Friendly face at theater is ‘jill of all trades’

Walk into the Homer Theatre, and you are instantly greeted by more than just the smell of popcorn and the sound of movie trailers playing. The friendly faces of employees like LeAndra Macauly are also there to welcome you with a smile.
“I feel like the Homer Theatre, as a whole, goes the extra mile in serving the customers and making sure we have quality product, image and sound,” Macauly said of her employers.
Macauly, who goes by Andy, started working at the theater when she was 16 years old. She began in the box office — selling tickets, working concessions, stocking inventory, splicing 35mm film, making deposits and providing relief janitorial work.

Helicopter permit in park limited to one landing

Park officials largely declined a permit application from an Anchorage-based helicopter company to land in multiple locations throughout Kachemak Bay State Park after community members protested the plan.
A single permitted landing site was approved for Nose Flight, Inc., on Grewingk Glacier, where two other companies are currently permitted to land. Landing sites on Sadie Peak, Grace Ridge, China Poot Lake, Halibut Cove Lagoon and the Glacier Spit were declined.
In a determination issued by Ben Ellis, director of the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation for the state, Ellis said the Grewingk Glacier site has a history of helicopter landings while the other locations do not.

Seasonal sales tax increase voted down

A move to put a 1 percent raise sales tax from April 1 through Sept. 30 on the ballot this fall failed to move forward this week at Monday night’s city council meeting. Several on the council commented that some income stream source was needed, but time to get a tax increase of some type on the ballot this fall is running out.
The council voted unanimously in opposition of the ordinance raising sales tax during the summer months. It was introduced by Councilman David Lewis last October and postponed in December as the council wrestled with finding a source of income to plug a $1 million budget shortfall. When the council asked for voter approval to reallocate taxes gathered for road and trail improvements to the general fund, they did so for only three years with the understanding that they would soon need to find another source of funds to balance the books. Lewis’ sales tax increase, which would have drawn more funds from visiting tourists, grew out of that effort.

Recreation center receives city funding challenge

Plans to build a covered recreation center in Homer got a big boost from the Homer City Council on Monday night as the council voted unanimously to approved an appropriation of up to $189,000.
There is a catch, however. To access all the money, the group must raise double that amount. In kind contributions will count too, but at a lesser level. That didn’t seem to worry Daniel Zatz, one of the primary organizers of the project, who said he would do everything he could to make sure that youth were playing soccer on the covered field by Sept. 30 of this year.
What started out as a plan to construct a simple 70-by-120-foot covered metal frame structure to allow Homer youth to play soccer year round has ballooned into a 72-foot-by-156-foot structure that would allow for soccer games and other activities to occur simultaneously, Zatz said. Pickle ball players, for example, who are likely to lose their home if and when the HERC building turns into part of the new police station, will have a home under the roof of the South Peninsula Athletic and Recreation Center. So will people looking for a place to walk or let their children play in the winter.

Water taxi provides ‘bird’s-eye’ view on Kachemak Bay

Step onto the 28-foot, 15-passenger M/V Torega, and one of the first things you might notice is the little wooden plaque that reads, “They’re all good birds.”
Karl Stoltzfus is the owner of Bay Excursions, operating the Torega, as well as the 20-foot, 6-pack Soleci. Both boats are recognizable, painted bright yellow and black — taxi colors.
Stoltzfus started his water taxi business in 1995 and has carved a niche over the years, specializing in birding, wildlife and photography tours. His clients come from Canada, the Lower 48, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, England, Japan and China.

Grubstake Avenue pushes Waddell out of the ‘Way’

There was a time — many years ago — when you could actually consider taking Waddell Way as a shortcut from Lake Street to the post office.
The decision was generally based on the number and size of potholes stretching across the short, gravel/mud road.
New shocks and struts? Or getting to the post office before 5 p.m.? Tough call.

Katie Sullivan serves coffee and customers at K Bay

Katie Sullivan was eight years old the first time she tasted coffee. She was immediately drawn to the rich, dark aroma and full-bodied flavors. Throughout high school, she frequented coffee shops and today, drinks five to six cups a day.
She also works on the other side of the counter, as a barista, perfecting the fine art of making coffee.
Sullivan received her initial training in Homer at Captain’s Coffee five years ago. She worked for awhile at Far Out Café, and has spent the past two years working at K Bay Café.

Chapman says goodbye to longtime teachers

Chapman School is getting ready for a big retirement party May 6, and everyone’s invited. The party starts at 6 p.m., and celebrates two retiring educators at the school: kindergarten teacher Donna Austin and special education teacher Linda Brady.
“They are two of the most professional educators I’ve worked with,” said Chapman Principal Conrad Woodhead.

Voucher program loses funding

An appeal filed by the Independent Living Center with the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities was denied on Friday according to ILC executive director Joyanna Geisler.
Beginning July 1, funding for the Independent Living Center’s transit voucher program to serve the elderly and disabled populations on the Kenai Peninsula will end. For 19 years ILC has provided discounted transit vouchers to clients in Homer, Kenai/Soldotna and Seward.
“Kachecab has worked with the Homer Independent Living Center through practically our entire existence as a company,” said Kachecab owner Chris Fischer. “Together, we have provided thousands of rides for hundreds of elderly or disabled people in the Homer area.”

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.

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