To say the Etzwiler family loves basketball is quite an understatement. Decades upon decades of experience and passion for the game now stretch three generations.
Those three generations share a very special moment this weekend, as high school basketball referee Dave Etzwiler came out of retirement to officiate a game with his two sons.
Both followed in their dad’s footsteps; playing, reffing and sticking with the game all their lives.
“(My sons) are into officiating, but it has always been a dream of mine – a bucket-list wish, if you will – to officiate with those two guys,” Etzwiler said. “So I am coming out of retirement, and officiating (a game) with them. That’s probably the last game I will ever officiate.”
Christmas lights are a sign of celebrating the holidays for many, but for Phyllis Kohlbeck, the decorative strands hanging over the windows of her home mean much more.
Kohlbeck’s lights come alive during the dark hours of the day, and have stayed lit 365 days a year, every hour of every day. For the past seven years.
“My son decided he wanted bright lights in here for Christmas,” Kohlbeck said, motioning to the living room lined with windows looking out to Kachemak Bay. “So my husband helped him put them up, and they have been there since 2007.”
We took a long, three-day trek to Khaptad National Park. Day 1 was 9.5 hours of mostly uphill, mountainous hiking; Day 2 was eight hours of mostly uphill hiking to a high, grassy meadow with Himilayan views. Day 3, we intended to hike all the way down.
We made it to our lunch stop (our overnight from Day 1) in five hours. But shortly after lunch, our friend Bill took a nasty fall downhill into a creek bed. His head was bloody and he couldn’t walk because of hip pain.
His wife Judy is a doctor, his daughter Saanti is a wilderness first responder, and Forrest and I are EMTs — so he had a decent team at his disposal. We sent the Nepali that was with us back to the lunch village for help. Judy dressed his head wound and the five of us lifted/carried him out of the creek.
Teenagers reaching out to help the community are often few and far between, but not in our little hamlet by the sea.
Three Homer High School students created several ceramic pieces for an upcoming Homer Community Food Pantry benefit entitled, “Empty Bowls.”
The soup luncheon features food donated by local eateries and bowls from local artists. The soup and bowls are then sold, with proceeds going to benefit the local food pantry.
All together, HHS Ceramics teacher Maygen Jannetta and her students will donate nearly 30 bowls to the event.
“We’ve never done ‘Empty Bowls,’” Jannetta said. “This year, we made an intention of trying to do it ahead of time so we had time to make bowls. It takes some time to actually make the ware, fire the ware, glaze the ware, and fire the ware again. It’s not a quick thing. This year, we started out with the idea of participating.”
With coffee in one hand and pliers in the other, young artist Gus Beck spent several days and used nearly 90 pounds of wire on his “WIRED” installation Homer Council On the Arts for his upcoming art show.
Beck has created every day, adding to the work he began Oct. 7. He is set to complete the piece on Nov. 7 for his First Friday debut. His medium is 16-gauge wire often used in construction work that he says is “visually light.”
“Almost everyone has played with wire in some way or another,” Beck said. “From twist-ties, to pipe-cleaners, to this wire,” he said, holding up a piece of the blackened metal. “I see it all as equal and all super fun. The possibilities are endless. Inspiration is what I hope people get out of it.”
The 11th-annual Homer Documentary Film Festival opens Thursday at the Homer Theatre. A gala opening begins at 6:15 p.m., and pairs a cowboy BBQ cookout with the “DeepSea Challenge” documentary in 3-D.
What’s the connection between cowboys and James Cameron’s quest to reach the deepest part of the ocean?
“The gala opening always shows the most exciting film, and we always do a barbecue because it’s fun,” explained Mac Sutton, who added that whale scientist Craig Matkin and lifelong Homer resident Otto Kilcher will work the grill. “They are our resident cowboys who have overseen the reindeer dogs for years.”
Youth musicians will play bluegrass Celtic tunes during the dinner, and a surprise guest speaker will follow.
Homesteader, musician, janitor: Friends say Paul Banks always made people feel like a close friend; especially the young generations of students who attended the school named in his honor.
Dorothy Robert Cline’s new book, “Paul Banks Alaskan Music Man,” tells the story of his remarkable life. She dedicated the book in a ceremony Tuesday afternoon at Paul Banks Elementary School to the students of the school, “past, present and future.” Principal Eric Peterson and his staff made an official dedication of their own: Sept. 16 is now “Paul Banks Day.”
Cline became the music teacher at East Homer Elementary School in 1979, and came to know Banks well.
Nancy Lee-Evans is an author, teacher, counselor and body worker. For the past 25 years, she has applied spirituality, environmental awareness, psychology, bodywork and Celtic tradition to her work of the healing arts.
In 2000, Evans founded AnamCara in Anchorage, offering classes in Celtic traditions, plant medicine and a two-year certificate program of personal growth, spiritual development and healing. Today, she and AnamCara are based in Homer.
“AnamCara is a program for individuals who want a holistic approach to life and healing,” she said.
In Celtic tradition, an Anam Cara is a teacher, companion or spiritual guide. Evans’ work deals with the body, mind and spirit as a whole, believing that physical ailments can be the manifestation of other issues. Many of her clients and students are individuals who are not comfortable with western medicine or who have tried everything in western medicine and found that it has not met their needs.
At the age of 20, Brianna Allen set off to Latvia to study painting and immerse herself in the culture.
At the National Latvian Academy of Art in Riga, Latvia, she quickly discovered the vast differences between American and Latvian teaching approaches to art, from the language barrier to the class structure.
Used to American drawing classes, where models might pose for 20 minutes before switching to another pose, Allen had to learn to think inside the box. Models in Latvian classes would stay in one pose three times a week for six weeks, requiring Allen to focus for longer periods of time.
Andy Sjodin first felt the pull toward drawing when he was in the fourth grade.
“I remember sitting at the coffee table with a Looney Tunes character coloring book and drawing the cartoons,” he said.
While his mother recognized his natural bend, his father took a more pragmatic approach, steering his son toward what he viewed as a more practical career path.
Sjodin took art classes throughout junior and senior high school, dabbling in a variety of mediums. Even after winning awards from the junior high art department, he approached his creativity as a hobby, not allowing himself to consider it on a deeper level.