Letters to the Editor

We are not ‘just’ teachers

Thank you, Homer High School students for making your views about education funding loud and clear. Here are some more thoughts to follow up on their views.

I am just a retired teacher. Did you get the word “just?” I heard that from someone about a week and a half ago say, “Oh, I was just a school teacher.”

And you know how I responded? Just? There are no “justs.” The world’s best, nicest, most important, jolliest, friendliest to all, and truly the movers are our teachers! They are not “justs.”

DKG (Delta Kappa Gamma) is our reminder how super we are and were. We knew more children than anyone else in the community! We cared for more children than anyone else in the community. Then we shifted plans for the next day, reviewed the lesson material, adjusted it to meet the needs of those 35 students we’d see all at once, stayed to correct papers, write notes to ourselves and/or to students, make a phone call to a parent (or an email), sighed in reviewing the day, smiled a goodnight to the teacher in the next room who was also sighing and maybe we even prayed for tomorrow as we closed the door of our classroom while encouraging ourselves.

Just? It takes nerve to be a “just!”

We closed the room for the night, gave a tired smile and a nod to another teacher who was packing up the day, and, and, and, and, and then we had supper to make, dishes to do, check in with the kids, personal kids including our partner, throw laundry in the washing machine, take out the meat for tomorrow’s supper, write some notes that begin with “remember to…” and check on the dog or cat, grade the rest of the papers, pick up the newspaper, put its pages back together, sigh again, and begin the slow walk (too tired to move faster) to the bathroom/bedroom/nighttime sleep. While passing our flower plant on the way to the bedroom, we make a promise to give it attention and a good drink of water, tomorrow.

Whew! Just? Just a teacher? And these are our wonderful teachers, that our representative refused to support; she rather supported a governor, who has forgotten who he represents, as has she.

As I told my sister who visited from Minnesota, not only are our teachers among the lowest paid in the country, but no decent retirement program. Her question, why would they bother to come to Alaska? Soon that will hit home.

Milli Martin

A member of DKG, a wonderful group of teachers, whom I greatly admire

Gun safety is not a violation of gun rights

Two House gun safety bills were presented to our legislators in the last session. Both have been waiting since last April/May for a go-ahead to be heard by the House Judicial Committee. A Senate gun safety bill was presented in February and is waiting to be heard by the Senate State Affairs committee.

In the meantime, a Senate bill was introduced and readily heard in March that would require public schools to have armed school personnel and/or volunteers on school premises. Note that Anchorage schools already have public safety officers that patrol their schools. Public testimony, live and written was allowed. Most written testimony opposed this action; many of those comments preferred seeing gun safety laws enacted.

HB 162/SB 229 are Gun Violence Protective Orders. It is an extreme risk law that allows a peace officer or household member to petition a court to temporarily remove guns from someone who poses an immediate threat to themselves or others.

HB 164, Alaska Child Access Prevention and Secure Storage of Firearms Act, would require a gun owner to store their gun(s) in a locked container or with a gun lock or other means that would prevent access from a person under 18 or a person who is prohibited from having a gun.

These bills intend to curb unintentional gun deaths/injuries, gun suicides and homicides, particularly among youth. As reported by Alaska’s Department of Health 2019 Biannual Youth Risk Behavior Survey, almost 50% of Alaska high school students report having access to a loaded gun. Over 25% of these students say they had seriously considered suicide in the previous year.

In Alaska anyone over the age of 18 can own a gun, no permits or safety education are required. Our state is dependent on hunting; permits and regulations are in place for hunters. Our state is also very guarded of their Second Amendment right to own a gun. Gun safety laws do not infringe on hunting or owning a gun. It is past time for our legislators to take steps to protect our youth from gun violence. Write your representative and ask when these bills will at least be heard in the House Judicial Committee, which would allow for public testimony and comment.

Therese Lewandowski


Democrats stand for principles

Hello, Southern Peninsula, HD 06! We know there are many of us down here who really don’t like today’s political landscape, and the choice to be nonpartisanship seems right. Just let the two parties battle it out and not be party people. We get it. But please think about volunteering, registering (re-registering) Democrat and join the effort to promote a fair and just society that believes in Democratic values.

Being a Democrat is about more than just a political label; it’s about standing for principles that prioritize the well-being of all individuals, regardless of their background or circumstances. I assure you most of us believe in Democratic values and the party has resources to help elect Democrats and other candidates. Alaska Democrats promote the following core values: 1) Empathy 2) Truth 3) Equity 4) Service 5) Progress 6) Responsibility and 7) Ethics. (www.Alaskademocrats.org)

Your next opportunity to get involved in our democratic process is the virtual caucus on April 13, where we will be voting on the presidential race and conducting an organizational meeting with the Gulf Coast Democrats. This district needs to elect a new chair and other officers. A great time to jump in and organize with us.

It’s down to the wire, friends, whether the Southern Peninsula Democrats stay viable or not. We either re-energize our Southern Peninsula Democrats, or this district will go dark. It’s that serious. I know the countless hours all the groups put in around Homer, and I know we are all too busy. However, the Southern Peninsula Democrats cannot exist without local support; it’s up to us. Everyone is invited and welcome. Anyone interested in attending the caucus or participating in the Democratic Party please send me an email at erbechtol@gmail.com.

Eileen Bechtol

Animal Friends extends thanks

The City of Homer Fund at the Homer Foundation is batting a thousand or should we say 1,500?

Homer Animal Friends would like to express our appreciation for the $1,500 grant that we have recently been awarded from the City of Homer Fund at the Homer Foundation. Our project is once again spays and neuters, but for this particular grant request, all of the funds will be used within Homer’s city limits. And what better way to make sure that it stays local than to help cover spays and neuters at the Homer Animal Shelter! Thank you again, every grant or donation helps achieve our proactive goal of fewer unwanted puppies and kittens by way of spays and neuters and in this case, helps the Homer Animal Shelter at the same time.

Debbie Dauphinais

HAF Board Member

Book Walking

In response to the outrage and protests after someone in Sweden intentionally stepped on a copy of the Quran, maybe we should form a “book club” that, at annual meetings, gathers copies of the Bible, Torah, Quran, I Ching, Book of the Dead, the Vedas, Guru Granth Sahib, The Upanishads, The Pali Canon (that’s a truck load), Agamas, The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, The Avesta, and Kojiki. Making sure our bases are covered, let’s throw in Darwin’s Origin of Species and a hundred books by existential philosophers such as Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Camus. With all those books gathered, we could create a path made of “stepping books” leading to The Shrine of Not Taking Yourself So Seriously.

After this counter-demonstration we could pick up the books, dust them off and put them back on the shelf, remaining available to be read and appreciated for what they’re worth.

Cal Schmidt