Letters to the Editor

A huge thank you

A huge THANK YOU to the City of Homer and the Homer Foundation! Thanks to the Homer Foundation and those who so generously donate to the Homer Community Food Pantry, we are able to continue to provide the food and services to meet the needs of our numerous clients.

I am constantly amazed at the number of people who have said to me, “You have to buy that food?” Apparently around a decade ago, the food the pantry received was donated. Not anymore! Last year our food costs surpassed $180,000, as compared to $130,000 the previous year. Broken down this comes to roughly $15,000 per month. Like so many others, HCFP and our clients were hit with inflation, the impact of COVID, rising housing costs, lack of housing, gasoline prices and recently lack of SNAP benefits.

Our primary focus at HCFP is to provide food to people. However, we also provide client aide. Last year this was approximately $85,400. This covers assistance with camping fees, rent assistance, firewood, gas, heating fuel, prescription meds, and shower coupons.

Last year we served, an average 575 households or 1,135 individuals per month. This January that number was up to 765 households or 1,484 individuals. We have seen a huge increase in families coming through the pantry with children. That could be a new record! We’ve also seen a large percentage of students that are no longer able to eat lunch at the Homer High due to lack of food services that were once available to them. We just received a small grant from the Homer Foundation to help families get additional child food support.

We are very appreciative of all the food that the Farmer’s Market and other farmers donate in the summer. Many are also very generous with fish, moose, bread donations and pet food. We ran a huge canned food drive this past fall and the amount collected was remarkable. By February, we had already distributed all those proceeds.

Those who work at HCFP donate their time. We have very few minimally paid positions. We are working diligently to connect with other organizations so as to provide as much assistance as we can to cover the Homer Community and surrounding areas. We provide some schools with food boxes to send home with students and also have a group of Girl Scouts at Homer High that fill backpacks weekly full of food purchased through the pantry to give to students in need. In addition, we are offering some assistance to students that no longer receive free lunches and hope to expand on what we can offer them.

We now have a Community Fridge located outside of the United Methodist Church that provides homemade soups, sandwiches and multiple food items 24/7 to those in need. It has been a huge success and we’re finding it a challenge to keep it stocked! We invite everyone, including facilities that serve food to donate!

Recently we attended the Community Resource Connect at the SPARC building. This was a collaboration of agencies and organizations under the Kenai Peninsula Homelessness Coalition that join together to offer help, services and resources to those in need. HCFP provided lunches, food, clothing, vouchers, blankets and, thanks to Ulmer’s, very nice discounted sleeping bags. This was it’s fourth year. Through the Community Resource Connect we were able to serve 78 households in Homer and 43 from Anchor Point!

If you’d like to donate to the Homer Community Food Pantry you can go online at homerfoodpantry@gmail.com or reach us at 907-235-1968, text or voice. We are located at 770 East End Road. We are very short on protein at this time so fish, moose, any meat would be greatly appreciated! We welcome and appreciate any donations and are available to pick-up donations if you are unable to deliver them to us.

This started out as a Thank You to formally honor the Homer Foundation for their continued generosity through grants that enables the Homer Community Food Pantry to be the organization that we are and strive to be. Obviously we have a large percentage of our community who donate their time, money, and/or food to HCFP. On behalf of the board members, the workers and the clients at the pantry, we sincerely thank you! Through you, private donors and the collaboration of so many, we continue to serve others with compassion and to be a village that truly cares.


Deb Schmidt

Board Member

To the Homer Community,

On Tuesday, Feb. 7, the Pratt Museum hosted their annual membership meeting, At that time, The Patrons of the Pratt Society, known as POPS, celebrated 25 years of supporting the Pratt. I am proud to be a member and herewith brag about them and their accomplishments.

Twenty-five years ago seven Homer residents got together to discuss how they could raise money for the Pratt. Like many small museums the Pratt struggled for funding.

Over the next 25 years, this group paid off the remaining mortgage on the museum building, purchased the adjoining property to increase the original 2-acre footprint to almost 10 acres, which includes the forest trails, lots under the Harrington Cabin and the “Yellow House” to the north. All paid in full.

We replaced roofing on the Harrington Cabin and assisted with expenses for the popular remote video cams for bear and seabird viewing. (The bear cam was dropped some years ago. But the seabird viewing continues.)

We purchased 100 chairs and several tables for community gatherings.

POPS replaced the museum’s office equipment with modern software and bought audio equipment for public events. We assisted with expenses for the annotated Forest Trail System, Outdoor Art Exhibits and the biennial “Tamamta Katurlluta” Native cultures gathering events.

We published a book with some of the money from our 2007 Quilt raffle that documents the Pratt Museum’s collection of historic quilts sewn by local quilters. With the 2012 Quilt Raffle mone, POPS paid for a color laser printer, LED lights for the galleries, hard drives for data base backup and Gull Island digital transmission equipment.

We were actively involved with discussion of how to deal with building needs, repairs, roofing, etc. POPS partially funded several surveys, architectural plans and other improvements.

POPS pledged and gave $500,000 toward the renovation of the original building, completed in 2018. Finally the building is ADA compliant with two lifts so those handicapped do not have to walk outside to access upper and lower levels of the building.

More recently, with funding from the Wynn Foundation, POPS has funded work on restoring and updating the gardens and grounds, a huge part of the museum mission. The Wynn Foundation has been very supportive.

POPS also funded the printing of the book “Some Stayed On,” a retelling of the pioneers who established Homer. The book is sold by the museum as a fundraiser for them.

And recently we had Leo Vait design and install a bench in honor of Billie Fischer, daughter of Carl Wynn, who together with the Wynn Foundation has been so generous to the museum over the years.

POPS is a 501.3 organization. We are totally separate from the Museum, have no role in directing the museum, etc. We exist as volunteers to assist them. And we need new members. If you are interested, please contact me, at the email below.

Thank you, Jennifer, director of the Pratt, for a wonderful open house and to all those who came. Thank you for helping me celebrate my 86th birthday. It was the best birthday I have had in years.

Milli Martin, POPS current president

Dear Editor,

A rare open election allowed new voices to the Board of Cook Inlet Aquaculture (CIAA). As new members, we look forward to honest, frank, public discussion about the solvency and insolvency, of CIAA and its profound financial effect on all shareholders.

Our mission is to ensure Cook Inlet salmon permit holders become keenly aware of financials affecting them. CIAA uses our salmon permits to control not only 2% of our harvest value for little benefit, but also, for securing loans we are responsible for.

CIAA has solicited $20,000,000 in loans. These loans plus interest, place liens on each of our permits until repaid. Most disturbing, is only 1% of shareholders and CIAA’s bloated top-heavy empire, benefit from this self-serving boondoggle.

CIAAs exorbitant annual $5,000,000 hatchery and headquarters expense… is exclusively inaccessible to 99% of the permit holding Area H gear types.

ADFG estimated, this excluded 99% permit holders, pay the vast majority (92%) of the annual 2% enhancement tax procured for CIAA coffers for no benefit. CIAA’s insolvency will haunt all permit holders each year until loans are repaid.

This blatantly disregards its mission statement to protect self-perpetuating salmon and its obligation to the permit holders. Instead, in 10 years, this extravagance spent $50,000,000 of unrecoverable funds, perpetuating debt to self-perpetuate itself. Did you receive any of this $50,000,000?

This serious misappropriation needs reckoning. CIAA has placed us in serious financial waters.

The first step is for CIAA to truthfully and fearlessly admit decades of insolvency and lack of transparency to the permit holders. Board gambling greatly affects all our permit’s.

Deceptive PR campaigns, use glossy annual reports to obscure financials that mislead and distract or omit the truth of actual benefit to the permit holders or the salmon resource.

The second step is to prevent digging deeper in debt. We propose open evaluation of the details of CIAA financials. Where are inefficiencies? Where are leaks? Scrutinize questionable collateral, and procure an easy-to-understand profit and loss on each separate activity as was the norm in Annual Reports for all to see.

Without clear understanding, decisions by the CIAA Board will chronically dig the hole deeper while gambling with “just one more” loan.

Using the 30-year future promise is unacceptable. This rides the backs of 99% of shareholders haunted by 2% of their valuable harvest, now invested for insolvency far into the future.

To rectify this imbalanced inequitable business plan and better serve all area H Cook Inlet permit holders we will need your help to turn this ship. Please participate with your input and support for us. We will be listening. Thank you for voting us in.

Wes Humbyrd

Nancy Hillstrand

Thanks for support for Rotary’s Cranium Cup

We would like to thank all who participated in Saturday’s Cranium Cup trivia event. Many thanks also to The Homer Bookstore, Captain’s Coffee and the Homer Axe House for contributing prizes. Alice’s Champagne Palace was very gracious in providing the venue and equipment. All of the funds collected from this event will go to support the Homer After School Program Initiative.

Also, congratulations to “The Quizly Bears” who won first place honors in the night’s competition.


Kim Zook, president

Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary Club

Dear Editor,

As did many other Alaskans, I voted for Ranked Choice Voting (RCV), and I do not want the legislature to overturn this new voting system.

Some folks may be confused by the new system, as was I until I read more about how it works and how my ranked choice votes would count. It makes sense to me now, and I think it will lead to better government.

Candidates chosen through RCV will have broader support and will truly represent the community. The old system allowed for a candidate who got the most votes to be selected even if the number of votes did not represent a majority of more than 50 percent. Also, we now can select who represents us from a list of all parties because now everyone runs in the same primary election. I do not necessarily vote for a candidate on party lines.

I think this last election reflected less negative campaigning since some candidates worked to appeal to a broad spectrum of voters to garner a second choice vote. The new system promotes dialog between voters and candidates and between candidates themselves.

In this time of tight money, RCV elections make sense. Each election is expensive, so by eliminating separate primaries and extra run off elections, the State saves money.

The new system also encouraged more participation by candidates. There were many more people who registered to run for office. This certainly gives voters more choices.

RCV is becoming more common in the country with most of the positive benefits I have mentioned above. I urge the Legislature not to repeal the new Ranked Choice Voting. The voters approved it, so give it a chance to be better understood.


Nina Faust

From Electronics Recycling to Food Hub to Homer Drawdown’s community-led climate solutions, Cook Inletkeeper’s community-based programming represents a vital and vibrant pillar of our organization. We are grateful for past and ongoing support and engagement from our members, community and the City of Homer Grants Program at the Homer Foundation which supports us in keeping these programs going.

We invite you to get involved! Save the dates for our Annual Electronic Recycling Event Saturday April 29th and for the spring launch of the Alaska Food Hub on Friday, March 10. Jump in sooner and add your energy to the Homer Drawdown People Oriented Transportation Project during our next monthly meeting Thursday, Feb. 23 at 5:30 p.m. at the Kachemak Bay Campus.

Satchel Pondolfino

Lower Inlet Organizer

Cook Inletkeeper