Point of View

Bonfire on the Bay: Shining light on stress, anxiety and depression

If I asked you what you think our biggest problem in Homer is, what would you say? When this question was posed to six Homer youth at a statewide leadership conference called LeadOn! in November 2013, our first thoughts were around substance abuse, which we all think is a real issue for teens and adults in our community. 

Bering Sea out of balance; halibut population hurting

This year the Magnuson Stevens Act will be reauthorized by Congress. The MSA is the law by which the National Marine Fisheries Service and the North Pacific Fisheries Council manage the federal fisheries off of Alaska. In public hearings the message that “all is well in Alaska waters” and “no major changes to the law are needed” has been echoed by many groundfish industry lobbyists. 

How ’bout them ACES?

It’s just overwhelming — the media coverage of how we should vote this fall on the ballot measure to repeal the “new” oil tax. One could simply choose not to listen — admittedly a wise choice — because the strident pros and cons in this debate have tuned out the old-time Alaska mindset that brought us ACES (Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share) in the first place.  

Advice to grads: Remember to wear XtraTufs

Editor’s Note: Karmen Classen gave the following valedictory address at the Kachemak Bay commencement May 7. 


I have only been to one other college graduation. It was in this very theater, but so many years ago I don’t even remember who I had come to see graduate. What I do remember is the keynote address given by our very own Professor Beth Graber, who got up and read a Dr. Suess book to the graduates — you know the one — “Oh the Places You’ll Go. ”

Job at Homer News pays dividends in life lessons

Editor’s Note: As part of its 50th anniversary celebration, the Homer News has asked former “Newsies” to reminisce about their time at the newspaper and some of the top stories of the day. 

In the third such piece, Joel Gay, who contributed to the Homer News in a variety of ways for nearly 25 years, talks about his time at the Homer News, which began in 1978.

Numbers paint arts story: circle of community support

There are so many people to thank for their efforts in the arts these past few weeks. Too many for letters to the editor so instead I thought I would highlight the number of people involved. April started with the Jubilee Gallery Exhibit at the Homer Council on the Arts and South Peninsula Hospital, showcasing youth art of 60 students from the Homer area. 

All may be fair in love, war, but not in city’s new water-sewer rates

As I sat in my aisle seat minding my own business, reading my John Grisham novel, I couldn’t help overhearing the conversation between my two seat mates.  They were lamenting their most recent water bills, “Over $35 this month!” said the young woman in the window seat.

The man in the middle, who is her neighbor in Anchorage, said his bill usually runs about $20.  It was at this point I could hold my tongue no longer.  

Everyone can play role in greener economy

The ability to recycle electronics helps families, businesses, governments, tribes, and non-profits make responsible waste disposal decisions.  It also puts our dollars to work supporting green jobs and re-using precious metals instead of mining for new ones.

When we talk about creating a greener economy in America, thoughts often go towards creating more sustainable energy sources like wind, solar and tidal power.  Often overlooked is another aspect of being green — what to do with all the waste we currently produce?

Homer gets creative when it comes to filling pantry

“What should we say in this article about the Homer Food Pantry?” I asked some fellow volunteers. “What happens here? What makes us unique?” There were lots of suggestions. Mostly we give food to people who need food, but there are so many other ways that we help share what needs to be shared.  My list ended up getting longer and longer and I was imagining an awful run-on paragraph — until I decided to write a poem.  (Perhaps after this, you will think that run-on paragraphs aren’t so bad, but here we go…)
The Creative ways Homerites
Support the Food Pantry

Week of the Young Child at a Glance

Week of the Young Child at a Glance
Monday, April 21
Toddler Playgroup from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the HERC building. Children from 0-5 years old and their parents are welcome to run, romp and play. $2 per child.

Tuesday, April 22
    “Blockfest” Playgroup at Sprout. Visit www.sproutalaska.org for details.
    Story time at the Homer Public Library 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. for children aged 3 to 5 and their caregivers and siblings.

Wednesday, April 23

Establishing daily rhythm helps pave way to success

“Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.”
­— Chinese Proverb

Best Beginnings Homer will be celebrating Week of the Young Child April 20th-27th with the theme “Strengthening Families” to honor families with young children. Homer’s celebration will be a week of fun activities to promote the importance of early learning, which helps children succeed throughout life.  Week of the Young Child is celebrated nationwide and Homer is proud to show our support for young children and the important people in their lives.

Old Town leads by example as it tests new waters

We are growing and circulating creative currency through Old Town, and it is spreading throughout Homer.  Our recent Old Town Artist in Residence Jarod Charzewski and our Homer community worked nimbly to complete an attention-grabbing installation that reaches from the inside of the Arts Center and spills out to the street of West Bunnell.  Jarod’s installation symbolizes just what successful creative placemaking should do: expand to spill beyond the borders ... and spread.

It’s simple: More coal will harm our oceans

I live in a remote coastal village in Lower Cook Inlet, and my family and my community depend on the ocean for food. Whether it’s collecting bidarkis off the rocks, clams from the beaches or halibut from deeper waters, we rely on a healthy ocean to sustain us.

Today, however, we’re seeing rapid changes in our oceans, and one of the most alarming problems is ocean acidification. As we pump more and more carbon into our atmosphere, our oceans absorb more carbon, and they’re becoming more acidic.

Homer needs timeout to redo tall tower regs

It’s not surprising that at the blistering pace Internet demand the FCC predicts a demand of one communication tower for every 75 residents. Increased access to bandwidth is an economic stimulant and educational boost for schools. Every year demands more bandwidth. Alaska is behind the curve significantly in providing bandwidth and our costs are very high compared to all other states.  

Purpose. Care. Give. Pick. Click. Give. allows Alaskans to pay it forward

It’s the season for Pick.Click.Give., the concept that we pay it forward and give to nonprofits of choice. This act satisfies the human need to give out of one’s abundance and also supports the saying, “It’s easier to give than to receive.” It also allows nonprofits to plan next year’s budget.

That said, I suggest we consider this idea. We give because we care, and we care because a purpose fuels why we care. Allow me a personal story.

Anti-salmon, anti-democracy bill still in play

The Senate Resources Committee is holding hearings this week on House Bill 77.  HB 77 is Gov. Sean Parnell’s grab bag of anti-salmon, anti-democracy rollbacks that grants new super powers to our state government while stripping away our rights as Alaskans to protect our fish and game resources. Despite claims that recent amendments “fix the bill,”  little has improved.  

Every Alaskan who cares about salmon and democracy should speak out on HB 77.


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