Governor proposes 3-year fiscal plan

Not quite a year into his first term as governor of the state of Alaska, Bill Walker has plenty on his plate. Low oil prices and reduced flow from the pipeline have finally tipped the fiscal balance for the state, forcing budget cuts that have impacted all areas of the state and prompting difficult discussions about how to fund the state’s future.
But on a recent trip to Homer, Gov. Walker remained optimistic that his administration could help guide the state out of this fiscal crisis and into a more sustainable, diversified economic position.

Council moves forward on HART

If approved by the voters, the Homer Accelerated Roads and Trails, or HART program, would be suspended for three years and the funds from the .75 percent sales tax would be allocated to the city’s general fund. City staff say the allocation would come close to closing the $1 million budget gap, which has been the current focus of much discussion. On Monday, City Manager Katie Koester brought forward two budgets, one assuming a new revenue source was found to close the gap, and the other assuming no new revenue source was approved by the voters. The second budget included significant layoffs throughout the city, while the less drastic budget included cuts to city department budgets but fewer elimination of staffing.

City calls for runoff election between Burgess, Smith

Donna Aderhold rose from a field of seven candidates for two seats as the only candidate to receive the necessary percentage of votes to secure a spot on the Homer City Council last week.
Aderhold, a wildlife biologist working with an engineering consulting firm who has lived in Homer since 1990, said she was surprised by the vote. According to the city, Aderhold received 495 votes — 44 percent, once you split the total number of voters in half to account for the two seats.
Aderhold said she was surprised to get so many votes because she thought there were many candidates with strong and varied opinions running who would appeal to voters. However, she said she thought her approach to listening to all opinions and being deliberative appealed to voters.

Salmon ‘egg-citement’

“Why don’t salmon have eyelids?” It may sound like the start of a joke but it was a real question, one of many asked and answered during this year’s Salmon in the Classroom program, presented by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Aquatic Education program and the Kenai Peninsula School District. The program took place along the banks of Bear Creek near Seward on Oct. 6 and the Anchor River on Oct. 7.
For the record, the answer is because they live in a liquid environment, so their eyes don’t dry out.

Mariner Pride

  Photo by Don Pitcher Lady Mariner Megan Pitzman battles opponents from Anchorage Christian School and Seward.

Radio pirate arrested

An Anchor Point man with a history of illegally broadcasting on pirate radio stations has been charged by the FBI for making on-air threats against law enforcement.
Larry Clarence Volz, Jr., 58, was arrested Thursday by the FBI and charged with “unlawful possession of a firearm by a mental defective person or person who been committed to a mental institution.”

State warns of winter road maintenance cutbacks

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities is cautioning motorists to be prepared for winter driving conditions — especially this year, as maintenance will be reduced on state roads.
ADOT announced at the end of last week that it would be cutting back on winter maintenance in response to budget cuts.

Preparedness classes focus on coastal communities

The communities of Kachemak Bay have one thing in common — they are all coastal communities, a fact that brings with it some inherent risks that those in the Interior don’t face.
Two classes this month will help residents explore and prepare for those coastal risks, from tsunamis to climate change impacts. And better yet, they are free.
The classes, titled “Tsunami Awareness” and “Coastal Community Resilience” are presented by the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center run through the University of Hawaii and funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. They will be held Oct. 20 and 21 respectively from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Islands and Ocean Visitor Center.

Whale sighting season

Numerous whales were observed lunge feeding this summer in Kachemak Bay, including the inner bay, east of the Homer Spit. The whales cover the same feeding areas over long periods of time, according to Ginger Moore of Rainbow Tours. No official count of exactly how many humpbacks are presently in the bay, but over 30 […]

Pioneer to get 4-way stop

Homer is soon to become a three-stoplight town as state officials begin work installing a four-way stop and a second blinking red beacon on Pioneer Avenue.
Alaska Department of Transportation officials say the flashing red light, to be installed at Pioneer and Main Street next month, was identified as needed based on the frequency of crashes at the intersection.

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