Letters to the Editor

Seniors need community support in pandemic

Homer Senior Citizens Inc. has now been cleared for the novel coronavirus. Thank you to the dedicated, loyal, and compassionate staff who have kept the virus out of our facility by practicing wearing masks and 6-foot distancing even when they are not caring for our residents.

We have had two consecutive weekly negative tests of the virus for all employees and residents. While we may return to our new normal, we still face the challenges and fears of bringing this virus into our facility. Our workforce is exhausted. While cases in Homer continue to rise and the majority are not taking the masks and social distancing seriously, we are an example that it does work. To keep this level of vigilance up, we need the community’s support.

Our residents’ families have foregone visiting their families to help keep the virus away from their loved ones. They have sacrificed to keep their loved ones safe so that one day they may be able to hug them again.

Our employees have sacrificed their daily lives to maintain the infection control procedures to protect the residents and keep the virus out of our facility. The lassitude of our staff has been insurmountable. We are pain stricken that all our efforts to keep the virus out of this high-risk population has been in vain.

Kelly Cooper, Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly President, listened and stated she will do everything in her power to help us succeed. Sen. Gary Stevens also said he supports our cause. U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski listened to our concerns as well. Rep. Sarah Vance stated she is working with the Department of Labor to find a solution to support our employees.

As a community we need to show our support by protecting all health care workers, wear face coverings when in public and practice 6-foot distancing. Take a stand and show them you support their hard work on the front lines of this terrible war against an unseen foe.

We all want this to be over. We must stop the spread together. We cannot do it alone.

This is not political. It is the only way we can prevent future strain on our health care system. If we do not show the support to protect all our citizens, we may not have a health care system available when we need it. Please wear face coverings in public and practice the 6-foot distancing. It does work.

Keren Kelley, Executive Director, Homer Senior Citizens Inc.

Gratitude for distancing at Land’s End

Recently my husband and I decided to go out for dinner. With some trepidation about social distancing and the wearing or non-wearing of masks, we drove to town and stopped at one of our favorite places. The parking lot was chock full meaning that there was little to no possibility of distancing from other patrons. We then decided to go out to Land’s End and upon entering the Chart Room Restaurant, found that at least two-thirds of the tables had been removed, the tables that remained were all marked as sanitized when they had been, and the staff were all wearing face masks.

Congratulations and a big thank you to Land’s End for protecting all of us who are at risk of contracting COVID-19. Fine job at a fine establishment.

Maybe a few of the non-mask wearers can learn a lesson from the policies of an establishment which could be taking in more money by ignoring any safety precautions for their customers. Land’s End has put ethics before profits. Thank you once again.

Randi Iverson, Sadie Cove

City should form Police Oversight Commission

I appreciate Mark Robl’s letter to the Homer News and his comments on KBBI radio. I think we are fortunate in Homer to have him as our Chief of Police.

A few years ago, my partner and I started an organization to investigate possible problems in the department. One of these was the allegation that complaints about police officers were not being recorded or forwarded to the Chief. We brought this up with Chief Robl, and hopefully this has been addressed.

A local hard-working African American citizen told us he was being harassed by an Alaska State Trooper until he threatened to contact the Office of Professional Standards in Juneau that oversees the troopers. Who would he complain to if it had been a Homer police officer?

Those of us who have been around for a while remember the Jim Bolt episode. Jim was an outstanding police officer who was respected in the community, but many believe that he was forced off the police force for standing up for what he felt was the truth about abuse of a suspect by a fellow officer.

I do have a recommendation. I think the City of Homer should form a Police Oversight Commission. This group should be elected by the citizens for their wisdom and impartiality, with the Chief of Police as a non-voting advisory member. The commission should be independent of both the police department and the city council, to be as free as possible from political pressure. Possibly, members could serve until they decide to retire and then a new member voted on in the next election.

We give the police officers the power to arrest people and to use deadly force if necessary. That awesome power deserves to be carefully overseen by the citizens.

Bumppo Bremicker

Seldovia farewell

Moving onto the outer beach I am greeted by a musical surf that is accompanied by applause of loose gravel showing appreciation by its moving seaward in unison with the constant wave action.

Each morning that I walk the beach it is clean, fresh, young and new by the moon’s influence, so they say. Gulls pin wheeling high above is as routine as my sandy walks, along with an occasional seashell where someone is still at home there.

The harbor master’s dogs greet me with the same old zealous need to play, as always. And finding no treats, are off to bay at a harbor seal who shows no interest in shore side matters.

Yesterday I assisted two small souls stranded in a tidal pool in finding their way back to the safety of the sea as Arctic terns cried out their disappointment in me.

Today the mail plane arrives, with all the gossip and maybe July strawberries.

Will there be a letter for me? How many times have I asked myself that question? What year was that? Do I miss her? Would I leave if she were to ask me?

But of course, I only ask these questions when I am alone. Taking my rest near the hulk of a once proud vessel, I wonder to myself, could I have been as brave as those men of the sea?

Was that what she was looking for? The question has a familiar ring to it. Then I am brought out of my euphoric fog by the roar of the mail plane’s powerful engines.

As I return to the small harbor, I know I will never leave this place, nor respond to another siren’s call, no matter how sweet her song.

In what remains of my life I have left to me, there will never be a Seldovia farewell.

John A. Anderson

Editor’s note: Due to an editing error, the last line of this poetic letter was garbled when first printed in the June 18, 2020 issue. It is reprinted here in its correct form.

City restrooms are filthy

I’m writing to let you know that after a recent visit to Homer, I was appalled at the condition of your public restrooms. At the vista point, the first area to welcome visitors to Homer, I used the restroom, despite the fact that it was dirty and ill-kept. Later, I used the restroom at the harbor and it was in the same disgusting state with paper all over the floor, as well as cigarette butts and no toilet paper. The relatively new toilets on the corner of the harbor as you turn to the launch have been closed all season.

With the COVID-19 virus at its peak, these conditions are untenable. This should be a time when your city should prioritize sanitation, not give it up.

Sincerely,

Dave Smith, Ninilchik

Elected officials should lead on pandemic

Rep. Sarah Vance is overdue on mask wearing prevention. She is supposed to be a leader. This is a highly contagious coronavirus which has killed more than 517,000 people since China reported its first cases to the World Health Organization in December. A mask is not a big ask to save your life.

I think that Heath Smith is wrong about his statement about testing. He made a statement that increased testing of the virus in Homer makes it look like we have more positive results. He repeated this same statement on Wednesday, July 1. If positivity is increasing, you will find more positive results, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

This reminds me of him not supporting the LBGT proclamation and I was happy to see former Mayor Bryan Zak, some of our council and our community saw it through. That is a leader.

Sincerely,

Carole Hamik

Writer’s Ovaltine decoder was broken

Some say they are “listening” when in fact they are only practicing selective hearing to create their own narrative absent the real context of those they want to socially deride.

A far more pervasive and destructive pandemic that has raged in this country the last four years is the “cancellation culture” that seeks to exact some form of political eugenics. News flash: liberals, conservatives and all that fall in-between aren’t going anywhere. Let’s accept that and find a way to coexist and not reduce political discourse to petty partisan name calling and finger wagging. It’s not constructive behavior.

A premise of our Constitution is not only to protect diversity of opinion but also the ability to express it. This was by design, and not far removed from the reality of what an oppressive crown brought — which is as linear as it gets.

Deland Anderson’s repackaging of my words was absent a thinker’s brand, and only makes the point I presented even more salient. Allow one to remove enough dots from his art work and an imagination can take its viewer a long way from what was originally canvassed.

His Ovaltine decoder must be broken.

Heath Smith

President should value all

July 4th is not just a patriotic slogan.

It’s a call to join all in making America part of a better world.

I was born 77 years ago.

I’ve served my country in the U.S. Peace Corps abroad, as a volunteer in after-school programs for low-income children in New York City’s Lower East Side, and as a language teacher in community colleges.

I vote in every election.

I pay my taxes for the good of the commonwealth.

It’s important to me that America present herself in a positive way to the world.

I want my country to treat every other nation not as a competitor but as a potential friend.

I want America to acknowledge that mistakes of the past can be turned to a better future.

My President should value women and men, native born and immigrants, religious and secular people, speakers of many cultures and languages.

I have lived in five U.S.A. States, among rich and poor, young and old, healthy and infirm.

Everyone I’ve met has enriched my life. Please speak kindly when you represent us.

Sincerely,

Diana Conway, Halibut Cove

Thank You American Legion

I am honored to have been selected as a 2020 recipient of the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 16 Scholarship.Your generosity will assist me in meeting my college costs and allow me to better focus on my studies in marine biology. I will attend the University of Alaska Southeast starting in August, and am very thankful for this thoughtful and generous scholarship.

Sincerely,

Rio Shemet Pitcher

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