Thanks for Dirty Water Bill

I would like to thank The Divine Sen. M, the smooth talking Sen. D. S. and congressman forever and a day Mr. Y. for their yes vote on the “Make our rivers burn again dirty water bill,” HR 3354. Once again they have proven their worth to their corporate masters. I am sure their campaign coffers are filling up to snuff.

The people dancing in the streets are coal companies, oil and gas companies, factory farms, CAFO’s real estate moguls, and especially the plastic bottle and bottled water companies. Aren’t you folks glad that you can afford an unlimited supply of bottled water;, the poor are not so lucky — remember Flint, Michigan?

We the people are reminded that the only thing we are useful for is to vote, and spend ourselves into debt slavery. But, maybe that bottled water is not so safe anymore. Some testing was done on 19 bottled water companies, and 17 of them had over 450 particles of plastic per liter of water examined.

Thank you all for your care for the health of our nation vs. Corporate Greed.

George Trudeau, Anchor Point

A public apology

I am writing this public apology to the wonderful people of our community. I have recently found myself in a mess of legal trouble that is quite substantial in nature. Certainly, such circumstances are enough to awaken anyone to see the error of their ways, yet I am writing this letter because of matters of the heart.

During this time of hardship, since my court case became public knowledge, the amount of support and love that I have received from the people of our town has been truly overwhelming. My heart has been humbled by all the good people that have shown me how they care. I never realized how much my life affects others until I saw all the people that I have disappointed. My spirit is grieved as I think of how my selfish ways have brought pain and disappointment to our community. While the deep callings of my heart are to serve and to help others, instead I have been living selfishly. Blinded by pride, I did not see the error of my ways. For this I am truly repentant. I regret the time that I have wasted.

After all the good that our community has done for me, you all deserve better than what I have given: disappointment and shame.

So, to anyone I have ever hurt, offended, insulted, wronged, or disappointed there are not words to express my remorse. I hope you can forgive my arrogance, selfishness, pride, and wrongdoing. Life was meant for greater things than these.

I stand among you today humbled, and determined to give goodness to others as I have so received goodness from you all.

Thank you, people of Homer and our extended community, for teaching me what it truly means to love one another.

Sincerely yours,

Benjamin Asher Handley

Mom seeks letters for accused son

As is public information, Benjamin Handley was arrested this past August on federal charges. He spent three weeks in jail in Anchorage and, due to the letters of caring friends, was released on bail awaiting trial/sentencing.

For the past three months life has been normal with Benjamin working at Home Run Oil and being very involved with church and helping family. It has almost been as if none of this ever happened except for the immense change in Ben.

Recently the prosecution offered an initial plea bargain that carries with it a lengthy prison sentence. So, I am again appealing to friends, acquaintances, and co-workers of Benjamin to write a letter on his behalf to the presiding judge.

Now, volumes of letters written by family, friends, co-workers, customers of Gear Shed, fishermen from the Sound, etc. are what is needed. It does not need to be long. Even a single paragraph written by a customer who received excellent service from Ben carries weight. If you wrote a letter previously please write one again. If you received packages from him last fall while he delivered for UPS and all you know of him is from that, then write of his courteousness. Topics such as his demeanor, work ethic, helpfulness, and overall asset to the community are appropriate. Anything.

For the community around him to show their support of him, or even simply their positive interactions with him, could mean years taken off a prison term.

Please address your letters to “Your Honor.” State your name and how you know Benjamin.

Make sure to include contact information (although none will be made public).

Send to: leah.fernwood@gmail.com, Leah Handley PO Box 900, Homer, or drop off at Home Run Oil.

Please send letter as soon after Dec. 31, 2018 as possible.

Deeply grateful,

Leah Handley

Editor’s note: The following letters were written by Homer High School students in Sean Campbell’s AP Language and Composition class.

Look at causes of impaired driving

It’s no secret that impaired and distracted driving is still an issue which threatens human lives despite many attempts to reduce these instances. According to Centers for Disease Control, an average of 29 Americans were killed daily due to an event of alcohol-impaired driving in 2009 alone. This number does not include distracted driving, or any countries outside the continental United States. Although this data is indeed concerning, it only contains a small fraction of the issue.

In the same year, whilst 1.4 million Americans were arrested due to drunk driving in 2009, there were an estimated 147 million cases of impaired driving (less than 1 percent of drunk drivers being arrested). Although this is old information, the number of arrests is steadily declining. According to the Insurance Information Institute, only 1,017,808 of alcohol or narcotic impaired drivers were arrested for their crimes in 2016, while the number of estimated instances remains relatively constant.

Clearly, one doesn’t need to point out the obvious issue here. According to Alaska state laws, the punishment for being caught while under the influence of alcohol while driving is 72 hours of jail time, a $1,500 fine, and a 90 day probation of the license. Repeat offenders steadily increase their sentence; for instance, a 5th offense within 15 years would result in 360 days of jail time, a $7,000 fine and a potential 5 year license probation. Although some may think that these laws are rather lax, according to Wallethub, Alaska has the third strictest DUI laws in the continental United States.

As a result of the third toughest laws not being harsh enough in some eyes, many drivers simply aren’t worried and continue to repeat these offenses. Hence, the number of instances of impaired driving continues to stay constant (even with new offenders being punished). These statistics cause not only me, but millions of other Americans to worry about the well-being of everyday drivers on the streets, as well as pedestrians. So I urge you, and the other editors of the Homer News, inform your readers on the causes of impaired driving.

Start a survey. Ask the people what they believe needs to change to cause less incidents such as this. Even just publishing a small article explaining the causes and effects of impaired driving would spread awareness for the issue. The only way to spark change, is to take active action. If we were to leave this issue unchecked, who knows how many more victims there might be.

Joren Kirsis

Plastic pollutes beaches

As I’m walking on the gorgeous beaches of homer with my beloved dog Mary, I can’t help but notice the heartbreaking amount of litter blanketing the landscape that occasionally ends up in the jaws of my oblivious K-9. It seems like every step I take, another piece of plastic is at my feet, so I pick it up. I continue picking up these pieces of trash, but I am not nearly enough of a power to clean up every beach in the world that is now littered with plastic, I’m just one person.

The enormous plastic pollution epidemic is consuming our world quite literally. It’s not only an issue locally, but an even bigger issue around the globe. Plastic now being an extremely abundant material, being heavily used in everything from schools to grocery stores, is doing nothing but harm to our gradually declining environment.

To notice just how harmful this material is to our lives and countless others, it’s estimated that 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed by plastic annually. Not only that, but plastic makes up 90 percent of all trash floating on the ocean’s surface. One more fact to get an idea of how bad this has become is that virtually every piece of plastic ever made still exists in some form today; the stuff just doesn’t go away.

The enormity of this epidemic is beyond what we can comprehend really, but there are ways we can slowly dissolve what we made. Since about 50 percent of plastic people use is thrown away after one use, it’s safe to say that getting rid of one use plastic could go a long way in terms of stopping the incline of this problem. Instead of the evil, single use plastics we use everyday, sturdier and more natural materials can be used in countless occasions, such as reusable cloth bags and metal straws/water bottles. Decreasing the use of plastic is a step, but it’s not the only thing we can do to help. Beach cleanups make our lovely beaches look better as well as making them a safer ecosystem for organisms of all kind.

Plastic pollution may not be completely irreversible, but there are so many things people can do to stop it from completely taking over our lives no matter where they live considering its a worldwide issue. The effects, whether it’s my dog chewing on a plastic candy wrapper she found on a walk or thousands of marine lives being taken, are all negative, and it’s only going to get exponentially worse unless we each begin to realize just how damaging this epidemic is. We can curve the path we’re going in, but it all starts with change.

Mina Cavasos

Think about cutting meat use

I hope that you are doing well. I am a student from Homer High School and, to complete a project, I had to take social action on an issue I felt strongly on. I decided to do my project on the issue of biodiversity loss and environmental health, as the report that the World Wildlife Fund released about a month back has me worried on the future of our planet. After several weeks of research I came to a decision on what I could do to help our environment. I cut the amount of beef I eat by half.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I like a good hamburger as much as the next guy, and I did not give up America’s sirloin specialty lightly. However, after looking at the facts, continuing to partake in its consumption does not seem right. Let me tell you how I came upon this decision and maybe, by the end, you yourself will be inclined to give up the stuff.

The previously mentioned WWF Living Planet Report made headlines when it was released, as it stated that nearly 60 percent of our planet’s life had been wiped out since 1970. The article cites agriculture as one of the key factors to our planet’s health, since our population is increasing and land must be allotted for the growth of crops and space for animals. The sheer amount of land that has been cleared for growing food is damaging the surrounding ecosystem. The crops themselves depend on diverse landscapes to maintain good crop yields. By hurting the ecosystem, agriculture is in turn shooting itself in the foot. Clearly something must be done.

It is common knowledge that a large amount of food, like grain, is grown for and given to livestock. What is not as well known, however, is that some of these animals use it more efficiently than others. On average, it takes 7 pounds of wheat to produce 1 pound of beef. When you compare that to the 4 pounds of wheat needed for 1 pound of pork and 2 pounds of wheat for chicken, beef suddenly looks extremely inefficient. Seeing as how the average American eats approximately 56 pounds of beef a year, the toll it takes on the environment adds up quickly.

Adding that to the fact that beef is not amazing for your health to begin with, being tied to the likes of cardiovascular disease and colon cancer, the decision I made was an easy one. For you and others, however, I can see that the decision to cut your beef intake might be more difficult. I would never ask somebody to make a conscious effort to eliminate beef from their menu, as they would probably not be very receptive to a 16 year old lecturing them on their diet.

However, as a concerned youth, worried about the future, I ask that you think on this issue and do your part. Maybe, next time you are at a restaurant and you want the steak, get the chicken instead. You would be surprised how much difference one meal can make.


Seneca Roach

Eradicate single-use items

When presented with an opportunity to take action regarding a problem in our community of Homer, I immediately focused on the vast amount of single use items that clutter our coast. While I did contact the leader of HOWL to begin a community effort towards beach cleanup, my intent is not only to remove and properly dispose of the already discarded items. I wish to prevent the use and improper disposal of single use items as a whole.

My struggle with convincing our community to eradicate single use items can be summed up with one simple word; convenience. At the heart of convenience is the intrinsic laziness of the human nature. While I was picking up trash on Bishop’s Beach with my ski team, we noticed that almost every item we collected was single use. Unfortunately, although many people agree that disposable waste is a problem, the forgetful nature of man causes compromise in every individual at some point in their existence.

Recognizing that it’s not realistic to rely solely on environmentally conscious citizens to hold each other accountable for their decisions, vast solutions have been proposed. Although the mass migration from styrofoam to paper cups reduces the amount of carbon emissions during production, and creates a safer, shorter and less toxic disposal process, the deforestation rate of the amazon rainforest, according to NPR, has increased by 29 percent in the past year. According to Wikipedia, over 2.25 billion cups of coffee are being consumed daily, showing that this deforestation percentage is expected to increase with time.

My reason for this letter is to call upon those who consistently have the need for single use items in their daily lives. For example, coffee shops create mass amounts of paper waste. Although the cups used at Captain’s Coffee and Kbay are compostable, I know that I have never used them as such, and I doubt every single person going through these Homer staples pay attention to the way they dispose of these items. In researching disposable alternatives, I discovered a line of single use items that are made from fallen leaves, causing no deforestation in the process of their creation. At my sister’s wedding we chose to use plates formed from these leaves, and the durability and beauty of these products are astounding.

Although it’s not realistic to expect individuals to refrain from single use items, by providing low impact items at any party, wedding or establishment, we can drastically improve the state of our environment while simultaneously protecting our forests from extinction. And even if using these more sustainable items doesn’t seem like an option for you personally, I plead with you to act responsibly regarding your disposal of single use items, and encourage you to bring your own reusable items whenever possible.

Autumn Daigle