Roberts won’t seek re-election to city council

Longtime Councilwoman Francie Roberts has declined to run for re-election to the Homer City Council on the Oct. 6 ballot, leaving her seat empty as the filing period for city elections opened on Monday.
Councilman Beau Burgess is also up for re-election, and he expressed his intentions to run for a second term in a filing with the Homer City Clerk’s Office. Port and Harbor Commission member Bob Howard also stepped up to file for a place on the ballot.
The two-week filing period runs from Aug. 3 to Aug. 17 for candidates running in the Oct. 6 Homer City Council elections. Electing two city councilmembers will be the only item on the ballot for 2015.

Buccaneer requests city return money

Buccaneer Resources, the oil and gas production company that operated the jack-up drill rig Endeavor in the Cook Inlet in recent years, as well as other energy projects on the Kenai Peninsula, has asked the city of Homer and reportedly other businesses in Homer to return money paid to them for services rendered in the six months prior to the company’s filing for bankruptcy.
Homer City Manger Katie Koester reported to the Homer City Council this week that the city’s attorney, Thomas Klinker sent a letter to Buccaneer rejecting their request for re-payment due to the fact that the money earned by the city was for debt incurred by Buccaneer in the ordinary course of business and therefore exempt from requests for repayment.

Council ponders banning vehicles on Bishop’s beach

People will be pressed to pick up after their dogs more vigilantly after the Homer City Council passed a new resolution Monday night to install dog waste dispensers at public buildings, trails and parks.
The council’s action came in response to public outcry about the myriad of problems at Bishop’s Beach during the past two years. That includes violent parties, loud vehicles, trash and dog waste.
The dog waste resolution comes as a first move toward a series of policy changes ahead to fix and enforce changes, said Julie Engebretsen, the Homer deputy city planner. “The Homer Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission has been reviewing the Beach Policy, looking at a host of issues and made recommendations,” she said. “The first two of those 15 or so recommendations was presented to the City Council tonight.”

Marine trades, college collaborate on basic training program

An effort is afoot to train more people for entry-level positions in the marine trades in the Kachemak Bay area, and it is being led by those in the industry who say there are more jobs than candidates.
Don Lane, a commercial fisherman in the area since 1976 and member of the board of the Homer Marine Trades Association, said a combination of marine trades industry expansion in the area, as well as the graying of the fleet, has resulted in a glut in the labor pool for entry-level employees in many fields. Lane said fishermen like him, as well as those in the marine repair and fabrication business, and those doing work shoreside, often struggle to find candidates with adequate skills.

Wild Shore Festival aims to pioneer new sound

When he arrives in August, Conrad Winslow will perform a piece of music composed for Homer. Called “Sonata for a Northern Sea Town,” it’s meant to convey what he “hears” in the eccentric cast of characters that inspired his Fritz Creek childhood.
But the melody does it through instruments – not lyrics.
As one of the organizers of the Wild Shore Festival of New Music Aug. 5-11, Winslow’s goal is to introduce Kenai Peninsula musicians to new ways of making music through current composers. Chicago-based “eighth blackbird” will be the featured guest artists at this year’s event. The group took a Grammy Award three times, an ensemble whose music breaks new ground in sound.
“(The workshops) are a kind of training in new techniques for creating sounds and expression in a wider range of sounds,” Winslow said. “Whether you’re a composer, a violin, guitar or drum player – anyone looking for a new breath of air in creating music.”

Fire destroys Boat, oyster equipment in Jakolof Bay

By Carey Restino Homer Tribune A fire Sunday night burned a sailing vessel that carried the owners of Jakolof Bay Oyster Company around the Pacific for three years, but heroic efforts by responding mariners and fire department members from Seldovia saved some of the oyster company’s equipment. No one was injured in the blaze. Gregor […]

Residents asked to weigh-in on city services through online poll

Some 75 community residents turned out on a balmy Monday evening to talk about shrinking revenue streams and the value of city services, letting council members know what was important and how they want to pay for it.
The town hall-style meeting was relatively informal, starting off with presentations from Homer City Manager Katie Koester and Mayor Beth Wythe. Then everyone in the audience weighed in using high-tech keypad polling on how much they valued various departments and nonprofits.
Wythe told the audience that since voters chose in 2008 to stop collecting sales tax on food in the winter months, balancing the budget has been all about cutting back — travel budgets, extras, employee salaries, even depreciation accounts used to fix and replace equipment have suffered.

Homer man helps put face on Medicaid expansion

Since he was 20 years old, Brandon Head engrossed himself in a Homer lifestyle, playing his guitar warm days on the beach when he wasn’t cooking at local restaurants. When he first arrived from Columbia Falls, Mont., and rented a cabin with no running water.
When his multiple sclerosis was diagnosed, Head had what he thought was a stroke. His voice slurred and “one side of my body wasn’t acting right,” he said. But in his early 30s, doctors didn’t think it could be a stroke.

Child drowns while playing near Ninilchik Harbor

A 4-year-old boy drowned in the Ninilchik Harbor last week as his parents unloaded gear from a fishing vessel.
Alaska State Troopers received a report shortly after noon last Wednesday that the boy had been found in the water. Troopers, Ninikchik medics and Life Med responded to the incident, but efforts to resuscitate the boy for 45 minutes at the harbor were unsuccessful. The child was transported to Central Peninsula Hospital where he was declared deceased.

Rock the board!

When the first people started standup paddleboarding off the Homer Spit about a decade ago, cars screeched to a halt in surprise and the Homer police dispatchers got calls from alarmed bystanders.
Today, SUPs — wide surfboards you stand up on and paddle — are much more mainstream, and adventurists are finding more and more uses for this new way of exploring Alaska.

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