Story last updated at 3:14 p.m. Thursday, June 27, 2002

City, newspaper changes bring fresh opportunity
Change is something as predictable as the weather. How often, when, and what it looks like is sometimes stormy or beautiful, but always interesting.

Change is all around us, from an upgraded paving job on Pioneer Avenue to the drifting sands of our shoreline.

Change is also sweeping through our ranks at the Homer News. In the past month, we have said farewell to half of our news reporting staff. Joel Gay was an institution at the Homer News, starting his tenure in 1978. Joel was involved in many aspects of the community and knew just about everybody and everything. He was always respected and trusted, a real treasure for the Homer News and our community. The big city up the road has drawn Joel away to an interesting new adventure.

Replacing Joel in the Managing Editor's chair was R.J. Kelly. R.J. brought a wide variety of experience from all over the globe. He helped us reach out to new elements of our community with a little different twist on how to present it to the reader. R.J. has left the Homer News to explore other new possibilities. These vacancies create the opportunity for some new faces and perspective at the newspaper.

We are delighted to have someone familiar to the Kenai Peninsula stepping into the editor's slot. The former managing editor of the Peninsula Clarion, Mark Kelsey, will assume the role of the Homer News general manger and executive editor.

To fill out the newsroom, Chris Bernard will join us from Sitka, where he worked at the Sitka Sentinel.

Both of these gentlemen bring many years of journalism experience and a deep desire to be a part of our community. Please help them get acquainted with our unique little town and this corner of the world. Stop by and introduce yourself. We rely on your good will to bring us ideas for stories and to keep us in touch with the changes that are going on around town.

Call, write, e-mail, fax, or just stop us on the street. Our local community newspaper is made stronger and better through your participation. Be part of the change.

It is so cool when groups work cooperatively to make this a better place to live and raise a family. This week is Youth Appreciation Week. Community Schools and Choices for Teens have partnered with several local organizations to make this a fun-filled week for our kids. Homer Council on the Arts held a sand sculpting contest and free barbecue at Bishop's Beach earlier this week, and the Pratt Museum hosted a wilderness hike and scavenger hunt.

Today, the Homer Skateboarding Association will hold a Skate Day, with the Community Schools hosting a pool party from 6-8pm. The Boys & Girls Club gets in on the act on Friday with an open house, and Youth of the Nation Teen Center host a Street Dance that evening. To top it all off on Saturday, the Department of Fish and Game will host Fishing for Fun at the reservoir. Many more local folks have pitched in prizes and energy to make this a special time for our local youth. A little cooperation and coordination can reap huge benefits for our local community. Thank you.