Letters to the Editor

Thanks due for a successful Shorebird fest

The 32nd annual Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival Festival filled the Alaska Maritime Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center and Homer lodgings, restaurants, art galleries, boats, trails, and bird-viewing places with happy, if occasionally cold and wet birdwatchers of all ages and abilities. Nearly 800 people registered for the Festival and nearly 900 came through the doors of the Visitor Center on Saturday, May 11, including both locals and visitors, some of them attending the event for the first time. There was something for everyone, from Junior Birders to Teen Birders to families to people of all birding and physical abilities. The birds showed up right on time. 141 species were seen, close to the Festival record of 143 in 2021. Our keynote speaker Ted Floyd celebrated local birds, especially the kittiwakes in the Harbor.

On behalf of the Friends of Alaska’s National Wildlife Refuges, one of the two event co-sponsors, I want to thank the staff of the other co-sponsor, the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, other financial supporters, the hard-working community partners on the Festival Steering Committee, the tour operators, and the volunteer speakers, guides, and instructors – especially those who devote additional time to educating people about birds as members of the Kachemak Bay Birders group. Thanks are also due to the slew of “behind-the-scenes” volunteers who showed up to set up for events, serve food at events like the Birder’s Coffee, and cheerfully meet, greet, and answer questions from Festival participants.

The Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival is Alaska’s largest bird festival and an outstanding opportunity for conservation education about birds, as well as a great way to kick off the visitor season in Kachemak Bay! The birds are now winging their way to Alaska’s 16 unique national wildlife refuges.

Marilyn Sigman

Board President, Friends of the Alaska National Wildlife Refuges

Making nursing dream possible

I just wanted to give a huge thank you to the Homer Foundation and all of those that support and donate to their causes. This fall I will be going into my final year of the nursing program through UAA/Kenai Peninsula College and was awarded a Healthcare Providers Scholarship. I am a lifelong Homer resident and have been working as a CNA since 2013, while raising my four children. Over the years I’ve worked full-time while raising my kids, taking prerequisites, and over this last year … completing the first year of the nursing program.

Receiving this scholarship helps pay for my schooling and provides me the ability to take some days off work, so I am able to keep up with a very full and demanding second year of nursing school. I have loved my work, providing care in this community over the years and am hopeful that I will get to continue on that path as a RN when I graduate. Fingers crossed! 😉 So, thank you again to those contributing to help make that possible!

Carrie Beach

Community helps get you where you’re going

My Name is Noah Spencer. I’m a 2024 graduate of Homer High School, and I am writing to give thanks for the generosity of our community. Growing up on the Alaskan coast and coming from a family that includes biologists and people who work in the fishing industry, I’ve been interested in marine science for a long time. My dream is to become a marine biologist; however, this journey hasn’t always been easy. As a person with autism spectrum disorder, I have faced many challenges during my school years, but with the help of my schools and teachers, along with the community of Homer, I have been able to get to where I am now. As such, I would like to take this opportunity to extend a thank you to them as well, the educators and community who worked tirelessly to help me succeed despite daunting odds.

Pursuing my dream of becoming a marine biologist is incredibly important to me, and an opportunity to advance my path toward working in it is not something I take for granted. I am honored to have been chosen as the lucky recipient of multiple scholarships. I recognize the immense honor of all these awards, and the momentous weight that comes with them. Some of them, like the Sutton James Miller and Mary Joyce Robinette memorial scholarships, as well as the Diane Wambach Shoot for the Stars scholarship, are in another person’s memory, and as such come with heavy expectations. I won’t waste or take for granted the generous gifts I’ve been given and will use them to push forward and reach my end goal. I am especially thrilled to have received the Fish and Wildlife scholarship and Homer Community Science scholarship, which are all in my specific field. I am honored to be a recipient of these science scholarships, and I won’t give up on trying to fulfill the scientific expectations given to me with these awards. I also want to thank our local Gear Shed (LFS) and Unit #16 American Legion Auxiliary for their amazing support. I was especially shocked and thankful to be awarded the winner of the HEX-Furie scholarship, the largest of my awards, contributed by our own local gas company. I also received a scholarship from the Homer Rotary, which I am incredibly grateful for.

My goal is to help protect the health of our environment with science, and these scholarships will help me take the steps necessary to achieve that. As a person coming from a middle-class family, affording the costs of even a state school can seem daunting when you don’t qualify for need based grants. The financial aid of these scholarships will help me achieve the next step on my educational journey and accelerate my path toward the career goals I have been working hard for. If not for these scholarships, I would be forced to take out significant student loans which could hamper my opportunities, and so I am incredibly grateful for this helpful financial aid, which will help me to become the scientist I want to be without burdening myself and my family. Thank you again to the Homer and Kenai Peninsula communities that give so much to our youth.

Noah Spencer

Senior Center appreciates community support

We would like to thank all of those that came out to support Homer Senior Center. The support that everyone has shown demonstrates a commitments to a bright future. We also appreciate the time along with the energy given by all who have served on the HSC Board past, present and future.

We are honored to be elected to serve on the Homer Senior Center Board. This is a position that is not taken lightly. We understand the vital role that HSC plays in the vibrancy of our community.

We are committed to working in partnership with the current staff, administration, residents and stakeholders. We will continue building towards our shared vision of a financially stable, inclusive and dynamic modern facility for all members of our community.

As we move forward, know that we welcome your input and participation.

Respectfully from the newly elected Executive Board,

Colleen James, President

Shirlie Gribble, Vice President

Jon Kulhanek, Secretary

Alana Greear, Treasurer

Thanks for bringing art to classrooms at Razdolna

The students and staff of Razdolna School feel very fortunate to have been able to participate in a weeklong Artist in the Schools Program through Bunnell Street Arts Center recently. Artist Sharlene Cline spent the week working with the three elementary classrooms, teaching various Chinese watercolor skills, and name-stamp-making. Sharlene not only brought her expertise, but she also brought supplies and tools that are not currently available at the school. This was a great hands-on opportunity for our students and we would like to thank Artist in Schools sponsor Bunnell Street Arts Center with support from the Alaska Legislature which funds Alaska State Council on the Arts, thus providing matching support from Rasmuson Foundation National Endowment for the Arts, Ulmers Drug and Hardware, Kenai Fine Arts Center and Kenai Peninsula Borough School District.

With much appreciation,

Joolee Aurand, Marilyn Duncan and Shilo McManus

Razdolna Elementary School

Tebughna thanks Bunnell for its Artist-in-Schools program

Tebughna School is writing to express its deepest gratitude for legislative support for funding that upholds the Bunnell Street Arts Center of Homer. As a result of this generosity, Tebughna students were able to participate in the Artist-in Schools Program with Graham ‘Gus’ Dane, an Anchorage- based painter, originally from the U.K. This program is made available through Bunnell Street Arts Center with support from the Alaska Legislature which funds Alaska State Council on the Arts, thus providing matching support from Rasmuson Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Ulmer’s Drug and Hardware, Kenai Fine Arts Center, and the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District.

The week long programming with Mr. Gus was an invaluable addition to our school. The students painted impressive self- portraits that showcased student expression, culture, and individuality of the whole child. Likewise, students participated in collaborative painting of landscape scenes of the natural surroundings and village life. Along with painting foundations, Mr. Gus taught students about colors and abstract representations, and students had the unique opportunity to engage with painting in ways that foster creativity, critical thinking, and a deeper appreciation for the arts.

Once again, thank you for your generous support and for believing in the value of arts education. Tebughna School is immensely grateful for making such programs possible that has made a lasting impression on their world.

Much gratitude,

Christy Gomez

Tebughna School Principal/Teacher