Renee Gross

Reporter/Host
Homer Tribune/Cindy Barker

Internet is a basic commodity for most of U.S. consumers, but some remote Alaskan towns like Point Hope on the Chukchi Sea are just getting connected to the digital world. Other rural towns in Alaska have surprisingly been connected nearly as long as their peers in the Lower 48. 

The internet came to Homer in 1995, but it wasn’t a large internet provider that broke into the rural Alaskan market, it was a 20-year-old college student that saw the business opportunity.

Renee Gross, KBBI News

The National Center for Biomedical Research and Training taught nearly 40 emergency responders this week on how to handle an active shooter situation. The three-day course began with lectures, but increasingly became more hands on and cumulated with an active shooting simulation. The center, which partners with the Department of Homeland Security, is housed at Louisiana State University but provides trainings all over the country free of charge.

Fire Chief Bob Painter applied for the training to come to Homer.

Michele Smith Vasquez

In honor of the #MeToo movement, nearly twenty women gathered at the Soldotna Library for a panel discussion on sexual harassment and abuse Tuesday night. Many Voices, a local social justice group organized the get-together.

The panel, which included two doctors, pastors and an advocate, discussed destigmatizing experiences of abuse. Clinical Physiologist Dr. Pamela Hays said she sees survivors’ shame run deep:

HERC

The Homer City Council held a work session with the Park, Arts, Recreation and Culture Advisory Commission Monday to discuss the future of the Homer Education and Recreation Complex, also known as the HERC.

The city has debated what to do with the former school for years as bringing the building up to code and maintaining the building becomes more expensive.  Still, a vocal part of the community fights to keep it open, noting the importance of a recreational space.

Courtesy of Davin Holen.

Last week the Trump administration proposed to drastically increase the amount of Alaska waters open for oil and gas leasing. Along with keeping Cook Inlet open, it would also make areas near Kodiak and the Gulf of Alaska available for drilling, both of which are currently closed. Yet, it’s unclear if companies will be interested in drilling there even if the plan is approved. Still, the move worries local environmentalists and fishermen.

Marilyn Sigman

Throughout her former job as the director of the Center for Alaska Coastal Studies, Marilyn Sigman, saw how climate change was affecting the state. But instead of researching how climate change might develop in the future, she decided to look to the past, specifically at how Kachemak Bay’s climate has changed over time and how people have adapted. Her book “Entangled: People and Ecological Change in Alaska’s Kachemak Bay” is coming out on February 15th. Renee Gross sat down with Sigman to talk more:   

Safe Families for Children

A national program that lets struggling parents place kids with temporary host families launched a chapter in Homer on Monday. Safe Families for Children aims to prevent parental abuse and neglect by giving parents a support system. Alivia Erikson is the head of the local chapter, which is hosted by Church on the Rock Homer.

“We have such a supportive community but there are still individuals who are new to town or don't have those relationships that they can turn to and the goal is to give people that community,” she said.

Renee Gross, KBBI News

Homer Fire Chief Bob Painter is retiring after more than 26 years of service in Homer. He said he’s proud of his achievements. 

“I think the biggest accomplishment, and I don’t want to jinx anything is that during my time with the department, especially since I’ve been chief since 2000, is we’ve not had a serious injury and definitely haven’t had a firefighter fatality in the line of duty,” he said.

In total, Painter has spent nearly 40 years as a first responder.

Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic

Identifying as gay or lesbian or anywhere on the LGBTQ spectrum can be a struggle for those who are trying to find out who they are, but for teens making their way through middle and high school, exploring their sexual and gender identity can be especially hard. But one program is giving teens in Homer a space to talk about what it’s like being an LGBTQ teen in rural Alaska.

Alaska State Council on the Arts

The Alaska State Council on the Arts is purchasing pieces from two Homer artists for its Alaska Contemporary Art Bank. Deland Anderson and Deb Lowney are among 18 artists that were selected to become part of the state’s collection of art. State of Alaska offices and agencies will now have the opportunity to take their artwork out on loan and display them in their offices.

Alaska State Council on the Arts executive director, Andrea Noble-Pelant, said the goal of the Alaska Contemporary Art Bank is twofold:

Pages