The Homer Chamber of Commerce will no longer be one of the primary sponsors of the popular Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival, which draws more than a 1,000 participants in May to focus on shorebirds and birding from many different angles.
The festival will now be sponsored by the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge and the Friends of the Alaska National Wildlife Refuges, a nonprofit that promotes conservation of natural and cultural resources of all 16 Alaska National Wildlife Refuges.
Willy Dunne, longtime resident of Fritz Creek, said his wife is always picking on him for his obsession about listening to the Kenai Peninsula Borough meetings on the radio.
Now, however, he’s putting that obsession to use.
Dunne is one of two candidates who filed for the south peninsula seat now held by Mako Haggerty. Haggerty has served the maximum two terms on the assembly. Dawson Slaughter has also filed for the seat.
Thirty-four people combed the forest floor Monday afternoon, eyes peeled, attention piqued, senses alert. Their quarry was stationary and abundant but the hunt still held challenges. Not so much in the finding, but in telling one specimen from the wide variety of others.
“What’s this?” “Here’s some red ones!” “Are these any good?”
Variations of those comments formed a background of chatter for the hour-and-a-half walk on Tsalteshi Trails, ebbing and flowing like waves on a shoreline, quieting as the hunters became engrossed in their task and crescendoing when someone found something new, exciting and hopefully delicious — or at least safely edible.
Feedback from about 600 Homer residents lent the City of Homer advice on moving toward generating new taxes by getting rid of the seasonal sales tax holiday, introducing a bed tax or installing a new .5 percent sales tax increase.
The public advice came in two forums: A July 20 town hall meeting attended by about 100 people who were broken into work groups, and an online survey with 500 respondents.
Results of each public outreach effort were tabulated this week in City Manager Katie Koester’s report to the Homer City Council.
According to work groups at the town hall gathering:
Residents on both sides of the question about regulating vehicle traffic on Bishop’s Beach turned out en force this week as the Homer City Council took up the issue for the first time since receiving extensive recommendations from the Beach Policy Task Force.
The task force, which has been meeting all winter to try to determine how best to balance pedestrian and vehicle traffic on the popular beach, recommended to the council that vehicle traffic be restricted in all areas of the city but a section of beach from Mariner Park going out onto the west side of the Homer Spit.
That allowsance was made, the committee said, to allow those who had traditionally collected coal on the beaches, to continue to do so.
A production company and two cast members of the reality show “Alaska: The Last Frontier” each face a single misdemeanor charge after they reportedly used a helicopter for a 2014 black bear hunt, according to court documents filed by the Kenai district attorney’s office.
Atz Lee Kilcher, 38; his wife, Cristina Jane Kilcher, a 40-year-old who goes by “Jane” on the show; and Wilma TV Inc. were each charged with one count of unlawful methods of taking or attempting to take big game by helicopter, according to charges filed July 13.
Four people have been charged with stealing oysters at a remote oyster farm outside of Homer last month.
Ward Matthew Clarke, 44, Rebecca M. Clarke, 38, Christine L. Anderson Kulcheski, 47, and Anders Gustafson, 38, were each charged with one count of fourth-degree theft and first-degree criminal trespassing.
Aurora Gas is at the preliminary stage of acquiring permits to drill on its newly acquired lease at the West Eagle site abandoned in Buccaneer Energy’s 2014 bankruptcy.
Located about 20 miles out East End Road, the site was acquired by Woodstone Resources in the Cook Inlet oil lease sale May 7 for $69,760, said Diane Hunt, special projects coordinator for the Division of Oil and Gas. The lease is on two tracts, 2,560 acres.
Woodstone Resources is the lease holder, with Aurora Gas as the partner who will operate the drilling.
Tourists and Alaskans often enjoy seeing moose, but never so up close that one of the 1,200-pound animals is crashing through their windshield. Yet that inevitably happens every year, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
“To be exact, we had 154 moose that were hit, killed and reported on the Kenai Peninsula from July 1, 2014, to June 10, 2015,” said Larry Lewis, a wildlife biologist with Fish and Game.
What likely were discarded floating docks from Homer and Seldovia port improvement projects showed up as marine debris last winter, prompting a renewed attempt to educate the public about the toxic hazards of Styrofoam’s chemical particles.
The calls came to Fish and Game’s Division of Habitat that large chunks six feet in length were adrift in Kachemak Bay and washing ashore on beaches. Ginny Litchfield, the division’s Kenai Peninsula area manager, said she received several calls of concern.
In phase one and two of the dock replacements, about 1,000 feet of float docks were disposed of to new owners around the Kachemak Bay.