Lilli Johnson has an innate curiosity about the world.
“I have a deep desire to travel, to experience other cultures and to make a difference,” she said.
Johnson attributes her desire to live and work among other cultures to the diversity that exists within her own family. Her mother is Norwegian and Italian and was raised in the United States. Her father is Filipino and Guinean and his grandparents immigrated to New York City in the 1970’s.
When someone — especially children — experience crime in Homer, they have a long, twisting path to follow to get help. A first stop might be at the Homer Police Station to make a formal report, possibly followed by a trip to South Peninsula Haven House for an interview. Then, if the situation involves physical assault, such as child abuse or domestic violence, the person must make a third trip to an impersonal exam room at South Peninsula Hospital.
Homer voters elected Bryan Zak to lead the city through the coming two years, while a bond proposition to build a new public safety building failed to garner more than 50 percent of the vote.
Unofficial numbers Tuesday night put Zak ahead of David Lewis 52 to 46 percent with 2 percent write-in. Absentee and question ballots have yet to be counted. Zak, who has taken a more conservative stance on some issues, has sat on the council since 2008 and has worked as a small business development center. His opponent, David Lewis, who will now remain on the council, was elected on that same year.
Bonds for the South Peninsula Hospital and the Central Peninsula Landfill appear to be moving forward as voters approved the bonds by nearly 58 percent and 54 percent respectively.
Not passing at the moment, however, are two proposed measures aimed at bringing in more tax revenue to the Kenai Peninsula Borough coffers, as state support continues to dry up. The borough had proposed changes to the current senior property tax exemption code, which would have gradually phased out a series of property tax exemptions for seniors that are additional to the senior property tax exemption mandated by the state of $150,000.
Residents of the Southern Kenai Peninsula had an opportunity to hear both sides of the debate over whether the local electric utility company should opt out of state oversight last week prior to a vote by cooperative members this month.
The meeting, hosted Wednesday by Homer Electric Association and attended by some 100 residents, included a surprise presentation by the chairman of the Regulatory Commission of Alaska, Robert Pickett.
Alaska’s fire service cooperative reported Friday that despite an early start to the 2016 wildfire season, the amount of acres burned this summer ended up well below normal levels.
A total of 558 wildfires burned 500,095 acres statewide, according to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center. That makes this fire season the 36th largest since record-keeping began in 1939, officials said.
Two candidates are vying for the mayor’s seat in Homer this year, both current council members and longtime members of the community. David Lewis is a retired educator while Bryan Zak has long been involved in business development on the Kenai Peninsula. Here are their responses to a series of questions posed by the Homer Tribune.
Planning commissions fly under the radar of most Kenai Peninsula residents, but at a recent meeting, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Planning Commission considered weighty issues like extending the time needed the Port Graham townsite application, accepting FEMA maps for flood insurance for Seward, Cooper Landing, Ninilchik, Nikiski and Anchor Point, and allowing a structure to be placed in the Kenai River habitat protection district.
The commission decisions impact development, the environment and much more from one end of the peninsula to the other. So when the Kenai Peninsula Borough administration proposed reducing the number of members from 13 to 11, there were concerns.
In today’s economic climate, news that oil and gas development in the Cook Inlet is going well, creating jobs and a revenue stream is welcome for many. But as BlueCrest Energy readies to start up its drill rig to tap into new wells, things are going to get substantially more disruptive, and not everyone is thrilled about it.
The Homer City Council began work on its wish list of projects — a list that in the past would have been likely to attract state support, but given the current fiscal climate, might be less successful.
The top priority projects for this year’s capital improvement plan list changed little this year, with the proposed public safety building topping the chart so far, followed by the proposed large vessel harbor and other harbor work. Fire department equipment and the work to the city’s storm water master plan rounded out the city’s top priorities as proposed by city staff.