Letters

Letters

Thank you to the Homer Foundation

Thank you to the Educators Professional Development Fund Committee and Homer Foundation for awarding a grant to help me pursue my Level 1 CrossFit certificate renewal as professional development. After teaching a section of CrossFit Kids in P.E. for 3 years, then starting the Husky CrossFit after school club last year at Homer Middle School, it is wonderful to be able to continue coaching students in basic gymnastic movements, Olympic lifts, and cardio fitness. It provides a different activity for students to participate in outside of team sports, and I love sharing my passion for fitness and health with them. The students embrace the challenges and accomplish so many things they never thought they could do—it is amazing to watch them progress.

Darcy Mueller

Homer Middle School

Fishermen have lots to be thankful for

Dear Editor,

With the holidays quickly approaching, fishermen around Alaska have much to be thankful for. This month, the Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018 was signed into law, the culmination of years of work by Alaska’s Congressional delegation and their dedicated staff. The North Pacific Fisheries Association would like to sincerely thank Senators Sullivan and Murkowski and Congressman Young for their vital roles in achieving this major bi-partisan milestone, which supports their Alaska constituents and fishermen across the nation.

Based in Homer, NPFA is a multi-gear, multi-species group of commercial fishing businesses who proudly harvest and tender Alaskan seafood — including crab, herring, halibut, salmon, cod and even sea cucumbers. Commercial fishing is Alaska’s largest private employer and this legislation keeps fishermen out on the water and not tied to the docks. Fishermen now have a permanent solution to onerous discharge permitting requirements. Moreover, the legislation offers changes to vessel classification regulations and prescribes the development of regional alternative safety compliance programs. Alaska’s Congressional delegation were crucial leaders to develop and pass this important legislation, working diligently to meet the needs of the U.S. Coast Guard while keeping our oceans clean and fishermen safe.

Malcolm Milne, President, North Pacific Fisheries Association

Homer has reasons for leash law

My dogs and I moved to homer from another country and it’s good to be where so many people love and care for dogs.

That said, just returning from our morning walk a rottweiler ran at us again and again. When finally its owner came out as I was yelling at the dog, he was dismissive, saying, “This is a good dog; he’s just doing what dogs do” as he had to chase down his dog because it wouldn’t come to him.

The truth is, his dog probably is a very nice dog, but when I’m out walking my dogs on leashes and a big dog runs at us, it’s scary. My dogs are on leashes when we are out because I don’t want them to chase other dogs or cars or bikes, or get hit by a car, or hurt or get hurt by moose, or kill sandhill cranes, or defecate where I can’t find it to remove, or get stolen, or, or, or …

I wish dogs could run loose like when I was a child, but life is different now. There are safe places for dogs to run loose, but it’s not in the city. Homer has a leash law and there are reasons for it.

Thanks,

Ginger Drais

Editor’s note: The following letters were written for Voznesenka School teacher Katherine Serge-Hoeschen’s English Arts class.

Voznesenka needs sanding sooner

First of all, there are many problems with icy roads in our community of Voznesenka, a rural village 25 miles East of Homer. Every morning and evening during winter the weather changes in Voznesenka. The contracted sander for the village is rarely here in the morning before school starts, so teachers and many students worry about driving. Some students don’t go to school because roads only get sanded at 10 a.m. or later. I am one of those students, and I have missed many of my morning classes. My grades and my anxieties suffer as a result.

The weather changes drastically between the town of Homer and our village due to changes in the elevation. The icy roads can occur in our village more often than in town. One solution is that these roads need to be sanded every morning and evening when thawing and rain occurs. The contracted sander should be given the authority to make that decision if he/she lives out this way. If the sander does not live near this community, there should be others who can make a call and get the roads cared for and safe before school starts.

Sincerely,

Drasida Kasachev

Voznesenka

Job interviews can be stressful

According to the Everest College’s National Study, “92 percent of Americans are stressed by at least one thing about the job interview process.” Being Interviewed can be traumatic, especially when you’re a teenager. When you’re a teenager your emotions are heightened, so being interviewed is like a marathon for your emotions.The thought of someone asking you questions about yourself can be scary at times, making your hands clammy and turning your heartbeat into a rock concert.

Upon learning that our Voznesenka senior class was going to be interviewed, we researched tips about how to behave in an interview, and found ways to succeed in our mock interviews. After that, we went through some practice questions and wrote down our responses to them. Then, days before the scheduled interviews were happening, we got together, and practiced our responses to the questions. However, even though we felt prepared, we still felt nervous about the process.

With community support, we were given the opportunity to experience interviews in an educational setting. Volunteers from Homer came out to our school to interview us and provide advice for future interviews. I would like to publicly thank Vivian Finley, Clyde Boyer, Mark Zeiset from South Central Radar, Will Files, Laksmi from Land’s End, Kendra Bush-St. Louis from US Fish and Wildlife, and Cinda Martin from Wells Fargo, for taking time out of their busy lives to visit us at Voznesenka. Their participation in this activity will be forever remembered and appreciated. I for one know that my hands are less clammy and my heartbeat more classically-tuned at the thought of interviews. Thanks for building my confidence.

Elena Basargin

Voznesenka Senior

Editor’s note: The following letters were written for Homer High School teacher Sean Campbell’s AP Language and Composition class. Other students wrote longer opinion pieces that are not included here.

Grow food for the poor

Editor of the Homer News,

As we approach Christmas and the new year, thoughts of charity, public service, and of giving grow on people’s minds. Homer High School runs a canned food drive, the Share the Spirit program is done, the Salvation Army puts a Santa in front of Safeway with a bucket and a bell, etc. I have decided that I would give back to my community by growing some garlic, and donating it to the Homer Community Food Pantry.

Its unique nutritious value is what made me think of it as a candidate for donation, as garlic contains lots of sulfurous compounds, calcium, copper, potassium, phosphorus, iron and vitamin B1, which comes with very few calories, and large amounts of several antioxidants. These compounds and more mean it helps fight high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, improve bone health, and also greatly improve the function of the immune system. This combination of compounds would be especially beneficial when introduced to a diet of mostly processed foods, like one provided by mainly subsisting on food from the food bank.

I would like to encourage anyone who is able to take a little time and grow something healthy, such as garlic, and help donate beneficial and good food to the food pantry. Indoor plants are easy to grow. Garlic only requires a small, well drained pot filled with soil, and as much light as is available. Garlic is by no means the only healthy food to be grown; find your own that you would like to grow.

I hope this healthy, and easy approach to donation and charitable spirit is more thoroughly explored, and that if you see the benefits of this approach, you take what little action is necessary to improve the life of others in this way.

Tucker Weston

Compost uneaten food

Dear Homer News,

My name I Eve Brau, and I am a junior attending Homer High school. It has come to my concern that a lot of food we eat at lunch gets thrown away and not properly disposed of. I and some fellow classmates have been doing a project to help our school compost. Composting in schools is an essential issue in all schools whether you live in the cold or the hot. Composting helps hold carbon dioxide and makes a natural more organic fertilizer for healthier vegetables. We plan to put a compost bin in our school lunchroom. After lunch every day we empty the compost into our natural resource room where they have a mechanical composter. They use they compost for each of the gardens the students have to maintain over the school year or semester. This project is going to help better our school and inspire kids to start composting to help reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses.

Although we are starting it in the winter time, it still is an easy task that a lot of other schools make happen. Throughout our process, we have created signs that say what to not and what to put in our compost bin. We gathered a trash can and put it in the lunchroom. Each day we put the trash bag in the greenhouse, then students in the natural resources class put it in the composter as one of their weekly chores. This gives a student a chance with environmental interactions which is an important skill to obtain. We are doing this project because we think that it is important to inform students and community members about the importance of composting.

Sincerely,

Eve Brau

Alaska’s gun laws need change

America has a unique problem with gun violence, and Alaska has a unique gun violence problem in America. In 2016, 177 Alaskans were killed by firearms, the highest rate in the nation. Coincidentally, Alaska does not run background checks on firearm purchases, allows ownership and undocumented transfer of possession of assault weapons, and does not require state dealers to have licenses. Gifford Law Center rated Alaska’s gun laws at 6th least restrictive in the nation.

Alaska’s uniquely high gun ownership, at 62 percent, isn’t inherently a bad thing. As an Alaskan, I understand the importance of hunting and traditional practices to Alaskan and Native culture, but the fact of the matter is that Alaskans die at a higher rate than any others in the country as a result of the oversaturation of guns and the ease of use for criminals.

Furthermore, firearm ownership and gun violence have been conclusively linked, notably by an American Journal of Public Health writer, and Alaska is living proof, as our lenient gun laws, high firearm homicide rates, and high gun ownership are all closely linked. However, more restrictive gun laws wouldn’t necessarily interfere with ownership of guns by law-abiding citizens.

Background checks on all gun purchases would only keep guns out of the hands of criminals, and banning assault weapons would not have any significant impact on those who need guns for their livelihood. Additionally, Alaska’s incredibly non-restrictive gun laws result in Alaska exporting crime guns at nearly twice the national average, according to the Bureau of ATF, something easily preventable with background checks. Creating more restrictive gun laws in Alaska would not only make it harder for criminals to obtain guns, it would stifle the black market, reduce crime and most importantly, save lives, creating a sustainable and safe community for future generations.

Larry Dunn

Marine debris poisons oceans

In my most recent observations, I have begun to notice that our environment is in dire need of attention. Plastic pollution, in the form of plastic debris, is contaminating our oceans and poisoning wildlife with a speed that seems to only increase.

With absolutely horrendous clarity, plastic continues to weaken our planet by creating “dead zones,” harming biodiversity and changing ecosystems. Not only this, but as it breaks down into microplastics it is ingested by marine life, causing them to be contaminated by poisonous chemicals and invasive species. When they are absorbed into the food chain, plastic debris can also negatively affect human health as well. Although a long-term solution has yet to be found, there are still many things that can be done to help slow the decrepit hold plastic debris has over our environment.

One such way is to manually take care of the environment by volunteering monthly in order to clean up our waters and beaches. Another way would be to recycle plastic waste properly and reuse the product to our advantage. We can no longer stand still and watch plastic pollution end our days. We must pitch in together to make the difference we need to fight and prevent its hold over us all.

Sincerely, a citizen who cares

Hannah Inama

Guns aren’t always the problem

As our world changes, we change along with it. Evolving and adapting to the new technologies and inventions created nearly every day for the betterment of ourselves, and the ones around us. Yet, in this new technology driven age, it seems as if we’ve lost our thirst for authenticity, and instead opted for a quick dose of reality TV type news regarding the future of guns.

To start, most gun owners aren’t a lone soul that teeter on sanity, but instead family members. One article written by David French displays what a true gun owner is. He writes about what drove him to become a gun owner, what he had to go through, and how he feels after. It provides useful insight on who are (or at least a good number ) of gun owners in America actually are.

To follow up and conclude, guns aren’t always the problem either. Take the Florida Parkland shooting, a tragedy, one caused not by guns, but by mental health. It was revealed that the shooter had been reported to the FBI before the accident occured. Tragedies like this could be avoided if we act sooner, and not allow someone like that to become in possession of a gun. This issue is one that concerns all Americans, and you can take action in providing the right facts.

Alec Rhodes

Gun violence needs to stop

Dear Homer News,

For too many years now we have been turning on the news to be devastated by yet another horrid act of violence by guns. Mass shootings are the systemic crisis of our time, and yet we treat it like a common cold — just rest up and it should be over in a couple days. With the Trump administration in office they fight for the American’s rights to bear arms, but not for the American’s right to live without fear and go to school peacefully.

Every day eight children and teens die from gun violence, and every day 96 people of all ages die from gun violence. This violence needs to stop and you can take action. You can donate to nonprofit organizations dedicated to stopping gun violence, or you can stand up for what is right and take action in your own way; your voice needs to be heard.

Sincerely,

Michael Munns

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