Letters to the Editor

Watch out for cranes

Spring’s official start on the calendar has arrived, and the Sandhill Cranes are winging their way north. Watch for the first arrivals in the next few weeks, and let Kachemak Crane Watch know when and where you spot them! Report your sightings to Kachemak Crane Watch by calling 907-235-6262 or emailing reports@cranewatch.org. This is the most reliable way of making sure your important sighting makes it into our citizen science information for the year. Happy crane watching!

Nina Faust, co-founder Kachemak Crane Watch

Thanks for supporting Bunnell Arts By Air concert series

Bunnell Street Arts Center thanks the Homer Foundation for supporting the Bunnell Arts By Air concert series in 2022. These in-person concerts at Bunnell are broadcast live on KBBI every third Friday of the month. Beginning in 2020 as a response to COVID closures, the show continues to be co-produced by Bunnell and KBBI to celebrate and support musicians and connect people to live local music in our community.

Homer Foundation funds provided vital musician fees, and helped elevate Bunnell’s mission to spark artistic inquiry, innovation and equity to strengthen the physical, social and economic fabric of Alaska. Both musicians and audiences often told us that this was “the first time since the pandemic” to share live music. For some musicians, the concert series was a professional motivation to deepen their creative practice.

Adapting to present music safely during the pandemic has forever changed practices of safety, inclusivity, and accessibility. Broadcasting on-air in collaboration with KBBI is a way to share Bunnell’s concert experience with its historic space and unique sound with a wider audience, including vulnerable people, isolated communities around Kachemak Bay, musicians’ own networks, and anyone who recognizes Homer as a creative place.

Bunnell Arts by Air concerts are archived at KBBI.org. We strive to make Bunnell Arts by Air a permanent fixture of our season. Visit us at bunnellarts.org or stop by for information about how you can support this program!

Asia Freeman, artistic director Bunnell Street Arts Center

Willow a much-needed win

Kudos to all who got behind ConocoPhillips’ effort to open up Willow. The effort by our delegation to present directly to President Biden, and our record of responsible resource development over the last 40 years in Alaska’s Arctic, is a reflection on the bipartisan effectiveness of our Alaska delegation.

We are not over the goal line yet. We must be wary of the coming onslaught of outraged extreme environmental groups who will go to any means to delay and block the project. These same groups seem to prefer we get our oil directly from the Mideast, or Venezuela, or Africa, or even Russia. These folks are being unrealistic and would have us theoretically walk, rather than fly or take trains or buses or even ride our snowmachines.

Yes, Americans must develop the technology to reduce emissions and dependency on fossil fuels. We’re working on alternative energy sources, and I hope our creative young people will rise to that challenge. However, that doesn’t happen overnight, and we need fuel for our economy while we make that transition.

In the meantime, there’s a wake-up call for Americans in a recent announcement by the Saudi government. The profits of their government-owned oil company AMACO are at an all-time high of more than $600 billion in earnings. They’re putting much of it into a development fund, similar to Alaska’s permanent fund. The Saudis are using their oil earnings to make more money — and the U.S. is helping to foot the bill.

Frank H. Murkowski is a former Alaska governor

(2002-2006) and U.S. senator (1981-2002).


Now that the elections are behind us (well, except for Arizona), we have a chance to examine some of the most notable/absurd.

There was one candidate who, appealing to the evangelical block, made an effort to showcase their logical reasoning skills. Attempting to disprove evolution theory, they argued (and I’m paraphrasing here), “Some people say we evolved from apes. Well, if that were true, why are there still apes?”

Again, I consider this a symptom, not the problem. If our constitutional republic is to survive this current onslaught of factional politics, we must (s)elect better representatives and senators at every level. The only reason the above candidate made it as far as they did was the fact the they were not a member of the other party. Ya know, maybe nationwide ranked choice voting is worth a shot. Can’t do much worse than the current state of affairs.

Cal Schmidt

The lowdown on wealth

I live in Old Town, where there’s a height restriction on the buildings — two stories. Unless you’re a Cosmic Cannabis customer, that’s high enough. Citywide that’s enough. We don’t need 11-story cruise ships in the harbor, we don’t need drilling rigs gracing the horizon, we don’t need bank loans to build high-rise condos or cranes at the harbor stacking connexes ten high.

No, we just need to be what we are. Where cranes nest in the slough, where king salmon swim in winter waters, where you brake for loose moose and dogs. The idea that wealth will come with development is a fool’s fable. Wealth is knowing what you have and preserving it. Everything else is just a rat race. So let’s be Homer, the town that refused to grow up.

P.S. If you want to double the property prices in a month just slap a limit to growth on the town. And let Anchor Point fight the flood.

Gordy Vernon

Thanks to volunteers who made Kachemak Nordic Ski Marathon a success

The annual Kachemak Nordic Ski Marathon was off to an inauspicious start this year — it was canceled due to the lack of a coordinator. But the event rose from the ashes when several community members expressed dismay that this long-standing and unique event was headed the way of the woolly mammoths. They rallied. They motivated others. We all rose to the occasion.

On Saturday morning of March 18, with a breeze beginning to stir out of the north, volunteers went to their assigned places to carry out their considerable tasks. Groomers, for example, started their Saturday at 2:30 in the morning. They worked into the afternoon!

Skiers from out of town braved the passes to get here for the early start. Six ski routes were laid out ranging from 42k, 25k, and 13k. Skier were timed on how fast they could traverse sometimes intimidating terrain in frigid winds. 101 skiers, aged from 10 to 76, chose that for their morning workout.

As the morning progressed, the breeze stiffened. By afternoon it was buffeting skiers and volunteers alike with 30kt gusts and blowing snow. It was a blast! A cold, cold, heart-warming blast. The day wound up with an awards banquet with dinner and door prizes provided to all skiers and volunteers at the Beluga Lake Lodge. Kids, old folks, the works!

All in all it was a great success forged in the furnace of ski-love. This Marathon was served up HOT!

Thanks to volunteers. We had over 40. I hope I haven’t missed any: Pete Beck for blowing out the parking lots and Harbison Lane. Groomers, and course set up, John Miles, Mike Byerly, Bill Worsfold, Billy Day, David Stutzer, Pete Alexson, Josh Mumm, Dave Brann, Robert Archibald, Pat Irwin, Chris Kelly, Mark Schollenberger, and Mark Schrag. Bill Hague gear haul, and all-around support (on crutches no less). Maggie Kao, gear haul and lunch support. Kali Glosser, traffic control for road crossing. Christine Anderson and her registration crew, Peter Crimp, Clay and Rebecca Eagerton. Aid station logistics and hosting: Diana Carbonell for organizing and hosting, Kara Clemmens Lisa Wood, David Lewis, Stephanie Greer, Colin McGovern, Emily Sloth, Torrie and Ezra Gutschow, Jenny Edwards for hosting. Timing crew: Jan Spurkland and his merry band of Cindy Brinkerhoff, Dana Jaworski, Terri Spiegelmeyer, Andy Haas, Melissa Cloud and ??? Rescue sleds, Pat Irwin, Colin and Steph, John Miles. Ski sweep Emma Privat. Publicity and Planning, Megan Corazza. Volunteer coordination and gathering donations for door prizes, Alison O’hara. Afterparty and awards banquet, Ruth Dickerson, Jane Wiebe, Marylou Burton, and of course Steph the Pilot. Photography, Pat Irwin. Starter and Cheerleader, Deland Anderson.

Thanks to DOT for getting out early to plow and sand Ohlson Mountain Road. Thanks to Homer Volunteer Fire Department and Kachemak Emergency Services for having our back. Thanks to Beluga Lake Lodge for hosting afterparty. Thanks also to all of the merchants for door prize donations: Cyclelogical, Free Spirit Wear, Truth North Kayak Adventures, Cosmic Closet, The Classic Cook, Bear Creek Winery.

Deland Anderson for the Kachemak Nordic Ski Marathon 2023

To the editor,

Hats off and thank you to Clark Fair for a tremendous job spearheading, writing and compiling the three-part article in the Homer News about my father, John B. Fenger, the first resident medical doctor in Homer. It was a very fun project that had us digging up old obscure documents and scanning many photos and slides to help complete the timeline.

I would also like to correct some erroneous photo credit attributions in the first installment, Homer News, February 23, 2023 edition, page C3.

Only the first photo of Dr. Fenger posing outside the Homer Hospital is Courtesy of South Peninsula Hospital.

The Homer Hospital photo is correctly credited to the Fair Family Collection.

All other photos are from the Fenger Family Collection, including the M.S. Hygiene photo incorrectly attributed to the Fair Family Collection.

Thank you,

Eric Fenger

Cut the BS and increase the BSA

There is no greater commitment a society can make than allocating sufficient funds for education. The well being of our future depends on it.

Increasing the Base Student Allocation to a sustainable level can insure adequate learning for the young and allow facilities to remain open that enhance the lives of all ages.

Imagine the impact to our community if we are unable to participate in events at the Mariner theater or take part in swimming at school pools.

Learning is not confined to K-12 classroom teaching or Home Schooling, it is also cultivated through sports, the performing arts, and the many faceted involvement of all members of a community. True education is participatory and doesn’t leave anybody out. There should be no child (or geezer) left behind.

To claim that anything other than underfunding is at fault for our school’s present predicament is without merit and obviously made by someone who has not fully done their homework.

Fully funding our schools to the maximum should be a no brainer for our legislators and all citizens.

It is how we better our world.

Please encourage our legislature to increase the Base Student Allocation so the Kenai Peninsula can continue to offer a quality education and keep its facilities open.

You can share your thoughts with representative.sarah.vance@akleg.gov; senator.gary.stevens@akleg.gov; house.education@akleg.gov.

Steve Hughes

Homer Flex says thanks

Every year, Homer Flex invites a local artist to join us at the school for a short residency. During this intensive, they share their passion and teach students the skills and techniques of their trade. From Feb. 20 through March 3, Art Koeninger worked with Flex students and staff to learn about and create individual pieces of jewelry.

We would like to thank the Bunnell Street Arts Center for the Artist In Schools program, and program sponsors: Alaska State Council on the Arts, the Rasmuson Foundation, Alaska USA, Ulmer’s, the Kenai Fine Arts Center, and other private donors. We would also like to thank the Alaska Legislature for their support of the Alaska State Council on the Arts, which ensures Flex can continue to expose students to unique and challenging learning opportunities in the arts. We invite the community to join us at our twelfth annual Flex First Friday on May 5. This gathering will not only celebrate the pieces our students created with Mr. Koeninger but will also highlight the art pieces students have done throughout the school year.

Christopher Brown