Local News

Seldovia Bay Ferry releases schedule for summer season

Operated by Seldovia Village Tribe, the M/V Kachemak Voyager and the Seldovia Bay Ferry starts its summer schedule on May 21. The ferry between Homer and Seldovia leaves Seldovia at 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. and leaves Homer from Ramp 7 at 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Thursday through Monday. The last sailing for the season is Sept. 8. Extra travel times will be added on May 26 and Sept. 8.

Assembly takes food tax measure off table

After a lengthy debate about the morality of taxing food, funding for public schools, revenue for local cities and questioning voters for a third time on a change to the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s food sales tax structure, the issue has again been put to rest after the borough assembly voted to kill a resolution that would have put it on the ballot in October.

The deciding factor was assembly member Kelly Wolf’s decision to motion for reconsideration after amending the food tax proposal to be put on the ballot during the body’s April 7 meeting.

Workers begin repairs on Kachemak Drive

Workers this week began digging out about a 70-foot wide collapsed section of the west end of Kachemak Drive and getting permits to repair a slide that shut down the road about a half-mile from its intersection with the Homer Spit Road. Repairs may take as long as two weeks, said Carl High, maintenance supervisor for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, Soldotna. Kachemak Drive is a state owned and maintained road.

Family farm day gives kids dose of Vitamin "N"

It takes a special place — and a special person — to host a whole crew of children and their parents for an afternoon. 

On April 4, more than 200 kids and parents attended Family Farm Day, sponsored by Nature Rocks Homer and hosted by Mossy Kilcher and Seaside Farm.

Kilcher began hosting the annual event after a conversation with Carmen Field, chairperson of Nature Rocks Homer, a group of community members trying to help kids reconnect with nature. 

Annual kids safety fair expands to include wellness, older youth

The annual “Safe Kids Fair” is taking a new twist this year, expanding the umbrella of topics to include health and wellness

In addition, the fair will offer attractions for both young and older children. Titled “Safe and Healthy Kids Fair,” this year’s event will be from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at Homer High School. It offers attractions for kids up to 14 years old. 

An annual tradition, this fair uses demonstrations and hands-on activities to engage kids in subjects related to safety, health and wellness. 

Symposium connects trails, user groups

Opinions abounded during the Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission’s “Homer on the Move!” trail symposium last Saturday. With more than 17 different user groups represented, and more than 40 people in attendance, there wasn’t a shortage of ideas or suggestions about the importance of the public trail system in and around Homer.  

Matt Steffy, chair of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission and facilitator for the symposium, expressed his desire to gain consensus as a result of the symposium.

Slide closes Kachemak Drive at Spit end

A collapse of the bluff along the west end of Kachemak Drive has closed the Homer Spit end of the road. The road is closed indefinitely from about a half-mile in from the Homer Spit Road to the top of the hill by the old airport. Kachemak Drive remains open from the other entrance by East End Road all the way to the airport. The Spit Trail parking lot on Kachemak Drie remains open. A section of the Mud Bay hiking trail that goes by the toe of the slide also has been closed. The hole in the road continued to break apart, with cracks spreading along the road.

City, Castner agree to stay in judge’s order

The city of Homer and Ken Castner have agreed to a stay of a judge’s order enforcing a decision in Castner’s favor regarding the Homer Natural Gas Special Assessment District. On April 3, Kenai Superior Court Judge Charles Huguelet ordered the city to cease its method for assessing condominium owners for natural gas service, calling that method “disproportionate” and “arbitrary and unreasonable.” The agreement stays the order while the city seeks a judicial review with the Alaska Supreme Court.

Commission wrapping up beach policy suggestions

Whether it’s dog poop, loose dogs, birds, driftwood, bonfires, coal picking and off-road cruising, since last fall the Homer Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission has been meeting almost every two weeks and contemplating those issues. At 5:30 p.m. today and a final meeting at 5:30 p.m. May 4, the seven members will take final testimony and come up with recommendations on how to better regulate one of the most loved parts of Homer — our beaches.

Soldotna library collecting food for overdue fines

The Joyce K. Carver Memorial Soldotna Public Library is hoping to relieve hunger and financial stress.

For the third year, the library is celebrating National Library Week by offering the “Food for Fines” program. During the week of April 12-18, people with overdue items at the library can reduce their fine by $1 for every can or box of non-perishable food item donated. People wanting to participate must bring the food to the library’s service desk during opening hours.

All of the donated food goes to support the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank.

Alaskans’ help sought in Rusty Blackbird research

Through May 31, Alaskans can use their binoculars to help birds — by reporting sightings of Rusty Blackbirds for the Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz. This is the second year of the three-year project. 

Researchers across North America are teaming up with citizen scientists to help solve the mysterious decline of the Rusty Blackbird. Audubon Alaska is coordinating the Alaska effort this year. 

Council creates Cannabis Advisory Commission

As the Alaska Legislature debates how to regulate commercial cultivation, processing and sale of marijuana, the Homer City Council on Monday night did what the Legislature has yet to do: It created a Cannabis Advisory Commission. 

In an unanimous vote, the council passed Ordinance 15-07(a) (s)(a), forming one of the first such commissions in the state.

Homer legend loves to learn, share

She’s been named a master gardener, lifelong learner and citizen of the year — and the list goes on. A lot of living can happen in 87 years. 

Spend an afternoon with Daisy Lee Bitter and you’re going to learn something, or more likely, many things.


One kind of bluebell has 22 common names.


In March of this year, Bitter was inducted into the Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame in recognition of her contributions to the state through science education. 

Kenai high school put on lockdown after student receives threatening text

A 15-year-old student was arrested at his home in Kenai after police said he sent a threatening text message that included the threat of a gun, to students at Kenai Central High School.

The school was on lockdown for less than an hour Tuesday, as were Kenai Middle School, Kenai Alternative School and Aurora Borealis charter school

Nobody was injured, and the police “removed the threat,” said Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Assistant Superintendent Dave Jones.

Council to seek Supreme Court review of judge’s order

At an emergency meeting Wednesday night, the Homer City Council said it will petition the Alaska Supreme Court to review an April 3 judicial order that it cease its method for assessing condominium owners in the Natural Gas Homer Special Assessment District.

Council member David Lewis made the announcement after a 90-minute executive session in which the council consulted with city attorney Thomas Klinkner. Council member Bryan Zak did not attend the meeting.


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