Letters to the Editor

Thank you, Gov. Dunleavy

Last summer RurAL CAP Head Start faced the potential for major budget cuts which would have seriously impacted our programs, staff and families in our region and across the state. In fact, two communities temporarily closed their doors and could have lost their Head Start programs altogether. Homer Head Start was one of them. As a result of the financial scare, RurAL CAP lost families, staff, years of experience, and a lot of hard work and time that went into preparing for the coming program year. Thankfully Governor Dunleavy came through and reinstated the funds which allowed us to educate and support our families for another year. However, the time has come yet again for us to be proactive and advocate for our program and families.

RurAL CAP Head Start is the oldest and largest program in the state, having operated in rural Alaska since 1965 serving low-income children age’s zero to five, and their families in 24 communities across Alaska, free of charge. Our comprehensive programs promote school readiness by enhancing the social and cognitive development of children by providing educational, health, nutritional, social and other related services. On an annual basis, our program support over 1,000 children and families, many having special needs and are experiencing extreme poverty. Our programs promote the basic principle that parents are the child’s first and best teacher so we support families in meeting goals, providing parenting classes and supporting the family’s needs.

Studies have shown that children with access to high quality, culturally respectful, and meaningful education are more likely to graduate from high school, lead productive lives and raise healthy families. Please help us continue the fight to provide services for our children and families during this legislative session.

Tessa Sullivan, Local Program Supervisor/Family Advocate, Homer Head Start / RurAL CAP

Culinary class support appreciated

Homer Flex School and the Flex culinary class would like to thank the Homer Foundation and the David and Mary Schroer Fund for the grant enabling us to expand our Culinary Arts program. The award allowed us to purchase commercial stainless-steel tables, flooring, and other supplies needed to offer the program to more students and transform our residential-style kitchen into a fully developed culinary arts classroom. Before receiving the grant, our class functioned reasonably well, but students were nearly shoulder-to-shoulder, constantly jockeying for counter and even standing space. With the addition of the grant funded supplies, we were able to create an entirely new workstation. Now we have more room and are able to create more food to share with our entire student body.

Sincerely,

Colette Choate, for Homer Flex School

A Big ‘Thank you, Homer’ from Homer Snomads

The 2020 Snomads Fun Run on Sunday was attended by 128 adults and 34 young people. It has been a few years since we enjoyed such a large turn out at the Snomads’ yearly fund raising event. The community support is very welcome and very much needed to support our local organization and to preserve our access to the Caribou Hills recreation area. We thank all of you who came out and those who weren’t able to attend but donated gifts, and social media recognition. Many Homer businesses support our event every year. This year three Homer businesses stepped up to be a major financial sponsor.

King of the Hill – Lower Peninsula Power Sports. Barrett Moe and Mike and Kari Arno have long been a part of the snowmachine culture in Homer.

800cc Class – Bay Welding Services and Bay Weld Boats. Allen, Linda, Eric and Theresa Engebretsen are long time supporters of Snomads and snowmachine culture in Homer.

800cc Class – Arno Construction, Trucking and Excavation. Mike and Kari Arno have been very active in Snomads as members and board members.

Please extend a thank you to these sponsors when next you see them and their crews. And, please support these sponsors and our supporters when purchasing snowmachines, ATVs, snowmachine/ATV trailers and accessories. Many of the sponsors and their crews attended the Fun Run this year and in previous years, showing not only financial support but participation as well.

Every year our local businesses provide financial and gift donation support to the Snomads Fun Run. Their support is important to us and we recognize that many groups ask for that support. Snomads thank them for the time, talent and gifts we receive from them. We ask that you please thank and support our Fun Run supporters.

These businesses also support the Snomads annually: All Season’s Honda and Skidoo, Gregoire Construction, In Demand Marine, East Road Services, Support Vessels of Alaska, Homer Boat Yard, Spenard Builders Supply, NOMAR, Coastline Insurance, Bidarka Inn, Ulmer’s, Kachemak Gear Shed, Alyeska Tire, Petro Marine, Short Stop Tesoro, Home Run Oil, Grog Shop, Boss Hogz, Boatyard Cafe, Homer King Fishing Charters, Homer Saw and Cycle, In 2 Fishing Charters, NAPA, and Eagle Enterprises.

Dan Weatherly, Snomads Board Member

Oppose HB 302

House Bill 302 that Homer Rep. Sarah Vance recently introduced in the State Legislature is bound to revive controversy among Alaska citizens over our reproductive rights.

Rep. Vance believes life begins at conception, but this is a hotly debated issue.

Many fertilized eggs simply don’t develop further in a woman and instead pass silently out of her body because of a natural flaw.

In the past China forced some women to have abortions to decrease the population. Other totalitarian nations coerced women to have children to increase the population.

Fortunately we live in a democracy, not a totalitarian state.

The Constitution of the State of Alaska, Article 22 supports “the right of the people to privacy.” What could be more private than women and men making their own decisions as to whether or not to start a family?

I strongly oppose House Bill 302.

Diana Conway, Halibut Cove

Vote for Cooper as House Representative

I was born in Alaska and I am entirely a product of an Alaska public education: Seldovia High School, 1969; University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1973; and I took my master of fine arts in creative writing from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 1985. My success in my profession is as much due to that education as any inborn smarts I myself brought to the table.

Over the years, hundreds of fans have told me in person or via social media that my books inspired them to travel to Alaska. Indeed, I have met some of them here during their travels.

If that is true for me, it must be equally true for Velma Wallis, Nancy Lord, Nick Jans, Heather Lende, Tom Kizzia and all the many other Alaska writers. Our books have educated and entertained and ultimately enticed thousands of visitors to the state of Alaska, where they spend their money and contribute to our economy.

Last year Gov. Dunleavy cut the University of Alaska’s budget by 43%. This year UA has responded in part by cutting the MFA program from their curriculum.

In 2018 I went to listen to Sarah Vance and Paul Seaton at the Homer Public Library. Someone asked what their agenda in Juneau would be if they were elected. Vance replied, “I will support Governor Dunleavy’s agenda.”

Vance was elected and she has certainly kept her promise. That means that she, too, is responsible for the Draconian, disabling and destructive cuts to UA’s budget.

Monday morning at Captain’s Coffee I had coffee with Assemblywoman Kelly Cooper, who is running against Vance. Kelly sounds sane and pragmatic, not driven by ideology, and definitely doesn’t sound like any governor’s lap dog. The borough assembly, currently a body of eight men and one woman, elected her their chair, which says a lot all by itself.

Kelly’s got my vote in November. She should have yours, too.

Dana Stabenow

Virginia boy wants to learn about Alaska

Dear People of the Great State of Alaska,

Hello. I am a third-grade student in Northern Virginia. Our class is learning about the United States, and I will be teaching our school about the state of Alaska. In the month of May, I will create a display for our State Fair that I hope will make you proud.

Although I have gathered facts about your state from books and websites, I think that I can receive the best information from the people who live there. This is why I am writing to you. I am hoping that you would be willing to send me some items to help me learn more about the best things in your state. You might consider sending items such as postcards, pictures, souvenirs, this newspaper article, or any other unique items that would be useful or show your state pride. Here are a few questions:

Why do you live in your state? What first brought your family there?

How do you make money? What is your job?

What does your state look like? What do people do for fun? What animals live there?

What traditional food/recipes does your state have?

What type of music is native to your state?

Do you have a state athletic team?

What geographic features are unique to your state?

I will need to gather all of my information by the first week of May. You can mail items to my teacher at the address below. I really appreciate your help.

Carson

c/o Mrs. Shari Bozorgzad

The Langley School

1411 Balls Hill Road

Mclean, Virginia 22101

Sincerely,

Carson, Mclean, Virginia

iPads in Pre-K through 2nd grade classes

I recently heard there was a donation of iPads for the Paul Banks Elementary School students. I think that it is great for our community to come together and support each other and The Homer Foundation should be thanked and appreciated for this.

However, as the mother of two young boys who will be entering kindergarten within the next few years, I am not OK with them using an iPad at the outset of their education. I understand there is research stating the benefits of iPads to help with individualized learning options, phonics and they give students the opportunity to do unique projects, but I think that it is false to believe this is a better way of teaching or learning.There are many downsides to using iPads including: they are distracting; onscreen reading is different-but not better-from traditional reading. Children need less screen-time, not more. Evidence is limited to show the benefits of iPads as an educational and resource, especially for young children.

There is plenty of research showing the negative effects of screen time with children between 2-9 years old, saying there should be less than 1-2 hours a day of screen time and zero for children under 2. In the movie, “The Overwhelm of Boys,” Kim John Payne, M.Ed cites Jane Healy, PhD. on processing time of images. It takes girls about 3 seconds on average to process an image and it take boys up to 8 seconds to process an image. Think about kindergarten boys using an “educational” game and how long they will be processing those images of shapes, colors and sounds before they can actually fully understand the skill that was intended for them to learn.

I understand we are in a world that is evolving in technology and that we need to make sure our children will be prepared for their world. However, the people who have created iPads, iPhones, computers, apps and the like did not learn with these devices. They learned from books and teachers and spending time outside. If Bill Gates and Steve Jobs had this experience and developed these tools, I am sure our kids can develop equally innovative tools without being passive consumers of screens.

I hope this opens up a community conversation.

Hanna Young, M.Ed., Tiny Trees Homer’s Forest School

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