Local News

Blind man files rights complaint

In next Tuesday’s election, unless the city of Homer can borrow and program a special touchscreen electronic voting machine from the state, Homer voter Rick Malley will miss out on an experience enjoyed by most other voters: the right to vote in person and privately at a city polling place on a machine accessible to him. After being unable to vote in the Oct. 5 election, Malley has filed a complaint against the Kenai Peninsula Borough with the Alaska Human Rights Commission.

Green sentencing hearing rescheduled, moved

A sentencing hearing in the case of convicted murderer Demarqus Green that had been scheduled for Oct. 26 has been rescheduled to next month, but will be held at the Kenai Courthouse instead of in Homer as previously planned. On a motion by Kenai District Attorney Scot Leaders, Kenai Superior Court Judge Anna Moran changed the time and place to 9 a.m. Nov. 13 at the Kenai Courthouse.

Alaska Bible Institute honors past, envisions future

Next month, Alaska Bible Institute marks its 50th year of training and equipping Christians for life and ministry. In a three-day celebration, an expected 300 alumni and friends will gather from around the world to honor the school’s rich history, equip for its present and envision for its future. 

ABI, which is located on 14.5 acres of wooded slopes off Mission Road, offers a two-year diploma in biblical studies with an optional third-year diploma in ministry. It has a 50-student capacity, as well as full and part-time staff and teachers.

School district hosts first budget meetings

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is crowdsourcing for a second year to assist with budget development.

Superintendent Sean Dusek and Assistant Superintendent Dave Jones held a crash course on the sources and uses of available funds for the fiscal year 2017, broadcast with Microsoft Lync videoconferencing to 23 school sites Oct. 22. The two administrators explained the school district is virtually dependent on state and local allocations.

KHLT honors Toby Tyler for loving the land

To hear Richard Wilson “Toby” Tyler tell it, he hasn’t done anything award-worthy. 

The Kachemak Heritage Land Trust disagrees. 

Calling him a “prolific local artist, gardener supreme, scourge of invasive species and champion of the natural world,” the trust’s board presented Tyler with its 2015 “Land at Heart” award at the KHLT annual auction on Oct. 17. The award honors a local person for his or her distinguished contribution to conservation on the Kenai Peninsula. 

Walker encourages Alaskans to pull together out of mire

Gov. Bill Walker on Friday encouraged two diverse Homer audiences not to overreact or panic as the state makes some changes and figures its way out of a budget deficit of about $3.5 billion.

Contrary to “Alaska being on the rocks,” as one BBC reporter said during a recent interview, Walker said, “We don’t have a wealth problem. We have a cash-flow problem. … We have one hundred billion dollars in wealth. That’s phenomenal.”

Alaska’s savings breaks down to about $55,000 per person in the state.

Voters will help solve city financial problems

If you thought election season was over, think again. 

On Monday night, the Homer City Council passed resolutions for two more elections over the next two months: on Nov. 3, a run-off between Heath Smith and Beau Burgess for the second available seat on the city council (see story this page), and on Dec. 1, a vote on the council’s first official plan to combat Homer’s financial crisis.

Council election not over yet

A Nov. 3 run-off election will determine whether political newcomer Heath Smith or incumbent Beau Burgess is the winner of the second open seat on the Homer City Council.

Donna Aderhold was the clear winner of one of the two open seats on the council, garnering 46 percent of half the total votes, which were divided to account for two seats.

However, there was some confusion about how many votes were needed to declare a winner of the second seat. 

Sisters recreate great-great-aunt’s historic road trip

Over the course of one day, the first woman documented to have driven solo across the contiguous United States spent 11 hours digging her car out of mud and then shot a charging coyote. 

The year was 1915, and the woman was silent-movie star Anita King. She was undertaking the journey along the brand new Lincoln Highway, the first transcontinental highway for automobiles across the United States, as a publicity stunt for Paramount Pictures. 

Whales all around

Whales swim through Kachemak Bay on Wednesday morning. Longtime residents report more humpback and Minke whales have stayed in Kachemak Bay longer than anyone can remember.

Save the date: Haunted Hickory set for Oct. 29

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Hickory will host the annual Haunted Hickory food drive on Oct. 29.

The annual event, which dates back to when the Coast Guard Cutter Sedge was homeported in Homer, is sponsored by the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Hickory each year around Halloween.  Since its origin, it has risen in size and popularity — last year more than 1,100 guests come aboard.  

Full stop intersection at Main and Pioneer is active

As of Oct. 6, the intersection of Pioneer Avenue and Main Street is a four-way full stop intersection. The new stoplight is not yet connected to power, so it remains dark, but Swanson General Contractors owner Rob Swanson, whose company put in the light, wants to emphasize that that doesn’t mean it can be ignored. There are stop signs at each corner and legally, drivers from every direction must come to a full stop before continuing through the intersection. Swanson says that he hopes the light will be powered by next week. In the meantime, he reminds people to drive safely.

Despite DNR decision, coal mine could happen

Alaska salmon scored a partial victory this week, but PacRim’s coal mine could still happen.

On Tuesday, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources granted an instream flow reservation, or IFR, to Chuitna Citizen’s Coalition for the lower section of Middle Creek. Middle Creek is part of the watershed for a proposed coal mine, and an integral part of the drainage process necessary to complete the mine. 

In victory for not taxing food, Prop 1 passes by wide margin

Proposition 1, a controversial ballot initiative to remove from some cities the right to tax groceries year-round, passed in a landslide Tuesday night, with overwhelming support in Homer.

Proposition 1 is the continuation of a 2008 citizens’ initiative to repeal the winter tax on nonprepared foods in the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s general law cities. Groceries are exempted from borough sales tax from Sept. 1-May 31. 

Dunne defeats Slaughter in assembly race

In the District 9 Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly race between two political novices, Willy Dunne, 60, handily defeated Dawson Slaughter, 25, with 56.26 percent to 43.51 percent of the vote in unofficial results. 

Dunne, of Fritz Creek, led in all precincts except Slaughter’s hometown of Anchor Point, where Slaughter won with 68.56 percent.

In the other lower peninsula borough race, incumbent school board member Elizabeth Downing ran unopposed and took 98 percent of the votes.

Aderhold wins council seat

In unofficial Homer City Council results, Donna Aderhold has emerged as the apparent top vote getter, taking 46 percent of votes cast. To avoid a run-off, candidates had to receive at least 20 percent of the total votes cast for two seats, said City Clerk Jo Johnson.

Aderhold easily overcame that bar.

That also means there won’t be a run-off for the second council seat, but at press time the race is too close to call, with incumbent council member Beauregard Burgess facing a tough fight to win re-election.

Nikiski voters shoot down law enforcement service area

Nikiski area residents shot down a law enforcement service area in Tuesday’s municipal election.

Barring any changes after absentee ballots are counted, Proposition 2 failed with 541 votes cast against it and 399 votes in favor of it.

The measure asked Nikiski voters to approve the creation of a Nikiski Law Enforcement Service Area along with a five-member board to tackle the issue of crime in the area. The board would have taken office immediately following the election.

Homer’s Jewish community celebrates High Holy Days

The signs of fall in Homer are many: the Spit closes, the tourists disperse back to their respective homes Outside. Fireweed burns red on the Reber Trail. Moose season ends.

And outside Elise Boyer’s house up East Hill Road, a line of cars fills the driveway. Inside, nine people have gathered to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year.

Many people think that the highlight of a Jewish year, the big holiday, is Hanukkah, celebrated with dreidels and potato pancakes and close to Christmas. But not so. 

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