Imagine your family’s biggest source of income plummeting by 80 percent in one year. At today’s oil prices, that’s Alaska’s situation. The state’s oil and gas production tax is expected to bring the state $524 million in the current fiscal year, a shocking drop from the $2.6 billion collected last year.
Point of View
Editor’s Note: MAPP (Mobilizing for Action through Planning & Partnerships) is a local process that aims to use and build upon our strengths to improve our individual, family and community health. Health is defined broadly to include cultural, economic, educational, environmental, mental, physical and spiritual health.
It’s December, it’s dark and more rain than snow falls. So what’s new? What can we focus on to brighten life a bit? Here’s a story about a volunteer who spread a little stardust magic wherever she went:
Cindy Birkhimer, a name some of you know, volunteered for the Homer Foundation for 3 years, approximately fours hours per week as the administrative assistant for Joy Steward, the executive director. This translates into being a little like the school janitor or school secretary, both who could run the school where they work.
Most of us read every day in one capacity or another. We check our email. We scan the headlines. We might read a few articles that by the end of the day we have largely forgotten.
But how often do we allow ourselves to get lost in a good book? It seems as though distractions abound, and finding the time to enjoy reading takes a bit of effort.
Most residents of Homer would say it’s been a mild fall. The grass is green. People are picking kale and herbs from their gardens. Unheated greenhouses hold tomatoes. Local kids sled down tarps unfurled across snowless yards. Temperatures in the last week have been in the 40s.
But the Chinese crew aboard the Zhen Hua 15, the 765-foot-long heavy lift vessel anchored in the bay in mid-November — a few days after hurricane-force winds pummeled western Alaska — had cold feet.
Why is more of the halibut resource wasted in the Bering Sea than landed and sold? Thirteen out of fourteen fish in the Central Bering Sea will be wasted next season. Overall the entire Bering Sea will only have 2.4 million pounds of halibut that can be sold in 2015 while more than 6 million pounds will be killed and thrown overboard as bycatch.
Too few Alaskans know the humbling beauty of the Alaska Peninsula and the imposing journey into Bristol Bay. But over the past nine years, I have had the good fortune of spending summers aboard the F/V K2, combing the waters of Bristol Bay for sockeye salmon. In May, life abounds. Migrating birds flock overhead, pods of whales play at midship and eventually, bright, beautiful salmon arrive in overwhelming abundance.
As a community we are identifying the best ways to support and increase family well-being. When families get the support they need and are resilient, they can flourish and the result is a healthier community overall.
So what are some of the factors that foster resiliency?
A key resiliency factor for all families is to have stability. Important forms of stability include adequate income and housing and a stable living environment.
Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott have begun forming our new government — like Abe Lincolns, and like the mugwumps who, down to the 20th century, fought corruption and robber baron control.
What’s a mugwump? Someone who is independent of party politics. The new Alaska Cabinet is being appointed without regard to party. Good luck getting our quite Republican Legislature to confirm them.
he election is over and the dust has settled. I congratulate Dan Sullivan. He and I disagreed on many issues, but now he is senator and it is time to move forward to address Alaska’s needs.
It has been an enormous honor to serve Alaskans as your U.S. senator the last six years. From the Alaskans who left their homes to work in Washington, D.C., to the staff in my six Alaska offices, to the interns and volunteers, I consider my team the best in the nation.
Big Brothers & Big Sisters needs big brother and big sister volunteers; office supplies; a photo copy card; fuel cards for Bigs; volunteers to help plan events, hang up posters, etc.; volunteers to help pick up and sort clothing donations; free or discounted office space for one staff.
Contact: Jenny Martin at 235-8391
Across Alaska, front yards, car bumpers and jacket lapels are shedding campaign signs, stickers and pins. Air waves, newspapers and social media are focusing again on other aspects of our diverse but connected lives.
The heated partisan rhetoric and rancorous debate that dominated these long months should now truly end. The theme, “Rise As One,” of the Alaska Federation of Natives annual convention held this year in Anchorage is a fitting aspiration for all Alaskans. It is time for Alaskans to rise as one.
y husband and I moved to Homer a year ago. The breathtaking (almost literally) beauty, clean air, and laid-back atmosphere enticed us, and as we’ve become more involved in the community we’ve been especially impressed by the level of support for nonprofits and how Homerites rally around almost anyone in need. Nearly everyone we know is involved with some sort of nonprofit or volunteer activity.
I’m not sure what it is about this time of year that puts me into a mood that my wife refers to as my “Grump Month” but it has happened every year since I spotted my first gray nose hair.
It’s not an aging thing, trust me.
I’ve accepted that aggravating process with the grace of a moderately constipated grizzly.
November is a turning point where annoying things that I’ve let slide throughout the year finally overload my laid-back psyche and my dark side starts firing snarks at the butts of the pseudo intellectual clueless.
Recent letters to the editor regarding the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) make it very apparent that too many individuals are basing their opinions about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on what they want to think the ACA is and what it does.
Dick Stingley wrote an interesting response to a letter I wrote in which I was extremely thankful for having signed up for affordable health care. I think maybe he got a little confused. I didn’t really take a few trips a year for the last 40 years because of Obama Care, I only signed up for it a year ago. I had been fortunate to have been healthy enough that I went without health insurance and saved some money so that I could do fun trips.
comment on Homer City Councilman Beau Burgess’s words at the Oct. 27 council meeting. At this meeting, the council voted to take from the Homer community the property at Sterling Highway and Pioneer Avenue to build a public safety building and jail.
In light of our community’s tremendous need for indoor recreational space and the city’s recent decision to designate the HERC (Homer Education and Recreation Complex) building as the site for a new Public Safety Building, it’s time to think outside the HERC, Homer. Let’s collectively go for something better.
Editor’s Note: MAPP (Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships) is a local process that aims to use and build upon our strengths to improve our individual, family, and community health. Health is defined broadly to include cultural, economic, educational, environmental, mental, physical and spiritual health.
I’ve been an Alaskan resident for 47 years and I’m very worried about our beautiful state and its citizens. Rights of Alaska citizens have been seriously eroded by Gov. Sean Parnell and his administration. They are systematically reducing and eliminating public involvement in major governmental decisions. Public input is ignored. Secrecy has been the main thrust of this administration, and has resulted in greatly increased power for the governor and his appointed commissioners. Citizens have been left with little or no recourse over decisions affecting their lives.