Letters to the Editor

Homer sports benefits from community support

The Homer High School Athletics and Activities Department would like to thank the Center for Alaska Coastal Studies for generously donating the use of their van for travel trips during the 2022-2023 school year. Their generosity has allowed our teams to supplement travel when there is no bus availability. The use of their van has also greatly reduced the cost of travel for our teams that are responsible for the bulk of their travel expenses.

The Mariner Football team thanks the Sons of the American Legion for their generous donation of $2,000 that we will use to purchase new helmets for the upcoming 2023 season. Their donation will help to safely equip the 2023 team in our pursuit of another state championship.

Thank you for your support of Mariner Athletics and Activities!

Justin Zank, athletic director/head football coach

Homer High School

Disappointed in library placement

I have read a few of the controversial children’s books in our library and found some teaching kindness and respect for everyone, but I do have objections to three among the few I have read.

In “The Hips on the Drag Queens Go Swish Swish Swish,” one is reminded of the preschoolers’ song entitled, “The Wheels On the Bus Go Round and Round.” However, in this book we read or sing that “the hips on the drag queens go swish swish swish,” “the mouths on the drag queens go blah blah blah,” etc. all through the town.

I believe teaching children to admire drag queens swinging their hips and words reduced to blah blah blah are behaviors children should not be taught to emulate. Yet, this is what the author, Lil Miss Hot Mess, wishes. He states on the back cover of his book that he supports giving children “glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models.” Do we really want this as a role model for our children?

In “A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo” a cute boy bunny wants to marry a boy bunny. However, a creature objects. The creature is not another cute and cuddly animal with a different view, but a stink bug! This points to everyone believing that marriage should be between a man and a woman must be shouted at and ridiculed as is done in the book, and is a stink bug.

The third book, “And Tango Makes Three,” presents two boy penguins as a couple. This again teaches our youngest children that even in nature creatures of the same sex pair, but that is rarely the case.

I am disappointed that these books have a place in our library. Childhood should be enjoyed without adult issues while teaching respect for everyone.

Gloria Stuart

To the editor,

The article in the Jan. 25 issue of the Homer News about the Kenai/Soldotna Fish and Game Advisory Committee meeting on Board of Game proposals was comprehensive but had a very misleading statement in its coverage of Proposal 162 — which seeks to extend the season on ptarmigan by two months in parts of 15C. The article says “the current length and limit for the birds in that area was implemented as a result of low breeding densities in 2014. The population has since rebounded.” This implies that the season was reduced because of one bad year of breeding for 15C ptarmigan, but things have now recovered. That is absolutely not the case.

The impetus for a shorter season came when the late Bruce Willard submitted a proposal to the BOG for their 2014-2015 meeting cycle (Proposal 175) to shorten the ptarmigan hunting season in a portion of 15C. He had been advocating for shorter ptarmigan seasons long before the spring of 2014 because he noticed a “significant decline in ptarmigan numbers has occurred in Unit 15C north of Kachemak Bay” over previous years. The ADF&G ptarmigan breeding survey in 2014 validated that very low breeding densities in this area was a long-term trend, not just a one year event.

Furthermore, Willard said in his proposal, “This decline appears to be associated with ease of access, increased hunting pressure, and limited habitat. The majority of the access and increased hunting pressure is via snowmobile.” It was anticipated that shortening the season to Jan. 31 would cut off the spring snowmobile hunt for ptarmigan when deep snow, warmer temperatures, and better light make it easy for more hunters to cover more miles of ptarmigan habitat. Also, hunting ptarmigan in the spring results in additive mortality (when harvest results is an immediate loss of population). A shorter season would still allow a fall/early winter hunt, result in compensatory mortality (when hunting results in a decline of other causes of mortality, such as winter weather) and better opportunity for ptarmigan populations to recover.

After several years of no spring ptarmigan hunt, it appears as if the ptarmigan in the hills above Homer are not only increasing in population, but actually expanding into other suitable habitat. Those who visit the backcountry above Homer are reporting ptarmigan sightings and tracks where they haven’t been seen for years. The plan has worked. But getting to first base falls short of a score. More time is needed to reestablish resilient ptarmigan populations over a wider spread of suitable habitat. So, the message to the BOG should be don’t fix what isn’t broken. Keeping the status quo should result in greater abundance of ptarmigan in this area, to the benefit of both hunters and bird watchers. Going back to allowing a spring hunt could quickly revert to low populations of ptarmigan and limited opportunity for outdoors people to enjoy our state bird.

George Matz

Volunteers needed to fight Alzheimer’s

This past week, I was one of hundreds of volunteers from around the country to join the Alzheimer’s Association for their annual Community Leadership Summit in San Diego.

Groups would sit together and cheer on mention of their efforts in their community, and while most states had a group of a dozen or more volunteers, Alaska had a total of five. While we are physically the largest state in the U.S., we have one of the smallest populations, however, this should not hold us back.

Together we have a loud voice, which needs to be used to bring attention to important causes. The Alzheimer’s Association team in Alaska is fairly new, but we have big plans, and you will be seeing more and more from us. The conference gave me a new perspective and appreciation for all the ways volunteers in Alaska can support individuals and families impacted by Alzheimer’s.

As an Alzheimer’s Association volunteer, I look forward to doing my part, but more volunteers are needed. I invite other Alaskans to join me in fighting this devastating disease. Learn more at alz.org/volunteer.

Cassandra Romig


Alzheimer’s patients deserve full and unrestricted coverage for treatment

On Jan. 6, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved lecanemab, now known as Leqembi, using the accelerated approval pathway. Based on the results from very strong clinical trials, leading the Alzheimer’s researchers agree this treatment changes the course of the disease in a meaningful way for people with early Alzheimer’s. But because of the decision the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS) has put in place, Medicare will not cover this treatment.

Never before has CMS imposed such drastic barriers to access FDA-approved drugs, especially for people facing a fatal disease. CMS’s policy is unjustified, harmful and unfair. Just as is true for individuals with every other disease today, people who are living with with Alzheimer’s and their doctors should be able to decide if an FDA-approved treatment is right for them and should have it covered by Medicare. All those living with Alzheimer’s deserve better, and we need support from Congress.

The Alzheimer’s Association has filed a formal request asking CMS to provide full and unrestricted coverage for Alzheimer’s treatments that have been approved by the FDA.

Please join me in urging Sens. Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Mary Petola, to demand CMS take action to ensure individuals living with Alzheimer’s have equitable access to FDA-approved Alzheimer’s treatments.

To learn more about how you can join the fight to end Alzheimer’s, visit alzimpact.org

Cindy Harris is an Alaska Alzheimer’s ambassador

Thank you for supporting arts

On behalf of Bunnell Street Arts Center, I would to thank the City of Homer and the Homer Foundation for working together, supporting annual operating grants to strengthen Homer’s nonprofit sector. Each year, dozens of organizations and local citizens are positively impacted.

Bunnell Street Arts Center leverages support from the City of Homer Grants Program through the Homer Foundation in marketing materials that express Bunnell’s mission to spark artistic inquiry, innovation and equity to strengthen the physical, social and economic fiber of Homer through the arts.

Bunnell invested this grant of $1,500 to achieve our mission and benefit our community, approximately 5000 people, from elementary-school kids to Seniors. We created a new Bunnell brochure, led the creation and distribution of the the Homer Map and printed a comprehensive Annual Report which helped Bunnell connect with our audience and share our programs.

Bunnell Street Arts Center applied the grant to marketing materials which communicate and attract audience to Homer, and to Bunnell. Our audience include Homerites, Alaska travelers, statewide and international visitors, tourists, artists, collectors, students and teachers. These people attended exhibitions and artist talks in person and online, Bunnell Arts by Arts Concerts in person and broadcast on KBBI, performances and screenings, artist residencies, and Artist in Schools programs.

Every year we learn something new. Adaptation and innovation keep Bunnell relevant and sustainable, through pandemic and increasingly complex socio-environmental and economic challenges. Our strategy is to seek local, statewide, national and international partnerships, especially cross-sector partnerships, to leverage the arts for Homer’s social, economic and physical health.

Some things worked better than anticipated. 2022 was a good year to turn our land acknowledgement learnings into actions. Over three years of workshops, discussion and planning, in partnership with the City of Homer, with support from Ninilchik Tribal Council, private foundations and community donors, we contributed a sculpture to the Municipal Art Collection acknowledging the long-term Indigenous presence and stewardship of lands now called Bishop’s Beach Park. Tuyanitun: Tuggeht stands as a beacon at the shores of Kachemak Bay and invites all of us to celebrate this place and its people.

2022 was also a good year to launch a major national touring show. Protection: Adaptation & Resistance opened at the Pratt and traveled to the Anchorage Museum. Featuring Indigenous Alaska artists, Protection showcases how artists are guiding the next generation from surviving amidst complex challenges to thriving. The show continues to Portland, Tulsa and Santa Fe in 2023.

Artists continued to benefit from outreach innovations — both online, in person and over the airwaves. The “MOTHER” exhibition featured seven statewide artists who met frequently enough online to develop a groundbreaking group show which came to fruition in December. If you missed it, you can find this talk and many others on Bunnell’s YouTube channel. Bunnell Arts by Air concerts broadcast live from Bunnell the third Friday of each month and are archived at KBBI.org. There are many ways to become involved and learn more. Visit us at bunnellarts.org,or stop by for our next First Friday opening reception and artist talk. Everyone is welcome!

Asia Freeman, artistic director

Bunnell Street Arts Center