Letters to the Editor

Welcome back

Welcome to the 2018 – 2019 school year. Our district is very excited to have all of our students, staff and parents back in school. We are committed to meeting the needs of every individual student every day. This includes a safe and supportive learning environment for students and staff. Our overall philosophy is to establish strong, positive relationships with all students to provide a high quality educational experience. We take these responsibilities very seriously and look forward to working with our parents and communities to fulfill these commitments.

All of us at the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District work very hard to keep all of our stakeholders informed. The State is in the process of making very important decisions that will direct Alaska’s future. We are committed to continue working closely with state and local leaders to develop a long-term plan that ensures that our children are the highest priority. This means we all must remain engaged in the process.

In the southern peninsula, we welcome back our teachers, instructional aides, nurses, custodians, secretaries, bus drivers, and food service professionals—they are the backbone of our district’s success. I am pleased to welcome new school administrators Greg Melvin, Razdolna School; and Michael Crain, Nanwalek School. Joshua Hinds, the current administrator at Susan B. English in Seldovia, will now also oversee Port Graham School. We look forward to having them in our district as instructional leaders.

We invite parents and community members to join us by volunteering in the schools and becoming involved in partnerships to support students. Schools need the help of parents and community members in order to be successful with every child. It is also critical for young people to know that their parents, guardians, relatives, and friends are supportive of their schooling process. A student without this support may, at times, feel at a loss to find the necessary focus to excel in his or her studies.

I hope to see you in the coming months and wish you a great start to school. Join me for Facebook Live Q&A’s, coffee with the superintendent, and connect with the district through our mobile app, and on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube. We look forward to another outstanding year.


Sean Dusek, Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Superintendent

Chess support appreciated

Alaska Chess has formed recently as a statewide nonprofit to get kids playing chess in schools and tournaments statewide. We would like to thank the following people and organizations: Alaska Coastal Marine, Fat Olives Pizza, the Homer Bookstore, Homer Brewery, Mike Morgan, Homer Shores, Alaska Flower Girls, Spenard Builders Supply, Beamun’s, K-Bay Caffé, Elise Boyer, Rachel Tussey, Northwind, Papa John’s, The Grog Shop, Cosmic Kitchen, Alice’s Champagne Palace, Ulmer’s, The Classic Cook, Odie’s, Bishop’s Attic, Forget Me Not Flowers, Fireweed Meadows Golf Course, Royce Page, Café Cups, Cycle Logical, Melissa Coker and the Ice Cream Shop on the Spit.

Your very kind donations help us buy chess boards for school children. Every $15 is a chess board. Thank you.

Andy Haas

Nothing wrong with ambition

Several weeks ago the Homer News printed a very spiteful letter demeaning Sarah Vance because she has demonstrated ambition.

I’m not sure what alien and sterile world the writer came from, but here on earth humans make their way in life based largely upon their personal motivation to improve themselves, their conditions, their lives and the lives of their loved ones. What exalts ambition, though, and gives it transcendence is when it’s coupled with ethical standards, applicable to all.

Whatever one thinks of Sarah Vance, it seems rather small-minded to be offended by her politics simply because she refuses to glorify some person’s socially destabilizing hedonistic tendencies.

Larry Slone

Salmon oblivion?

Alaska’s sockeye salmon seem to be reducing off into oblivion while the Alaska Department of Fish & Game claims climate change are responsible for the decline. A sockeye salmon life cycle is not only based on fixed spawning area and changing environmental conditions. This cycle may be expanded or reduced with fertilizer. The wild sockeye life cycle responds to fertilizer much like a garden — fertilize it and you get more production. This simple principle has been completely omitted from all of Alaska’s sockeye management plans. Alaska manages sockeye salmon by calculating spawning area and environmental conditions while ignoring expandable nitrogen factors. You cannot maximize sockeye salmon production while ignoring the nitrogen in the water.

Wild sockeye feed on zooplankton, zooplankton feed on phytoplankton, phytoplankton feed on the chlorophyll in plants and those plants feed on nitrogen. Nitrogen has the ability to cause abundant sockeye salmon, so why would you ignore it? Wild sockeye runs get nitrogen naturally from spawned-out and rotting salmon carcasses and that nitrogen can dramatically increase the number of returning adults. This is biogenic fertilizer and is nature’s wild way of sustaining or even expanding all salmon runs in general.

Unfortunately, the Alaska Board of Fisheries ignores biogenic fertilization while managing our salmon. It uses complex living area formulas and calculations to project escapements and harvest numbers. The ADF&G doesn’t even study how water nitrogen ratios impact our salmon. They know Alaska is experiencing a 50-year low in water nitrogen ratios along with huge salmon declines but they are not even monitoring water nitrogen ratios.

Many of our wild sockeye fisheries were closed during 2018 because the ADF&G felt we would not reach their minimum escapements. The ADF&G claims that over-escapement of wild sockeyes may be causing these losses. The over-escapement term claims that excess sockeye consume available resources therefore reducing total surviving adults. The term is used to justify maximum commercial harvest and minimum escapement. Short-term maximum harvest ignores the long-term expandable nature of the resource. Hundreds of billions of dollars in long-term future fisheries resources are being completely ignored by a state without enough revenue.

The Alaska Board of Fisheries is ignoring the long-term expandable nature of its salmon resources to generate short-term harvest profits. Alaska should be banking a percentage of surplus escaping salmon into water nitrogen for long-term future salmon production. Our future nitrogen resources are being caught and sold to foreign markets for short-term profits.

Alaska’s Board of Fisheries believes it can produce healthy salmon fisheries while ignoring water nitrogen requirements. The board does not understand that short-term throttling a garden only reduces its long-term sustainability.

We may be on an non-controllable climate change ride, but there are things we can do to make that ride better or worse. Increasing our water nitrogen could help us avoid future salmon oblivion.

Don Johnson

Thanks to Grace Ridge for Brat ‘n’ Brew donations

The Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic board of directors were delighted to celebrate KBFPC services at Grace Ridge Brewery at our Brat ‘n’ Brew friend-raising event. We so appreciate Sherry and Don Stead dedicating their June tips to KBFPC and supporting the Pride March, too.

Thank you for the silent auction and delicious bratwurst feast donaters and buyers. We are proud to represent reproductive justice for all in our community. Thank you, Homer.

Mary Lou Kelsey, KBFPC Board President

What about statute of limitations?

Maybe I’m missing something here. Paul Manafort is being charged with crimes that happened in 2005. The statute of limitations lasted seven to nine years from 2005. Just for clarity, the crimes supposedly happened in 2005.

How come his defense did not bring this up before it went to court?

If he is found guilty, the prosecution is hoping he’ll “spill some beans” on President Trump to receive a lighter sentence.

Maybe Manafort can sue the prosecution due to statute of limitations? The jury should have been advised of the limitations.

Am I wrong? Won’t be the first time.

Jim Hadley, Anchor Point

Foundation support appreciated

As a service organization dedicated to the artistic enrichment of Homer, Bunnell aims to cultivate Homer’s identity as an arts capital. For the last five years, Bunnell’s niche has embraced public art installations and events that convey and promote Homer’s resources, Homer’s identity and vibrancy. We are thrilled to work in partnership with the City of Homer and community organizations to strengthen the physical, social and economic fabric of Homer through the arts. This work is called Creative Placemaking. Bunnell’s 2018 Creative Placemaking Activities focus on Bishop’s Beach Stewardship.

With support from the City of Homer and the Homer Foundation’s Willow Fund, on June 16 we installed Bishop’s Beach Stewardship on the west wall exterior wall of the Bishop’s Beach pavillion. Homer painter Marjorie Scholl’s imagery displays our natural environment, youth and animals enjoying Bishop’s Beach responsibly. It’s a visible reminder to engage community members and visitors in stewardship and protection of this shared space.

Bishop’s Beach Park experiences ever-increasing pressure from cars, dogs and humans. With tremendous demands on city services, it’s a challenge to provide functional and attractive installations that communicate the value and respect necessary to sustain the Park for diverse users. Bishop’s Beach Stewardship is a mural by Marjorie Scholl that empowers community efforts to protect and enhance Bishop’s Beach Park in cooperation with Islands and Ocean Visitors Center, Old Town neighbors and the City of Homer.

We are grateful to the Homer Foundation’s Willow Fund and to the City of Homer Parks, Art, Recreation and Culture department for matching grants of $500 each which helped us sponsor this mural. Additional funds were raised at Dinner at the Beach with support from the City of Homer, generous volunteers and visionary local businesses to numerous to list here.

The work of stewardship continues. Please join us at Bunnell on Sept. 2 for Advice from an Estuary. In this concert, Wendy’s Erd poetry on the trail to Islands and Ocean inspires new dance by Mariah Maloney, new music by composer Lawrence Moss for Daniel Perry on violin and Mannfried Funk on cello, with support from WESTAF, TourWest and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Together, we are strengthening our community and stewarding this special place.


Asia Freeman, Artistic Director, Bunnell Street Arts Center