Renee Gross

Image Courtesy of the City of Homer

The Homer City Council appointed seven members to the Homer Education and Recreation Complex task force Monday, but it did not include a member of the Park, Arts, Recreation and Culture Advisory Commission.  The task force will evaluate the cost of bringing the building up to code among other questions.  

Multiple members of the public have advocated to include a member of the advisory commission on the task force because of the commission’s previous work with the building.

Several women have brought forth allegations against a South Peninsula Hospital department manager in Homer, describing an environment of bullying and sexual harassment.


The allegations against Douglas Westphal, the former director of the hospital’s rehab department, also include one instance of alleged sexual assault. Complaints have also been filed with the state Division of Professional Licensing, the local union and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Photo from KBBI Database

The Mariners boys soccer team won its first game in the Division II state soccer championship Thursday. The Mariners defeated Grace Christian five to one in Anchorage. Six teams are competing for the championship title.

It’s high school senior’s Charles Rohr’s third time going to state. But the excitement hasn’t worn off.

“I was ecstatic,” he said. “We had our first game in the semifinals. We knew if we won that we would go and if we lost that we wouldn't. But as soon as we won that game I was ecstatic.”

Courtesy of the Kenai Peninsula Borough

A proposal to create a borough-wide bed tax has been revived, but the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly may scrap the idea if it approves putting another revenue measure on the October ballot at its next meeting.

The ballot proposition would call for a 12-percent bed tax, but it would relieve the lodging industry from collecting sales tax for the borough.

Assembly member Kelly Cooper, who owns Glacier View Cabins and Coops Coffee, opposed the bed tax at the Homer Chamber of Commerce Wednesday as she spoke to a group of lodging industry members.

Courtesy of Alaska Legislature

Homer Representative Paul Seaton spoke about the second session of the 30th Alaska Legislature during this week's Coffee Table. He gave an overview of the state budget, education and Medicaid funding, and an update on a variety of  bills passed (including a statewide workplace smoking ban and a wide-ranging crime bill). 

Renee Gross, KBBI News

Representative Paul Seaton of Homer is back from Juneau after a 118-day legislative session. He joined Ken Alper, the tax division director for the state Department of Revenue, at the Homer Chamber of Commerce Tuesday to discuss the state budget and the end of the session.

The Legislature voted for the first time in history to draw from Permanent Fund earnings to pay for government operations. The legislation allows lawmakers to draw 5.25 percent from the earnings reserve, but it didn’t specify how much would go to state government and PFDs.

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.  

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.