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Regan Baker, left, hands a Spit Sisters flier to Norma Gardner, right, of Bonbonniere, Ill., at the Deep Water Dock on Tuesday, after the M/V Statendam docked. Regan was helping out her family’s business on the Spit. The Holland American ship was the first cruise ship to dock in Homer. It next visits at about 10 a.m. June 9.

Assembly scheduled to vote on budget at June 2 meeting

Debate over the value of marketing, small business development and the Kenai Peninsula’s economic development district dominated budget discussion May 19 as Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly members worked to cut spending. 

The FY 2015-16 budget proposal for the borough went through a second round of scrutiny, public comment and wrangling between borough members during several committee meetings and the general assembly meeting.  It will go through one more round of public comment before being adopted by the assembly during its June 2 meeting.

Homer Jackpot Halibut derby: lots of chances to win

This year’s halibut sport fishery has begun with both tradition and change. The tradition is the successful Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby, and the change is a set of new regulations.

May 15 marked the official start and the 30th anniversary of the Homer Chamber of Commerce’s popular halibut derby. The chamber is celebrating with large and numerous prizes. 

Jury finds Green guilty of murder 2

Second-degree murder: guilty.

Tampering with physical evidence: guilty.

Self-defense: not proved.

After three days of deliberation, a Homer jury last Thursday afternoon delivered those verdicts for Demarqus Green, 23, of Anchorage. Green, the jury concluded, could not claim self defense in the July 7, 2012, killing of Demian Sagerser, then 40.

The jury found Green not guilty on the most serious charge, first-degree murder, and also not guilty on a charge of first-degree robbery.

Green found guilty of second-degree murder

After three days of deliberation, a Homer jury on Thursday afternoon found Demarqus Green, 23, of Anchorage, guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Demian Sagerser, then 40.

Green had claimed self defense in the July 7, 2012, shooting of Sagerser at Sagerser’s Stariski Creek home. Green said Sagerser attacked him with a utility knife when Green attempted to buy marijuana.

Cause of troubled landing unknown

The cause of a gear-up aircraft landing on Saturday has not yet been determined and remains under investigation. National Transportation Safety Board investigators still have not even found if the incident involving an Alaska Air Transit charter flight caused sufficient damage to warrant NTSB review. The investigation is in its infancy, with a preliminary report to be issued in a week to 10 days, said NTSB investigator Shaun Williams of Anchorage.

Researcher dives into fish habitat

It’s no secret people are captivated by salmon. We fish for them, hold music festivals in their honor, pay homage to them in artwork and depend on them for our livelihoods. They’re inspiring.

So much so that Coowe Walker, researcher at the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve, has dedicated a large majority of her time to understanding their habitat.

Walker has been with the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve for the last 15 years and has spent most of that time studying salmon and the landscape they inhabit.

Charter flight lands wheels up at Homer Airport

An Alaska Air Transit charter flight with one pilot and seven passengers landed with wheels up late Saturday afternoon. No one was injured in the incident, said director of operations Dan Owen. The Homer Volunteer Fire Department responded, but did not treat or transport anyone.

The incident closed down the Homer Airport until about 7 p.m. The 7:30 p.m. Ravn flight from Homer to Anchorage was cancelled and the inbound Ravn plane did not land. However, by 7 p.m. other planes were taking off.

School district prepares for lean financial times

While current educators and support staff in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District kept their jobs this year, it is unlikely to happen next year.

To renew its employment contracts the Kenai Peninsula Borough Board of Education approved cuts to existing programs and services, about $1.8 million in total. It also raised the pupil-teacher ratio, which is a pattern that is likely to continue, said Assistant Superintendent Dave Jones.

KBC grads start new stories in life

Dream big. Persevere in your dreams. Make mistakes. Stay involved in your community. Be the new storytellers.

That was some of the advice keynote speaker Francie Roberts gave last week in her address to the 41 graduates of the 2015 class of Kachemak Bay Campus, Kenai Peninsula College.

“My story is built on other stories. Your story may be, too,” Roberts, a University of Alaska Anchorage alumna, said.

Council introduces bed-tax idea

Though far from a done deal, the Homer City Council took the first step toward creating a 2.5-percent bed tax when it approved on introduction Ordinance 15-13. That ordinance goes up for second reading and a public hearing at the May 26 regular meeting.

Council member David Lewis introduced the measure to address declining revenues from the state that could support municipal programs like revenue sharing or grants.

“As revenues start shrinking, we’re gong to have to start looking to new sources,” Lewis said.

Green murder trial continues

After using up the April juror pool and dipping into May jurors, a jury was finally seated last week in the Demarqus Green murder trial. The testimony phase of the trial began last Wednesday at the Homer Courthouse with Kenai Superior Court Judge Anna Moran presiding. The trial is expected to continue next week.

Green, 23, of Anchorage faces charges of first-degree murder and second-degree murder in the death of Demian Sagerser, then 40. He also has been charged with tampering with physical evidence and first-degree armed robbery.

Legislature needs compromise to pass budget, Stevens says

With the Alaska Legislature still in recess and leaders trying to craft a balanced budget, it all comes down to a compromise, Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, told the Homer City Council on Monday night. Stevens and Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, reported on the results of the 2015 Legislature. The lower Kenai Peninsula’s senator and representative also held a Town Meeting on Monday.

Top 10 shorebirds sure to delight

Ask birders to list their top-10 favorite shorebirds and quickly their picks diverge. You might find five birds in common, like the popular and common western sandpipers, but then birders start throwing in birds like turnstones and snipes. The Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival guide lists 38 shorebirds that can possibly be seen, including some rare and unusual species like godwits.


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