‘Elder in training’ teaches attentive crowd how to butcher a seal

FAIRBANKS — She didn’t have her big ulu or her special slanted board but Marjorie “Kunaq” Tahbone smoothly sliced blubber and meat from a ringed seal before an audience Monday during a hands-on lesson.
Not many conventions offer food workshops like this one at the First Alaskans Institute Elders and Youth Conference.
The topic was “Food Sovereignty: Working on Seal” and the lead instructor in caring for the animal was Tahbone, a skilled 27-year-old who calls herself “an elder in training.”

New rules restrict who can give invocations at Assembly meetings

Atheists who want to read an invocation before a meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly are out of luck.
The assembly voted 6-3 in favor of a resolution at its Tuesday meeting that says the person delivering an invocation must be a representative of an Assembly-approved religious association that fits specific parameters.
The borough clerk will create and maintain a database of qualified religious associations and chaplains that send in written requests to deliver the prayers.
The resolution comes after several months of conversation and controversy over whether the assembly should continue with invocations at all, who should be allowed to deliver them, or if a moment of silence should be adopted as a replacement.

Paul Reis Mackie

Longtime Homer resident and Cook Inlet fisherman Paul Mackie died earlier this month in his home overlooking Kachemak Bay. His wife and brother were at his side. Paul was 60 years old. Born in Baltimore, Paul was the second of five children. After graduating high school and hitchhiking across the country, Paul returned to Maryland […]

Walrus congregation apparently short-lived

A congregation of walruses spotted on a Northwest Alaska beach Friday numbered about 6,000, but the animals had departed within days and were probably heading out on their fall migration, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said on Tuesday.
The walruses are likely swimming south to coastal haulout areas in Chukotka, Russia, Joel Garlich-Miller, a Fish and Wildlife walrus biologist said in a statement issued by the agency.
The walruses were gone from the barrier island on the eastern Chukchi Sea coast as of Monday, the Fish and Wildlife Service said.

Public Safety – October 11-16

FIRE — Oct. 3-9 Homer Volunteer Fire Department responded to seven emergency medical service calls and no fire calls. Anchor Point Fire & EMS responded to four fire calls and six EMS calls. Kachemak Emergency Services responded to four EMS calls and no fire calls. POLICE On Oct. 16, at 1:58 p.m., Homer Police arrested […]

Council gets first look at budget

City staff presented the council with its first draft of the 2017 budget Monday night, and the picture painted was decidedly more rosy than last year’s budget with its $1 million shortfall.
City manager Katie Koester said the budget was boosted by a 3.8 percent increase in revenue to the general fund. She said sales tax returns from dining, lodging and visitor-related businesses was up significantly in 2016.
“It speaks to how fortunate we are to have as diverse an economy as we do,” Koester said, noting Homer’s fishing and large vessel repair industry as well as its visitor industry as part of that diversity. “We are really in a great position to weather the next three to five years of uncertainty in our state.”

Homer Folk School opens doors to enrich lives

Sprawled across 80 acres of “back country” at the top of Skyline Drive, the Ageya Wilderness Center served as an ideal location for Homer Folk School organizers to get the word out about the many different traditional arts and trades programs they hope to offer.
Saturday’s open house introduced board members, provided tours of the facility and offered children’s activities and a number of hands-on workshops. Attendees were invited to learn about everything from apple-pressing and indigenous kayaks of the Arctic, to sauerkraut-making, seed-saving, crystal stone properties and wild plant food medicine.

Boldly stepping into the world

Lilli Johnson has an innate curiosity about the world.
“I have a deep desire to travel, to experience other cultures and to make a difference,” she said.
Johnson attributes her desire to live and work among other cultures to the diversity that exists within her own family. Her mother is Norwegian and Italian and was raised in the United States. Her father is Filipino and Guinean and his grandparents immigrated to New York City in the 1970’s.

Pondering the infinite on the Yukon Flats

YUKON FLATS — Out here, in a smooth plain stretching over Alaska’s wrinkled face, water and tree and mud dissolve to fuzz at each horizon. No hills or bumps. An ocean of sky. An observer once said Yukon Flats looks like a place where God forgot to put something.
Garrett Jones and I are camped on a giant island not far from the Yukon River map feature labeled “Halfway Whirlpool.” Surrounded by gritty islands of silt and poplars and leafless willows, we are in the center of a river channel more than three miles wide. We feel like ants twitching for a hill to climb.

Emma Jane McCune

Emma Jane McCune went into the presence of the Lord on Oct. 9.
She was born Feb. 23, 1941 in Colorado Springs to Roy and Eva McCune and came to know Christ as a child. She attended Palmer High School, obtained a BA in Education and then went on to earn a Masters of Education in Library Science in 1969.

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