Letters to the Editor

You’re invited to Flex First Friday

From Jan. 29 to Feb. 9, the students and staff of Homer Flex had the opportunity to work with local artist Kim McNett through the Bunnell Street Arts Center’s Artists in Schools program. During our short time with Kim, we explored the nuanced medium of watercolor. Kim’s insight and assistance allowed students and staff to engage in the activity and produce amazing results. Over the course of a two-week residency, Kim taught a variety of different techniques and skills, including the use of dry brushing, gradients, washes and layering, to achieve the desired effects. Most importantly, students also learned about active problem-solving, perspective and perseverance.

This experience will culminate in the annual Flex First Friday on April 5 at 4 p.m. During this open house, family, friends and community members will celebrate our students and their outstanding work. We invite all to attend.

Flex would like to recognize the Bunnell Street Arts Center’s Artist in Schools program, which is supported by the Alaska Legislature through funds for the Alaska State Council on the Arts. This funding provides matching support from the Rasmuson Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Ulmer’s Drug and Hardware, the Kenai Fine Arts Center, and the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District. At the same time, we would like to thank The Homer Foundation, and specifically, the David and Mary Schroer Grant, for their financial assistance. It is because of this support that we were able to offer a unique and valuable fine arts experience to our students.

Christopher Brown, principal

Homer Flex High School

Thank you Homer Electric

I wish to extend my deep appreciation and gratitude to Homer Electric crews for their heroic efforts to restore power to Fritz Creek inhabitants on Tuesday, Feb. 20. They labored under abhorrent weather conditions, gale force winds and driving rain, much of it in the dark, to reconnect 925 customers to the grid. This included the several Russian villages north of Fritz Creek.

On behalf of all who were impacted, a heartfelt thank you.

Michael Farrar

Fritz Creek

Dear Editor,

The City of Homer grants program provides local support for Homer’s vibrant nonprofits and arts organizations who work to enrich our community, improve quality of life, provide essential services, and strengthen the economic, social and physical fabric of our community. Bunnell Street Arts Center thanks the City of Homer and the Homer Foundation for continuing to commit to the City of Homer grants program.

Over the past year, Bunnell Street Arts Center celebrated the reweaving of community fabric with creativity and joy through “HEART” workshops, exhibits and residencies. HEART (Healing and Engagement through ART) programs engaged youth, intergenerational groups, newcomers and old friends. We saw the return of the Homer Fiber Arts Collective’s Wearable Arts and the 10×10 Show with the theme “Everyone Taking Care,” as well as monthly Bunnell Arts by Air KBBI concerts and First Fridays. Workshops and Artist-in-Schools programs employed local artists and engaged participants around spoon-carving, comic books, ceramics, painting, Iñupiat dance, Yup’ik storytelling, jewelry fabrication, drumming, mural making, book binding and more. We celebrated making and experiencing art in community, and worked with partners from the City of Homer, tribal entities, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, Kachemak Bay Campus and Homer MAPP, to name a few.

Homer is a place where people, citizens and visitors alike are transformed by the quality of their experiences. As we reflect on the stories and learnings from Bunnell’s 2023 programs, we recognize the City’s investment in Homer’s identity as an arts town and a vibrant community.


Adele Person, executive director

Bunnell Street Arts Center

Dear Editor,

I attended the Homer Senior Citizen board meeting on Feb. 21. I would like to remind the board to read their own by-laws. Article X Section 5; “The Board of Directors shall be accountable to the membership and funding agencies for the management and operation of the Corporation and shall make regular reports to the membership.”

The board needs to be reminded Homer Senior Citizen Center does NOT belong to the Board, it belongs to the membership. We were told numerous times by the president, “This is OUR meeting.” Yes, this was the board’s monthly meeting, but you had 32 members attending and we should have been treated respectfully.

Article XIV Parliamentary Authority: “Robert’s Rules of Order, newly revised, shall govern the Corporation in all cases which are not inconsistent with these by-laws or special rules of order the Corporation may adopt.”

The way the meeting was run was so far off from Robert’s Rules of Order, allowing the executive director to take over the meeting, continually interrupt and tell the board what they should do.

At board meetings, the active participants are the members of the board. An executive director gives a report and then sits through the meeting ready to answer questions asked by the board, since they are NOT on the board. The executive director speaks when on the agenda and otherwise is quiet unless asked a question. The president of the HSC Board allows the executive director to take control of their meeting. The executive director sits with her back to the membership of HSC; it is uncalled for and very rude. We were told this is the way they have to sit because she is answering to them. A more inclusive way to sit is in an arc with the executive director on the end— this way they can all see her and she can see all of them.

A large group of community members want to see a change at HSC for the positive, return it to the vibrant, safe, caring center that it once was. The current board does not want to talk or listen to their membership. There will be four seats up for election at the annual meeting in May. Please join Homer Senior Citizens Center so you can hear about, speak about and see what is going on! Membership is $35/year for 55 and up and enables voting rights. Join at main office 3935 Svedlund St. Please join and become active, come to the May Annual Meeting and VOTE — help us keep our seniors safe!

Debbie Turkington

Vance’s crocodile tears

In the chambers of the House Tribal Affairs Committee, the haunting echoes of Alaska Native Peoples’ victimization reverberated. Shockingly, amidst accounts of tragedy, Rep. Sarah Vance callously scolded presenters, audaciously urging them to consider their “white sisters,” when they came to speak at the Tribal Affairs Committee. This comes after Alaska witnessed a staggering 229 cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in 2021 alone — 149 missing, 80 murdered.

Rep. Vance’s apology, an insincere plea draped in the guise of “white women’s tears,” is a disgrace. Her commitment to combating the exploitation of women seems limited to those of her own race. In 2020, she callously voted against HR 10, which implored Congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and Savanna’s Act, spotlighting the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Alarming statistics reveal that in 2020, the rate of American Indian/Alaska Native women killed by men in Alaska was 12.63 per 100k women — three and a half times the rate for all women in the state and a staggering 10 times the rate for white women in Alaska. Rep. Vance’s selective concern is a glaring betrayal of justice.

If Rep. Vance genuinely seeks redemption, she must actively champion a public position on the reauthorization of VAWA and the Alaska Pilot Program. She should endorse Alaska Native Tribal Cultural Training for state agencies led by Alaska Natives or Native Organizations — and advocate for enhancements in public safety infrastructure, including statewide access to 911 emergency systems and broadband connectivity.

Rep. Vance, the time for empty apologies is over. To rectify the damage of your racist remarks, you must turn your remorse into tangible actions that uplift and protect Indigenous women, children and people. White women in your district require more than just words; we demand justice.

Bridget Maryott, settler on unceded Sugpiaq and Dena’ina lands

Fritz Creek

Dear Editor,

I would like to thank Tom Kizzia for his transparent journalistic exposure of who is representing the lower Kenai Peninsula: Sarah Vance.

I appreciate that he described Sarah in a true light as a confused conservative emphasizing her personal agenda. I agree with Tom that Sarah doesn’t seem to get it. Her behaviors and words demonstrate that she might have a habit of discriminating.

Sarah’s fears and tears demonstrate the lack of understanding she holds regarding discrimination, as she focuses on her personal agenda, which may not be the agenda of her constituents. Her life experiences have not educated her on the fact that she is a privileged white woman.

The Koch brothers cast a wide web of “evil that does not discriminate,” (if you can believe it), and Sarah is caught up in its spell. I empathize with her current learning curve. I sent her a trauma training link for white woman I thought she and her staff might benefit from to broaden their perspectives on their white privilege in Alaska and the USA.

I frequently accidentally call Sarah Vance by the other Sarah (we contended with in Alaska) last name. I hope Alaska and Homer can find a happy medium where the crunchy granola liberals can morph into or coexist with realistic, open-minded and tolerant conservatives like Gail Phillips was with “broad community roots.”

Alaska (and its political agendas) has morphed me after 40 years of living here, and I am still trying to figure out into what?

Meg Mitchell

Dear Editor,

The Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies (CACS) would like to thank the City of Homer for supporting local nonprofits through its grant program administered through the Homer Foundation. This annual support in the form of unrestricted funds helps to support the vital operations of nonprofits, especially since these types of funds are difficult to raise. This program was especially critical as we strive to meet the demand on our programs while keeping programs affordable and accessible to all.

CACS uses City of Homer grant funds to support free and reduced price after-school and community programs and our CoastWalk program. In 2023, we provided more scholarships and offered travel support to participants from communities across KBay.

This year, in an effort to meet the demand for day camp in our community, we introduced the Wynn Exploration Camp, a day camp for 10-12 year olds. We strive to offer scholarship options for all of our programs and explore the best ways to lighten the financial burden of child care for families in need.

Additionally, CoastWalk is conducted every fall and, last year we were able to clean many miles of beach, involve 462 volunteers and collect over 860 pounds of marine debris. This program, started in 1984, is an important stewardship activity for the Homer community.

We thank the City of Homer for their continuing support of nonprofits in Homer, all contributing to the important work being done to promote a healthy ecosystem, and an engaged and connected community.

Elizabeth Trowbridge, executive director

Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies

So you want to harbor an attacking spirit

I know in any community people won’t always agree. I believe debate, even vigorous debate is healthy. But what I’ve read in several letters to the editor over the past number of months attacking Rep. Sarah Vance is beyond anything good.

It doesn’t matter what Sarah says, it doesn’t matter how she says it, how many times she’s been right, if she means well, they’re going to attack her.

Is there a blessing for those people who chose to harbor a condemning, attacking spirit? Yes there is. May the Lord bless and keep them far from spiritual rest and peace. Perhaps if that occurs, they’ll grow weary and ask God to help them overcome that spirit. That’d be a blessing!

Leonard Miller