Homer News Editorial

Gaye Wolfe leaves spirit of generosity

Homer is poorer today after the death earlier this week of one of its more endearing residents, but it remains richer for having had Gaye Wolfe in its midst. Ms. Wolfe — she would want to be called Gaye — died Sunday at Alaska Regional Hospital after a short illness. 

Gaye was an artist — and then some. Her art was a reflection of her character — colorful and vibrant. Her passion for life was not just for what she did, but also for what others did. She was a student not just of  art, but of the art of relationships. She had a wonderfully warm way of making people feel welcome under all kinds of circumstances, of making them feel included, of treating them as if they and their ideas mattered. She didn’t pretend to listen to others; she listened. 

While she leaves a legacy of wonderful art, Gaye wasn’t just about art. She was about community, and about making the place where she lived a better place. She also was about celebrating the accomplishments of others. One way that took shape was in her artwork. Her last show, “ARTrageous Homer: A Human Tapestry,” was a tribute to 14 artists, musicians and arts leaders from around Kachemak Bay. 

Her art, which can be found throughout town, will be a lasting testament to a life well lived, but it is Gaye’s generosity of spirit that is her intangible legacy. 

Our sympathy and condolences go to Gaye’s family and many dear friends from Alaska to Florida.

Protecting fish habitat good for humans, too

While there’s much more to the Kenai Peninsula than fish, most of us would agree that fish and fishing — salmon, halibut, commercial fishing, sport fishing, personal-use fishing — are a big part of the character of this place we call home.

And if we don’t protect the fish, humans will suffer. Fish aren’t intrinsic just to our economy, they’re intrinsic to our identity as a place and a people.

That’s why the controversy over the borough’s anadromous streams ordinance is discouraging. 

The ordinance protects the near-stream habitat of all anadromous streams and lakes — which host fish migrating from the sea to spawn in fresh water — in the borough 50 feet up the bank from the ordinary high water mark. The measure is smart science: By protecting their habitat, the future of the fish is better secured.

Some borough residents, however, are seeing the ordinance as an overreach of borough government and an infringement of private property rights.

A task force is currently studying the ordinance.

Protecting the fish less isn’t the answer; educating the public more is. Perhaps there are some issues with the ordinance that need to be addressed, but scrapping it entirely doesn’t seem like the answer — especially if we want a future with fish. 

As with most controversies involving government action, the real problem may be not with the ordinance itself but with how and when and what people were told. The lesson for borough officials might be improving communication. 

Let’s find out what the real problem is before we throw out something which could jeopardize the future of the fish — and the heart of the Kenai Peninsula. 


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