After years of struggling with brutally low pink salmon prices, the Tutka Bay Lagoon Hatchery finally got back into production in 2011 after closing for seven years. But the hatchery now faces another challenge, and this time, it is not a price issue. It is all about location.
The Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association, a nonprofit, took over operation of the hatchery in the 1980s, said Gary Fandrei, executive director of the association, and has run the hatchery in an effort to improve the pink salmon fishery to the point where it is an economically sustainable industry for both fishermen and processors.
Clara Anderson celebrated her 110th birthday with family and friends Thursday, one of Alaska’s oldest and still active citizens who continues to play the piano at lunchtime for residents and visitors at the South Peninsula Long Term Care unit.
A multi-volume life story travels through Clara’s century-plus, one that’s garnered her national notice a few times over. Most recently, photographer Paul Mobley, working on “American Wisdom,” a book depicting centenarians, came to Homer this month to take her picture. Based in Los Angeles and New York City, Mobley is presently traveling the U.S. to photograph selected people to represent all 50 states. Clara was chosen for Alaska.
Bear-baiting season finished last week on the Kenai Peninsula with the taking of 16 brown bears; one considered a contender for a Boone and Crocket trophy.
A 10-foot brown bear, shot by Duane Smith at Kenny Bingaman’s bear baiting station at Clam Gulch, is being considered for a possible record. It measured over 10 feet tall, with an unofficial skull measurement just under 30 inches, Bingaman said. He’s awaiting Boone & Crocket verification, a process which takes over 60 days by a certified scorer for the record book, Ted Spraker, the official for the Kenai Peninsula.
The Homer City Council joined Kodiak, Cordova and other Alaska communities this week when it passed a resolution urging the U.S. Navy to change training exercises currently held in the Gulf of Alaska after dozens testified that the training could impact marine mammals and fish in the region.
The resolution, postponed at a previous meeting, asked the Navy to hold its training exercises in the fall, not in the summer during the main migration period for the region’s fish and marine mammals. It also requested that the Navy move the training to an area further offshore, out of the prime fishing grounds in the Gulf of Alaska.
Few things say Homer like a walk along Bishop’s Beach at low tide, but not if you walk past drug deals going down, step in dog poo, on a rusty nail or glass from a party campfire, or get chased by an aggressive dog or sprayed with sand by “spinning brodies.”
Those were just some of the issues a dedicated group tried to solve as it tackled how to guide the future use of Homer’s beaches. While some rules already exist about where to drive and not drive, as well as keeping dogs under control and cleaning up after yourself, those rules aren’t enforced and by-and-large aren’t complied with, group members and citizens reported. In lieu of a small army of police to enforce rules 24 hours a day, the only solution may be to restrict access to Bishop’s Beach and other areas with boulders and a gate, the advisory commission recommended.
Memories of Homer’s homesteaders and pioneers grace a few street names and buildings around town, yet a large number of them quietly helped shape life on Kachemak Bay in ways that may not be recorded. The theme of the Fourth of July parade aims to honor them, “Pioneer Times: A Salute to Our Heritage.”
The theme attracted a lot of attention and sent volunteers to work contacting as many pioneers as they could think of, said Homer Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center/Events Coordinator Jan Knutson.
Homer fire officials are warning that while fireworks and flares are always illegal and dangerous, celebrating with sparks this Fourth of July is a particularly bad idea because of the high fire danger on the Kenai Peninsula.
While recent days have been cloudy and a little precipitation has fallen, it is not enough yet for fire officials to relax. While vegetation is wetter, areas under the forest canopy are still very dry and fire danger remains high.
Though confined to a smaller burn area, the Card Street Fire stands at 25 percent contained as of Tuesday morning and continues to impact recreation users of the Kenai Wildlife Refuge, prompting no-fire warnings for the Homer area as well.
The Skilak Lake and the Swanson River Recreation areas are closed to hiking, boating and fishing until further notice, refuge officials caution. The Upper Skilak Lake Boat Launch Ramp remains open but people are cautioned to avoid using it unless necessary, said Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Manager Andy Loranger.
Traffic congestion around the library, post office and bank on Heath Street may get relief if a route is approved to gravel a road from Grubstake to Lake Street.
The Homer Advisory Planning Commission held a public hearing on Wednesday night to look at two possibilities: A link between Heath and Lake streets through an extension of Grubstake Avenue. The other plan linked Heath to Lake Street via Bonanza Street.
The difference meant either acquiring land from Homer Electric Association or land for sale on the old Waddell homestead, where a collection of tourist cabins serve summer visitors.
A brown bear reportedly killed a dog in the Misty Ridge area off Diamond Ridge Road last week, and area biologists are urging caution when dealing with wildlife and dog relations, especially when moose and bears are active.
Jeff Selinger, Kenai area wildlife biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said while reports of bears killing dogs are not an everyday occurrence, they aren’t unheard of, either.