Spruce aphid damage seen throughout area

Once again, we witness the reddening of spruce trees on the Kenai Peninsula. This time, however, the voracious spruce bark beetle isn’t to blame. A new invasive insect is taking to the trees; the spruce aphid.
For two years, the aphid has been spotted over parts of the peninsula; but this spring the evidence of their work is evident. The red/orange needles that appear burnt is all that’s left after the spruce aphid sucks all the fluid out of the tree’s needles.

Local youth creates career from welding art

Throughout high school, Hayden Chase excelled in technical programs: auto, shop, construction and welding.
“When I started out in welding class my freshman year, it was awesome,” Chase said. “My teacher, Mickey Todd, pushed me to be the best I could be.”
During a meeting with his school counselor that same year, Chase announced that he was going to be a welder and work on the North Slope. When the counselor asked what his “plan B” was, Chase told him that he didn’t need one. If he wanted to be a welder bad enough, he would be.
Taking advantage of the Homer High School jumpstart program that allows students to take local college classes at a discounted rate, Chase enrolled in the college’s night welding class at the end of his sophomore year.

Acorn Enterprises: vacuum and mops ‘part of the family’

Candy Edwards refers to her vacuum as “Nigel,” her mop as “Cinderella” and her feather duster as “Rex.”
For the past 27 years, Edwards has provided janitorial services to Homer residences and businesses; she considers it a privilege that people entrust her with their homes, their families and their businesses.

Panel looks back at lease sale fight

In recent years, jack-up rigs have floated in and out of Kachemak Bay, drawing many a disgruntled comment from those who value the scenic view and have concerns for the environmental impacts of drilling in the Cook Inlet.
For those who have been in Homer for 40 years or more, however, the sight of a jack-up rig in the bay brings up particularly poignant memories, memories of a David and Goliath fight to save the Bay from oil and gas exploration.

Waterline to improve service

For more than 10 years, the City of Homer has worked to implement the 2005 Water and Sewer Master Plan recommendations. The task obviously hasn’t been an easy one. With many governmental agencies on board there is always another round of paperwork to be completed.
But now construction of a water main extension and pressure-reducing vault station on Shellfish Avenue is set to begin soon — all in an effort to provide better service to properties beneath the bluff.
“It’s more than just a water line,” said Public Works Director Carey Meyer.

‘Stalking the Bogeyman’ benefits Children’s Advocacy Center

The West Coast premiere of “Stalking the Bogeyman” will play in Homer 7:30 p.m. June 3 at the The Mariner Theatre. Pier One Theatre is pairing with the Haven House Children’s Advocacy Center to bring the UAA production to town. The production will serve, in part, as a benefit for the Children’s Advocacy Center.
“Theatre is an amazing place to explore taboos,” said Carolyn Norton, director of the Haven House Children’s Advocacy Center. The play’s topic, child sexual abuse, is prevalent in Alaska. According to the Child Welfare League of America, Alaska consistently has one of top five rates of child abuse in the United States.

Fishing provides sustenance and skills for siblings

The school year is over, and many local youth will head off to camps, on vacations or to summer jobs. For Isabel and Xander Kulhanek, the coming months include the best of all worlds.
Every summer, from the end of May until the beginning of August, the Kulhanek family commercial fishes Cook Inlet, setting their nets near Chisik Island.

Boat owners blast harbor fee plan

Small boat owners who keep their vessels in the Homer Harbor didn’t mince words when expressing their feelings about the proposed revamp to the harbor’s moorage rate structure.
“I’m in favor of fair and equitable, and I expect that out of my government,” said water taxi owner Mako Haggerty. “I don’t like arbitrary and capricious, and that’s what I think resolution 16-055 is.”
Sharon Minsch testified that the proposed rate structure favors large boat owners significantly, despite the fact that the larger boats take up more space and infrastructure than smaller boats — and despite a study that proposed a more equitable distribution of the cost of harbor services.

Youth addiction expert talks drug prevention

The key to approaching drug use and prevention is recognizing that it is a chronic disease, said a visiting expert on the teenage brain and the impact of drugs on brain development.
Dr. Michael Spigarelli, a professor of pediatrics and pharmacology with the University of Utah, offered these and other insights into the issue of teenage drug use and effective prevention and treatment strategies at a recent community worksession with the Homer City Council on Monday.
“As soon as you lose sight of the fact that it is a chronic disease, it gets very easy to blame the person,” Spigarelli said.

Realtor ‘passionate’ about helping people settle in Homer

For the past 33 years, realtor Angie Newby has been selling Homer lifestyles.
“Homer offers a variety of lifestyles – in the middle of town, vacant lots, condos, custom homes, yurts, Bay views, tucked into the woods, off-the-grid,” she said. “It’s not just about how many bedrooms and bathrooms; it’s about how people want to feel in their home.”
Newby enjoys the challenge and satisfaction of helping people achieve their dreams.

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