Letters to the Editor

Dear Homer Community,

Project GRAD’s CHILL time students of Razdolna, Voznesenka, K-Selo and Chapman would like to thank all of the generous donors and adult leaders who made CHILL’s SUMMER Thrills camp 2024 possible. Students were able to participate in four incredible events:

(1) FAMILY FUN Night at the SPARC for an active evening of soccer, floor hockey, scooter chases, 4-Square, games & snacks with friends & family; (2) A clay relief Art Project at HCOA with artist Krista Etzwiler, combined with Climbing the rock-wall at the Bay Club and a surprise stop at BUBBLES ice cream parlor; (3) Swimming at Kate Kuhns Aquatic Center with Park & Picnic fun at Karen Hornaday; (4) A Kachemak Bay sea kayak trip with True North Kayak Adventures, including a pre-trip exploration of the creatures of the dock with naturalist, Conrad Field.

Additionally, we’d like to thank: Fenya & Mr. Rob; Kane Graham; Kate Hartill; First Student/Apple bus drivers; & Francie Roberts. Every child who participated was able to learn new art techniques, build kayak strength, learn new games and meet friends. The staff, parents and students are incredibly grateful for the support of these opportunities for “hands-on” learning to celebrate the year and to kick off the summer!

CHILL (Creating Healthy Inclusive Learning Lifestyles) Time is an after-school program and each session includes four components: a snack, a PE recreation activity, a collaborative circle time, and an engaging hands-on activity in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts or Math (STEAM). Lessons tie in school topics with an emphasis on healthy life choices for kids and pre-teens. We look forward to another great program next year!

Have a terrific summer!


Shellie Worsfold (site coordinator), Aidan McMurrer, Renee Veldman, Karina Marette & The CHILL Time students

Celebrating the efforts of the PTA

As the school year winds to a close, I am thinking about all that we have to celebrate at Paul Banks. One of those celebrations is our PTA. Over the course of the year, they have contributed so much to our school. They have been instrumental in supporting the growth of our outdoor classroom and by extension outdoor learning. Their fundraising and organizational efforts created daily after school programs, a new sign for our school, and new mats for our PE program. Their efforts to support literacy have been tremendous, for which they received recognition as an Alaska Reading Ambassador from the state. They hosted our annual Book Fair, created our Parent University series and volunteered countless hours in our classrooms and school. Their efforts make a difference, and we so appreciate them.

Being an educator in Homer has been and continues to be an honor. What has always stood out to me is the dedication of our community and of our families to our students’ education. Paul Banks’s PTA is emblematic of this dedication and commitment. Thank you for all that you do.

Sean Campbell

Paul Banks Elementary School Principal

Scholarships help create foundation for future education

I am so thankful for being selected as the recipient of the Southern Kenai Peninsula Community Scholarship, the Marilyn Wythe Believe in Yourself Scholarship, the Drew Scalzi Memorial Maritime Scholarship, and the Drew Brown Memorial Scholarship. Being granted these scholarships will create a concrete foundation of my future education. Applying for scholarships in general was something that I knew was a necessity for going to college, but applying to local scholarships was something I was excited about. Seeing familiar names and stories about the scholarships really encouraged me to apply. For instance, Drew Brown was someone I remember from my youth, as he was a teammate who played sports with my two of my brothers. And the Drew Scalzi Memorial Maritime Scholarship was a scholarship I strived for because it has been awarded to two of my sisters. Overall, I felt a sense of familiarity when reading and applying to the Homer Foundation scholarships.

When I became aware of the fact that a college fund was not something that I had, I was scared. Going out of state for college was something I wanted to experience since I was young, and I was scared that it wouldn’t be accessible because of the cost. Applying for scholarships has not only made me feel more secure in my ability to pay for college, but it has also allowed me to feel more comfortable writing about my personal experiences. Applying for scholarships is a journey in itself, and I believe that everyone needs to experience it.

I was fortunate enough to be granted four of the Homer Foundation scholarships offered, and that cannot be said to the majority of students who applied. To that I say thank you to the Homer Foundation. Thank you for reading what I have to say and understanding what I need in order to succeed in my future. Thank you for hearing my story.

Minadora Reutov

Shorebird Festival a success

A huge thank you to everyone who participated in the 32nd Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival May 8-12! This year was a huge success with over 900 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, keeping track of birds, working as door attendants, carrying scopes, preparing craft materials, and more. Over 52 volunteers and over 280 hours were donated by local volunteers. Thank you to our local tour operators, vendors, donors, sponsors, and businesses who participate with the festival. A huge thank you to our keynote speaker Ted Floyd and festival artist Torie Rhyan. We look forward to everyone’s participation next year!

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

Thanks for making a magical evening to support KBFPC

On a recent sunny Tuesday, a crowd of 200 people filled Alice’s Champagne Palace to enjoy the soulful tunes of reggae artist Clinton Fearon, whose distinct voice was accompanied only by his melodic acoustic guitar playing, and to support access to reproductive health care on the Kenai Peninsula. The intimate evening offered beautiful music, community connection, dancing, and raised funds for Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic’s services and community education programs.

KBFPC’s clinic staff provide reproductive health care for everyone, regardless of their insurance status or their ability to pay, because healthy individuals strengthen our entire community. The event raised more than $14,000 for KBFPC, which equates to the cost of annual wellness visits (with breast and cervical cancer screening, birth control consultation, and syphilis or other STI testing if desired) for at least 36 people.

Our sincere gratitude to Clinton and his wife Catherine, and Alice’s Champagne Palace for this event; and thank you to the many businesses and individuals who donated auction items, to the event goers and auction bidders, and to community volunteers who make magical evenings like this possible.

On behalf of KBFPC’s Board of Directors and staff,

Claudia Haines, CEO

Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic

Artist lives on in memorial bench

For more than a year, Homer artist and longtime community member Brad Hughes worked on the Loved & Lost memorial bench, rendering a grieving family’s vision and mission into art with patience, sensitivity, and intuition. His talent, creativity, and passion for this memorial live on in the beauty he created in each and every sculpted form and the bench as a whole. It also lives on with those of us blessed to work alongside him and witness his dedication in molding clay into meaning through moments of both sorrow and joy. If you have not or not recently stopped by the bench, you can see it outside the Homer Public Library. Detailed information about the bench is available inside the library’s front doors.

Thank you, Brad, for your humor, compassion and immense talent. You will be so missed by so many.

Christina Whiting

Loved & Lost memorial bench project manager

Food bank appreciates community support

On behalf of the Homer Community Food Pantry board of directors, volunteers and clients, I’d like to extend our sincere appreciation for some very generous grants and donations.

With ongoing inflation, we have seen a significant increase in the need in our community due to the higher cost of food, rent, and utilities. We are currently serving more than 160 families on a weekly basis, an increase of about 20% over last year. Clearly more families are struggling which has placed stress on our available funds to meet the needs of our most vulnerable.

To the City of Homer in partnership with The Homer Foundation, thank you for your unending support of the Food Pantry. Your award of $4,170 will be instrumental in providing consistency for our clients as we assist them while they navigate through this difficult time.

To Fat Olive’s and Two Sisters, you have no idea how the simple gift of weekly fresh vegetables and bread fulfills such basic needs among our clients. You all are the best, thank you for your support!

Thank you also to Northrim Bank for their generous donation of $5,000 presented at their Homer Branch grand opening back in March.

And to our community donors, your unwavering support is magical!

To all of you, a heartwarming thanks from all of us at the Food Pantry! We are so fortunate to live in such a caring community.

Cinda Martin

Homer Community Food Pantry Treasurer

Thanks for supporting the largest and longest running writers’ conference in Alaska

Each year for the past 23 years (skipping only once), writers have converged in Homer from around Alaska and the Lower-48 for the Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference. For four days, award-winning writers teach and inspire the participants of the conference. Those instructors are also inspired, not only by the participants but by Homer itself. For several nights during the conference, members of the community join in, attending free readings and leaving inspired.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of the hospitality folks from places of lodging, restaurants, stores, and more for being so lovely and supportive of the writers while they are visiting Homer. I’d also like to thank the incredible staff, faculty, and administration of the Kachemak Bay Campus of the Kenai Peninsula College who make it possible for us to show off this beautiful place we live and the beautiful campus right downtown. Throw in the support of the Homer News, KBBI, the Atwood Foundation, and the Aspen Suites Hotel, and you can see why I am so grateful for our wonderful community.

In the past 23 years, the conference has only raised its registration fee twice. That’s quite a feat! We depend on the generosity of donors who help us bridge the gap between what is earned through registration and what is needed to support such a world-class faculty. I’d like to acknowledge and thank these donors from the bottom of my heart. They are each listed on the conference’s website.

The writers who take part in the conference leave with increased skill to tell their stories. A diversity of stories makes our whole culture richer and more interesting. Thank you to everyone involved for their support in hosting the largest and longest running writers’ conference in Alaska. We couldn’t do it without you!

Erin Coughlin Hollowell

Director of the Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference

Ready for 8 weeks of literary fun!

Summer@HPL (Homer Public Library) 2024 has begun. A special thank you goes out to the Willow Fund through the Homer Foundation for awarding Friends of the Homer Public Library a Quick Grant of $5,000 in support of the Read, Renew, Repeat Summer@HPL 2024 reading and learning program. The Read, Renew, Repeat theme incorporates literacy, conservation, environmentalism and recuperation. The Homer Public Library staff have planned over 45+ free events to inspire families to read and learn together as well as highlight ways our community can be good stewards of our environment. The Summer Reading Challenge and Activities will run from June 1-July 27. Programs for children, tweens and teens will include an art club using recycled materials, yoga sessions for tweens and teens, puppet making and show, upcycling old fabric to create new things, coding, movies, a sign language club, learning about bees, a kids’ gardening club, Stories and Adventures on the StoryWalk® Trail in collaboration with Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies, a performance by Alaskan guest fiddler/poet/storyteller and more! To learn more, go to https://www.cityofhomer-ak.gov/library/summer-hpl-2024

Thank you also to the generous 50-plus donors who sponsored a reader for the summer. We could not provide this quality programing for free to so many of our youngest readers and learners without your contributions.

We are grateful for the opportunity to support children’s summer programming which will enhance the arts, literacy, and learning at our Homer Public Library.

Cheryl Illg, Coordinator

Friends of the Homer Library

Thank you, Spring Book & Plant Sale volunteers!

The Friends’ Spring Book & Plant Sale was a very busy, fun and successful event. The community loves this event, and with it falling on Shorebird Festival Weekend it even brought in some “new” friends to the library. The Friday night “Members Only” preview sale had members arriving with bags to fill. Saturday started with shoppers lined up waiting at 10 a.m. for the Library to open. I saw more than a few people shopping both days! We love this event because it puts books into people’s hands, helping us further our mission to encourage lifelong learning while raising funds to support Library programs and services. Even though the Book & Plant Sale only happens twice a year, don’t forget you can still get great used books at the Friends’ on-going used book sale displayed along the runway to the living room area at the Homer Public Library.

For each sale we collect, move, organize, and sell a phenomenal number of books—and plants too! Our Spring Book & Plant Sale was no exception. It’s an “all-hands-on-deck” event for the Friends’ Board Members, but we certainly could not have done it without our amazing community of supporters, book donors, and volunteers. Thanks to all of you, and a HUGE thank you to this year’s boots-on-the-ground volunteers: Marylou Burton, Eric Fenger, Barb Veek, Michael McKinney, Bobby Copeland-McKinney, David Lewis, McKenna Black, Cecelia Fitzpatrick, Jane Miles, Lolita Brache, Barbara Haynes, Deb Curtis, Carter Davis, Daniel Christ, Doug Baily, Landa Baily, Milli Martin, Annie Williams, Joleene Hooker, and Karen McRae,

Thank You All!!!

Joy Steward, volunteer coordinator

FHL Spring Book & Plant Sale