Letters to the Editor

Vote Cooper for House

Kelly Cooper has been an exemplary borough assembly member for six years, and deserves your vote to be our state house representative.

She is an independent, and has years of experience working with everyone to find practical and impactful solutions to the problems our communities face. Kelly Cooper is beholden to no individual or group except her constituency, and, as she says, puts “people before party.”

One of her priorities is the support of public education, a goal that I wholeheartedly support. Investment in public education, while it takes years to fully realize, improves society in broad and incredibly meaningful ways. Better education is associated with higher employment, lower crime, reduced substance abuse, better quality of health, and increased civic engagement. The money we invest in education does not vanish into thin air, but instead gives us far greater returns and makes our society more productive and happy. If we cut public education, as many propose, some schools will close and class sizes will increase, leading to an inevitably lower quality of education for our youth, and leaving our communities worse off.

As borough assembly president, she has always been very accessible and conversant with voters, and I have no doubt she would continue this as state representative. She cares deeply about the perspectives of every constituent, and embraces open discussion to find the best solutions. She will fight tirelessly for the best interests of District 31 and, as she always has, find realistic and functional policy that benefits all Alaskans.

Larry Dunn

907VETS gives thanks

907VETS would like to express our appreciation to veterans, family members, and friends, including Bob and Kelli Hickman, Charlie Franz, Mike LeMay, Tina Steadham, Bob Stark, Barry White, Sharon Strutz-Norton, Morgan McBride, Michelle Melchert, Geri Grappi, and others we might have missed who helped design, gather materials, build, stain, replace a home support beam, install the handicap access ramp, and provided on-site moral support. Thanks also to Independent Living Center and Bay Welding for contributing funds, material, and labor to further the cause.

We would also like to express our appreciation to the Anchor Point VFW, VFW Auxiliary, Vietnam Veterans of America, and PJ’s Thrift for their monetary donations, including the American Legion and Forty and Eight who have expressed interest in donating to the effort. 907VETS sent out a need request to help cover the cost of round-trip medical transportation for a veteran from Homer to Anchorage and back every six weeks. We now can provide funds to help reduce the cost of travel.

Thanks to Skiff Chicks for helping design and print 907VETS T-shirts and sweatshirts even during the pandemic.

Additionally, 907VETS supports the efforts of Homer Suicide Awareness and Prevention to raise awareness and encourages veteran and community participation at their events, such as the very successful 2020 Motorcycle/Auto Drive from Homer to the Anchor Point VFW last Saturday, Aug. 8. There were informational booths, and the VFW provided a wonderful outdoor meal and use of their facility to enhance veteran, family and community camaraderie.

If you are a veteran, family member, interested community member, or organization/business and would like to join, donate funds and/or materials, have a special talent you would like to offer, and/or volunteer time to further our efforts on behalf of Alaska veterans, please visit our website at www.907VETS.com and see us on Facebook. Otherwise, contact us at 907VETS@gmail.com.

Bob Stark, director; Bob Hickman, associate director, 907VETS

Soccer group is grateful

On behalf of the Board of Directors of SAH, Soccer, which operates the South Peninsula Athletic and Recreation Center, I thank the Homer Foundation Board of Trustees for their recent gift to us of a generous grant to help meet our costs of operating the SPARC. Since the days when the dream of a new indoor space for the community to play was just that, a dream, the Homer Foundation has been one of the most stalwart SPARC partners, providing and leveraging a mosaic of funding and administrative support totaling over $200,000.

This recent grant will enable us to meet ongoing payroll and facility costs as we try to stay available to our customers while still adhering to best COVID-19 mitigation practices. Like many small businesses and nonprofits, our future path and timeline is uncertain, but the faith and trust the Homer Foundation Trustees placed in our ability to walk that path is heartening and appreciated. The grant’s impact on our solvency is obvious; its impact on our morale may be just as important. The ongoing support from the Homer Foundation is an example of the type of community partnerships that will be critical to recovery from the public health and economic challenges we all face. You can check out our limited (but hopefully growing) schedule of activities at www.sparchomer.org and you can make inquiries about possible rental uses at sparchomer@gmail.com.

Thankfully,

Ginny Espenshade, Vice President, SAH Soccer

A few thoughts from your South Kenai Peninsula Hospital Service Area Board

I thought I would share a few things that are going on with the South Kenai Peninsula Hospital Service Area Board (SKPHSAB).

Nancy Chastain, our Board’s Recording Secretary, passed away recently and her loss is greatly felt. Nancy did a fantastic job as our Recording Secretary for 2 ½ years as she recorded meetings and prepared the minutes, including keeping the board organized and in compliance with the official rules and other requirements of the Kenai Peninsula Borough and State of Alaska. We all feel a significant emptiness in our hearts and we’ll miss her.

Borough elections are right around the corner and will be held on Oct. 6. The SKPHSAB consists of nine board members and all members are elected by the public and serve a 3-year term. Currently seats D, E and F are open for 3-year terms and seat G is open for a 2-year term. We are encouraging interested individuals to file for any of these seats. Interested individuals can file at the Kenai Peninsula Borough office in Homer and the filing period is through noon on Aug. 17. Candidacy requirements are set by Alaska State Laws and Borough Code that include residency for one year in the service area and being a qualified voter of the State of Alaska. Candidate forms and instructions are available on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Website, https://www.kpb.us/assembly-clerk/elections/about-us.

The official duties of the board include reviewing and recommending allocation of property tax dollars paid by residents of the service area which translates into quality hospital and health care services to the residents of the South Kenai Peninsula. The work of the board is important in supporting South Peninsula Hospital, especially now at a time when our community and health care workers are challenged with a major pandemic that is affecting all of us. I have served on the Board going on three years and I find that donating a little time each month that benefits our overall community health through this organization is very gratifying.

Again, I would really encourage any interested individuals to file for their candidacy and if elected become part of a worthy organization that truly benefits all of us on the South Kenai Peninsula.

Will Runnoe, member, South Kenai Peninsula Hospital Service Area Board

The 50 states of America

I wish I could title this “the United States of America.” Unfortunately for all 330 million citizens of our country in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic — which by all objective measures is a crisis, both a health crisis and an economic crisis — we are not “the United States of America.” The social disruption itself should not be discounted.

We are left here, each state of America, to do the best we can individually, to mitigate and solve on our own, first our threatening health crisis, and thereby a path to our economic woes. Hopefully, we can restore something that resembles the social activities and relationships that gave us all the quality of life that before now we cherished so much. I doubt that I am alone in realizing a dinner at home with invited friends was so rewarding and comforting to the soul, the things we considered simple activities before COVID-19 was a part of our lives.

Because these 50 states of America share so many common borders, and all are free to travel forth and back, COVID-19 will be there waiting.

When the binding force which is “sworn” to see to it that we have a “United States of America” claims “no responsibility” toward a resolution to these issues, despite the extraordinary sacrifices we’ve attempted so far, we remain the “50 states of America.”

With over 150,000 COVID-19 deaths and counting, I would appreciate anyone in the community to contact me and remind me who it was that delivered the speech (often titled) “American Carnage” and explain to me what that was about.

Ryan Eisenberg (longtime Homer resident and easy to find)

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