Local News

Amazing skies

Northern lights sine over Homer as seen from Diamond Ridge early Sunday morning. The Orionoid meteor shower also happened that night. One meteor can be seen flashing in the lower right of this photo. Alaska as far south as Kodiak had spectacular aurora viewing through early Tuesday morning. This photo was taken ag f 4.5 with a 70mm Nikkor lens on a Nikon D7100 camera at 2000 ISO for an exposure of 15 seconds. Atomic particles hitting the upper atmosphere cause the glow of the northern lights. Red and green colors are caused by particles hitting oxygen molecules.

Council changes harbor rates, continues to mull consolidation of dispatch

In the first regular meeting of the new Homer City Council and chaired by new Homer Mayor Bryan Zak, the council picked up some unfinished business left from previous meetings. In a meeting with five public hearing items, the meeting ran until 9 p.m. The council passed two main resolutions:

• Resolution 16-054, amending the fee schedule to implement a new graduated harbor moorage rate structure, and

• Resolution 16-111, rejecting a proposal to consolidate 911 dispatch services with the Kenai Peninsula Borough.

Homer man indicted on murder, robbery charges in 2013 case

A Kenai grand jury on Oct. 20 indicted Lee John Henry, 55, on murder and robbery charges in the 2013 death of Mark Matthews. The grand jury charged that Henry killed Matthews, then 61, on July 28, 2013, as Matthews walked on the Boystown Trail from Poopdeck Street toward his home in an apartment on Main Street.

Homer Police on Oct. 16 had arrested Henry for first-degree murder. Homer Police found at the scene what they believe is the murder weapon, but have not identified it. An autopsy showed Matthews died of blunt-force trauma to his head.

Halloween Haunts in Homer

For Kids

Oct. 31: Trick or Treat at the Historic Cabin at the Pratt Museum, 4-6 p.m.

Oct. 31: Trick or Treat at South Peninsula Hospital Long Term Care, 4:30-8 p.m. Use the lower level rehabilitation entrance, then use the elevator or stairs.

ACLU to borough: Drop invocation policy

The American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska has asked the Kenai Peninsula Borough to back down from its newly passed invocation policy.

The organization, which advocates for individual Constitutional liberties, frequently through litigation, sent a letter Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly President Blaine Gilman saying the policy violates religious liberty because those seeking to give an invocation must pass a religious test.

Use of Homer's food pantry on the rise

The Homer Community Food Pantry experienced a 115 percent increase in people seeking food assistance between 2013 and 2015.

Though the food pantry’s customers have not reached the highs seen in the years following the 2008 recession, a significant spike started in 2014 and continues to climb. The food pantry’s record year for visitors was 2009, when it provided for 38,723 adults and children.

Senator Murkowski discusses state's challenges in Homer

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, spoke to a crowded dining room at Land’s End Resort on Friday about her ideas for improving Alaska from her position in Congress.

Murkowski is running for re-election this November against opponents independent Margaret Stock, Libertarian Joe Miller, and Democrat Ray Metcalfe.

Murkowski, who was born in Ketchikan, spoke to the Homer community about how she grew up learning to figure things out on her own and to be resilient, comparing her experience with that of Homer’s.

Public weighs in before fish board

SOLDOTNA — Fishermen and the fisheries-inclined turned out by the dozens Tuesday for an open hearing before the Board of Fisheries to air their concerns on a host of issues.

The Board of Fisheries, preparing to enter its 2016-2017 cycle, is holding a work session in Soldotna this week to discuss Agenda Change Requests and non-regulatory proposals and to take public comments. When the session was scheduled in October 2014, the board set aside an entire day for fishermen to make public comments on any issue they wanted to address.

Title 16

Homer police charge Homer man in 3-year-old murder case

Homer Police on Sunday arrested a Homer man in the death of Mark Matthews, then 61, killed July 28, 2013 off the Poopdeck Trail.

Lee John Henry, 55, appeared in Homer court on Monday morning for arraignment on a charge of first-degree murder. Judge Margaret Murphy did not set bail, and because it was Henry’s initial appearance, he did not enter a plea.

In a press release on Monday, Homer Police Sgt. Lary Kuhns said Homer Police arrested Henry at about 2 p.m. Oct. 16 at a Pioneer Avenue address. Police took him into custody without incident.

Bail set at $25,000 for man who led cops on high-speed chase

A high-speed chase on Thursday afternoon in Homer and Anchor Point began with a drunk-driver report and ended with the suspect coming out of a crashed, stolen Dodge Ram truck holding a half-empty gallon jug of blended Scotch whisky.

At Paul Suter’s arraignment on Friday, Oct. 7, Homer District Court Judge Margaret Murphy set bail at $25,000 cash performance bond and a third-party custodian.

Homer Folk School shares skills with community

Homer Folk School is here to stay and provide intergenerational learning of folk arts — from homesteading to maritime skills — to Homer and the surrounding areas, said folk school board member, as well as organic farmer and herbalist, Robin McAllistar.

“I am such a fan. I am so excited about this amazing thing that is being created. We’re hitting the ground running. We’ve got classes up. Our first year anniversary is going to be really telling,” McAllistar said. “I have full faith that this is the first day of Homer Folk School and it will be here for a long time.”

New cop shop still a priority for mayor

Newly elected Homer Mayor Bryan Zak and city council members Shelly Erickson and Tom Stroozas officially joined the ranks of city government at the end of the Monday, Oct. 10 city council meeting. The council also discussed the new animal shelter contract, potential consolidation of dispatch, and the proposed fiscal year 2017 budget.

City clerk Jo Johnson swore in the three individuals, who will take the place of departing Mayor Beth Wythe, council member Gus Van Dyke and Zak’s council seat. Carrot cake from Two Sisters’ Bakery followed the ceremony.

Alcohol law rewrite could affect area restaurants

The Homer City Council on Monday discussed updates to Alaska’s alcohol laws, spearheaded by Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, which would convert currently held public convenience licenses into seasonal licenses. If the proposed changes pass, the 12 establishments operating with public convenience liquor licenses in Homer would have their licenses converted to seasonal licenses.

Koester: Station still needed; next step up to council

In an election where all three Homer City Council candidates opposed a $12-million bond to build a new Homer Police station, voters followed the candidates’ lead and rejected Homer Proposition 1.

That proposition would have paid for a new station with a six-month, April-September, 0.65-percent sales tax increase. City officials calculated the average cost to taxpayers would have been $43 a year.

Borough bonds pass; tax proposals fail

Kenai Peninsula voters shot down two tax proposals but supported two bond issuances for new projects in Tuesday’s elections.

Voters in the Kenai Peninsula Borough decided on the future of four ballot propositions Tuesday.

Proposition 1 approves the issuance of more than $10 million in bonds to fund the construction of future cells at Central Peninsula Landfill outside Soldotna, which serves the majority of the borough’s population.

Hospice of Homer offers array of services

Evelyn Carpenter sits at a small table surveying a scattering of unassembled puzzle pieces. She is backlit by soft sunlight radiating through a window of her cozy Anchor Point home just off North Fork Road. Her delicate 80-year-old hands shake slightly, a symptom of the Parkinson’s disease that has rendered her life increasingly difficult over the past few years.

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