Otters likely dead from Strep complications

A sampling of the hundreds of sea otter carcass samples taken this summer around Kachemak Bay showed that most of the animals died from complications typically seen as a result of contracting bacterial Streptococcus infections.
However, that far from solves the mystery of why so many otters are succumbing to Strep now, says Wildlife Biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Marine Mammals Management office in Anchorage Joel Garlic-Miller.
Biologists have seen Strep-related otter deaths in Kachemak Bay for more than a decade, and have tried to make a formal determination since 2006, when the number of stranded sea otters increased significantly.

Homer Spit Boat House plans take shape

On any given day in the summer, thousands of locals and visitors alike flock to the Homer Spit. They use the harbor, walking the beaches and grabbing an ice cream cone and a slice of pizza. But even after the rush is over, the Homer Spit is a hub for recreation and commerce; a unique opportunity to situate oneself in the middle of Kachemak Bay effortlessly. Recent improvements to trails, restrooms and the harbor have only increased the draw onto the 4.5-mile-long sliver of land.
But all that activity is taking place without a much-needed public gathering place, says a group raising funds for a semi-enclosed public space in the center of the Spit’s commercial area. So when the Homer Harbormasters Office moved out of the Ramp Two area, visionaries hatched a plan to build the “Boat House Pavilion” in its place.

Espresso coffee shop robbed at gunpoint

A suspect donning a black ski mask and brandishing a handgun allegedly robbed Fat Olives The Coffee Shop at 10:05 a.m. on Monday.
Cash and one item were taken during the robbery, according to Homer Police Sergeant and Investigator Lary Kuhns. One barrista was working in the coffee shop when the alleged suspect — described as 5-foot, 4-inches to 5-foot, 7-inches tall, 140 pounds, wearing a brown camo jacket, baggy blue jeans and a black ski mask — entered the shop with a handgun and forced her into the bathroom.

Green sentenced to 25 years for Sagerser murder

Referring to him as a “dangerous, callous offender,” Judge Anna Moran sentenced Demarqus Green to 40 years in prison — with 15 years suspended — for the second-degree murder of Demian Sagerser.
A dozen or so family members, friends and law enforcement officers filled the Homer Courthouse to hear the sentencing.
District Attorney Scot Leaders argued that the typical 20 to 30 years for Murder 2 was not enough for Green.

Year In Review

Staff report As 2015 comes to a close, the year is filled with events that define a small town. Two brothers were sentenced for charges stemming from a teenage party in 2012. Another young man was brought to trial, found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced. A young girl suffered a devastating vehicle accident and […]

Stevens talks governor’s budget with constituents

Sen Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, said Homer seems to be pretty realistic about the state’s fiscal situations and the changes that must be made to balance the budget. Stevens was in town last week to meet with constituents and discuss the upcoming session, which will no doubt be dominated by the state’s $3.5 billion budget shortfall.
“In talking to people in Homer, I think people were realistic,” Stevens said. “They don’t like it, but they know we have to do something.”
Stevens said while he feels the Legislature did a good job cutting the budget last year, most of those cuts were to the capital budget, which simply translates to cuts to projects that haven’t started yet. Cuts to the operating budget, however, as proposed this year, are much harder to stomach. They include cuts to things many Alaskans feel are vital, like education and police officers.
“It’s much easier to cut the capital budget than to cut the operating budget,” he said.

Harbor enters new year with improvements

Boat owners in Homer got an early holiday gift this winter when the load and launch ramp at the end of the Homer Spit opened almost a month earlier than expected.
The contractors hired to complete the work — Harris Sand and Gravel — were able to open the ramp just before Thanksgiving, weeks before their Dec. 15 deadline, thanks to good weather and even better organization, said Homer Harbormaster Bryan Hawkins.
“I think all sins are forgiven,” Hawkins said. “The feedback has been really good.”

Mariner wrestlers win State Championship

A week after taking the Conference team title in Homer, Mariner wrestlers locked up the Class 1-2-3A State title at Bartlett High School — even before Saturday’s final matches got underway.
“All 11 Homer wrestlers earned pins in the first round of competition, giving us 44 points,” said Homer coach Chris Perk, who wrestled for the Mariners in the late 80s. “Those 44 points are what we needed to beat Bethel.”

Conference Champions

Mariner coach Chris Perk was 11 years old when Homer last won a wrestling conference championship. (That’s 29 years ago, for those doing the math.)
A young wrestler himself at the time, Perk grew up to wrestle for the Mariners in the early ‘90s, and racked up a number of accomplishments along the way.
A seven-time Alaska State Freestyle Champion, Perk was a two-time NAIA Collegiate All-American at Pacific University. He began teaching and coaching at Homer in 2000, and was inducted into the school’s Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2010.

Moose roadkill program tweaked to spread the wealth

There is nothing quite so Alaskan as being called out in the middle of the night to butcher and salvage a moose from the roadside, but Alaska’s roadkill salvage program hums along with plenty of people willing to sign up in hopes of filling their freezer.
Far fewer are willing to answer their phones, however, when that call comes in. More often than not, it comes when people are sleeping.
Casey Moss, office assistant with the Alaska State Troopers Anchor Point office, used to be the person making those calls.

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