Letters to the Editor

Gather for Women’s March

This Saturday, Jan. 20, the Women’s March on Homer, AIaska is happening. Gather at the HERC building parking lot at 11:30 a.m.. The sidewalk March begins at noon, on the northside of Pioneer Avenue to the WFKL park gazebo. At 12:45 p.m. there will be a group photo and speakers at the gazebo. You are all invited to join us, and thousands of Americans nationwide, as we gather for social justice: the rights, safety and health of us all. We are marching to honor and celebrate the anniversary of Women’s March 2017 and to raise our collective voices in hope for a better future.

Who are we? The Women’s March on Homer, Alaska is a local grassroots effort organized by women and men of our own community. We are a nonpartisan group who are committed to the principle that “women’s rights are human rights.” Our March welcomes all who are in support of our guiding principle.

Our passion comes from our hearts, our funding from our own pockets and local donations, our marching is based in our belief that together we can make a difference in the lives of all women.

Our motto of solidarity is “Together We Rise.” Our community goal is to raise awareness of the importance of each and every vote and how your vote can work towards creating positive changes across our country.

Please open your hearts and your minds to the possibility that your voice, joined in unison with thousands of others across the land, can and will make a positive difference, not only in the lives of women, but in the lives of all people. Join your neighbors in making your voices heard!

Karen Murdock

Pick ’n’ Pay keeps on

Forty some years ago the women of St. Johns Catholic church saw a great need in the community to have a used goods clothing and household items outreach. At that time there was no other second hand store in Homer. Initially the outreach was run out of the church basement as a rummage sale on Saturdays. All items went for .25 cents to a dollar. The St. Johns Women’s Guild and the Pick ’n’ Pay mission was formed due to this outreach. As time went on it grew out of the basement and the little building off to the side of the parking lot was constructed, all by parish volunteers. It has been added on over the years to its present size.

Pick ’n’ Pay is still open only on Saturdays and still run by St. Johns Women’s Guild with a crew of dedicated volunteers. Aside from utilities and maintenance, all proceeds from the sales are donated to the Homer Community Food Pantry, Hospice of Homer, two overseas orphanages and our Archdiocese Seminary fund. We also open our doors for families in crisis and an occasional shopping spree outing for the Homer Friendship Center.

The Guild ladies put in countless hours sorting and shelving and cleaning. Please be aware the small building can only accept clothing, bedding and small household items. The drop box doors will only allow a large bag or box to fit through. Sometimes it’s full or the items are too big to go through the doors so donated items are left outside. The weather can then damage the items and people may pick through and they get scattered. We are very grateful for all the donated items but we ask the community of Homer to please not leave your items on the ground if you cannot get them in the drop box. Pick ’n’ Pay has also been experiencing the drop box being crawled through and pilfered. In the near future we will be locking the drop box doors at night. The parish office, 235-8436, is open Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-3 p.m., you can let us know you have items that won’t fit during those hours and the building can be opened to take them in.

We greatly thank the community of Homer for all your years of donating items to Pick’n Pay. We hope to continue serving the community well into the future!

Therese Lewandowski, Parish Secretary

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church and St. Johns Women’s Guild

Tips at Grace Ridge Brewery support nonprofits

Grace Ridge Brewing would like to thank Homer for another great year! In 2017, our customers donated an astonishing $17,306.80 to 12 different nonprofits through their tips in our taproom. This year those donations helped to support the following: Alaska Mindful Paws, Kachemak Bay Water Trails, The Homer Cycling Club, Running Club, Homer Hockey Association, Pratt Museum, Eighth Grade WA/DC Trip, SPARC, HOWL, Haven House, Rotary, and Food Pantry! We have enjoyed getting to know the people behind the non-profits and recognize their dedication to our community. A special thanks for all the art work from local artists that has graced our walls all year long. Lastly, the Outdoor Adventure Talks on Thursday nights by the K-Bay Research Reserve has shared remote parts of Alaska with us. We appreciate our patrons’ continued support of the brewery and our community as we look forward to 2018!

Thank you.

The Sherry and Don Stead family

On rescinding Obama-era marijuana enforcement guidelines

Marijuana by U.S law is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance. I extracted the below from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEC) official site:

“The abuse rate is a determinate factor in the scheduling of the drug; for example, Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse and the potential to create severe psychological and/or physical dependence.”

“Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are: heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote.”

If you live in a state that legalized medical or recreational marijuana use, it may come as an unpleasant surprise to learn that you are still committing a federal crime by possessing, buying or selling marijuana. The problem is, despite the liberalization of state laws across the country, federal law still treats marijuana as a controlled substance, just like cocaine or heroin. When your local assembly approves an applicant’s permit request to open a pot shop, they are putting a stamp of approval for that vendor to violate federal law.

This conflict between state and federal law creates a situation where you can be charged with a federal crime for activities that are allowed by your home state. And your state laws won’t be a defense in federal court. There are also several ways that federal marijuana laws can affect everyday life decisions, from where you bank to where you live.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is charged by federal statutes to enforce federal laws. That means not only those he likes but those he may disagree with. In the 1950s and ‘60s some state governors rebelled against enforcing civil rights legislation. President Eisenhower dispatched a contingent of the 101st Airborne Division when the governor of Arkansas defied the law. AG Sessions, unlike his predecessor, chooses to honor his oath of office. It seems to me that attacking the AG for fulfilling his duty is misplaced. It would be more appropriate to take up the matter with those representing Alaska in the role of making federal law. The names are Murkowski, Sullivan and Young.

Wiley Brooks