Aaron Bolton, KBBI News

Gov. Bill Walker visited Homer Thursday. Walker was in town for an campaign fundraiser Thursday evening, but he also met with public officials and gave a speech during a Homer Rotary Club meeting in the afternoon.

Walker highlighted the end of the legislative session, and noted some of the roughly 130 bills passed this year, namely Senate Bill 26. The bill will allow the state to draw from the Permanent Fund Earnings reserve to pay for both dividends and government.

Photo courtesy of Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

For many Homer parents, finding after-school childcare is a struggle, and earlier school start times have only made the problem worse. The principals of Fireweed Academy, West Homer Elementary and Paul Banks Elementary are trying fill that need but the schools will need to strum up support for funding before a program can get off the ground.

Eric Waltenbaugh is the Principal of West Homer Elementary, and he said parents have spoken loud and clear in multiple surveys that they want consistent after-school childcare.

Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

The principal of both the Nanwalek and Port Graham schools is retiring at the end of this month. Nancy Kleine served as a principal since 2013, and she won a Golden Apple Award from the district for her service this year.

Kleine said her greatest achievement is bringing in the ConnectEd grant from Apple. The school received iPads for each student in addition to technology for teachers and classrooms.  

Kenai Peninsula Borough Planning Department

Students in Kachemak Selo, a small Russian Old Believer village near the head of Kachemak Bay, have been dealing with deteriorating school conditions for several years, but the community is another step closer to a new school.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly introduced an ordinance Monday that would ask voters this fall to approve spending up to $3.5 million on a new facility.

Assembly member Kelly Cooper told fellow assembly members that this has been a long time coming.

Courtesy of the City of Homer

It’s still undecided who will be on the Homer Education and Recreation Complex task force. The Homer City Council decided to form the task force last month in order to evaluate how much it will cost to bring the HERC up to code and whether the city should lease or sell the building among other questions.

Mayor Bryan Zak recommended appointing seven people to the task force Monday, including five Homer residents and two non-residents.

Shahla Farzan, KBBI News

Homer residents will have a chance to vote on increasing the city sales tax in June as a way to fund a new $7.5 million police station.

The Homer City Council passed the ballot proposition Monday. It asks voters to approve a year-around .35-percent sales tax increase.

Under the proposal, most of the tax would sunset once the bond for the station is paid off, but .05 percent would remain on the books to fund ongoing maintenance costs for the building.

The Alaska Division of Forestry

Firefighters are mopping up a blaze that burned several acres of grass, brush and dead trees in Nikolaevsk Monday.

Howie Kent is a Fire Management Officer with the Alaska Division of Forestry. Kent said the fire has not been officially extinguished and that dead trees in the area are still burning.

“Those heavy fuels are still burning and smoldering. So, we’re going in there today with a crew and some of the firefighters that initially attacked that fire yesterday to finish extinguishing the hot spots and the smoldering heavy fuels,” Kent explained.

Courtesy Alcohol & Marijuana Control Board

A Homer-based marijuana cultivation business that was caught growing several plants prior to approval by the state Marijuana Control Board will now be allowed to legally operate.

The control board denied Alaska Loven It’s standard cultivation permit application in January after co-owner Dan Coglianese was found growing 24 immature marijuana plants prior to approval.

Photo Courtesy of Independent Living Center

A program that allows seniors and people with disabilities on the southern Kenai Peninsula to buy discounted taxi rides will resume in July. The Independent Living Center announced this month that the Alaska Department of Transportation funded the program.

The living center stopped selling vouchers in March due to lack of funding, leaving roughly 100 southern peninsula residents without rides. Beginning in July, people with disabilities and seniors will likely be able to purchase about 20 local rides and 10 longer distance rides per month. 

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