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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.”

A Homer Treasure

Mary Epperson, right, visits with Joy Steward, left, at a reception on Sunday at AJ’s Old Town Steakhouse and Tavern celebrating the establishment of the Mary Epperson Endowed Student Support and Scholarship Fund at Kachemak Bay Campus.

Ranger Roger retires

The history of Alaska State Parks Chief Ranger Roger MacCampbell’s career mirrors that of lower Kenai Peninsula state parks. Among his milestones are:

• Helping build the park system in the post-Alaska Pipeline budget boom of the early 1980s;

• Weathering budget cuts in the mid-1980s Alaska recession;

• Surviving the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill;

• Coping with a changing environment from the 1990s spruce bark beetle infestation;

• Expanding trails, cabins and other facilities using volunteers and spill recovery and other funds, and

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. 

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