The AARP Tax-Aide volunteers are a special group of people who are dedicated to giving their time and expertise to provide a free income tax preparation service for the citizens of Homer year after year. This year, our volunteers e-filed more than 160 returns with a total refund amount of approximately $137,000. The Earned Income Credit Tax was more than $22,000 and the estimated tax preparation fees saved taxpayers more than $30,000. There were 92 citizens in the Homer area age 60 or older who were served by Tax-Aide volunteers.
Paul Banks Elementary was fortunate to host former Homer resident Gail Baker, art maker, for a two-week artist in the school program last month. Connecting to this year’s outer space theme, she guided each of our 170 K-2 students through the creative process of building an alien/outer space explorer mask.
This year West Homer fourth and fifth graders celebrated the 31st year of the school’s coastal studies outdoor education camp. Each child spent three days studying botany, geology, marine invertebrates, anthropology, mammals and general ecology at the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies Peterson Bay Field Station, Kasitsna Bay Lodge or McBride’s Lodge.
Our heartfelt gratitude goes to the many local businesses, individuals and organizations that have helped offset the cost of our fantastic learning experience. Thank you.
Jubilee 2013 presented by the Homer Council on the Arts marked 26 years of celebrating young artists. As usual, this year’s show was a great success thanks to the efforts of many: a great audience, talented young people, dedicated teachers, parents and dedicated volunteers.
Homer High School’s SkillsUSA membership would like to thank the Homer Rotary Club for the support and speaking opportunity given to us recently. As our community and nation reassess the importance of the career technical trades and the role public school plays in preparing students, we are thankful that the community of Homer and surrounding areas give of their time, expertise and resources to support us as we continue to move forward.
I have a pressing issue that is dear to my heart that I feel needs to be addressed. Our community is estranged from the realities of homelessness. I’ve seen an influx in the number of homeless transient people coming into town during this time of year. This is not news. For many years the seasonal workers and travelers have come into town and camped out on the Homer Spit.
Homer Cycling Club believes that riding your bike is environmentally friendly, healthy and enjoyable. May is National Bike to Work Month, and HCC will be especially promoting Bike to Work Week, May 13-17. We encourage you to dust off and lube up your bike for the upcoming summer season.
Old Town’s got it going on. We are the Gateway to Bishop’s Beach, one of the best and most accessible beaches on the Kenai Peninsula. Composed of 22 businesses and organizations, Old Town offers great food, live music, tasty mead, exciting art and even sticky buns. According to Trip Advisor, Maura’s Cafe and Delicatessen, The Mermaid Café and Two Sisters Bakery shuffle around each other as the top three rated restaurants in all of Homer.
Last Friday our legislative delegation held a town hall meeting at Homer council chambers. This was a well attended event, and Rep. Paul Seaton and Sen. Peter Micciche fielded many questions from constituents.
Homer Senior Citizens Inc. and Friendship Center Adult Day Services would like to give thanks to everyone in the community who so graciously helped us with our talent show.
April 13 marked HoWL’s fourth annual Homer Climbing Competition, held at the Bay Club since 2010. The event has traditionally been a fundraiser to support HoWL’s rock climbing programs, and this year, thanks to more sponsors and more climbers than ever before, it was a tremendous success. The HoWL board of directors, our staff and all our climbers would sincerely like to thank all the local businesses that supported this event and the volunteers that made it all happen. Rock on, Homer.
The Homer Community Food Pantry recently received significant financial support from the Community Chest at the Homer Foundation. The Community Chest is intended to provide emergency help and bridge funding to support families with children that are in need of services other than food. The ability to partner with the Homer Foundation is a blessing and will help many. We are grateful to those responsible for this support. We also received a generous distribution from the Jane Little Fund (a donor advised fund of the Homer Foundation.) Many thanks to you for this helpful gift.
Once again, individuals, businesses, nonprofits and government agencies demonstrated their support for electronics recycling on the Kenai Peninsula by participating or contributing to the eighth annual Homer Electronics Recycling Event.
We thank Mayor Beth Wythe and Homer City Council members for their service and dedication to Homer’s vibrant culture, economy and government. Democracy is animated when an informed public is engaged in the issues affecting people’s daily lives. The arts contribute unique programs, settings and creative approaches that reach new and diverse participants, stimulate public dialogue about civic issues and inspire action to make change.
Spring is here in Homer and the gardeners are chomping at the bit to get outside and get in the dirt. I know because I’m one of them, but I also know because of the more than 60 folks who have taken gardening classes in the last few weeks. Growing your own food is super gratifying, helps the pocket book and feeds you well. What more could you ask for?
Time for an update on the continuing saga of our Anchor Point heroine. It has been 14 months since it started, and in spite of dishonorable politicians and incompetent borough staff, our heroine is still fighting the good fight, continuing to serve our community with honor and integrity and a sense of duty that is made all the more striking by the complete lack of honor, integrity and duty from our elected officials.
I am extremely disappointed that the Legislature, including Sen. Peter Micciche and Rep. Paul Seaton, voted for Senate Bill 21, which reduces the income that Alaskans earn from our oil. This bill will reduce revenue by $4.5 billion at current oil prices without any guarantee of new oil production or jobs. SB 21 is an epic ripoff, and Kenai Peninsula residents will pay the price every time we hit a pothole or lose another teacher as a result of SB 21 bankrupting Alaska.
I would like to express my dismay with the actions of the city of Homer government regarding the gas line. These actions constitute a breech of the public trust, and such trust is the backbone of any democracy. The Homer City Council has voted in effect to tax owners of city lots to subsidize Enstar’s gas pipeline. Everyone seems to agree about this. And many astute citizens have pointed out that this is a typical move in corporate America — some are in favor of such a move; some are not. I am not. Here is my reasoning:
Homer Hockey Divas would like to thank our sponsors for a great 2012-2013 season. Our sponsors were Beluga Lake Lodge, The Salty Dawg, Down East Saloon, AJ's Old Town Steak House, Dr. Adcox and South Peninsula Orthopedics, Homer's Jeans, The Alibi, and one other lovely lady who wishes to remain unnamed. We had 44 ladies of all ages playing hockey at the Kevin Bell Arena and one great coach, Buck Laukitis. Lots of skills and drills and very fun games and tournaments.
April is National Volunteer Recognition Month, and South Peninsula Hospital would like to recognize the more than 100 individuals who volunteer to make our community hospital earn a spot in the Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals in the nation.