Letters to the Editor

Support Homer Animal Friends

I’d like to sing praises to Homer Animal Friends (HAF), a grassroots nonprofit organization!

Did you know that they have been in operation with the same three missions for 37 years? Yes, the missions are dog and cat related. Yes, helping the Homer Animal Shelter is part of their mission. Yes, education is a part of that mission (Homer Dog Trainers are part of Homer Animal Friends).

The biggest part of Homer Animal Friends mission: the spaying and neutering of dogs and cats on the lower Kenai Peninsula (Ninilchik south).

HAF is run by a board of volunteers who are quite committed to these mission — some are from the original board. The Homer Animal Friends Store is the “face” of the organization and is located in the Kachemak Center, lower level.

Although all three missions are essential, the spay and neuter program is probably the one that has had the largest impact on our community. Over the course of those 37 years, HAF has helped 11,310 dogs and cats be spayed or neutered. That’s a lot of dogs and cats! From inception through Sept. 30, $785,080.70 has been spent accomplishing this mission alone.

The incredible and scary thing about this dollar figure is that $74,947.82 has been spent in just nine months in 2023!

If this trend continues, HAF will have spent close to $100K this year alone. Since COVID (lots of things are being blamed on COVID) prices for everything have risen. Medical related procedures have skyrocketed — the cost of spays and neuters are much greater than in prior years. It’s not the vets’ faults, their prices have gone up, too.

Homer Animal Friends has been accomplishing these goals based on donations and memberships alone. Until this year, that was OK. Unfortunately, with the rising costs of the spay and neuter program, the donations are not going to be enough. The store is designed to pay for itself and little else.

With 2023 coming to an end soon, Homer Animal Friends needs to feel the love from the community that they have served for almost 40 years. If you’re looking for a last-minute good cause to contribute to, please think of Homer Animal Friends, PO Box 2300, Homer, AK 99603, drop by the store at 601 E Pioneer Ave., Ste 109 (entrance is on Heath, lower level of the Kachemak Center) or go to the bottom of their home page at www.Homeranimals.org.

Every donation makes a difference for the communities on the lower Kenai Peninsula.


Debbie Dauphinais, HAF Board President

Pat Moss, HAF Board Member

Dear Editor:

On Dec. 6, there was an open meeting for the public at Islands and Oceans regarding severe safety deficits created by management at Homer Senior Citizens Center. Due to miscommunication between certain stakeholders and our organic group of concerned community members, the meeting was only confirmed approximately 24 hours prior to the start of the meeting.

Despite this short notice, between 50-60 individuals attended the listening meeting where individuals spoke for nearly two hours. These individuals have witnessed the direct consequences of unsafe management strategies at Homer Senior Citizens Center and were allowed to share their experiences.

In some cases, these people have been successful in presenting formal grievances to the Board of Directors and filing Adult Protective reports with the State of Alaska, but in many cases, these reports fell on deaf ears — either because there was an apparent obstruction in getting the information to the Board of Directors or individuals in positions of power chose to look the other way to institutional mismanagement that puts our seniors at health and safety risk.

The Board of Directors was apparently instructed not to attend the meeting by their attorney as they are not to comment on human resource issues.

Ironically, they would not have been given the opportunity to speak as this was a welcome opportunity for them to listen to those they have chosen to disregard and instead complied with atypical organizational strategies that prevent the accurate flow of information from the members of HSCC, the residents, and employees to the Board of Directors in a healthy manner.

It is important to note, each of the board members had the capability to attend the meeting as a community member to learn of the concerning claims that they have been prevented and or unwilling to hear.

We welcome them at our next meeting!


Sallie Rediske

Call your legislators to support education funding

The 2023 legislative session produced the highest funding increase for public education in years. Our public schools have been underfunded for years. Testimony from individual Alaskans, school groups, organizations, and students gave heartfelt and fact-based evidence about the consequences of this underfunding.

The Legislature agreed to a one-time $175 million funding boost to K-12 schools. The money was desperately needed. Yet with one stroke of his pen, Gov. Mike Dunleavy vetoed a little over half (about $87.4 million).

Let your two legislators know you want them to vote to override the governor’s education funding veto. They have a five-day window to do so, beginning Jan. 16, 2024. It would be instructive to see where each legislator stands on this issue. During this next legislative session, bills will be introduced to increase education funding. But a veto override would release $87 million into public schools this school year.

As education falls, so does the state. We are at a critical juncture in our ability to retain teachers. People are leaving the state. Some of this can be attributed to insufficient funding for public schools.

If you support a veto override, please call, or email your legislators. Our voices need to be heard in Juneau. We can be a force in getting schools funding to make Alaska healthy. For more information, contact overridetheveto24@gmail.com.


Alex Koplin