Every spring, young people called WWOOFers flock to Homer to work in our greenhouses and high tunnels, gardens and homesteads. Whether you call it Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, or Willing Workers on Organic Farms, WWOOFing is a worldwide movement. For the cost of fare to Alaska and some gear, enterprising young people offer their labor on farms and homesteads in return for food and shelter. Alaska WWOOFers are lucky; they often fish and kayak, hike and ski with their hosts. WWOOF hosts share wisdom; WWOOFers share time, energy and youthful enthusiasm.
I would like to say thank you, on behalf of the Homer High School Drama, Debate and Forensics Team to all those who helped us to have a successful season this year. To all those who donated of their time to help our tournament run smoothly (largest one we've ever had at the high school) and those local businesses who donated to our Random Acts of DDF fundraiser (we raised more than $4,000 in one evening), thank you.
When the power went out, the potential for panic was present in a packed house full of people dressed for the beach and dancing to the bass. Instead, Roar N' Represent began to sing the sweet sounds of Island Style acapella and at once reinstated a happy and respectful environment, that came together for a great cause, raising funds for the Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic.
One of the things that makes Homer unique is its sense of community. The Big Read sponsored by the Friends of the Homer Public Library was meant to foster that sense of community, to give us all a chance to tell our stories, and to open up conversation. Over the course of six weeks, there were book discussion groups, art classes, lectures, a visit from Tim O'Brien and much more. The best part of the Big Read was the support it received from the everyone involved.
To begin with, thank you, Andrea Van Dinther, for your latest column, "A mother's take on burlesque, friendship," in which you offer your personal moral dilemma about burlesque in Homer. I would especially like to thank you for acknowledging that your column was a personal investigation of what makes you uncomfortable. I do that, too. It's something we should all do, routinely. Thank you for being so brave to voice it.
One need not look to Washington, D.C., or Juneau for injustice that is forced on people by those in power. We in Homer need to look no further than our city council. Let me explain: We all need fuel to provide the energy needed to live and we basically have three different kinds, namely, electricity, oil and wood. Now a fourth is soon to be forced upon us. Those who provide electricity and oil pay in full for the products and for its delivery to their customers who of their own free will choose to purchase it.
The students at Homer Flex chose to participate in The Big Read and read Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried." This book is about O'Brien's experiences in Vietnam, the good and the bad, and takes a dip into his past and untold stories. This is one of the best nonfiction novels I have read.
I would like to sincerely thank the Friends of the Homer Public Library for bringing Tim O'Brien to Homer and highlighting his book "The Things They Carried" through the Big Read. O'Brien spoke March 1 at Mariner Theatre a free event with an award winning, engaging, thoughtful and thought-provoking writer. I was deeply moved by his stories, his intention of testimony and finding ways through story to share not only events and places, but feeling and emotion.
Homer Senior Citizens would like to thank the following businesses and individuals who contributed to the success of the February Dinner and Dance.
First, a special thank you to Terry Plant and Ole Andersson who did the majority of the organizing and motivated so many people to attend. Without them the event would not have happened.
MAPP of the Southern Kenai Peninsula has recently compiled the results of the "Perceptions of Community Health" survey that was distributed to the community in November and December 2012. This survey is just one component of our second Community Health Needs Assessment that is underway.
Many thanks to the 1,180-plus community members who provided their input on our community's needs and strengths as this information helps us identify priority issues from the community's perspective.
The Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies would like to thank the City of Homer Grants Program administered through the Homer Foundation for the operational grant received in 2012. Operational funds are difficult for nonprofit organizations to raise, yet extremely important to the functions of an organization.
We are one of many nonprofits that offer important services to Homer residents. These local government dollars support our outdoor education program that reached over 3,258 youth in 2012.
A recent article reveals that Homer's Alaska State Rep. Paul Seaton — like many other Alaskans — has discovered the health benefits of vitamin D. But unlike we mere mortals who are limited to the power of persuasion, Mr. Seaton carries "the Big Stick."
The McNeil Canyon Talent Show and Auction were a huge success. Not only was the entertainment wonderful, the bidding was quite entertaining as well.
I have just finished reading 53 pages of local comments from the latest MAPP "Community Strengths and Themes" survey results. Maybe you are tired of these surveys, but they can serve to tell us the pulse of our community. They are a way to hear what people are thinking and feeling. MAPP stands for "Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnership" -- it's a process for community wide, community driven health improvement. Put simply, here on the southern peninsula it is a group of organizations and interested individuals working together to improve community health.
Thanks to cross-country skier, Katie: On Wednesday, Feb. 27, you went above and beyond to help two gals who were mixed up on where they were on the trail. With your directions and trail markers helping us, we made it back to our car before dark. Thanks again, Katie. Happy trails to you.
Betty and Sue Brown
Thank you to the KLEPS Fund and the Tin Roof Fund of the Homer Foundation for their support of the statewide meeting of Alaskan Land Trusts. Together the Alaskan Land Trust community works to preserve the critical habitats that make Alaska special. These meetings help us to develop long-term strategies and best practices to deal with the perpetual protection of land. This wouldn't be possible without the generous funding from the Homer Foundation.
Vic Fischer, 88, is an Alaska treasure.
Editor Lori Evans quoted from John Pugh, a longtime Fischer friend, "Fischer likes to share his experiences and achievements...for civic purposes so you will look at his life and know you can do that too." (Homer News, Feb. 28) Fischer's book, "To Russia with Love" describes living a life of excitement and upholding the principles of rights and freedom.
First, let me disclose that my wife is on the staff at Homer High School, that I have exchanged small pleasantries with Dr. Alan Gee at school functions, that I count among my closest friends several current and former Homer High School teachers, that one of my oldest and dearest friends in Alaska is a longtime Homer News staffer and that one of the Tribune's higher-ups is an old grad school acquaintance whom I have always liked and admired.
Fifth installment of why I love this country and why I love paying taxes: The Child Health Insurance Program and state programs (such as Denali Kidcare) that work with CHIP to insure children and pregnant women.
I wonder how many of our city council members have noticed how many paper bags are now back in circulation. It would have made a lot more sense to have allowed the decomposible plastic bags to be used. They could have added a small tax on them and used the money to purchase and service small multipurpose recycling bins around town.