Boat owners blast harbor fee plan

Small boat owners who keep their vessels in the Homer Harbor didn’t mince words when expressing their feelings about the proposed revamp to the harbor’s moorage rate structure.
“I’m in favor of fair and equitable, and I expect that out of my government,” said water taxi owner Mako Haggerty. “I don’t like arbitrary and capricious, and that’s what I think resolution 16-055 is.”
Sharon Minsch testified that the proposed rate structure favors large boat owners significantly, despite the fact that the larger boats take up more space and infrastructure than smaller boats — and despite a study that proposed a more equitable distribution of the cost of harbor services.

Youth addiction expert talks drug prevention

The key to approaching drug use and prevention is recognizing that it is a chronic disease, said a visiting expert on the teenage brain and the impact of drugs on brain development.
Dr. Michael Spigarelli, a professor of pediatrics and pharmacology with the University of Utah, offered these and other insights into the issue of teenage drug use and effective prevention and treatment strategies at a recent community worksession with the Homer City Council on Monday.
“As soon as you lose sight of the fact that it is a chronic disease, it gets very easy to blame the person,” Spigarelli said.

Realtor ‘passionate’ about helping people settle in Homer

For the past 33 years, realtor Angie Newby has been selling Homer lifestyles.
“Homer offers a variety of lifestyles – in the middle of town, vacant lots, condos, custom homes, yurts, Bay views, tucked into the woods, off-the-grid,” she said. “It’s not just about how many bedrooms and bathrooms; it’s about how people want to feel in their home.”
Newby enjoys the challenge and satisfaction of helping people achieve their dreams.

Weekend forecast calls for good weather, fishing

School is out, the days are getting longer, and the fish are biting. It’s time to get a line in the water.
Anglers are reportedly landing king salmon at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon on the Homer Spit, and on May 14, Erica Ball won the 22nd-annual King Salmon Calcutta in Anchor Point with an impressive 34.10 pounder.

Increase in sales tax cap proposed

An ordinance proposed by the Kenai Peninsula Borough administration would ask voters for the approval of raising the sales tax cap from $500 to $1,000 per individual transaction.
Borough Mayor Mike Navarre said Monday the move was part of a comprehensive review of both the sales tax and property tax code boroughwide, but was also action in response to the impact of the state’s reduced spending and the borough’s need to increase revenues as a result.
“We are looking at our budget projections and the changes that have come and expect to come from the state,” Navarre said.

Kayaker rescued off end of Spit

Beautiful weather brought many people to Homer beaches this weekend; the water called to many, be it birders or boaters. For one woman, however, a Friday evening kayak ride ended a little wetter than expected.
Around 7 p.m., a 911 call to the Homer Police reported an overturned kayaker in the water off the Spit. Luckily, the M/V Mulligan, driven by Lance Haggerty of Mako’s Water Taxi, was able to pick up the 38-year-old woman and deliver her to shore.
A keen eye for the “out-of-the-ordinary” got Haggerty’s attention on his last trip of the day Friday. He was headed across Kachemak Bay with a boatload of people, when a color that looked out-of-order caught his eye. He went over to double check what he thought was a kayak paddle sticking straight out of the water.
Instead, he came across two kayakers; one was soaking wet, her kayak full of water. Both were trying to bail it out with a boot.

Voznesenka school reaches lease settlement

Months of uncertainty for students and parents in Voznesenka ended earlier this month as the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District reached an 11th hour agreement for the rental of several community buildings used as a school for some 100 students.
Negotiations were stuck for months on a new lease agreement between the Voznesenka Community Council, Inc., and the district for the rental of several buildings used by the district, and a new space currently being built to use as a multipurpose space.
While the two sides were able to come together on the per-square-foot cost of renting the school space last winter, the community council’s request that the district pay $750 a month for water treated by the Voznesenka Water Treatment System stalled negotiations.

Friendly face at theater is ‘jill of all trades’

Walk into the Homer Theatre, and you are instantly greeted by more than just the smell of popcorn and the sound of movie trailers playing. The friendly faces of employees like LeAndra Macauly are also there to welcome you with a smile.
“I feel like the Homer Theatre, as a whole, goes the extra mile in serving the customers and making sure we have quality product, image and sound,” Macauly said of her employers.
Macauly, who goes by Andy, started working at the theater when she was 16 years old. She began in the box office — selling tickets, working concessions, stocking inventory, splicing 35mm film, making deposits and providing relief janitorial work.

Helicopter permit in park limited to one landing

Park officials largely declined a permit application from an Anchorage-based helicopter company to land in multiple locations throughout Kachemak Bay State Park after community members protested the plan.
A single permitted landing site was approved for Nose Flight, Inc., on Grewingk Glacier, where two other companies are currently permitted to land. Landing sites on Sadie Peak, Grace Ridge, China Poot Lake, Halibut Cove Lagoon and the Glacier Spit were declined.
In a determination issued by Ben Ellis, director of the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation for the state, Ellis said the Grewingk Glacier site has a history of helicopter landings while the other locations do not.

Seasonal sales tax increase voted down

A move to put a 1 percent raise sales tax from April 1 through Sept. 30 on the ballot this fall failed to move forward this week at Monday night’s city council meeting. Several on the council commented that some income stream source was needed, but time to get a tax increase of some type on the ballot this fall is running out.
The council voted unanimously in opposition of the ordinance raising sales tax during the summer months. It was introduced by Councilman David Lewis last October and postponed in December as the council wrestled with finding a source of income to plug a $1 million budget shortfall. When the council asked for voter approval to reallocate taxes gathered for road and trail improvements to the general fund, they did so for only three years with the understanding that they would soon need to find another source of funds to balance the books. Lewis’ sales tax increase, which would have drawn more funds from visiting tourists, grew out of that effort.

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