Letters to the Editor

Celebration of Lifelong Learning a success

On behalf of the Friends of the Homer Public Library, we’d like to thank the community of Homer for helping make our recent 2023 Celebration of Lifelong Learning event a festive and fun success.

We are thankful to the Spit City Slickers for the wonderful background music, RedBird Kitchen for creative appetizers and desserts, Kathleen Gustafson for the challenging yet ever-popular Trivia Tree contest, our young volunteer servers, and the Live Action Role Players for their demonstration.

It was an evening of appreciation and local love of our 2023 Lifelong Learners, Samantha Cunningham and Thea Person.

Along with the nominator and honoree speeches, we enjoyed performances by HHS Poetry Outloud students, and the HHS Swing Choir, as well as an informative history of BOB the Bookmobile by Andy Haas.

A heartfelt thanks goes to the very generous silent auction item contributors: Homer Bookstore, Franco & Caroline Venuti, Bear Creek Winery, KPT Serenity Pool, Lisa Ann’s Grooming, Mako’s Water Taxi, Salmon Sisters, Landa & Doug Baily, Laurie & Walter Orell, Barb Veeck, Kathleen & Jarl Gustafson, Healing Hands Massage, Rich Chiappone, Lisa Wood Pottery, Sweetgale Meadworks & Cider House and Linda Martin.

To the generous participants who bid on and took items home, as well as those who joined in the fun with MiniBob purchases, your support feeds directly into our Summer Reading Program, keeping BOB the Bookmobile on the road and stocked with books, helping to promote literacy for all of Homer. Thank you.

With utmost appreciation,

Judy Gonsalves, FHL board president and Cheryl Illg, FHL coordinator

Musher hobbyists shut down by trail closures

There is another reason why there is a low number of mushers signing up to run the Iditarod sled dog race that has not been discussed.

The last few years the trail committee has shut down the trail shortly after the winner has crossed the finished line.

Most mushers run the race to get their Iditarod sled dog patch of completion and the Iditarod belt buckle. Few mushers can generate the funds needed to develop a competitive team that has a shot at winning the race. Most mushers that run the race are hobby mushers and can barely raise the funds to run the race a time or two.

So when the word went out that the race committee has changed their policy of running the race and are now shutting down the trail a few days after the winner has crossed the finish line, the hobby mushers are stopped at the check point that they are at and are sent home.

That means their goal of finishing the race is over. No Iditarod finishing patch, no belt buckle. So the hobby mushers say, “what the hey, no need to run the race because you’re going to be shut down before you get to Nome, so what’s the use.”

So they stay home in the first place and not run the race to begin with.

The results are low number of mushers signing up to run the race. As long as the Trail Committee has this policy there will always be a low number of mushers to sign up to run the race.

John Suter, Past Iditarod musher

Governor, AG out of line on abortion rights

This administration has told Walgreens not to sell mifepristone in Alaska. It seems to me that neither Gov. Dunleavy nor Alaska AG Treg Taylor can legally oppose the rights of Alaskans as protected in our constitutional right to privacy.

Their response regarding mifepristone availability: “The governor has full faith and confidence in the attorney general to uphold Alaska’s state rights and to protect Alaska’s interests both through taking legal action and other avenues outside of the courts” is entirely nonsensical.

Protecting Alaskans’ rights includes protecting Alaskans’ access to legally available abortion pills. These guys are a mile out of line if they think their job is to limit our rights by signing on with an extremist Texas Trump-appointed judge and restricting legal pill access in Alaska.

Judith Miller

On recalling Sarah Vance

The authors of recent letters demanding Rep. Sarah Vance’s recall or resignation because, as chairperson during the Feb 20 House Judiciary Committee meeting, she allowed Rep. David Eastman an opportunity to participate, exemplify egregious virtue-signaling by using junk science to shore up personal prejudice.

Their motive, apparently, is a visceral hatred of Rep. Vance, probably because she represents a core constituency antithetical to the liberal effort to create a perfect society by buying happiness for all with state funding instead of expecting the individual’s commensurate effort to earn it.

Eastman’s questions of the organization pitching for state funds elicited information that, by extrapolation from an unscientific study conducted elsewhere, 70% of Alaskan adults are self-defined victims of childhood abuse, and thus could qualify for expensive state-funded mental health treatment. Guess what that could cost!

By posing the difficult question about the monetary value of a human life, Eastman demonstrated he’s the rare legislator able and willing to defy conventional beliefs and thereby ask the hard questions that help expose reality. That’s his job as a legislator. Even Rep. Vance succumbed to the pressure of popular outrage.

Yes, at the personal level a human life is priceless; but at the impersonal level of society, life is routinely assigned a maximum dollar value. That’s what actuaries do concerning life insurance. It’s what automotive corporations do when designing costly safety features into their vehicles — just enough to lawfully comply and to limit excessive lawsuits awards for automotive injuries, and it’s what our health/political systems indirectly achieve by not placing a world-renowned Mayo Clinic in every community. Otherwise, it would break the bank!

If any recall is necessary, it should be directed at the blatantly close-minded prejudicial attitude of hatred and exclusion espoused by the authors against competing beliefs grounded on conservative values.

Larry Slone

Bed tax could help solve housing crisis

I read Darren Tivnan’s recent Point of View in the Homer News with interest and appreciation for his great insight! I hope he got an “A” on his writing assignment because his points were thoughtful and well-stated.

As long as Homer has no bed, transient, or lodging tax that Airbnb/VRBO operators have to pay, the longer the problem related to housing for those needing to rent will continue.

When I was executive director of the Homer Chamber of Commerce, I advocated for a bed tax and was promptly shut down by those board members who owned lodging businesses. It was shocking how vehement they were about refusing a bed tax. It didn’t make any sense.

To my thinking, it’s short-sighted and self defeating in the long run to not have a bed tax in place. I know the City of Homer cannot institute a bed tax on its own, but our elected officials can certainly advocate for one boroughwide, and that might begin to start solving the problem of lodging for new Homer permanent, and seasonal, residents.

Jim Lavrakas