Michael O'Meara's cartoon for Sept. 23, 2021.

Letters to the Editor

Clarification: “To the community of Homer,” a letter signed by Homer Mayor Ken Castner, should have indicated that the mayor signed the letter on behalf of the Homer City Council.

To the Community of Homer,

The Homer City Council strongly encourages businesses, schools, nonprofits, and government agencies within the city to employ stronger COVID-19 mitigation measures at this time. Wearing a mask, socially distancing, and getting vaccinated all contribute to the overall health and safety of the community.

The rapid spread of the delta variant impacts the health of our friends, families, and neighbors while also disrupting our economy. The virus has taken a huge toll on many of us, physically and mentally. Inaction will not make it go away. The Council acknowledges that all of us, as Americans, are free to make our own choices about personal health matters; however, the pandemic gives us a reason to consider the health and safety of others when making those choices.

We encourage you to wear a mask in public, socially distance when possible, and get vaccinated against COVID-19. These three easy steps can make a big difference in our collective effort to beat COVID and get back to normal. If you’re uncertain about vaccination, talk to your doctor or Public Health Department for professional advice.

The City of Homer does not have health powers and is unable to create mask mandates like you have seen in some other communities around the State of Alaska. We have, however, implemented COVID mitigation methods within City facilities. At this time, because of the high levels of community spread of the delta variant and hospitalization rates, masks are required in all City facilities regardless of vaccination status. This includes City Council members at the dais during Council meetings.

For organizations that are interested in pursuing enhanced mitigation measures, the City has developed some tools for evaluating COVID risk factors that we are happy to share with the community. For more information about the City’s mitigation measures contact the City Manager’s office at 235-8121, extension 2222.

If we take care of ourselves, it will help us take care of each other.

Homer Mayor Ken Castner, on behalf of the Homer City Council

Thanks to Mavis

I want to extend a huge thank you to the marvelous magical Mavis Muller and her incredible crew of art activist angels. Also I want to thank the City of Homer for supporting the incredible offering of love and healing that is the Homer Burning basket.

For 18 years and counting, Mavis and her angels have tirelessly created a stalwart container for our grief and shared loss, as well as an epic Basket for our hopes and dreams.

As the community gathers each autumn in one cosmic heartbeat by the sea and we rejoice in this precious moment of creation and release we share each year together.

The basket teaches the impermanence of things and the lasting universal joy that is art, community and love.

May the healing of these past two difficult years wash over us all for a brighter reimagined future.

Robin McAllistar

COVID-19 vaccine works

How can we Americans dare to call ourselves the most civilized nation the globe has ever known when huge numbers of us refuse to accept a proven, exceedingly safe vaccine to prevent this pandemic? Virtually, every person in our entire country who has contracted the COVID-19 virus got it from another person, all of which could have been prevented with the benefit of the vaccine. Those who choose not to receive the vaccine for whatever reason, risk not only their own lives and health but lives and health of others as well.

Because of this virus, our lives are today highly compromised, the future is most concerning and our economy is seriously struggling. The clear evidence that the vaccine works, and is exceedingly safe, is just simple, simple science, not atomic physics.

Sincerely,

William J. Marley Sr., DDS

Thanks to Emblem Club

I would like to publicly thank the Alaska State Emblem Club for so generously awarding me with a scholarship to further my education. I am so thankful to have been raised in a state that values higher education and supporting youth. Thank you!

Jessica Sonnen

Attorney General does not speak for all Alaskans

Re: The Alaska Attorney General threatens legal opposition to federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

On Sept. 16, the Attorney General for Alaska joined Attorneys General from 23 other states in a letter to President Biden threatening legal action against federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates. The Alaska Attorney General does not speak for all Alaskans. The Alaska Black Caucus strongly opposes his position since Black, Indigenous and People of Color in Alaska suffer the most from the COVID pandemic.

The Attorneys General’s letter is dated on the day Alaska reported a new daily record of 1,095 new COVID-19 infections. Alaska is experiencing one of the sharpest surges of the virus in the United States, more than double the national case rate. Alaska is now in the top five in the nation for new daily case rates and hospitalizations. Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, the critical combined U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force base outside Anchorage, has just declared a public health emergency to help slow the spread of Covid-19.

Anchorage hospitals have started rationing care under crisis-care protocols as a result of this surge. In some cases, doctors and caregivers must decide which patients will get dialysis or mechanical support for breathing and which will not. This situation is cruel and intolerable for patients, families and caregivers alike.

COVID-19 has unequally affected racial and minority groups, putting them at greater risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19. The Alaska Black Caucus supports any and all measures that protect not only the BIPOC population but all Alaskans. Our Attorney General should as well.

Celeste Hodge Growden, President/CEO, Alaska Black Caucus

COVID-19 exhaustion

Looking at a picture upside down can reveal the overlooked. For example, 40% of the Kenai Peninsula is fully vaccinated. Upside down that’s 60% who aren’t. That’s two out of three people over the age of 12. Unprotected. Playing Russian Roulette with their own life and other’s lives. Risking hospitalization, death a big bill. Maybe they’ll have a mild case and not visit death’s door. They may feel OK, refuse to quarantine, and refuse testing and not wear a mask or wear it below their nose (like a guy not zipping his pants). Their contacts, their victims may not be so lucky and get so sick they need hospitalization, care only available in Anchorage. And maybe the Anchorage ICUs will be full. Or maybe they’ll suffer long haulers problems. A friend is still coping a year later.

My daughters are both nurses. One in an ER, the other in pediatric trauma and surgery. Both wear N95 masks their entire 12-hour shifts. They wash their hands between patients. They’ve stayed safe as have other nurses and doctors. Kids can wear masks and stay safe. They may learn to look at people and to speak clearly. If kids could’ve been protected from polio and an iron lung with a mask and vaccine, you bet kids would’ve worn masks and been vaccinated.

Alaska’s vaccination rate is around 50%. Embarrassingly low. We have the third highest daily cases per 100,000. Being near the top is embarrassing.

Consider our exhausted nurses and doctors. Get vaccinated NOW. Wear a mask. Cover your nose. And don’t make excuses.

I was a public health nurse in the 1970s in Fairbanks for two mass immunizations for measles and the ‘flu.

Source of data: covidactnow.com.

Janice Todd, RN, BSN

Party in the pool!

The Darwin Award is given to people who remove their genes from the pool due to low IQ. Well there’s a party in the pool —the Republican Party.

If you show your loyalty by refusing the vaccine, if you demonstrate fealty by shunning masks, then the only right you have left is to die.

No need to show your voter registration at the ER — we’ll know you by the disease you carry.

Gordon Vernon

In honor of the brave who brought vaccines

According to Oxford Languages Dictionary the word “ironic” means, “happening in the opposite way to what is expected and typically causing wry amusement because of this.” When I hear of the hospitals in Alaska struggling to serve the high numbers of patients with COVID-19 patients who for the most part passed up the opportunity to be vaccinated, it’s not at all amusing, but it is ironic.

Why? Because every year we Alaskan’s have this thing called “The Iditarod Race” which memorializes the celebrated serum run to Nome during the 1925 Diphtheria Epidemic.

The whole nation heard about the bravery of the 20 mushers and 150 dogs travelling 674 miles in 5 and 1/2 days delivering the inoculation serum that saved the town of Nome and surrounding villages. Publicity about Balto, the final team’s lead dog, helped spur inoculation campaigns across America.

With our history, we Alaskans should be inspiring the nation with our high saving vaccination rates and the bravery of our citizens in the battle against COVID-19. Instead, today Alaska’s mediocre rates of vaccinations are tragically. Ironic.

Rev. Dan Lush

Thanks to responsible businesses

I want to thank Save-U-More and the handful of other local businesses that have required in-store masking. Relying on customers to voluntarily “do the right thing” obviously is not working.

John Rate

Thanks for Burning Basket help

RECOVER: to return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength.

In a brilliant display, the 18th Homer Burning Basket, RECOVER – Basket of Remembrance and Unburdening was ignited and burned as a performance of fire-art to symbolically disperse positive intentions. Hundreds added their special touches , wishes for wellness, memorialized loved ones, and tucked personal sentiments inside.

The giant basket was created with the creativity and imagination of many. On behalf of the Homer community I bow with gratitude to the many hands who brought the strands together to support the project of grassroots interactive art as a civic function.

Thanks to those who brought weaving materials, folded paper cranes, donated to the event insurance fund, provided firewood, to photographers, night security, fire spinners and drummers. A special honoring thank you to Florence Penrod, age 99, who brought cookies to volunteers for the 18th year.

Much appreciation to City Parks & Rec for their significant support, to Fireweed Academy students for creating the interactive walking path, and to Scenic Place Peonies for hundreds of peonies to decorate the art. Thanks to Homer News and KBBI for publicity.

Thanks to all who respectfully accepted the gift of interactive art in a Covid safe way by wearing masks (90%) and were safely spread out.

After a gusty rainy day, the sky cleared, rainbows appeared, the wind died down, and the basket was lit to release what we don’t need and together as a community begin to RECOVER what we have lost.

May the warmth of the memories we made keep us illuminated and connected.

Mavis Muller, lead volunteer for Burning Basket Project

Our republic is doomed

President Joe Biden is trying to make a one party system out of our country by opening our southern border and passing a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants. This must be stopped or our republic is doomed.

Ray Dawson

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