Letters to the Editor

100 Men Project will help Homer Drawdown achieve its goals

Thank you to the Gary Thomas 100 Men Project for choosing Homer Drawdown as the recipient of their quarterly nonprofit donation. Homer Drawdown is a decentralized, community effort to mitigate the climate crisis at the local level.

We choose yearly community projects that help mitigate climate change and also help make Homer a better place to live. This year’s project is focused on improving non-motorized transportation in and around Homer. The money from 100 Men Homer will help us achieve our goals for this project, and will help solidify Homer Drawdown as a perpetual organization that will continue choosing community projects for years to come.

The Gary Thomas 100 Men Project, also known as 100 Men Homer, is a platform honoring the philanthropic legacy of Gary Thomas, and provides a simple way to give back to the community. Members donate $100 at each quarterly meeting to the winning project, voted on by the attending members. If you would like to join this project, email 100menhomer@gmail.com.

We at Homer Drawdown were honored to receive these funds and will use them as effectively as possible toward the achieving goals of our community projects. Currently we’re working to improve trails and non-motorized infrastructure, increase bike and pedestrian safety, shift behavior to make biking and walking more normal and accepted, and we’re promoting future improvements by helping influence policy.

If you would like to get involved with or learn more about Homer Drawdown, go to HomerDrawdown.info.

Dale Banks, Homer Drawdown Steering Committee Member

Shorebird fest soars once again

A huge thank you to everyone who participated in the 31st Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival May 3-7!

This year was a huge success with over 735 participants from throughout Alaska and the United States. From walks, talks, boat tours, viewing stations, photography, Junior and Teen Birder activities, art, and more, visitors of all ages to Homer had so many activities.

Thank you to our program leaders and speakers who we could not do this without their bird and local knowledge. Thank you to everyone behind the scenes preparing scopes, paperwork, installing signs, folding shirts, keeping track of birds, working as door attendants, carrying scopes, and more. Over 52 volunteers and over 225 hours were donated by local volunteers.

Thank you to our local tour operators, vendors, donors, sponsors and businesses who participate with the festival. KBBI provided great coverage of the bird calling contest and that audio story continues to spread far and wide!

Thank you to our keynote speaker Diego Calderon-Franco, author Julia Zarankin, and festival artist Mattie Squire. We look forward to everyone’s participation next year!

Lora Haller, Melanie Dufour, and the Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival Committee

Ptarmigan Arts Scholarship helps build futures

I would like to thank the Homer Foundation, the Ptarmigan Arts Scholarship Committee and all of the local artists who donated their time and artwork to fund this scholarship. Receiving the Ptarmigan Arts Scholarship will help me to further my education at Cal Poly Humboldt University in Northern California where I plan to study in art and environmental science. I am honored to receive this scholarship, and feel lucky to live in a town that is so supportive of youth artists like myself.

Leah Dunn

I received the Ptarmigan Arts Scholarship from the Homer Foundation this year, along with my friend Leah Dunn. I am so grateful to have been awarded this scholarship, because it means that the Ptarmigan Arts Scholarship Committee saw great potential in me, and was willing to help me in my endeavors to become an artist in the future.

This past December I was accepted to the University of Alaska Fairbanks. I plan to study fine arts and business in order to expand my artistic abilities and learn how to manage a business, so that I have the knowledge to open my own gallery in the future. Getting this scholarship will be a tremendous help as I strive to become a successful artist in the future.

Amber Gilbreath

Ski Club grateful for grant funds

Recently the Kachemak Nordic Ski Club was awarded one of the City of Homer grants through the Homer Foundation. We are extremely grateful for the extra funds for our programs.

Kachemak Nordic Ski Club offers over 80 kilometers of groomed trails in four locations for Homer ski enthusiasts. We operate on donations and paid memberships as well as countless hours from volunteers. Jr. Nordic, Homer Nordic, Friday Night Lights, Wine and Cheese Wooden Ski Tour, Homer Marathon and the Sea to Ski are just a few of the events we host.

As we’ve seen our numbers increase we’ve also seen an additional need for skis. KNSC offers a very economical rental program for area youth and this year we spent over $12,000 on new skis/boots to help meet the growing demand. We’ve also had to expand our parking and trailhead services due to our increased enrollment.

In the summer we have a core of volunteers working to improve local trails so that they are usable year round. Due to the great skiing conditions this year and an extended ski season our grooming fuel costs were up as well.

As you can tell, our club is a busy one and the finances needed to provide great skiing are always increasing. KNSC is appreciative that the City of Homer is supportive of our efforts to provide a fun, healthy lifelong activity for the citizens of Homer. We hope to see even more of you on the trails next winter, in the meantime, thank you!

Melissa Cloud

Kachemak Nordic Ski Club

Thanks for helping us ‘Make Waves’

On behalf of all the staff and students at Paul Banks Elementary I would like to thank the many community partners who helped us put on our first-ever water safety event: Make Waves Safely. Throughout the course of an afternoon, our students were able to participate in nine different water safety activities and learn how to protect themselves as they play and adventure near or in open bodies of water.

A huge shoutout goes to Debbie Speakman of Paul Banks PTA for being the mastermind and organizer of the event, and for hosting a very fun clothing relay race and teaching students the importance of layered clothing as they go outside to adventure near the water.

Chief Kirko and Samantha Cunningham from Homer Fire Department demonstrated how to notice signs of hypothermia, and what to do to help someone who has become too cold until adult help arrives.

Lisa Linegar from Homer Police Department showed students how and when to call 911, and what to do and say once the dispatchers answer to get help as quickly as possible.

Alaska State Trooper Caven Bosworth talked about the importance of always wearing a life jacket in or near water, having respect for river current (did you know just 6 inches of water can run fast enough to move a parked vehicle downstream!), never playing near water alone, and keeping yourself and your friends safe by letting a trusted adult know exactly where you plan to play and what you intend to do while there.

Mary and Jim Arndt and Laurie Gentle of the Coast Guard Auxiliary sized every student for life jackets and sent them home with recommendations for families on what size PFD to use to most effectively protect their child.

Trey Hill and Guillermo Rasse with Sea Tow gave an excellent demonstration on how body functioning quickly decreases in cold water and showed students an example of what to pack in an “emergency go bag” to be best prepared for any unexpected time in cold water, including how to make an emergency distress call from a VHF radio.

Homer Harbor Master Matt Clarke showed the students the drastic tidal changes that can happen in Kachemak Bay, and gave them tips for being aware of the chance of getting stranded on beach walks if you aren’t aware of an incoming tide, and showed them how to stay safe while on the docks.

Kellie Blue and Tonda Smude from the Bay Club showed examples of many different types of water, and how to look for potential hazards to make responsible decisions around lakes, rivers, creeks, oceans and even small ponds.

Coach Tony Perelli from KPBSD gave students the chance to practice rescuing a friend in distress in the water from land or ice without putting themselves into jeopardy.

Thank you, community of Homer, for giving up your afternoon to help keep our precious young ones safe in a coastal community. We hope it inspires them all to get outside and make some waves, safely!

Jennifer Reinhart

Honored to receive scholarship

My name is Cecilia Fitzpatrick and this year I am honored to receive the Nikki Geragotelis (Fry) Memorial Scholarship from the Homer Foundation. I am very grateful to both the scholarship committee and the generous Homer community for helping me further my education.

I plan on using the money from this scholarship to help cover tuition at Montana State University where I will be attending this fall. While my major is undecided, I have been accepted into the Honors College and will work hard at being successful in this new phase of my life so I can return and give back to this community.

I am really looking forward to starting college and it means so much to me to have the financial support this scholarship has given. Thanks again to the Homer Foundation, the scholarship committee and the amazing Homer community!

Cecilia Fitzpatrick