Letters to the Editor

Community of love

The unexpected and devastating loss of my son Drew Brown on Dec. 22, 2021 upended myself and my family. We were swiftly lifted up, as this community does extremely well, and continue to be gingerly carried through these heavy hearted and gut-wrenching days.

Leading up to Drew’s Celebration of Life on Jan. 8, several businesses and individuals provided incredible energy and resources to put together a beautiful service that would accommodate a large group. Thanks to Kathy Beachy and Aaron Weiser from Church on the Rock, Ginny Espenshade with SPARC, Homer Council on the Arts, Print Works, Lazer Print, Robbie Switzer, Kenneth Schneider, Ingrid Harrald, Josh and Karen Weston, Emily Hutchinson, Mike Hayes and others I may be forgetting. We are eternally grateful for all the love given to us.

Thank you Homer!

Kristen Fenske and family

America is complicit in Saudi aggression

When I returned home after Vietnam combat, we were called “baby killers.” If there is combat in civilian areas, babies are going to be killed. In Yemen, no one is safe from murder. The U.S. has stopped direct support for aggressive missions by the Saudis. However, American companies continue to supply equipment, intelligence and maintenance to the Saudi military.

Our country continues to be complicit in the murders and starvation of babies, children, women and men who want nothing more than to live and care for their families. Corporate responsibility for anything other than maximum profit is non-existent. U.S. companies trade the lives of Yemenis for profit.

Yes, America has become a nation of baby killers. As of October 2021, the United Nations reported that more than 10,000 children and 233,000 Yemenis have been murdered or maimed by Saudi-led forces. In 2019, a bipartisan Yemen War Powers Resolution was passed by Congress. This resolution was vetoed.

For more information, see this video at https://www.fcnl.org/events/hunger-ward-yemen-film-screening-and-panel-discussion.

Roy J. Wilson

State retirees deserve trial on benefit issue

I am a retired Alaskan and my income and medical care is part of the retirement package for state employees under the State of Alaska’s retirement system. There are more than 70,000 of us in this system, and we are all dependent on our retirement for both medical care and income.

The people of Alaska constitutionally mandated the retirement and medical coverage for retirees. However, in 2014, the State unilaterally diminished the medical coverage. Retired Public Employees of Alaska (RPEA), is an organization whose mission is to help retirees and to act to protect their constitutional benefits when they are endangered. So when this happened, the RPEA sued the State and the lawsuit has been wending its way through the court system ever since.

We were just about to finally go to trial, when the current board decided to enter into mediation instead, without consulting the membership. Mediation, as a substitute for trail, is a negotiation wherein each side gives up items in dispute until both sides reach a settlement. Since the lawsuit is about restoring diminished benefits, giving some up in mediation just doesn’t make any sense.

As a RPEA member, I strongly object to only three people, not of the members’ choosing, going into closed door mediation with the state and deciding just what they will “give up” on our behalf. It is an outrage, and probably illegal since the results of this will not only affect the approximately 4,500 RPEA members, but the entire 70,000 retirees, and is against the constitutional mandate.

I hope all Alaska state retirees and their families are aware of this and will help fight to let our Medical Diminishment Lawsuit go to trial as originally planned, rather than to let three people behind closed doors make deals with the State!

Susan Shaffer, Graham, Washington