Local News

Council puts HART question on ballot

In a special election in 2015, voters passed Proposition 1 to suspend for three years the .75 percent of city sales taxes that goes into the Homer Accelerated Roads and Trails fund. That suspension allows the city to use HART sales taxes to fund general government, about $1 million in some years. With the suspension ending next year, the Homer City Council for the past few meetings has debated the future of HART and how that .75-percent sales tax could be used. Should the HART language be changed to allow other uses such as maintenance? Or should a portion of the tax be permanently redirected to the general fund?

Ice blocks harbor

Northerly winds last week pushed ice from the head of Kachemak Bay up against the end of the Homer Spit, choking off the harbor entrance and the southeast end of the Homer Harbor. Some mariners reported being unable to get out of the harbor over the weekend. Brash or slushy ice has been freezing together and begun filling in slips and around the load-launch ramp, but there are channels around larger vessels where they have been moving, said Homer Harbormaster Bryan Hawkins. Plus 20-foot high tides next week could bring in more ice from the head of the bay, particularly if north to northeasterly winds continue.

Group files recall application against three council members

A group of 10 Homer citizens on Monday filed an application for a recall petition against Homer City Council members Donna Aderhold, David Lewis and Catriona Reynolds. The three council members sponsored an inclusivity resolution at the Feb. 27 council meeting, although only Reynolds voted for Resolution 17-019. Following almost three hours of public testimony, most of it against the resolution, it failed 5-1. The application cites their sponsorship for that resolution as well as Resolution 16-121, a resolution supporting the Standing Rock Lakota tribe and opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline, as grounds for recall. Resolution 16-121 passed 4-3, with Homer Mayor Bryan Zak breaking a tie vote that Aderhold, Lewis and Reynolds also voted yes on.

Cold may curtail spruce aphids

As they defoliated Sitka spruce trees in Homer and other areas around Kachemak Bay, spruce aphids have been under the watchful eyes of state, local and federal agencies. Although many trees look like they have lost their needles, aphids spared much of the new foliage that developed last year.

Legendary writer, scientist Rearden dies

Writer, photographer, editor, professor, biologist, outdoorsman, scholar, veteran, Alaskan and family man: in the history of Alaska’s post-World War II generation that came into the country and settled the state, Jim Douglas Rearden exemplified the breed. Wicked smart, funny, personable and handsome right down to his neatly clipped brush mustache, he stood as an example in the arts, humanities and sciences.

Council creates Police Station Task Force

In a relatively short meeting that ended at 7:30 p.m. Monday, the Homer City Council brought back to the table the continuing need for a new Homer Police Station. After voters turned down an up-to-a-$12 million bond and a seasonal sales tax of .65 percent, newly elected Mayor Bryan Zak said he would keep pushing for a solution that would replace the crowded, 1980s cop shop and jail on Heath Street.

Carnival Homer-Style

Sunshine, fresh snow and single-digit temperatures made last Saturday’s Homer Winter Carnival festive but chilly. Several parade entries responded to the theme “Jazz Up Winter,” including dancers with Pier One Theatre promoting its next big musical, “Chicago.”

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