Letters to the editor

Girl Scouts appreciate Indian dinner fundraiser support

Girl Scout Troop 1935 would like to thank everyone who came out and supported us at our Indian Dinner Fundraiser on Feb. 9. Your gracious support will go a long way towards funding our trip to a leadership and service session in Pune, India. Homer is a great community, and we are forever grateful for your love and generosity.


Daisy Kettle, Girl Scout Troop 1935

Frescoes musicians grateful for help

Fireweed Academy’s Frescoes program would like to thank all of the participants, volunteers, and attendees at last week’s house concert fundraiser for such a successful event filled with wonderful music, delicious food, and generous community spirit. Fireweed Academy is a free, public charter school in downtown Homer. The school’s new Fireweed Frescoes program is modeled after Paul Banks Elementary School’s successful Preludes program as well as Juneau Alaska’s Music Matters program.

Frescoes is an instrumental violin program for Fireweed’s kindergarten through second grade students that aims to help our students become better learners and better citizens through music study and ensemble performance. Many people contributed to the success of last week’s event, which brought us one step closer to our 2018-2019 goal, including generous host Flo Larson; dedicated performers Daniel Perry, Susan Wingrove-Reed, and Mannfried Funk, as well as many parent volunteers, attendees, and donors.

Miranda Weiss

Dunleavy, Vance should take ownership of budget cuts

It is fitting that after declining interview requests by local newspapers and radio stations, Sarah Vance accepted an invitation by a right-wing radio jock from Wasilla. Responding to a softball question as to whether she buys into the alarmist cry that the sky is falling, Ms. Vance replied that “it is time to pay the piper,” and that if commissioners choose to slash and burn instead of making smart cuts, well, then, “it’s on them.”

This response is, at best, disingenuous. Those commissioners were appointed by Governor Dunleavy, who Vance championed and continues to champion. Furthermore, their budget authority has been centralized under the control of Dunleavy’s OMB Director Arduin, a woman who is not from Alaska, doesn’t know much about Alaska, and most likely doesn’t care much about Alaska. She’s just a number cruncher, and when she’s done crunching she’ll move on to another state. So when Alaska’s programs and services fall apart — and under Dunleavy’s budget they will — it will not be “on them” but instead directly on the governor, and by extension, on Sarah Vance and her like-minded legislative colleagues.

Marylou Burton

How long until CIA overthrows President Maduro?

How long before CIA covertly moves to remove duly elected Venezuelan chief ?

The irritation that goes along with the high price of gasoline, even for us oil rich Alaskans, is compounded only by multi-billion dollar quarterly profits for oil companies from America’s gas pumps, but also their independent enjoyment of the Trump tax cuts. Third world countries cannot survive a free market all the time. Poverty and lack of education under a free market will eventually leave them in such dire straits a demand for change of leadership will be called for, as has happened in Venezuela where president Nicolas Maduro has won.

How long, I wonder, before Trump’s CIA (as happened under Secretary of state Henry Kissinger and President Richard Nixon) covertly with the help of the Venezuelan secret police, moves to remove this new democratically elected Latin American president?

John A. Anderson

Troopers recover stolen property

I am thrilled to tell you that both the trailer and the snowmachine have been recovered, thanks to the efforts of the Alaska State Troopers, specifically Trooper Sergeant Cox. I also thank Claire Waxman at Homer Saw and Cycle, who was able to contact Polaris and obtain the serial number of the snowmachine, so it could be for certain identified. It was such a shock to have David’s shop broken into and the trailer stolen — our first loss since 1980, but, with a wonderful outcome. Thank you Sgt. Cox and Claire. And I also thank the Sno-Mads for getting out the word.

Milli Martin

Big Read a hit

I wanted to thank all the organizations and people who made the Big Read events over the past two months (January/February) possible.

Centered around the book “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?”(an illustrated memoir by author illustrator Roz Chast), the Big Read focused on aging, care, estate planning, health, memory and related subjects. The two months were filled with creative opportunities, including book discussions, writing, cartooning, topic plays and even a senior fashion show. All this culminated in sessions with the author Roz Chast, whose book the two months has been centered around as a topic prompt.

I know this involved many local volunteers as well as organizations. I was able to participate in many of the events and wanted to participate in even more. The ones I was able to attend were great and very informative.

Thanks to Friends of the Homer Library, the National Endowment for the Arts, Arts Midwest, Homer Bookstore, The Homer Foundation, attorney Lindsey Wolter, Homer Senior Center, Alzheimer’s Resource Center of Alaska, South Peninsula Hospital, Homer Council on the Arts, Alice’s Champagne Palace, Islands and Oceans Center, Kachemak Bay Campus and the staff at the Homer Library as well as group leaders at many of the events.

Michael E. Murray

Big Read was a success

I really want to congratulate the Friends of the Library and the Homer Public Library for two months of fabulous Big Read offerings around the book “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” by Roz Chast. There were 16 advertised events ranging from a Pub Chat about whether or not this format, of a graphic novel, is really literature, to a “Discussion on End of Life Care,” to a workshop on how to “Tell Your Story with Cartoons,”,to another on “Writing About Memory.” The series events perfectly culminating with the keynote address by Roz Chast, as she discussed her experiences moving through the dying process with both of her parents, the writing of this funny and poignant memoir, and some of her work since then.

This was a really rich contribution to our Homer community. The strong attendance indicates that the topic is timely as many Homerites came together to share to listen, learn and to share their perspectives and experiences in lively and creative discussions.

So thank you all so very much for all the work, time and intention you contributed to make this successful Big Read happen.

Kate Finn

Local campuses have far-reaching effects for small communities

The budget cuts Gov. Dunleavy proposes for the University of Alaska system could result in the closure of some or all of the University’s 13 community campuses. This would be a severe blow to these communities, which have little or no direct access to the main university campuses.

Homer is home to the Kachemak Bay Campus, part of the UA Anchorage network. KBC provides a wide variety of opportunities in Homer, including: • Marine technology programs that offer new job skills training and U.S. Coast Guard certified classes.

• GED preparation and testing for students interested in attaining their high school diploma equivalency.

• Two- and four-year degree programs for students looking to specialize in a particular field.

• Nursing and CNA programs that lead directly to jobs at South Peninsula Hospital, etc.

• Local interest classes for Homerites who want to learn more about our community’s history and ecology.

• High-caliber and caring faculty members dedicated to their students’ success.

• In addition, KBC provides a gathering place for groups and organizations, a place to meet or put on workshops, to exhibit local art, or to hear lectures from visiting writers and researchers.

Rural campuses are a huge part of our identity as a state. The impacts of our little campus reach far and wide in Homer. KBC offers students options to help them get better jobs, support their families, contribute to the larger community. This story is similar in all the other small communities throughout our state that house a UA extension campus.

Please join me in contacting our local and state representatives and reminding them about the ripple effects of allowing KBC to be closed. Balancing the state budget doesn’t necessitate closing schools. Our college is worth fighting for.

Jenny Rasche

Near-death experience can be profound, enlightening

It was interesting reading Kim Burrows’ last week’s letter on her NDE (Near-Death-Experience) from 40 years ago.

Neuroscience has evolved considerably since then, and now has developed an explanatory model based upon substantiated research data that goes kinda like this (I’m doing this from memory, so it’s approximate, but the info is readily available at the library or on-line): The human individual sense of self is a continuous construct built from an integration of several primary brain activities.

One involves memory traces laid down in the brain from genetic predispositions and previous experiences, including social nurturing. The other is formed from the continuous sensory input (hundred per second) from touch, sight, smell, hearing, kinesthetic, etc., that operate subconsciously and allow us to walk, talk, chew gum and react automatically to the physical world around us.

From all that input the billions of brain cells construct images that that the brain further reviews and refines into a sense of self that reflects those inputs. All of these events are processed chemically through interaction with the brain cell synapses. The end result is a subjective sense of “I think; therefore I am” (Descartes).

In a NDE the body is traumatized and most or all the sensory input is removed, losing connection with the physical world The confused brain rebuilds images from the instinctive parts of the brain and from memory traces which, in turn, are heavily modified by the morphine-type (dopamine) and feel-good natural chemicals (endrophins/serotonin) pouring in as a result of the trauma.

According to this theory the NDE is thus just as personally intense as an experience can be. Of course, this theory doesn’t deny the subjective “numiosity” significance of the NDE, which I understand can be profound.

In any case, welcome back to the world, Kim.

Larry Slone

Dunleavy’s budget shows lack of governor’s qualifications

Dear “Dark Money” Dunleavy,

At first I thought math was not your strong suit, but now I see you are also lacking much in the way of grasping basic social studies. Now that you have trotted out your budget, I wonder which one of the Koch brothers helped you write it? The quickest way to tank this state is to go down the path you are currently headed.

Or maybe that is the point? Then your rich, powerful friends can just walk in and help themselves to our resources. As someone who worked and lived in the Bush, you would have to be in a coma not to realize the depth of the pain you are currently proposing be visited on this state. You have quite frankly proved you don’t have the qualifications to run this great state. Based on this budget you should be removed from office. I wonder how your handlers would like that?

Maybe one of these days the people of this state will figure out that when someone is running for office and doesn’t have a stated plan, yet has limitless money for advertising, maybe it is a sign that outside interests are moving in to control the state.

Don’t worry, Dark Money Dunleavy: ,just do what your handlers tell you to do. You will be fine. Who cares about Alaska?

Mary Kirkpatrick-Fulbright

Thanks for Salon Series help

Homer Council on the Arts’ Salon Series wrapped up our six-week foray into exploring movement with a Tiny Dances performance that had a wildly diverse cast that developed pieces that moved everyone in the room, sometimes literally — like Saturday night when over 20 people got up on the stage to see how many it would hold.

Thanks to the Alaska State Council on the Arts, the Atwood Foundation, Ocean Shores, and Ravn Airlines for the support to bring such a diverse group of movers together. Most of all, I want to thank Momentum Dance Collective, Dotti Harness-Foster, Body Moves dancers, Tess Dally, Breezy Berryman, Polly Prindle-Hess, Craig Phillips and Steve Krauss for putting your heart and soul on the stage for us. Simon Lopez for your unwavering dedication to shedding just the right amount of light, my committed support team, Lynn Spence, Shari Daugherty, Sally Keene, Melanie Dufour, Susan Johnson, Nina Burkholder and LuAnne Nelson for your hospitality. This was one of those once in a lifetime, satisfying events I have produced here in Homer. Thank you all.

Peggy Paver, Executive Director

Homer Council on the Arts

Don’t re-appropriate police station funding

The city council is considering an ordinance to move money dedicated to the Police Station fund to a new proposal to bring a 16-bed men’s residential treatment center to Homer.

The city council previously directed $177,000 of state community assistance to the Police Station fund as an enticement for voters to approve the $5 million bond necessary for construction. We did.

During the 2019 budget process, the council approved an amendment to transfer $250,000 from the general fund to the police station:

“Rationale: As the number-one priority for the City of Homer, it is prudent to commit any extra resources to this project. Furthermore, by adding $250,000 of General Fund dollars to the project, the City can reduce the amount it bonds for from $5 to $4.75 million.”

Now, not even three months into the 2019 budget, with not even construction plans completed for the new police station, the council is considering re-appropriating at least $177,000 from the number-one priority for the city to a new project which did not have to compete with other funding requests during the budget process.

“Uncertainty still persists in Alaska’s economic future. Municipalities will be a target for cost shifting either directly by reducing Community Assistance funds and contracts for services or indirectly by a declining level of state services that in turn puts pressure on municipalities to pick up these state-initiated shortfalls.

“Every department has expressed a need to increase staffing under the strain that years of tight budgets have put on their capacity. The Public Works complex is aging; the City Hall roof needs replacing.” (Information taken from 2019 Homer Budget Document).

Please encourage the city council to defeat this re-appropriation of police station funding.

Mary Griswold