Letters to the Editor

Grateful for medicas

I’m writing this from a hotel room in Anchorage near Providence Medical Center. Due to COVID-19 restrictions I cannot be with my husband in ICU.

I want to express enormous gratitude to the Homer EMS crew for the rescue and transport they promptly, professionally and kindly performed for my husband, Kevin, following a bad fall down a ladder to a cement floor on April 1. You all are amazing. Thanks also to Alaska Department of Transportation crews for sanding down very slick roads so emergency vehicles could do their jobs. I don’t know everyone’s names, but thank you from the entire Wyatt Nation. Also, in this extremely stressful time, the South Peninsula Hospital Emergency Room staff treated us with utmost urgency, respect and sensitivity. I can’t thank you enough. The guys who medivac to Anchorage are also my heroes.

At some point I hope to get all the names straight for a proper thank you.

Going to be a long haul for Kevin so I wanted to get this out to you wonderful Homer heroes.

With respect and gratitude,

Barbara Wyatt, Riley Wyatt , Emma Kinsey, Maggie Wyatt

Frontier CBD help was awesome

Thanks to a generous and caring business.

I want to publicly thank Shawn McDonough of Frontier CBDs for creating a hand sanitizer and, soon, sanitary wipes, for the local marijuana shops and others for no cost whatsoever.

For those of us who are surviving chronic and/or deadly health conditions for whom a bit of marijuana is recommended by their primary physician for pain relief, this generous and selfless effort by Frontier CBD’s deserves a huge thanks and community support in whatever way each of us are able to offer.

Hugs would be nice if we weren’t practicing social distancing, so I’ll send Shawn a hug via the Homer News. Thank you for so kindly considering our health.

Perhaps each one of us can pay it forward by implementing solutions (large or small) to keep this virus at bay.

Randi Iverson, Sadie Cove

Support Levine for HEA board

The election for Homer Electric Association’s Board of Directors is upon us. Ballots were to be mailed out this week. Members will have a month to mail them back. There will be no in-person meeting this year due to the covid-19 outbreak. Your mail-in ballot is your one and only opportunity to cast a vote.

I am backing incumbent Jim Levine. He has several years’ experience on the board from which to draw, and a progressive outlook on the future of alternative energy production that I believe is where HEA needs to go. He is currently the co-chair of the Renewable Energy Committee. Among other things, that committee is investigating utilizing methane gas from borough landfills for electricity generation, as well as possible future solar, wind and hydro projects.

Jim works for Jay-Brant Gen. Contractors, where my wife Lynn also is employed. Thus, I’ve known Jim for decades and know him to be dedicated, hard-working, and to have the best interests of HEA members at heart.

I encourage voters to visit the HEA website and read Levine’s resume.


Hal Spence

Foundation grant is appreciated

Bunnell Street Arts Center strives to be a responsive organization that supports artists and connects isolated audiences, especially in the era of COVID-19. Homer Foundation’s Willow Fund recently approved a Quick Response Grant of $2,500. This grant matches Bunnell’s cash and in-kind commitment to replace our failing media computer. From this media computer, one of our staff members issues all press and social media releases, maintains our website, provides design and marketing for all Bunnell events, archives the documentation of all Bunnell activities, and manages the art inventory of 70+ artists in displayed at Bunnell.

This grant empowers Bunnell’s mission work at a critical time. The arts center’s physical space is closed during this pandemic, but we are extremely active. We are producing a weekly podcast, “Inspiration in Isolation,” which explores how artists are staying productive during this pandemic. We are presenting a Mail Art show, “My Art Loves Your Art,” to celebrate community members working in critical services and artists economically undermined by COVID-19. And we are promoting Bunnell’s artists through our online store including the current exhibit by Atz Kilcher and Deland Anderson. All of these activities are visible at bunnellarts.org. We are grateful to the Homer Foundation and especially the Willow Fund for helping us to replace this essential computer so that all of our staff can work safely from home.


Asia Freeman, Artistic Director, Bunnell Street Arts Center

Dr. DeLeo will be missed

Every life matters. Last Sunday I read an unusual obituary in the Anchorage Daily News (April 5) because it wasn’t on the normal obituary section and it took up almost ¼ of a regular page. As I read on, I realized that this obit was for Dennis who was a volunteer at the food bank years ago. When I met Dennis, he and Diana helped the students from Flex become regulars once a week at the food bank. When the students would come pick up the food for the school, Dennis always showed a genuine interest to the students. He would ask them questions and was always respectful and helpful. He and I would visit for a short period and he was fun to talk with. In the obit, Dennis Michael DeLeo, M.D. was much more than a volunteer at the food bank, he was extremely gifted and talented. I had no idea of his accomplished career.

In Mid- March I read in the Homer News about one of my students that I taught at Homer Middle School that had been killed as she brandished a weapon at a State Trooper. I haven’t seen an obit about her. Mary Kate Field was a fantastic student. She had a positive attitude about learning. She was always kind to others and showed respect to staff and students alike. When I saw her in the community, we would share pleasantries and talk about small stuff. I wasn’t aware of the demons that she carried.

Two people who ended up on different sides of the track. Two people who made an impact on my life, from different points of view. I will miss both of them. No one’s life is more precious than another. We’re all part of this world and we need to respect and cherish one another. Thanks Mary and Dennis for all the love and kindness you gave to others and your efforts will always be remembered.

Alex Koplin

Social distancing is the best protection against COVID-19

James Mikesell ( Opinion, 4/2/20) is correct in saying that this extremely contagious virus cannot be protected against by masks available to the public. However, a mask can limit the spread of the virus by restricting the spray pattern and droplets of the virus transmitted by infected persons. The mask may be of limited protection for the wearer, but may save the life of someone they contact if, even unknowingly, they are carrying the virus.

The only sure protection is to have no contact with the virus. It is difficult to comprehend the urgency of taking protective measures that seem unnatural when most of the people we see seem to be healthy. COVID-19 is considerably more contagious than the flu and the morbidity and mortality rate is projected to exceed the flu. Many people who are COVID-19 positive have no idea they are sick . Asymptomatic people carry the virus and are no less likely to spread the virus through their contacts than an obviously sick individual.

One person can unwittingly infect many others, leading to exponential expansion. Adequate testing to confirm the actual COVID-19 incidence in our community is unavailable. It’s as though we are embarking on a major trip without knowing where we are going or where we are starting from. Slowing the infection rate is the goal, and that is best achieved by identifying carriers through testing while maintaining social distancing, hand washing, etc. We need widespread testing now. Testing is necessary prior to resuming participation in the economy if a resurgence is to be avoided. Testing could also support allowing a person with a negative test whose associates also have negative tests to more safely return to work.

The nurses, doctors and first responders, and others who through their service are placing their families and their own well being at risk are the heroes in this crisis and need our support. They need the supplies and equipment to safely do their job.. We can’t yet imagine how much we may need them.

Clair Martin

More on N95 masks

There have been questions regarding the effectiveness of masks, particularly N95 masks, for protection against COVID-19. The best information to date indicates that the use of surgical or simple face masks are sufficient in most healthcare situations. Only those within certain close contact scenarios need to use an N95 mask.

N95 mask packaging has a label or verbiage indicating protection down to 0.3 microns. Microns are small — 1 millionth of a meter. COVID-19 has a diameter of approximately 60–140 nm or 0.06 to 1.4 microns. At face value, one might take this to mean the N95 masks would not work to prevent the virus from being inhaled, as they are smaller than 0.3 microns.

However, current thought is airborne viruses normally attach to other particles and rarely exist as naked organisms. COVID-19 virus travels primarily on large droplets from coughing or sneezing, measuring 0.5 microns to 10 microns, thus easily filtered by the N95 mask.

Scientific research and best practices are guiding the recommendations made regarding personal protective equipment (PPE) use at South Peninsula Hospital. For further discussion of , including explanations of diffusion vs. interception, the most penetrating particle size (MPPS) and the role Brownian Motion plays in viral activity, go to www.sphosp.org.

Robert Austin, CRNA, PPE Unit Leader for COVID-19, South Peninsula Hospital

Thanks for birdhouse support

Even though flying is restricted for many of us, our feathered friends will soon be arriving. Homer Council on the Arts will once again be building swallow houses for kids to paint, but instead of an in house workshop, we will be offering kits to take home and paint which will include the birdhouse, acrylic paints, a brush and an information sheet on preferred spots for hanging. HCOA would like to once again thank SBS and Kerry Plant for donating plywood for this project. Businesses in town are getting hit hard by this virus and we encourage residents to patronize our local businesses that support non-profits’ efforts to provide creative activities for kids. To reserve a swallow house, go to homerart.org.

Kiki Abrahamson for the Homer Council on the Arts

Checkers are pandemic heroes

A few days ago I went to a local grocery store, and while I was checking out I thanked the person at the check-out for simply being there, possibly risking their lives. They said I was the first person who had said that to them since the global pandemic became a local crisis. That surprised me, and made me think of all the other essential workers who show up every day with little or no thanks. Homer is the greatest, most generous and giving place on the planet, so please, if you haven’t already, thank everyone in a job that helps keep us all alive, fed and connected. They are a multitude, and deserve our thanks and admiration.

And on a related note, please stop hoarding. There is nothing broken in the supply chain, and making everyone need to go to the stores every single day to search for essential supplies that may or may not be there makes it ever so much harder to maintain social distancing and sheltering in place. The “every person for themselves” behavior is unhelpful, unsafe and really unbecoming. After I have thoroughly read the Homer News print edition, I’m more than happy to find other uses for it and leave supplies on the shelves for others.

Stay safe, stay connected, and please be kind to one another.

Cristy Fry

Ambler Road funding is wrong

AIDEA’s wrong minded decision to spend $35 million for the Ambler Road defies any reasonable logic when Alaska is facing a 3-fold economic disaster. Namely, the coronavirus and associated forced unemployment costs; the decrease in Alaska’s oil income; and the last domino to fall is Alaska’s tourism industry which is projected to experience a near total collapse if the coronavirus is not stopped.

The mission statement of the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority includes the statement “…to promote economic growth and diversity…this includes energy facilities.” Homer Electric Association just announced a rate increase, again. How about AIDEA spending $35 million on tidal power generation that would benefit all rail belt electric consumers. It would certainly serve a much larger number of Alaskans than the Ambler Road project and for much longer than the 12 years that Trilogy Metals has projected for the life of their mine. Tidal hydro power generation in Nova Scotia is projected to be larger than solar or wind turbine generation, (refer to Smithsonian magazine’s article Hydropower in Nova Scotia, April, 2020).

Alaska’s greater good would be better served by rescinding G20-11 and spending that money on a project that serves Alaskans not a foreign corporation.

Mike McCarthy

Cloth masks keep coronavirus from spreading

On Friday, April 3, 2020, the CDC issued the recommendation to wear cloth face masks or coverings when in public facilities where it is difficult to maintain social distancing of 6 feet or more from others. This guidance is based on the understanding there are people who may be infected with the novel coronavirus COVID-19 who may never have any symptoms — or have not yet developed symptoms — but are contagious and may be spreading the virus unknowingly. Wearing a cloth face mask is an additional way to help slow the spread of the virus.

The cloth masks are fairly simple to construct, and you can find instructions on websites for the CDC, City of Homer, and numerous other sites. Key points are:

• A double layer of tightly woven cloth with side pleats or gathers is best, with either elastic loops around the ears or ties for around the head

• Wash your hands before putting on the mask

• Avoid touching the outside of the mask while wearing it, and don’t pull it down and back up to eat and drink

• Take the mask off by only touching the elastic or ties, hang it where it won’t contaminate a surface, and then wash your hands

• Wash your mask daily in hot water and dry in the dryer. It needs to be completely dry before wearing again.

• Do not put a cloth mask on a child younger than 2-years old, someone that has difficulty breathing, or is unable to remove their own mask without help

If you have unused surgical masks or N-95 respirators, please consider donating them for hospital workers and other first responders. We are fortunate in our community to have many folks who have been generously making and donating cloth masks for those on the front lines. For more information on donating and all things COVID-19 related, go to www.cityofhomer-ak.gov/covid19. For CDC guidance on simple mask making, go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html.

Please make and use these masks IN ADDITION TO maintaining a physical distance of six feet or more from others, washing your hands frequently, covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your elbow, and avoiding touching your face with your hands. Together as a community we can continue to slow the spread of COVID-19, working to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe and healthy.

Bonita Banks, BSN, RN, Health & Wellness Educator , South Peninsula Hospital

Realtors support is appreciated

Hospice of Homer sincerely thanks the Kachemak Board of Realtors for their generous donation of $1,107. The donation is greatly appreciated at this time when everyone is struggling. Hospice has reduced our volunteer visitation and group meetings, but we continue to loan medical equipment and shop for our homebound clients. With the amazing support of our community, we will get through this.

Charlie Franz, Acting Executive Director, Hospice of Homer