Local News

Smith defeats Burgess to win council seat

In unofficial results for the city of Homer run-off election for a Homer City Council seat, political newcomer Heath Smith easily beat incumbent city council member Beauregard Burgess by 310 to 192 votes, a 118-vote margin. With 115 absentee votes and two special needs votes to be counted, or 117 votes total, Burgess still could not win even if he took every of the uncounted votes.

Smith, 50, will be sworn in after the election is certified at a special meeting of the city council at 5 p.m. Monday. 

Pilot error caused 2013 ERA crash, NTSB says

Pilot error caused the Oct. 23, 2013, crash of an Era Aviation Beechcraft 1900 C/C at the Homer Airport, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a report approved last month.

The two-engine plane slid on its belly from the east end of the runway to near the terminal after the landing gear collapsed. All 13 passengers and the two crewmembers walked away from the crash. Three passengers are now alleging injuries. The plane was flying to Homer from Anchorage.

Council introduces budget, debates Prop 1 campaign

In what arguably will be its most important act this year, the Homer City Council without fanfare introduced on first reading Ordinance 15-41, the legislation that will fund city government for 2016. That starts the process in an annual fall event leading up to an early December action that the council must make to keep the city running.

Student works to help plight of homeless youth in Homer

Editor’s note: This is the first of a series of stories the Homer News  plans on youth homelessness on the Kenai Peninsula.


Casey Marsh is not homeless.

Each night, the Homer High senior heads back to Anchor Point, to a cozy bed and a loving family and a solid, warm house. 

But on Nov. 7, come rain or shine, she’ll be outside all night in a cardboard box at WKFL Park — and she hopes you will be, too.

Blind man files rights complaint

In next Tuesday’s election, unless the city of Homer can borrow and program a special touchscreen electronic voting machine from the state, Homer voter Rick Malley will miss out on an experience enjoyed by most other voters: the right to vote in person and privately at a city polling place on a machine accessible to him. After being unable to vote in the Oct. 5 election, Malley has filed a complaint against the Kenai Peninsula Borough with the Alaska Human Rights Commission.

Green sentencing hearing rescheduled, moved

A sentencing hearing in the case of convicted murderer Demarqus Green that had been scheduled for Oct. 26 has been rescheduled to next month, but will be held at the Kenai Courthouse instead of in Homer as previously planned. On a motion by Kenai District Attorney Scot Leaders, Kenai Superior Court Judge Anna Moran changed the time and place to 9 a.m. Nov. 13 at the Kenai Courthouse.

Alaska Bible Institute honors past, envisions future

Next month, Alaska Bible Institute marks its 50th year of training and equipping Christians for life and ministry. In a three-day celebration, an expected 300 alumni and friends will gather from around the world to honor the school’s rich history, equip for its present and envision for its future. 

ABI, which is located on 14.5 acres of wooded slopes off Mission Road, offers a two-year diploma in biblical studies with an optional third-year diploma in ministry. It has a 50-student capacity, as well as full and part-time staff and teachers.

School district hosts first budget meetings

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is crowdsourcing for a second year to assist with budget development.

Superintendent Sean Dusek and Assistant Superintendent Dave Jones held a crash course on the sources and uses of available funds for the fiscal year 2017, broadcast with Microsoft Lync videoconferencing to 23 school sites Oct. 22. The two administrators explained the school district is virtually dependent on state and local allocations.

KHLT honors Toby Tyler for loving the land

To hear Richard Wilson “Toby” Tyler tell it, he hasn’t done anything award-worthy. 

The Kachemak Heritage Land Trust disagrees. 

Calling him a “prolific local artist, gardener supreme, scourge of invasive species and champion of the natural world,” the trust’s board presented Tyler with its 2015 “Land at Heart” award at the KHLT annual auction on Oct. 17. The award honors a local person for his or her distinguished contribution to conservation on the Kenai Peninsula. 

Walker encourages Alaskans to pull together out of mire

Gov. Bill Walker on Friday encouraged two diverse Homer audiences not to overreact or panic as the state makes some changes and figures its way out of a budget deficit of about $3.5 billion.

Contrary to “Alaska being on the rocks,” as one BBC reporter said during a recent interview, Walker said, “We don’t have a wealth problem. We have a cash-flow problem. … We have one hundred billion dollars in wealth. That’s phenomenal.”

Alaska’s savings breaks down to about $55,000 per person in the state.

Voters will help solve city financial problems

If you thought election season was over, think again. 

On Monday night, the Homer City Council passed resolutions for two more elections over the next two months: on Nov. 3, a run-off between Heath Smith and Beau Burgess for the second available seat on the city council (see story this page), and on Dec. 1, a vote on the council’s first official plan to combat Homer’s financial crisis.

Council election not over yet

A Nov. 3 run-off election will determine whether political newcomer Heath Smith or incumbent Beau Burgess is the winner of the second open seat on the Homer City Council.

Donna Aderhold was the clear winner of one of the two open seats on the council, garnering 46 percent of half the total votes, which were divided to account for two seats.

However, there was some confusion about how many votes were needed to declare a winner of the second seat. 

Sisters recreate great-great-aunt’s historic road trip

Over the course of one day, the first woman documented to have driven solo across the contiguous United States spent 11 hours digging her car out of mud and then shot a charging coyote. 

The year was 1915, and the woman was silent-movie star Anita King. She was undertaking the journey along the brand new Lincoln Highway, the first transcontinental highway for automobiles across the United States, as a publicity stunt for Paramount Pictures. 

Whales all around

Whales swim through Kachemak Bay on Wednesday morning. Longtime residents report more humpback and Minke whales have stayed in Kachemak Bay longer than anyone can remember.

Save the date: Haunted Hickory set for Oct. 29

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Hickory will host the annual Haunted Hickory food drive on Oct. 29.

The annual event, which dates back to when the Coast Guard Cutter Sedge was homeported in Homer, is sponsored by the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Hickory each year around Halloween.  Since its origin, it has risen in size and popularity — last year more than 1,100 guests come aboard.  

Full stop intersection at Main and Pioneer is active

As of Oct. 6, the intersection of Pioneer Avenue and Main Street is a four-way full stop intersection. The new stoplight is not yet connected to power, so it remains dark, but Swanson General Contractors owner Rob Swanson, whose company put in the light, wants to emphasize that that doesn’t mean it can be ignored. There are stop signs at each corner and legally, drivers from every direction must come to a full stop before continuing through the intersection. Swanson says that he hopes the light will be powered by next week. In the meantime, he reminds people to drive safely.


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