Local News

Warm summers prepare for spruce bark beetle return

If you lived in the woods on the Kenai Peninsula in the 1990s, you may not want to read this article. Those were the years when the spruce bark beetle outbreak killed most of the mature spruce forest on the Kenai, some 3.5 million acres. 

Living out Homer’s East End Road, my wife and I spent our weekends cutting down our beautiful old-growth Sitka spruce trees and burning the slash. Our view improved dramatically, but so did the cold wind coming up from Kachemak Bay, as well as the vehicle noise from the road.  

Local peonies grace Obama hotel suite

Though President Barack Obama’s three-day visit to Alaska this week didn’t bring him to the lower Kenai Peninsula, he got a scent of Homer when local flower grower Alaska Perfect Peony was picked to provide the official presidential bouquet at his Anchorage hotel, the Captain Cook.

“It was pretty exciting,” Alaska Perfect Peony owner Rita Jo Shoultz said on Tuesday. “It was quite the honor.”

Will high-tech fish freezing come to Spit?

A thawed salmon filet that tastes the same as a fresh one? Is this too good to be true?

A group that calls itself Ocean Rich Communities of Alaska, or ORCA, says it is interested in bringing a high-tech Japanese freezing technology to the Homer Spit that can produce once-frozen fish indistinguishable from fresh fish even by Japan’s top sashimi chefs. The technology, they say, can freeze fish and other food for up to 30 years with no major degradation in quality. 

City faces $1 million shortfall next year

Starting at the Sept. 14 Homer City Council meeting, the city’s 2016 budget will dominate its discussions. The biggest question will be how to fill a probable $1 million budget gap in a general-fund budget of about $12 million. 

“That’s the shortfall I’m looking at,” said City Manager Katie Koester. “The truth is, $1 million is a lot to come up with.”

Jewell: Denali name change is final

Late Sunday, U.S. Rep. John Boehner, an Ohio Republican and Speaker of the House, said he was “deeply disappointed” that President Obama allowed U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to restore Denali’s name from Mount McKinley.
On Monday, Jewell said it doesn’t matter.
“The name change is official. The mountain is Denali. I’ve already signed the paperwork. You can cheer if you like; I hope that you do,” she told Alaska reporters in a brief meeting during the GLACIER conference in Anchorage.
Jewell said she signed the paperwork Aug. 28.


KBBI is looking for a volunteer to help stuff envelopes for a mailing on Sept. 8, 9 and/or 10 any time between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Located at 3913 Kachemak Drive in town by city hall.

Contact:  235-7721 ext. 221 or email dorle@kbbi.org


Homer Council on the Arts is in need of volunteers to paint (interior walls) and a sound system for the gallery.

Contact:  Peggy Paver


Race to Alaska will return next summer

KETCHIKAN — The boat race that challenged contestants to sail, paddle or pedal their vessels from Washington to Alaska will return next year.

This summer’s Race to Alaska was a simple concept: teams raced the 750 miles from Port Townsend, Wash., to Ketchikan for a $10,000 first-place prize, reported the Ketchikan Daily News.

The Northwest Maritime Center sponsored the first race and has announced that it will hold another one on June 23, 2016. 

Restoring the indomita: A chance to learn

Sitting in the yard at Desperate Marine, it’s clear that the wooden sailing vessel Indomita needs a little paint and elbow grease. 

Wanting to see her restored to her former glory, the Kachemak Bay Wooden Boat Society, or KBWBS, is working hard to make sure she is seaworthy once again.  

When one discovers the meaning of its name, it almost seems like this boat was always meant to be rebuilt. The word “indomita” in Italian means untamed, wild or unbeatable.  

Almost Finished

The state project shoring up the huge coastal erosion feature north of Anchor Point is wrapping up this week. This aerial image from Aug. 13 shows the sloping fill installed by contractor QAP and the state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) at Sterling Highway Mile 153.35. The white lines are hoses irrigating grass planted on the surface mulch. Jason Baxley, a project supervisor with the DOT&PF, said that largely due to the favorable weather work is winding up 6 weeks ahead of schedule. “It’s gone very smoothly,” he said.

Seabird deaths, warm oceans, algal blooms puzzle scientists

A series of unusual ocean events in Kachemak Bay, Alaska and the Pacific Northwest has scientists wondering if warming oceans are causing everything from harmful algal blooms to seabird die-offs. So far, though, marine biologists have not yet made a direct connection between all these incidents:

• Reports of dead seabirds in Kachemak Bay that are at least twice normal numbers; 

• Warmer oceans in the bay and along the Pacific Ocean coast;

• A harmful algal bloom that has spread from southern California to Homer; and

Variety shapes culture of Spit

The vibrancy of the Spit depends on a mash-up of diverse elements and individuals: captains and slime liners, potters and biologists, Spit Rats and third-time cruise ship passengers, locals and people from all over the world, and crane operators and chefs and wanderers and everyone in between. This week’s Spit story reports on three outposts that help shape Spit culture.



Moose hunting on lower peninsula opens Sept. 1

In a change from 2014, moose hunting season in game management unit 15C, the lower Kenai Peninsula, opens on Sept. 1, later this year than in 2014. It runs through Sept. 25. Antlerless moose hunting opens on Oct. 20 and runs through Nov. 20. Resident moose hunters can take one bull with a spike on at least one side or 50-inch antlers or antlers with four or more brow tines. Nonresidents cannot take spike bulls.

In Brief

Editor's note: The story on a sentencing hearing for Demarqus Green has been updated on Aug. 21, 2015, to show a new date for sentencing.

Rototiller operator ruptures gas line

Residents in the Soundview Avenue area escaped injury last Thursday when a rototiller operator hit and ruptured a natural gas line. 

Beach run takes new focus: resiliency

For 22 years, Homer’s annual Run for Women, later the Breast Cancer Run, has raised awareness of breast cancer. Sponsored by Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic, this year the annual August run supports another of its programs, youth services, with a new name, the Resiliency Run and Ride. The venue remains the same as last year, a beach run, walk or ride at Mariner Park on the Homer Spit.

Kenai Peninsula Fair promises fun for all

The 2015 Kenai Peninsula Fair is slated to be three days packed with an eclectic blend of entertainment, Friday through Sunday, at the Ninilchik Fairgrounds. 

This year’s homey theme, “Country Nights and Carnival Lights,” was chosen, not only to highlight that for the second year the festivities will include a swath of carnival rides, but also to encapsulate the essence of the decades-old community event.

“It embraces the spirit of the fair,” Executive Director Lara McGinnis said. “It’s a down-home country fair.” 


Subscribe to RSS - Local News