers it a priority to repeal the Affordable Care Act, President Barrack Obama’s signature policy achievement remains in place — for now. A key component of that plan, the health insurance marketplace, continues during the annual sign-up period, with a deadline of Jan. 31.

“There’s an unprecedented swelling of curiosity,” said Jessie Menkens, navigator program coordinator with the Alaska Primary Care Association. “People are seeking our help. There’s a lot of questions looming with the upcoming administration.”

Community has not forgotten problem of teen homelessness

Community members are working to find solutions for the issue of teen homeless in the Homer area ranging from providing resources for clothing and food to searching for a way to legally house minors without a roof over their heads.

Homelessness in Homer looks different than many people picture the situation, said Jane Dunn, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District homeless liaison serving southern peninsula and Ninilchik schools. Very few homeless people are sleeping out on the streets, as one might see in a metropolis.

After 27 years of caring for Homer's strays, Bess is taking some time off

From a building smaller than a lot of Homer dry cabins to a modern, heated animal shelter, Animal Control Officer Sherry Bess has seen the city’s pet-care facility grow. This Saturday, Bess, 66, retires after 22 years as the city animal control officer and 27 years working for or volunteering at the shelter.

Seniors' project involves all ages

Homer Senior Citizens Inc. wants to better connect all generations in the Homer community to ease loneliness, improve health and spread knowledge.

The new intergenerational program, which the organization announced at the Senior Summit in October, is recruiting participants and ramping up to start in the new year.

HSC Executive Director Keren Kelley’s idea for the intergenerational program started with a vision for the community as a whole.

South Peninsula Hospital nurse receives statewide honor

A South Peninsula Hospital nurse has received statewide recognition for her lifelong commitment to the nursing profession, for championing trauma care, and for her service across Alaska as a flight nurse, dynamic educator and humanitarian.

Rebecca Lundquist, a registered nurse, emergency room nurse, preceptor and trauma coordinator for the hospital, recently received the Melissa Ann Peters Memorial Award from the Governor’s Alaska Council on Emergency Medical Services, or ACEMS.

Homer Kilcher clan joins Jewel for holiday special

Homer will get a Christmas morning treat when CBS broadcasts a holiday special with the Kilcher family. “Holiday Homecoming with Jewel” features Homer’s famous musical star, Jewel Kilcher, her aunt Mossy Kilcher, and some of the stars of the Discovery Channel reality TV show, “Alaska: The Last Frontier” — Jewel’s dad Atz Kilcher, Bonnie Dupree, Eve and Eivin Kilcher, and Nikos Kilcher. The special airs locally at 9 a.m. Dec. 25 on KTVA Channel 11. The show features singing with Jewel, Atz Kilcher, Dupree, Mossy Kilcher and Jewel’s 5-year-old son, Kase.

Woman loses house in fire

Ninilchik neighbors have rallied to help a friend recover from a house fire on Saturday afternoon that completely destroyed the log home of Helena Toretta-Imlah. Toretta-Imlah, 69, escaped barefoot with her dog, Ola, and was able to save her car and purse. She singed her hair and eyebrows, but was otherwise uninjured in the fire.

“It’s unbelievable to lose her home,” said Nadine Russo, organizer of a Go Fund Me online fundraiser for Toretta-Imlah. “A lot of people have stepped up for her.”

HEA change rejected

In a vote of 70 percent opposed, Homer Electric Association members soundly defeated a proposal to deregulate the member-owned electric cooperative. With 6,896 total votes, 4,854 voted no and 2,042 voted yes. That means HEA will remain under Regulatory Commission of Alaska oversight. The total votes received also was well above the 3,506 threshold, or 15 percent of the 23,371 ballots mailed, for the election to be valid under Alaska law. The RCA certified the election in an order released Dec. 20.

Vets voice concerns at 'listening session'

As President-elect Donald Trump makes his department secretary appointments, potential candidates have to wend their way through the gantlet of the press in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York and head upstairs for a meeting with Trump. Anyone thinking of being VA Secretary — as Alaska Public Radio reported last month that former Gov. Sarah Palin was doing — might want to face a tougher audience: a roomful of disgruntled military veterans.

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