City council tackles revenue side of budget equation

It could have been an easy night for the Homer City Council on Monday — swear newly-elected councilman Heath Smith, choose a new mayor pro-tem, shuffle seats and go home.
But the council and city staff chose instead to stay for a couple more hours to hear the at times heated discussion at the last town hall meeting before city residents vote Dec. 1 on a measure that could make or break this year’s budget.

Cannabis entrepreneurs face restrictive regulations

Marijuana regulations are not exactly creating a business incubator atmosphere for cannabis business hopefuls in Alaska.
As cannabis consultant Shane Monroe, sees it, “the current state of Alaska regs is effectively keeping businesses from getting off the ground.”
Monroe co-founded the Kachemak Cannabis Consultancy in January to help shepherd companies through the cannabis regulations process and to become a clearinghouse for information on the state law.

Film captures adventure, Alaska’s wishes for future

As Alaska walks into new territory predicated by climate change coupled with a statewide fiscal crunch, a new movie documents a Seldovia family’s adventurous 800-mile journey around Cook Inlet while asking Alaskans where they want to see their state 50 years from now.
“Heart of Alaska,” a feature film by Homer’s Bjorn Olson, follows Erin McKittrick and Bretwood “Hig” Higman and their two young children Katmai and Lituya as they navigated the coast of the Cook Inlet in packrafts and on foot.

Whales hit Bay in record numbers

It started in late June. A few pods of whales came into Kachemak Bay, then a few more. By late August, anyone walking on the Homer Spit could see flukes and spouts aplenty.
Olga von Ziegesar, director of Eye of the Whale Research, has worked with whales in Prince William Sound for more than 20 years, but calls Homer home. She has never seen anything like it. Neither have others who have monitored the bay for decades.

Farmers Market to expand services with grant money

Since 1999 the Homer Farmers Market has been a staple of both the Homer community and Kachemak Bay area by providing consumers with the opportunity to buy locally grown and sourced produce and products as well as contributing to the economic growth and development of the community. With the recently awarded USDA grant of $81,345 by the Agricultural Marketing Service’s Farmer’s Market Promotion Program, the Homer Farmers Market plans to continue that success and will provide additional educational training, marketing, and outreach to the growers, farmers and community it serves.
With the additional funds, the market will not only be able to continue to promote local food, but also provide training to vendors and growers that will garner new ideas on growing techniques, business-planning and business skills.

Assistance available to help navigate through open enrollment

“Medicaid is the real shining star in this Open Enrollment,” said Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic Manager Catriona Reynolds.
Open Enrollment or OE3, for the Affordable Care Act for the 2016 coverage year began Nov. 1, 2015 and ends Jan. 31, 2016. Open enrollment is the only time during the year to select a new health insurance plan for the following year.
Navigating the enrollment websites can prove daunting, confusing and difficult to decipher, making it tough to find the best fit for income and coverage needs.

City pays bankrupt Buccaneer $8,730

When Buccaneer demanded the City of Homer pay back $17,460 the oil drilling company paid the city for port services 90 days prior to filing bankruptcy, many on the Homer City Council scoffed.
Buccaneer, an Australia-based company who drilled in the Cook Inlet, docked its jack-up rig Endeavor at the Homer dock for a winter from August 2012 until March of 2013. The city of Homer made money in the deal — more than $550,000 in port and harbor revenues as well as nearly $200,000 in state oil property taxes — but the experience wasn’t all good. Some contractors who worked refurbishing the rig said they didn’t get paid. In May of 2014, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, leaving many in Homer who provided services to the company holding invoices that would never see payment.

You will experience a few ‘speed humps in the road’ along the way

Drive down Bunnell Avenue to Bishop’s Beach this week and you’ll hit a few new bumps in the road, but they aren’t potholes. These bumps were put there deliberately to slow down drivers in the popular Old Town neighborhood, where residents have promoted traffic calming measures to make the area more walkable.
City Public Works Director Carey Meyer said the speed humps are designed to be wider on top than the speed bumps of the past, and studies have shown them to be safer and easier for bicycles and pedestrians to use. They do, however, force traffic to slow down.

Borough considering hospital, fire service consolidation

Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Mike Navarre knew the words centralization and consolidation weren’t going to sit comfortably when talking to many from the southern Kenai Peninsula, but he said them anyway.
Navarre spoke at the Homer City Council meeting Monday, bringing the message that dwindling budgets may necessitate the consolidation of some Kenai Peninsula Borough Services — primarily emergency services and health care.

Green Dot Homer celebrates everyday heroes

“Can you tell me how to get to the Salty Dawg?”
“Do you know what time it is?”
These may seem like everyday questions, but to Green Dot Homer, they are questions meant to prevent violence before it starts.
Last Friday, Homer citizens and area businesses gathered at the Homer Public Library to announce winners of Green Dot Homer’s “10-in-10” contest as well as celebrate Homer’s commitment to preventing acts of violence in the community.

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