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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.

Governor signs bill creating Marijuana Control Board

JUNEAU — Gov. Bill Walker has signed into law legislation creating a new board to regulate the legal marijuana industry in Alaska.

Voters last November approved an initiative legalizing recreational use of pot for those 21 years of age and older. The initiative delegated rulemaking for the industry to the Alcoholic Beverage Control

Board unless the Legislature created a new Marijuana Control Board. Walker this week signed into law a bill he introduced creating the new board.

Shorebird Festival: Birds and Fun Abound

Now in its 23rd year, the Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival has settled into a weekend- long wildlife festival that goes like this:

• Spring arrives, and birds start showing up;

• In late April and early May, dozens of species and thousands of shorebirds ar- rive in Kachemak Bay;

• Homer, Alaska, Lower 48 and even for- eign birders dust off their binoculars and start watching the birds;

WWII, Korean War vets feted in honor flight

Sixteen million men and women served in World War II. Of those, 2 million remain alive. As that generation ages, organizations around the country work to make sure they get one last hurrah: an all-expense paid trip from their homes to Washington, D.C., to see war memorials and other sites.

“We feel a sense of urgency. These guys are going away 600 a day,” said Ron Travis, orga-

Stars of the Shorebird Fest

Spring has come, and with it a possible 40 species of shorebirds that have arrived in Homer during their annual migration. While the shorebirds can be seen whirling in great flocks over Mud Bay or feeding alone at nearby sloughs, for the novice birder, identifying them can be tricky. They aren’t the most colorful of birds, and most have subtle variations of tan, white and brown, which can make them hard to distinguish from each other, particularly against the beach or sky.

Stars of the shorebird fest

Spring has come, and with it a possible 40 species of shorebirds that have arrived in Homer during their annual migration. While the shorebirds can be seen whirling in great flocks over Mud Bay or feeding alone at nearby sloughs, for the novice birder, identifying them can be tricky. They aren’t the most colorful of birds, and most have subtle variations of tan, white and brown, which can make them hard to distinguish from each other, particularly against the beach or sky.

Top 10 shorebirds sure to delight

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.

District’s dropout rate continues to improve

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District dropout rates have steadily declined for the past five years.

At the end of the 2013-14 school year, 2.8 percent of students in grades 7-12 dropped out district wide, according to the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development. The average between the end of the 2007 and 2010 school years was 4.3 percent.

The rate is also declining nationwide, and hit a record low at 7 percent, according to a 2014 report by the Pew Research Center.

AP library gets new home

The sign at 34020 North Fork Road, just east of Coastal Realty at the corner of North Fork Road and the Sterling Highway, says it all: The Anchor Point Public Library is open for business at its new location. 

Even better: the location is permanent, thanks to Bob Craig, the library board president, and his wife, Lora, the librarian.

The Craigs purchased the building — including two apartments, a 2,800-square-foot space formerly occupied by the New Image Salon and 29 storage units — in September. 

Seldovia residents embrace svt’s walking challenge

One, two, three, four…

Step after step. Step after step. Thousands of steps are adding up into millions of steps  all in one tiny town across Kachemak Bay.

Despite the odd spring weather, the roads and beaches of Seldovia have had a little extra traffic — not from vehicles, but pedestrians. 

In March of this year, the Seldovia Village Tribe, or SVT, launched a nine-week walking challenge. Participants were given free pedometers and asked to log their steps each day. 

Spring buzz

As spring bursts around the state, Alaskans note the changing of the season in many ways. Sandhill cranes arrive. The first float plane lands on Beluga Lake. Crocuses pop up.

Earlier this month, for some local agricultural producers, the buzz — pun very much intended — was all about the tiniest critter Alaskans raise.

Bees. 

At Linda Gorman’s home on McLay Road off East End Road, on a sunny Saturday, Homer’s beekeepers came together to pick up deliveries of bees. 

Kachemak Drive reopens to traffic

Just nine days after a mudslide took out part of Kachemak Drive on the west end, repairs have been made and the road reopened Tuesday night. The fixed section of road still needs to be paved, with some flagging and one-lane traffic, but the road won’t be closed further.

Kevin Jones, the local manager of the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, Homer area, credited the hard work of his crew and a stretch of warm, clear weather for getting repairs done ahead of schedule. 

Lawmakers plan to work on marijuana bills over interim

JUNEAU — Alaska lawmakers say they will continue working on marijuana bills over the interim.

Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, R-Anchorage, said the House Judiciary Committee, which she chairs, will work on a bill that would update state crime laws to reflect marijuana legalization, including a discussion of whether it should be on Alaska’s list of controlled substances.

Nonprofit Needs

Homer Animal Friends needs a volunteer staff to spend a few hours at our new store. Donations of gently used towels and a ladder also needed. 

Contact: 235-SPAY (7729) 

 

Homer Community Food Pantry needs canned goods: fruit, vegetables, beans, chili, Spahgetti-O’s, ravioli, soups, tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, refried beans, etc.

Kachemak Drive to open Tuesday night

With the last bit of work to be done this afternoon, the west end of Kachemak Drive should open tonight. Kevin Jones, the local manager of the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, Homer area, said another load of rock and jute matting needs to be put in on a rebuilt slope where a 70-foot section of road collapsed on April 19, but after that’s done, the road will open.

City, Castner agree to stay in judge’s order

The city of Homer and Ken Castner last Friday 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.”

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