Local News

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.

Council preserves food tax exemption

BY MICHAEL ARMSTRONG

STAFF WRITER

On a second vote to repeal a seasonal sales tax exemption on food, the Homer City Council again defeated the ordinance proposed last year by council member Bryan Zak. 

This time, with council member Beau Burgess switching his vote, the council fell two votes short of passing the controversial ordinance. As before, Zak and council member Francie Roberts voted yes, and council members James Dolma, David Lewis and Burgess voted no.

Mayor opposes city’s help on gas line

Homer residents took to the microphone at Monday’s regular Homer City Council meeting to express their views on formation of a citywide Natural Gas Homer Special Assessment District. Among those testifying was Homer Mayor Beth Wythe.

Before commenting, Wythe — who has been determined to have a conflict of interest on the natural gas issue due to her employment with Homer Electric Association Inc. — passed the mayoral gavel to council member and mayor pro tempore Francie Roberts.

Happy ending wraps up search for snowmachiner

What was meant to be a short, two-hour snowmachine ride with a friend last Friday turned out much differently for Steven Craig, 41, of Homer. After Craig became lost, an estimated 100 individuals on the ground and in the air spent the weekend battling foul weather in hopes of finding the snowmachiner alive.

Their efforts were successful. Craig was
spotted Sunday afternoon.

Earlier this week, Craig, his wife, Rita, and daughters, Kristina and Brittany, shared details of the family’s 50-hour ordeal with the Homer News.

Road kill provides good meal for residents, data for scientists

It’s 1:30 a.m. when Laurie Speakman gets the call. Alaska State Trooper Dispatch tells her another one has been hit and gives her the GPS coordinates.

Outside it’s probably below zero when she starts the pickup, equipped with a flashing siren, a wench and a boom.

She dresses in thick clothing while coffee brews and the truck warms. Then she drives from a warm bed and sleeping husband to pick up another dead moose from another car accident.

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