Austin Nelson of North Pole landed a 252.2-pound monster halibut last week to become the current Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby leader. Nelson was fishing with Homer Ocean Charters and Capt. Travis Blount aboard the F/V Diamond Cape when he caught the fish that edged previous leader Daniel Spies’ halibut by just over a pound.
The tempo was upbeat at Alice’s Champagne Palace as supporters of incumbent Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, compulsively hit refresh on the state Division of Elections web site to see the latest updates from the polls.
By 10 p.m., with only 6 precincts reporting, Seaton had more than 50 percent of the vote. Supporters shook hands with the Alaska State House representative, who campaigned on a moderate platform and said his record in Juneau reflected his ability to bridge party lines and be an effective lawmaker.
When all the votes were tallied, Seaton had earned 46.6 percent of the votes, while John Cox, an Anchor Point businessman, took the second-highest vote count with 28.7 percent. Beth Wythe, the outgoing mayor of Homer, received 24.7 percent of the votes.
Two current council members who have often found themselves on opposite sides of issues will face off for the mayoral seat of Homer this fall. Bryan Zak, a business counselor with Southwest Alaska Small Business Development Center, will face off against David Lewis, a retired teacher and former coordinator of the Kachemak Bay Campus’ Youth Job Training Program.
Both candidates were elected to city council in 2008 and have weathered a variety of issues around the council table, from the legalization of marijuana to the ever-shrinking city budget. The two have disagreed on many issues, including the institution of a bed tax in Homer, which Lewis has long supported, and Zak has summarily opposed.
In his candidate statement, Zak said he believes encouraging involvement in local government is key to the success of the community.
It was a slow day on the water for Daniel Spies and the employees of his Soldotna construction company. But that was all about to change as Spies hooked into something that felt like dead weight at first.
“I didn’t know what to think” Spies, a longtime fisherman who placed fourth in the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby last year with a 187-pound fish. “I couldn’t really tell what it was.”
Spies said at first, he thought maybe his line was stuck on the bottom. Then the mystery fish took off running for a bit and stopped again. Every time he would reel the fish up a bit, it would head right back down to the bottom.
“It was like it was stuck to the bottom with suction cups,” Spies said. “It really didn’t move around a lot.”
The invocation that started the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly’s Tuesday meeting was a little different than usual: Instead of espousing the ideals of Christianity, it carried a message of Satanism.
It was the culmination of recent discussion at the Assembly around whether to keep up with the tradition of opening meetings with prayers, or whether doing so was excluding those who hold different beliefs.
In June, the Assembly discussed an ordinance aimed at doing away with invocations before meetings, but not enough members voted in favor of introducing it.
Instead, the borough has decided to make the reading of invocations more equitable. In the past, said Assembly President Blaine Gilman from Kenai, a group of pastors would usually give the names of members who would give the invocation. Now, it’s on an open, first-come, first-served basis: someone who wants to give an invocation can contact the borough clerk and sign up to do so.
Voter turnout one of highest in state. The tempo was upbeat at Alice’s Champagne Palace as supporters of incumbent Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, compulsively hit refresh on the state Division of Elections web site to see the latest updates from the polls. By 10 p.m., with only 6 precincts reporting, Seaton had more than 50 […]
Concern over Naval training exercises in the Gulf of Alaska only a year ago were renewed afresh at this week’s Homer City Council meeting as residents testified in support of a resolution opposing proposed training in a highly productive area of the gulf during the spring whale migrations.
In 2015, Homer fishermen and citizens protested the exercises, which began in mid-June, with a parade of banners.
The training exercises planned for next spring are earlier than previous operations, starting May 1 of next year, which many testified coincides with the critical migration times for whales. In addition, the proposed location of the naval training activity is closer to shore than it has been in past years, and overlaps areas many say are critical fish habitat zones.
Incumbent Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, faces a challenge this month for the Republican nomination from two candidates, John Cox, an Anchor Point business owner, and Mary E. “Beth” Wythe, the current mayor of the city of Homer. Since there is no Democrat candidate running for the seat, the House District representative will be decided by the state Republican primary election to be held this Tuesday, Aug. 16. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and early voting is open all week prior to the vote. Voters registered as Republican, nonpartisan and undeclared can vote. Democrats cannot.
Last week, the candidates gathered at the Homer Public Library, along with a crowd of interested residents, to present their platforms on issues ranging from how they would deal with the state budget gap to what their favorite book is.
When one of the few remaining independent newspaper operators in Alaska heard that the Homer Tribune was shutting its newspaper boxes for good earlier this summer, they said they had to see what they could do.
Kiana Peacock and Jason Evans purchased the Arctic Sounder and Bristol Bay Times-Dutch Harbor Fisherman five years ago, and have been publishing them ever since with the help of Editor Carey Restino, who was based in Homer.
While the Peacock and Evans now live in Anchorage, they remain connected to the rural communities they come from and those in which their friends and relatives live. With staff already in place in Homer, adding the Homer Tribune to their company’s papers was a natural fit, said Evans.
A nonprofit company planning to use flash-freezing technology to create seafood products not only in Homer but in villages across Alaska has applied for a 20-year lease for two lots on the Homer Spit at the corner of Fish Dock Road.
City Manager Katie Koester briefed the council on new developments with Global Sustainable Seafoods of Alaska, which has been discussing its plans with the city for some time now. The company plans to build a prototype for its flash-freezing seafood program in Homer, then build similar units for installation in rural Alaska villages throughout the state. People from the villages will be brought to Homer and trained in how to use the modular flash-freezing equipment, said Koester.