Local News


Murnane family

Community members gathered at the Islands and Ocean Visitors Center last week for a community conversation with the Homer Police Department around the case of missing Homer woman Anesha “Duffy” Murnane. Missing since Oct. 17, Duffy’s friends and family facilitated the conversation.

With a photo of Duffy projected on the auditorium screen, longtime friend Tela O’Donnell Bacher and stepfather Ed Berg shared a bit about who Duffy is and addressed questions, like, “Is it possible that she just left Homer without telling anyone?” To which Berg replied, “absolutely not.”

“People ask could she have just taken off. I say to them, ‘Could I just leave Homer? Or, could you just leave Homer?’ It’s hard to conceive of just doing it. The logistics of pulling something like that off and not leaving a track. It would take a phenomenal amount of preparation. She didn’t just go off on a lark,” Berg said.

Where there are masses of fish, there’s likely to be masses of people. And where there are masses of people, there are likely businesses attempting to make some money.

That’s the case with the Kenai personal-use, dip-net fishery. All sorts of businesses have sprouted up along the mouth of the Kenai River, trying to net revenue off the fishermen trying to net fish.

One of those types of businesses came under fire at the Alaska Board of Fisheries this week. The board is meeting in Anchorage to review Upper Cook Inlet fishery proposals through next Wednesday. On Thursday, they voted on a proposal that would ban a relatively new practice — guiding for dip-netters.

Glen Trombley, of Chugiak, owns Expeditions North LLC guiding service. During July, when the reds are running, he runs the Dip Ship in the mouth of the Kenai River, taking dip-netters out to get their personal-use sockeye.

“Some, for whatever reason, cannot physically access this particular fishery without some type of assistance. Not to mention families with small children that would normally not be able to participate from shore due to safety issues,” Trombley said.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough is considering establishing a fire and medical service area in Ninilchik.

The area has been covered by Ninilchik Emergency Services, which is a nonprofit organization run by a board of directors. But NES has been in turmoil since early this month when the board suddenly dismissed its chief, Dave Bear. Bear notified department volunteers of his departure in an email and stated that the board intended to shut down the department for a few days.

In the following days, due to community pressure and a public meeting, the entire board of directors resigned and Bear was reinstated. The old board has been replaced by a seven-member interim board.

For someone struggling with employment — or housing, health care or recovery — they’re generally facing several challenges at once. Finding help for even one of these issues can be difficult, much less navigating the web of service providers spread out across the community.

To make that process easier for people needing assistance, service providers met this week to learn the ropes themselves so they can better direct clients.

Connecting the Kenai, a one-stop resource academy, was held Tuesday and Wednesday at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center.

“We all have our different programs. Sometimes we can blend and braid together services for an individual so that we can really help them in a holistic manner. From our standpoint, an individual is not going to be successful in their life, as far as employment is concerned, if they don’t have their housing needs met, if they don’t have their health care needs met if, if that is something that is getting in their way of being successful," said Rachel O’Brien, with the Alaska Department of Labor, who organized the event.

Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center

A Kasilof man died in an avalanche while snowmachining near Cooper Landing on Monday afternoon. Thirty-two-year-old Kekai Dang was caught in a slab avalanche on a 45-degree slope while riding from Snug Harbor Road south of Cooper Landing. The accident happened about halfway between Cooper Lake to the northwest and Lost Lake to the southeast.

According to an Alaska State Troopers report, witnesses immediately began recovery efforts, but it took two hours to locate and remove Dang from the snow. Troopers were called to the scene around 3:20 p.m.