Renee Gross

Reporter/Host
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.

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. 

Photo Courtesy of South Peninsula Hospital

Healthcare providers may go a few weeks without Medicaid reimbursements. After it became clear that Medicaid funding will run dry about a month short of the new fiscal year, the Legislature included some funding to pay for Medicaid services until July 1 as it passed the capital budget over the weekend. 

Photo Courtesy of South Peninsula Hospital

Healthcare providers may have to wait over a month for the state to reimburse them for services paid for by Medicaid. That’s because Alaska’s Medicaid program will run out of money any day now. The Legislature has yet to appropriate the roughly $48 million needed to fund the program until the end of the fiscal year in June. For some providers in Homer, that gap in reimbursement won’t be detrimental, but others may deplete their savings in order to prevent a gap in services.

Alaska State Troopers

Troopers say a 14-year-old male allegedly stole his parent’s vehicle and drove while intoxicated last week. According to a Troopers dispatch released Thursday, Troopers say they stopped the vehicle off the Sterling Highway in Ninilchik around 9 a.m. on May 2.  Troopers arrested and charged the minor with vehicle theft, DUI and consuming alcohol underage. He was remanded to the Kenai Peninsula Youth Facility.

Alaska State Troopers

Alaska State Troopers say a Homer man allegedly entered a home in Anchor Point Tuesday morning and assaulted several people in the residence with bear spray before stealing multiple items and fleeing the scene in a vehicle.

Wwcsig via Wikimedia Commons

The twenty-sixth annual Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival begins Thursday. Both locals and visitors are poised to spot a large variety of shore and songbirds. But songbirds arrived later than usual this year.

This year the shorebird festival will offer over 100 events from workshops and field trips to film screenings and activities for young birders. Robbi Mixon is the shorebird festival director, and she said the event is expected to attract about 1,000 attendees this year.

Renee Gross, KBBI News

Public transportation on the southern Kenai Peninsula has dwindled over the past year, but there may be a plan to bring some services back.

Two taxi voucher programs ended their services since last summer. The Central Area Rural Transportation System, or CARTS, ran one of those programs.

CARTS hosted a meeting with various stakeholders in Homer Friday to see how the nonprofit can provide more public transportation services. It’s in the midst of developing a five-year public transportation plan for the south peninsula communities.

Courtesy of Alaska Legislature

Alaska State Representative Paul Seaton of Homer spoke with KBBI's Renee Gross on May 4 about the Alaska Legislature's proposal to draw from permanent fund earnings to pay for government spending. 

Renee Gross, KBBI News

It can be difficult for seniors and people with disabilities in rural communities to get around. For those on the southern Kenai Peninsula,  it isn’t getting any easier. A program that provided taxi vouchers ended in March due to lack of funding. While the loss of service may be temporary, the program’s absence has left about 100 southern peninsula residents without a ride.

Joy Zuke loves Homer.  She loves the mountains, the beach, and the summer days. She even gets a kick out of Safeway.

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