Local News

Bear data could increase area hunting opportunities

For the first time in more than a decade on the Kenai Peninsula, wildlife managers have a recent brown bear population estimate to inform their game management decisions.

Ted Spraker, chairman of the Alaska Board of Game, said he suspects the new number — more than twice the old estimate — will increase hunting opportunities on the peninsula.

“This is what a lot of people have been looking for who are interested in maybe hunting brown bears on the Kenai,” Spraker said.

Man hurt in hit-and-run; police seek information

Homer Police are seeking information about a driver who hit and knocked unconscious a 47-year-old man walking on Ben Walters Lane last Wednesday morning. An unidentified driver hit the man about 9 a.m. Jan. 23 in the area of Lupine Court and near the entrance to Building D of the Conifer Woods Apartments. The driver stopped briefly and then left, police said in a press release.

The victim was struck hard enough to be knocked unconscious and suffered substantial, but non life-threatening, injuries. He was taken to South Peninsula Hospital and released. 

Cops charge third person in robbery

Homer Police last week charged a third person in the Dec. 17 armed robbery of the Grog Shop. James Mumey, 49, was arrested for first-degree robbery and is now at Wildwood Pretrial Facility, Kenai. Police said that Mumey provided the silver handgun that his older brother, John Mumey, 50, is alleged to have used in robbing the Pioneer Avenue liquor store.

T200 halfway point at McNeil Canyon

Temperatures in Homer were hovering around zero degrees Sunday afternoon, but at the Tustumena 200 volunteers’ meeting at Captain’s Coffee enthusiasm for this weekend’s sled dog race was anything but chilly. 

In 2012, the 200-mile race incorporated McNeil Canyon Elementary School as a checkpoint. Southern peninsula spectators took advantage of the accessible location to be on hand as 16 teams arrived on their way from the Kasilof starting line to the halfway mark, and a second time as they made their back to the Kasilof finish line.

Homer public transportation slow, but project still rolling

A plan to bring public transportation to Homer remains in the works, with a Chrysler handicap accessible van in Kenai and ready to roll sometime in the near future. 

However, due to some contract requirements, getting vouchers printed and other details, the rubber has not yet quite met the road for the Central Area Rural Transit System, or CARTS.

540 say no to gas proposal

Does Homer’s silent majority want natural gas or not?

That was the topic at the Homer City Council’s regular meeting on Monday when members of the public and the city council discussed creating the Natural Gas Homer Special Assessment District. As proposed by the city, boundaries of the SAD mirror the city limits and include 3,855 properties. Assessments estimated to be $3,283 per property would pay for a $12.7-million distribution system to deliver natural gas from a trunk line to be constructed by Enstar Natural Gas Company from Anchor Point to the cities of Homer and Kachemak.

Collaborating for a good cause

What does a pink-haired, tattooed, ear-pierced, outspoken, former hairstylist, current college student, 20-something single mother of twins from the central peninsula have in common with a soft-spoken, married, former nurse, current Homer author with sometimes evident strands of gray hair that hint at her age have in common?

Not much unless you’re talking about Maggie Winston of Kenai and Marianne Schlegelmilch of Homer. When it comes to these two women, you don’t have to look too far beneath the surface to discover a strong connection.

Enstar awards contract for constructing trunk line

There’s progress being made in Enstar Natural Gas’ plans to construct a trunk line to bring natural gas from Anchor Point to Homer and Kachemak City. 

For starters, the contract to construct the line has been awarded to Chumley Inc., a Sterling-based company.

“(Chumley) did our Girdwood extension from the Seward Highway into the city of Girdwood and the distribution system,” said John Sims, Enstar’s manager of corporate communications and customer service. “They have a lot of good experience.”

News Briefs

SPH Foundation holds annual meeting at 3:30 p.m. Monday

The annual meeting of the South Peninsula Hospital Foundation Inc. is 3:30 p.m. Monday in the hospital’s conference room at 4300 Bartlett St. in Homer. The meeting is open to the public. The agenda will include an annual financial report, review of the year and election of officers. 

Man charged with texting while driving after landing in ditch

A man who drove his car down a steep embankment last summer has been charged with texting while driving. In a criminal complaint filed last week, Alaska State Troopers charged Michael D. Mobley, 23, with driving a motor vehicle with a screen device operating, the formal charge for driving a car while having a TV, video monitor, portable computer or other similar device visible to the driver.

Assembly to consider $13 million loan for gas distribution system

Kenai Peninsula Borough officials are considering loaning Homer and Kachemak City a combined $13 million to help create a natural gas grid on the heels of last year’s state capital appropriations that will bring a gas line from Anchor Point south.

Although the borough helps connect residents with gas through utility special assessment districts outside of city limits, it usually does not make such large loans and therefore the assembly must consider whether or not to amend their investment policy to allow for the transaction.

‘Cost causer-cost payer’ model used in water-sewer task force proposal

BY MICHAEL ARMSTRONG

STAFF WRITER

A rate schedule proposed by the Water Sewer Task Force would drop monthly service fees from $45 to $18 a month, with apartment users seeing service fees drop from $45 to $5 a month for each unit, even if the building has one meter. That’s just one of the recommendations in a draft report discussed Tuesday night at the regular meeting of the task force.

Other recommendations in-
clude:

• Using a commodity or per-gallon water and sewer schedule;

Kachemak City OKs contract with Enstar

In a short — less than 45 minutes — meeting of the Kachemak City Council on Monday, the council reviewed a contract with Enstar Natural Gas to distribute natural gas to city residents.

With a unanimous vote, the council approved Resolution 2013-02, giving Mayor Phil Morris the OK to sign the 13-page document for $1,514,018.

The amount of the contract is based on:

• Enstar’s labor costs for pre-construction, construction and management activities, not to exceed $192,000;

• A non-binding estimate for the cost of materials of $175,000; and

Enstar, community discuss details involved in switch to natural gas

By McKibben Jackinsky

Staff writer

For Homer residents following the progress to bring natural gas to Homer, some of what was said at the Enstar Natural Gas community meeting at the Homer High School commons on Jan. 9 was familiar. Some of it, however, was new and offered more details.

For starters, Charlie Pierce, Enstar’s southern region manager, announced the establishment of a construction office in Homer.

The office is located at 345 Sterling Highway, Suite 104.

Earnings from city’s permanent fund to be given to nonprofits

BY MICHAEL ARMSTRONG

STAFF WRITER

While the Homer Natural Gas Special Assessment District was the focus of Monday night’s Homer City Council meeting (see story, page 1),
the council also took other actions, including approval of an ordinance disbursing net earnings of 5 percent from the city of Homer Permanent Fund to local nonprofits for the benefit of the community. 

The council set aside $3,554.79 for eventual appropriation to nonprofits.

Community rallies to help families who lost homes to fire


Autumn Jones had just finished working out and was getting ready to leave her East End Road home on China Poot Court on Jan. 7. Her daughter, Destiny, 13, was in class at Homer Middle School. Her partner, Neils Cordes, was at work.

“Then some guy came and told me the house was on fire,” said Jones.

Hannah Walker, Jones’ longtime friend and neighbor — only a garage separated their homes — was away at the time. Her children, husband, Ryan, daughter, Trinity, 9, and son, Dallas, 5, also were away from the residence. 

News Briefs

Civil rights talk set for Jan. 21

Stephen Haycoxwill present a talk on Civil Rights in Alaska: The Historical Perspective and the Popular Perception” at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 21.

The program is in honor of Alaska Civil Righs Day and is presented with support from the University of Alaska Anchorage Diversity Council.

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