Letters to the editor

Huskies appreciate Schroer support

On behalf of the students and staff, I would like to thank David and Mary Schroer for their generous contribution and support to Homer Middle School through the Donor Advised Fund, a part of the Homer Foundation.

Their contribution of $3,000 goes a long way in helping Homer Middle School offer quality athletic programs for our students. This year’s donation enabled the ski team to purchase uniforms, poles, bindings and skis. Thank you for giving our students the opportunity to play sports and to compete at the middle school level.

Kari Dendurent, Principal

Anti-LGBT letter was hateful

The letter by Michael W. Jarvis in the May 17, 2018 issue employs inaccurate and hateful language about LGBT people. In particular I object to Mr. Jarvis using the word “cesspool” about people he neither knows nor understands. Contrary to old myths, homosexuals are not lying in wait to seduce heterosexuals. People who fear LGBT neighbors are often insecure about their own sexuality. Mr. Jarvis tries to apply concepts from Charles Darwin about “normal sex” and “survival.” But nowhere did Darwin say that all humans must produce offspring. Humans seek loving relationships whether or not we can have biological children.

Since Mr. Jarvis speaks openly from a religious perspective he would do well to ask himself: “If my god made some people straight and some gay, who am I to fear my neighbors?” I for one applaud the Boy Scouts for making all young men welcome as members.

Diana Conway, Halibut Cove

Jarvis should have been ignored

I was saddened by your publication of Michael Jarvis’s disgusting letter concerning “LGBT changes to the Boy Scouts.” I understand that everyone is allowed their own opinion, and it’s protected by our right to free speech, but when that speech is as backward, hateful, thoughtless, vicious and so totally wrong as Mr. Jarvis’s, can the editor simply ignore it and decline to publish it, please?

Jim Lavrakas

Article on Westphal painted an unfair, biased picture

I am writing in response to the article written about Douglas Westphal. I have known Douglas for over 30 years, and never has he shown me, through action or spoken word, any disrespect, disregard or degradation of a woman or man, nor given me any reason to remotely associate him with the label “sexual harasser.” To say I was shocked to read this article is an understatement, because the Douglas I know is a kind, loving, and affectionate human being, who would not say or do anything to purposefully harm another. The Douglas that I know is, at his core, a decent human being. I have great empathy for all women and men who have been physically, verbally, and/or emotionally harassed or abused. It is simply not right. I have empathy for the women here, who are angry and feel strongly violated to the point of making their complaints so very public.

But the man they are accusing is not the man I have known since PT grad school and with whom I chose to raise a family in this amazing community that I still call “home.” This article paints an unfair, biased and, from my perspective, highly inaccurate picture of Douglas, as I only know him to be a human being with tremendous heart.

Jocelyn Shiro

Kaneohe, Hawaii

News should be ashamed of article

Regardless of whether or not there is any truth to the accusations against Douglas Westphal, your reporting was the worst piece of journalism I’ve ever seen in the Homer News. It was irresponsible journalism.

Since when does a journalist back up accusations with hearsay? Where are the testimonials written by medical professionals who’ve worked with Douglas for 25 years? Where were the testimonials written by the numerous women who had babies while working for Douglas, who would have reported quite different experiences?

Not that it was my responsibility to fact check your article, but I spoke with two Homer PTs, a California PT and a Seattle PT about its contents. They all said it was standard protocol to put a patient in loose shorts for PT after knee surgery, and check the joints and muscles to the groin.

Did you check hospital records to see how many of the #MeToo grievers had been written up for poor work conduct and were disgruntled? A little more hearsay for you: I heard that more than one of them was about to be fired or asked to resign.

Shame on you.

Sally Oberstein

Disappointed in rehab story

It was very disappointing to read last week’s paper (May 17, 2018), the huge article concerning a person I feel has been a very valuable rehab specialist who I suspect has helped many in the Homer community over the years, in a professional and proper manner. Why did the Homer News feel it necessary to smear a good name and print what are unproven allegations? For a newspaper I have held in high regard for many years, you have greatly disappointed me with this slanderous article.

Milli Martin

The following letters were written by Homer Middle School students in Jennifer Booz’ 8th grade science class.

Irradiated foods aren’t harmful

I don’t know if you know this but there are foods that have been irradiated using gamma radiation. I don’t want to worry that you’re eating radiation. It won’t hurt you. Gammarays are waves of the Electromagnetic Spectrum like Visible Light and Radio Waves. They are formed naturally when a lot of energy has been released into space. They travel at the speed of light.

Irradiation can be used to sterilize foods which can then be stored for years without refrigeration. Sterilized foods are useful in hospitals for patients with severely impaired immune systems such as patients with AIDS or those undergoing chemotherapy. Foods that are sterilized for use in hospitals are exposed to slightly higher levels of treatment than those approved for general use. Another reason for irradiation is for controlling insects in or on the tropical fruits imported into the U.S. Irradiation also decreases the need for other pest control practices that may harm fruit.

The types of food that are generally treated with Gamma Rays are: beef, pork, fresh fruits, vegetables, poultry, seeds for sprouting, eggs, shellfish, and spices.

For the project, I went to the grocery store to look for irradiated food in Homer. I went to Safeway and looked at foods typically treated with irradiation. Not a single thing had the irradiation logo on it.

According to the Center For Consumer Research, except bulk spices, food that has had been irradiated is not widely available in the US.

So even though food sold in Homer has not been irradiated, it is important to me. At approved levels, there is no danger to humans eating irradiated food. So, I am not going to change eating or shopping habits now. However, we should be aware of new research as it comes available.

Ridge Marion

Loud vehicles can be a nuisance

Loud trucks and ATVs, even snowmobiles, can easily be a nuisance to bystanders and citizens living in Homer. The desire for loud exciting vehicles can be understandable but beware, there are some statewide regulations on mufflers. All vehicles must have mufflers that “are in good working order and do not allow unusual and excessive noise levels”. Also, the exhaust systems must not amplify the sound beyond the levels of the original system. Regulations also require that cutouts and bypasses not be used. Sometimes old vehicles seem to have disappearing mufflers as they age. Although there aren’t yearly checks, missing mufflers will violate these restrictions. Almost any vehicle without a muffler can create excessive noise, even at idle. A 1992 Nissan pickup can produce 128 decibels when idling without an exhaust (anything over 85 decibels can be harmful to our hearing). That is clearly excessive noise and in violation of restrictions.

For those that enjoy loud engines, Alaska does not have specific noise regulations across the state other than general quiet laws in residential areas. There are not regulations prohibiting specific sound outputs as long as they meet the expectations for working mufflers. However, there are regulations for snowmobiles, motorcycles and other small vehicles. This regulation requires those vehicles to make no more than 76 decibels from 50 feet away. This law can easily be broken. Snowmobiles and quads can create over 76 decibels with just simple aftermarket parts, or even without any. For example, a Yamaha 125cc dirt bike can create 92 decibels with a few bolts have been removed, hence the laws requiring mufflers in working order. I hope that everyone takes these regulations into consideration before modifying mufflers and exhaust systems. Noise pollution can be an issue to many people and wildlife in Homer and all across Alaska.

Sam Banks