Local News

Assembly to reconsider reducing size of borough's planning commission

In its annual visit to Homer, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly stalled on a revision of the borough’s Planning Commission opposed by both the Homer City Council and the Homer Advisory Planning Commission.

In a 4-4 vote, the assembly tied — and thus defeated — Ordinance 16-25, an ordinance that would reduce the size of the borough planning commission from a maximum of 13 to a maximum of 11.

Court reverses pot conviction

Court reverses pot conviction

by Michael Armstrong

Staff writer

The Court of Appeals has reversed a conviction for marijuana possession against a homeless Homer man. In a decision released Sept. 14, the court also rejected the claim of Michael L. Murphy, that his backpack should fall under the same privacy provisions of a home as laid out in the Ravin v. Alaska decision.

Assembly ties on planning commission change

In its annual visit to Homer, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly stalled on a revision of the borough’s Planning Commission opposed by both the Homer City Council and the Homer Advisory Planning Commission. 

In a 4-4 vote, the assembly tied — and thus defeated — Ordinance 16-25, an ordinance that would reduce the size of the borough planning commission from a maximum of 13 to a maximum of 11.

Officials make pitch to council for bonds

At Monday night’s regular Homer City Council meeting, with a bare-bones council attending and few controversial items on the agenda, much of the meeting involved pitches by city and borough officials on upcoming bond propositions. Speaking were:

• Homer Public Safety Building Review Committee chair Ken Castner on Proposition 1, a $12 million bond and a 0.65-percent seasonal sales tax increase to fund a new Homer Police Station;

Homer student wins scholarship, honored for community service

Homer High School senior Robert Martin became the first Homer youth to receive the Summer of Heroes scholarship from Alaska Communications at the Alaska State Fair on Aug. 28. In partnership with Boys and Girls Club – Alaska, ACS presents six young adults with a $1,500 scholarship to recognize their contributions to their local community through service.

Man killed in East End Road crash

A single-vehicle crash late last Friday killed a 32-year-old Homer man. In a press release, Alaska State Troopers said Jonathan R. Osteen died of his injuries when he was ejected from his truck.

Troopers said they believed Osteen died before they arrived at the scene. Kachemak Emergency Service medics confirmed Osteen’s death at about 12:40 a.m. Sept. 10. Next of kin was notified.

Troopers said Osteen had been involved in a disturbance troopers responded to about 11:25 p.m. Sept. 9.

Burning Basket vandalized; repairs made and event will go on Sunday

For the second year in a row, a vandal or vandals snuck in during the dark of early morning and tried to burn the Burning Basket at Mariner Park on the Homer Spit. As also happened last year, while badly damaged, the basket survived the torching. By noon Saturday, volunteers working with Mavis Muller, the organizer of the community art project, had started repairs.

Vet rescues darted jays

Editor's note: This article was updated to include information from Alaska Wildlife Troopers regarding the legality of using blowguns and darts to hunt small game.

Two Steller’s jays trying to fatten up for the winter almost met an early end last week. Someone in downtown Homer shot the bright-blue birds with 6-inch barbed, steel blowgun darts. In one bird, the dart went through its chest and in another the dart hit its neck. Both darts have bright orange cones on the end and got stuck in the birds.

'16 visitor season beats '15

Busy. Packed. Barn busters. Steady. Excellent.

In a survey of Homer tourist businesses last week, that’s how some described the season. While a few said the season didn’t turn out to be quite as busy as expected, most said the season ended on a high note, with visits up from slightly to as much as 15 percent over 2015.

LFS buys Redden Marine, Kachemak Gear Shed

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include a statement from LFS Inc.

After a bidding battle between a chain of two Pacific Northwest commercial fishing supply stores, LFS of Bellingham, Wash., made the top offer in a receivership sale and has purchased Redden Marine, including its Homer store, Kachemak Gear Shed. 

Englund Marine & Industrial Supply Co. of Astoria, Ore., initially appeared to have the best offer, but LFS made a late and better offer two weeks ago. The sale was final Aug. 31.

Bess won't seek to renew Animal Shelter contract

With a deadline of last Thursday for proposed bidders on the Homer Animal Shelter to do a tour of the city facility, one name isn’t on the list: Sherry Bess, the current animal control officer and the woman who has run the shelter for the past 26 years. In an email to the Homer News, Bess said she decided not to bid on a renewal of the contract.

Driver in serious condition after hitting power pole; Incident causes power outage to about 850 customers

A Monday morning car crash just east of McNeil Canyon seriously injured an Anchor Point woman after her car hit a power pole and a power line landed on her car. Homer Electric Association workers cut power to the line. Kachemak Emergency Services medics had to use the Jaws of Life to extricate the driver, Jill Davis, 39. She was taken to South Peninsula Hospital with serious injuries. At press time Wednesday her condition is unknown.

Troopers seek info on abandoned set net

Alaska Wildlife Troopers seek information on the person or persons who abandoned a personal-use set net at Neptune Bay in Kachemak Bay this month. On Aug. 28, a woman who returned to her cabin found a set net anchored to a tree on her lot.

The net caught 79 fish and a river otter, all of them dead and rotten and unsalvageable, said Alaska Wildlife Trooper Mark Eldridge of the Anchor Point Post, E Detachment.

“It was just free floating, catching whatever the tide brought in,” he said of the net.

Proposed HEA deregulation generates discussion - and questions

Sometime in October, Homer Electric Association members will receive a ballot in their monthly electric bills with a simple question:

Shall Homer Electric Association Inc. be exempt from regulation by the Regulatory Commission of Alaska?

A “yes” vote means a member supports deregulation or what HEA calls local control. A “no” vote means a member wants to keep the current system of regulation by the RCA.

For that to happen, about 15 percent of HEA’s 23,500 members have to return ballots. A simple majority, or about 1,726 members, has to vote yes for deregulation.

Driver in serious condition after hitting power pole

An early morning car crash just east of McNeil Canyon seriously injured an Anchor Point woman after her car hit a power pole and a live power line landed on her car. Homer Electric Association workers cut power to the line. Kachemak Emergency Services medics had to use the Jaws of Life to extricate the driver, Jill Davis, 39. She was taken to South Peninsula Hospital with serious injuries.

PSP found in mussels tested in Kachemak Bay

Toxic shellfish have been found in Pacific blue mussels in the Homer harbor, according to an alert from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. Mussels sampled by the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve tested positive for paralytic shellfish poisoning by Southeast Alaska Tribal Ocean Research.

Commercially sold shellfish is tested by the Department of Environmental Conservation and considered safe to eat.

Animal owners take note: Don't let Fido ride loose or in your lap

At its regular meeting Monday night, the Homer City Council made amendments to the city’s animal control laws that ban a practice some might think of as Alaskan as log cabins and flannel shirts: letting your dog ride loose in the back of a pickup truck.

As of Tuesday when the law took effect, pet owners in the city limits can be fined $75 if dogs, pigs, goats and any domestic animal are not restrained in open truck beds.

LEDs may light up harbor

A proposed purchase of $30,000 in light-emitting diode lights for one harbor mast light pole could save the city up to $6,200 per light pole annually. At Monday’s regular Homer City Council, the council introduced on first reading Ordinance 16-45, a sole-source contract to Puffin Electric to purchase 12 LED fixtures.

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