Recreation, road paving discussed by council

As budgets tighten across the state, Homer City Council officials this week put funding paving projects around the city under the microscope, as well as funding for a proposed community recreation facility.
Councilmember Heath Smith asked at the last meeting for more information about a request to use $638,000 from the roads and trails fund to pave city streets throughout the community. Smith said he had driven many of the streets and didn’t think all of them warranted repaving yet.
“I’m not an engineer, but they didn’t seem like they needed to be done,” Smith said.
City staff, however, said the roads have been identified as those that are high-use, or will soon need to be repaved. The city typically brings forward a series of paving projects every three years, they said.

Opioid/heroin addiction sparks syringe exchange program

The effort to proactively respond to the opioid and heroin addiction problem on the Southern Kenai Peninsula got a big boost this week as a syringe exchange program pilot project was funded through the Awesome Foundation. The Awesome Foundation is a global community providing $1,000 no-strings-attached micro-grants to a wide range of projects from individuals and organizations.
At Monday night’s Homer City Council meeting, Councilmember Catriona Reynolds announced the funding.
“I can’t believe we pulled it together so quickly,” Reynolds said.

Commercial cannabis moves forward on Kenai peninsula

Kenai Peninsula cannabis businesses have taken a step forward, now that Kenai Borough Assemblyman Blaine Gilman has withdrawn his ordinance to put peninsula cannabis businesses back on the ballot.
Gilman withdrew his ordinance at the April 19 meeting in Seward — at least for now, he said.
“There’s a vocal crowd of (cannabis business) supporters, but there’s no consensus on the peninsula,” Gilman said.
Ordinance 2016-10 would have placed a question on the October ballot of whether the Kenai Peninsula Borough should adopt local options to prohibit the operation of commercial marijuana establishments in the Kenai Peninsula Borough, outside of cities.

Putting the power of peonies to work on Pioneer Avenue

Just as spring starts to bud around town, a collaborative project aimed at revitalizing Pioneer Avenue is sprouting up among businesses, nonprofits, government agencies and landowners on one of the town’s busiest streets.
“Peonies on Pioneer” plans to use Homer’s many assets “in the arts, recreation and agriculture to strengthen the physical, social and economic fabric of Pioneer Avenue.”
“We want visitors and locals alike to linger on Pioneer,” said Asia Freeman, lifelong Homer resident, director of Bunnell Street Arts Center and member of the Pioneer Avenue Revitalization Task Force.
In a press release, the task force listed the program’s goal as, “courting community and customers to explore and experience our unique sense of place; a modern Alaska community with homestead values.”

Fugitives from justice

Homer police are asking the public’s help in locating two fugitives from justice believed to be in the Homer area. William Oscar Daugherty, 51, Homer and Mica Justin Messinger, 34, Wasilla. The public is urged not to confront or contact these individuals if spotted and to call their local law enforcement at 235-3150, or the […]

Pioneer Bob Walli passes

Stories, not tears, flowed after the passing of Robert John Walli. Often known as Bob or Bobby, Walli died April 13, 2016 at the age of 91.
Walli loved a good story — and was a part of plenty of his own, family and friends say. He could tell them, and he had a way of bringing them out of others.
“He always had a smile and something cute to say,” said Wilma Williams, best friend of Walli’s younger sister, Lillian (“Blondie.”)

Council convenes work session on opioid problem

When someone says your community has a problem with opioid use — prescription painkillers, heroin and other opioid-based drugs — it’s easy to dismiss it as a problem that doesn’t impact you. But the people who convened to talk about the growing problem at last week’s Homer City Council say that would be a mistake.
Opioid use is more prevalent now than ever, they say, and like the rest of the nation, it spans all ages and socioeconomic sectors.

Student filmmakers advance to finals

It’s time to vote! No politics this time, though.
It’s Toyota’s TeenDrive365 Video Challenge and Homer High School students Liam Somers, Johann Kallelid and Lyndsay Brown have watched their video climb into the nation’s top 10.
The Homer trio enjoys making movies together, so when Somers found an opportunity to win money for college, he grabbed his friends and went full speed ahead with a video about distracted teen drivers.

Gerard Housework: carpenters carve niche in local area

Brothers David and Dan Gerard come from a family of carpenters, loggers and laborers and both vividly remember their grandfather covered in sawdust, a pencil behind his ear, and missing a few fingers.
As young boys, they often hauled items — like the arm to their mom’s couch — into the school’s workshop. The brothers said that as they got older they joked that since they were really good at wrecking a house, they should try to fix one.

‘Miss Mary’ remembered for profound impact on community

Mary Epperson, a tiny woman with a 1,000-watt smile and seemingly endless enthusiasm for her piano students, the arts and her community, has died at the age of 93.
At the Homer City Council meeting Monday night, community leaders bowed their heads and observed a moment of silence in honor of Epperson, who came to Alaska in 1954 and quickly became a leading promoter of the arts.

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