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Measure to repeal borough stream ordinance withdrawn over open meetings concerns

A Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly member’s attempt to introduce an ordinance that would have undone an expansion of the borough’s anadromous waters habitat protection ordinance was foiled by an unlikely source: the “reply all” button on his email.

Newly elected assembly member Kelly Wolf withdrew Ordinance 2013-03 from introduction Tuesday night citing concerns from borough administration about possible violations of Alaska’s Open Meetings Act.

Herrick associate charged with hindering prosecution


The man driving a truck when Alaska State Troopers arrested Bret Herrick, 52, on Dec. 8 in Anchor Point has been charged with first-degree hindering prosecution, a felony. Troopers allege William R. Dalton, 35, knew that Herrick had a warrant for his arrest and had given him a ride knowing he had a warrant. Herrick is alleged in August to have kidnapped a man at gunpoint from his Skyline Drive home and forced him to get money out of a cash machine.

Children in Head Start help spread tobacco-free message


Shortly before the holiday break, the youngsters at Homer Head Start joined Alaska’s fight against tobacco use, thanks to a program sponsored by RurAL CAP, Rural Alaska Community Action Program, Inc.

When the 4- and 5-year-olds headed home that day, the youngsters carried little buckets containing items like color crayons, pencils and stickers. On the side of the bucket was the message “growing up tobacco-free in Alaska.” The message was meant to be a conversation-starter, said Martha Wagele, Homer Head Start family advocate.

Moving Day at the Pratt

Saturday was moving day at the Pratt Museum when about 25 volunteers showed up to help move sections of a gray whale from the workshop into the space where the new exhibit, “Encounters: Whales In Our Waters,” will open on Feb. 1. The exhibit will profile nine cetacean species with the centerpiece this gray whale that washed ashore near Halibut Cove in 1999.

Rig’s woes benefit city, borough

BY MICHAEL ARMSTRONG

STAFF WRITER

Although Buccaneer Oil had intended last fall to have moved the jack-up rig Endeavour-Spirit of Independence to oil and gas exploration sites in Cook Inlet, that the rig remained at the Homer Deep Water Dock as of Jan. 1 could mean a tidy tax payment to the city of Homer, Kenai Peninsula Borough and the South Peninsula Hospital Service Area. The borough collects tax payments on behalf of cities and service areas.

Coast Guard leads investigation into sunken vessels



When it happened is uncertain — Christmas Eve or Christmas Day — but the F/V Leading Lady and F/V Kupreanof are now on the bottom of Jakolof Bay.

The reason for the sinking of the 53- and 58-foot wooden vessels, owned by Tim Barclay of Valdez, also is uncertain. There was a heavy snowfall in the area over the Christmas holiday, but whether that was the cause is unknown.

First baby of the year arrives early at SPH

Welcome to the world, Titan Kasius Swenning Norman.

The 7-pound, 13.7-ounce, 21.5-inch son of Nikalai Norman of Port Graham and Barbara Swenning of Nanwalek was born at South Peninsula Hospital at 6:13 a.m. New Year’s Day.

Titan’s first name was chosen by his father. Webster’s New World College Dictionary defines “titan” as “any person or thing of great size or power.”

While that may be true, a few hours after Titan’s birth, he was quietly sleeping, wrapped in a blanket and snuggled in his mother’s arms. 

Hearings scheduled for major Homer criminal cases

Last year Homer Police and Alaska State Troopers arrested and charged nine defendants with major crimes ranging from murder to sexual assault. As the new year starts, Homer judges have a full docket as those cases move through the criminal justice system. Here are some major cases and the next scheduled court action:

• Alfred Jones, case number 3HO-12-00213CR. 

Incident: A May 29, 2010, car crash on the Sterling Highway that killed Kathleen Benz, 25, of Washington, D.C. 

New ordinance only applies to thin, disposable bags


Starting Tuesday, the city of Homer’s ban on thin, disposable shopping bags took effect. Ban supporters expecting an ecotopia where every shopper carries a reusable bag and plastic bags disappear overnight won’t see that. In fact, today, next week and even next summer might look a lot like last year as businesses use up plastic bags purchased in 2012.

Rain, snow, snow, rain in forecast

By McKibben Jackinsky

Staff writer

A white Christmas? No problem. The southern Kenai Peninsula definitely had a white Christmas.

Then again, a white Christmas turned out to be a big problem. Especially for more than 2,000 HEA members without power during parts of the holiday season, crews working long hours to restore power, harbor personnel and boat owners, and the city’s Public Works personnel to name a few.

According to the National Weather Service, there’s more rain and snow on the way.

Natural gas inching closer


It’s been a long time coming, but the availability of natural gas for Homer area residents is getting closer. 

So close that Enstar has stacked pipe in a fenced-in storage area near Kachemak Nordic Ski Club’s Lower Baycrest-D.O.T.  trailhead.

So close that Charlie Pierce, southern region manager for Enstar Natural Gas, is sharpening his focus on his own goal: delivering natural gas to former Homer Mayor Jim Hornaday’s residence.

HEA works to restore power


Winter weather has caused multiple power outages.

“The outages were the result of heavy snow load that brought lines down and also caused trees to come into contact with the power lines,” said Joe Gallagher, public relations coordinator for Homer Electric Association.

Salmon lessons not by the book

When it comes to salmon, southern Kenai Peninsula students get an opportunity to set aside textbooks in favor of some hands-on learning, thanks to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

“Awesome,” was the one-word evaluation of the project from Fireweed Academy fifth-grader Zach Condon.

The study actually began last fall with the collection of coho salmon eggs from a Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association hatchery on a lake near Seward.

Community reaches out to homeless teens

When Marlaina Thiel, the liaison for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s Students in Transition Program, and Jan O’Rourke of TUFF, Teens United for a Future, planned Sunday’s stocking stuffer party, they scheduled two and a half hours at the upstairs of Alice’s Champagne Palace.

So many people showed up, however, that stockings were stuffed and presents were wrapped for the 37 homeless young students in Thiel’s program so quickly that the task was done by 2 p.m.

Kasilof man convicted of two 1998 murders dies in prison

Robert V. Freeman, a Kasilof man who was sentenced in 1999 for murdering two Kenai Peninsula women, died Sunday at the Anchorage Correctional Center.

He was 71.

Freeman died of natural causes, according to an Alaska State Troopers dispatch.

On Sunday at 4:54 p.m., the Alaska Bureau of Investigation Major Crimes Unit received a report about Freeman’s death. Troopers have reported he died due to natural causes, but the state’s Medical Examiner Officer was notified.

No foul play is suspected.

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