Local News

Can you feed Kandu?

Save-U-More manager Mark Hemstreet puts canned food in Kandu the Care O’Saurus, the Homer Food Pantry collection sculpture, after artist Brad Hughes installed it Tuesday at Save-U-More. Kandu roars when the bone lever is pressed to open his jaws. Hughes and assistant J.P. Rooks donated time and material. They also put up stickers in the store encouraging shoppers to pick up food to donate before getting to the check-out line. “Let’s make it fun,” Hughes said of the donation box.

Bowling event raises funds for Big Brothers Big Sisters

Pins were racked nonstop at Kachemak Bowl on Saturday, where packed lanes of young and old bowled for the "Bowl for Kids Sake" event, a fundraiser for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Homer program.

More than 100 participants and 16 teams attended the event to raise a goal of $9,000 for the Homer program. Aside from individual donations, 54 Homer businesses donated items for the raffle. Wells Fargo, GCI, First National Bank of Alaska, and Petro Express also made corporate donations to the event.

Homer fish, game panel seeks more community involvement

With the Alaska Board of Game meeting coming up March 15 to 19 in Kenai, the Homer Fish and Game Advisory Committee's work is done for that meeting, but the "AC," as it's called, would like to see more interest in Homer's local voice on fish and game issues.

"We're a committee to represent the constituents of Homer," said Dave Lyon, a longtime hunter and fisherman, former guide and water taxi operator who is the new AC chairman.

The Homer AC meets at 6 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month at the NERR building on Kachemak Drive, and meets this Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Trial delayed in kidnapping case

It wasn't only that the defendant's lawyer said he wasn't ready to go to trial next week in the case of a man charged with kidnapping.

In the trial of Bret Herrick, 52, on kidnapping and other charges, the main witness in the trial, a Homer fisherman, is off fishing in the Bering Sea and might not be back in time. On that basis, Superior Court Judge Charles Huguelet on Friday postponed until March 26 Herrick's trial.

Herrick is charged with kidnapping, first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary, four counts of third-degree assault and third-degree theft.

No changes in works for Era in Homer

Contrary to what you may have heard, Era Alaska is not departing. The airline company has no intention of abandoning its service to the southern Kenai Peninsula.

However, rumors of a possible pullout from Homer have spread all the way to Era Alaska's sales and marketing director, Steven Smith.

"A lady called me last week and said she had heard that," said Smith of speculation that Era's 30-year service to Homer was coming to an end. "I asked her who told her that and she said she'd heard it was a whole realignment. That's absolutely not true."

Big show

A great gray owl sits on a downed spruce tree just off West Hill Road early Monday evening. The owl caused a small traffic jam as people stopped to view and photograph it.

Young bird watcher Landon Bunting first sighted the owl and told another birder, Jason Sodergen, who then put out an alert on the Kachemak Bay Birders email list.

"It was just an amazing event," Sodergen said. "It was great to see it."

 

No foul play suspected in Ninilchik woman’s death

The state medical examiner has ruled out foul play or anything suspicious in the case of a Ninilchik woman found dead in a field in Ninilchik last Wednesday. Alaska State Troopers identified the woman as Kathy L. Kvasnikoff, 40.

Next of kin has been notified, and an autopsy with toxicology screening was done on Kvasnikoff last Friday. The body was released to a funeral home. Troopers are still waiting for the results of the toxicology screening, which can take several weeks.

Planning commission chair resigns

The chairperson of the Homer Advisory Planning Commission, Shelly Erickson, resigned last month. In a letter dated Feb. 20, Erickson said she resigned because she has been distracted by the pressure of trying to save her business, HomeRun Oil.

In 2000, Erickson and her husband, Jeff, started their heating fuel oil and gasoline station, the only locally owned heating fuel company.

So far, there’s been no rush of customers for natural gas

Enstar Natural Gas has chosen a contractor — Chumley Inc. of Sterling — to construct a trunk line to bring natural gas from Anchor Point to the southern Kenai Peninsula. The Homer City Council has voted to create a city-wide special assessment district within which will be built a natural gas distribution system. Kachemak City not only approved a similar scenario, but also is offering a rebate for residents signing up with Enstar.

With construction work scheduled to begin soon, what's missing? Users.

'Silver tsunami' hits Homer

It might be a dance with live music and a floor crowded with waltzing couples. It might be a forum for political candidates with non-stop questions being asked. It might be a parade float, an afternoon card game or swimming at the Kate Kuhns Aquatic Center. It might be grocery shoppers taking advantage of a 10 percent senior discount. Whatever the occasion, Homer's senior citizens are there.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough leads Anchorage, Fairbanks and the Matanuska-Susitna areas in percent of population 65 and older according to the 2010 census:

Peninsula legislators invite public to town hall meetings

Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, has invited his District O constituents to two town hall meetings to be held in Homer and Soldotna this week. The senator will discuss key issues and provide an update on the 28th Legislature.
The senator’s staff also will be present to help with constituent issues and provide information about contacting the senator in Juneau and participating in teleconferences. Ask questions, voice concerns and enjoy pizza and refreshments.
• March 8: Homer City Council chambers, 5-7 p.m.;

City OKs bond for gas distribution

The big-ticket item at the Homer City Council's regular meeting on Monday was Ordinance 13-03(S)(2), authorizing the city to issue a natural gas distribution special assessment bond in the principal amount not to exceed $12.7 million for the finance, design and construction of natural gas distribution improvements.
The 22-page ordinance, which includes a loan agreement with the Kenai Peninsula Borough as lender and the city as borrower, passed with all six council members, including Barbara Howard who attended telephonically, voting in favor of it.

Kenai grand jury indicts Gherman on kidnapping, assault charges

A Kenai grand jury last Friday indicted Ilya Gherman, 53, on two counts each of kidnapping and third-degree assault and one count of second-degree misconduct involving weapons. The grand jury charged that in a Feb. 12 incident, Gherman restrained by threatening with a firearm his wife and daughter at their Old Sterling Highway cabin. He also is charged with shooting up his cabin with a 9mm handgun and an AK-47 semiautomatic rifle. Alaska State Troopers arrested Gherman after the incident and he is at Wildwood Pretrial Facility.

Busy legislative session reaches halfway point

Begun Jan. 15, this year's legislative session is halfway toward its April 14 adjournment. Representing areas of the Kenai Peninsula that include the southern and portions of the central peninsula, Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, and Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, took time to reflect on the session's progress and what lies ahead.
"It's been very busy. I've learned I will never serve on eight committees again," said Micciche, the former Soldotna mayor who is serving his first term in the Legislature.

R - O - U - N - D - A - B - O - U - T

Over the next few years, downtown Homer will see several intersection and road improvements that will make safer two of the city's worst intersections and get rid of several stretches of notorious potholes on Pioneer Avenue and Lake Street.
One intersection change, at Main Street and the Sterling Highway, also could bring the first roundabout to Homer.

Troopers seize meth lab in car

A common traffic violation-- failure to signal a turn -- led to an arrest last Saturday for methamphetamine possession. The incident shut down a side street near the Homer Post Office when in the process of the arrest an Alaska Wildlife Trooper discovered a suspected meth lab in a 26-year-old Homer man's 2000 Oldsmobile Alero sedan.

State investigates alleged raw milk infection cases

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Section of Epidemiology is investigating four recent illnesses on the Kenai Peninsula believed to be associated with raw milk consumption, said Greg Wilkinson, a department spokesperson. The patients admitted to drinking raw milk a few days before getting sick, Wilkinson said. They have not told where they got the raw milk. Because of patient privacy rules, Wilkinson said he could not name the peninsula towns where the patients live.

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