Local News

Seaton holds meetings on revenue this week

As the city of Homer starts its budget debate at the next Homer City Council meeting on Monday, the larger question of how to balance the state budget also continues. 

This week, Rep. Paul Seaton is the host of town hall meetings in Ninilchik and Homer to discuss state revenue options to address Alaska’s current fiscal situation. Commissioner of Revenue Randy Hoffbeck will attend to listen and answer questions, Seaton said in his August newsletter.

Those meetings will be:

Citizens pay up for gas

On Tuesday, a week after Homer property owners were to have paid the first installment on their Homer Natural Gas Special Assessment bill, city officials were still tallying how many people had paid the assessment in full, had paid the first installment, had received deferments and had failed to pay anything. 

Homer City Manager Katie Koester said she will have a report ready by today to include in the Homer City Council’s Sept. 14 meeting packet.

10 things to know about upcoming load and launch ramp replacement

1. The Load and Launch Ramp will be closed Sept. 15-Dec. 15.

2. Rebar sticks out of the current concrete launch ramp because of degradation, erosion has undercut areas in the lowest part of the ramp and tripping hazards exist on the float system.

3. Total project cost is about $3.5 million, with approximately $800,000 coming from the city of Homer and the remainder from a state grant.


It’s a wrap

Update: The caption has been corrected on the fishhook sculpture photo properly identifying it as a circle hook.

And like that, another furious tourist season draws to a close — or nearly so — on the Homer Spit. A great blue heron was among the Labor Day weekend visitors. Like many others on the Spit, it likely will head someplace else soon.

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.


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