Letters to the editor

Artist helped students learn life skills

Recently the students of West Homer Elementary were fortunate to host Homer artist and retired teacher Debbie Piper for an Artist in Schools residency. During her time there, students created numerous works of art, including painted abstract sculptures made from coat hangers and pantyhose, ceramic animal sculptures, hanging mobiles of metal foil in the style of Alexander Calder, and paper mache sculptures of people engaged in a favorite activity. Additionally each child and staff member created textured ceramic tiles, which were glazed and fired for a permanent community mural titled by the students “The Orca’s Splash.”

Throughout the residency, Debbie guided the students to learn important life skills as they made their sculptures. Making these sculptures was a perfect opportunity for students to let their creativity shine. Although we focused on understanding the creative process, we were also able to validate other valuable skills students practiced like persistence, striving for accuracy, and learning from mistakes.

Without the support from the Alaska State Council on the Arts, Rasmuson Foundation, Alaska USA FCU, Ulmer’s Drug and Hardware, Kenai Fine Arts Center, and community fundraising who partner with Bunnell Street Arts Center to sponsor our Artist in the School programs, these experiences wouldn’t be possible. We’d also like to thank private donors Debbie and Chuck Piper, April Rhodes, Melon Purcell, Kay Bunnell, Phaedra Bennett, and Dave and Linda Etzwiler for their generous donations of time and material which helped make it possible.

On behalf of the students and staff of WHE, we are truly grateful for these opportunities that broaden our experiences and enrich our lives. Thank you. It was a whale of a job, but we had a tail-flippin’ good time.

Krista Etzwiler, Artist in the Schools Coordinator

Citizens should pay to support infrastructure, services

Regarding our proposed budget which is creating a social calamity:

In the early 1970s we were smarter, more fiscally astute in some regards. We believed that taxes worked like a savings account. At that time we paid state income tax, and every worker paid $10 a year toward public education in Alaska. We understood that it was good for our economy to have well-educated citizens. They are more likely to be financially independent and socially responsible.

Ten dollars in 1970 translates to $65 in 2019, round up to $100, per worker toward public education. During the worst of times, elders and children are our greatest asset, our most significant investment. Everyone who is employed in Alaska should pay state income tax. It’s their choice to live somewhere else; however, the resources are here and we all need to support our infrastructure: Education, Health, Transportation, and Safety.

Thank you for the dedicated work you do on behalf of our community.

Sincerely,

Deborah Poore

Let governor do his job

Obstructionists to the new governor, get out of his way and let him do his job, please.

The PFD is an exchange for my mineral rights on three pieces of property we own.

It’s not rational to reward sub-par performances from this state when it comes to educating our children. The education union is wanting my money to subsidize their jobs. No, thank you.

Please let the governor repay the citizens.

Sincerely,

Jim Gilmore, Seward

Vance video was condescending

To all Homer Youth,

This is my response to the video that Rep. Vance recently posted on Facebook regarding the postcards that were written to her by Homer High School students. I would like to encourage you all to open up lines of communication with our representatives.

Dear Rep. Vance,

I recently viewed your video on Facebook concerning the letters that were sent to you by Homer High School students. Thank you for taking the time to read these letters and respond to them on a public platform. I think that it is very important for high school students to realize that they have a say in what is going on in their government,and to take every opportunity that we are given to speak out and make our voices be heard to the people that represent us in our government. However, I found the way you responded to those letters very misleading. The manner in which you singled certain letters out and remarked on the writing skills of the individuals by questioning their quality of education seemed very condescending. I would like to remind you that a large variety of people wrote these letters, people with a range of writing skills. You represent each and every student at the Homer High school regardless of whether or not they can write a formal letter, and their voice should be heard and appreciated. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Zoe Stonorov

Vance ‘weaponized’ student letters

An open letter to Rep. Sarah Vance:

I found your March 6 Facebook video regarding the postcards sent by Homer High School students to have factual misconceptions and use students as a political weapon.

You implied that the postcards were “initiated by the high school” staff, but they were actually “initiated” and paid for by the student council, which can allocate funds as they see fit. Postcard-writing took place during a pep assembly, which falls within student council powers. The budget information presented was neutral and it was made clear that the school was not taking a stance, but rather allowing students to make their own decisions. The only role the administration had in this was supporting the students to participate in democracy, a goal you appear to support only in theory. Another misconception was the reference to economics class, showing how truly disconnected you are from Homer schools, as HHS lacks an economics class due to insufficient funding.

Handpicking less eloquent letters to create a false perception of HHS students is misleading to students and the public. Furthermore, to publicly ridicule these students is callous and unprofessional. Understandably, you may have felt some letters were disrespectful, but that by no means gives you the right to belittle students making their voices heard. What angers me and others the most, though, was your weaponization of these letters to further your political agenda. You, our elected representative, mocked students and their postcard-writing abilities to further your anti-tax, budget-cutting agenda. You have unabashedly attacked Homer’s youth and disregarded their ideas under the guise of “loving us enough to tell us the truth” that our written concerns aren’t good enough.

I would urge you to work with HHS to learn what happens there, and to work with staff to help reduce any waste and prepare us to be contributing citizens.

I look forward to your response.

Larry Dunn

Another snowmachine taken from Skyline Drive area

Attemtion: Skiers of the Lookout Mountain Trails

Sunday, March 3, someone walked down to the creek crossing from the water tank on Skyline Drive (just east of my house) and got the stuck snowmachine out of the hole, where it had safely resided the past month, and drove it to the tank, where they loaded it and took it. In other words, they stole it. It is a blue, older model Polaris Starlight, with single cylinder and reverse gear. If anyone driving by saw a vehicle parked at the water tank, please call me.

Likewise, two people skied the trail to my house, from Milli’s Loop, and skied around my driveway to Skyline where they were picked up. I would appreciate if they would call me at 907-235-6652.

When it rains it pours. First the other two snowmachines were stolen and recovered, and now this.

Thanks,

Milli Martin

National Honor Society appreciates Trivia Night support

To all of the community members that attended Homer High School’s National Honor Society Trivia Night, we thank you for your participation and support. With the money that we raised, we can cover not only the entrance fee for all of our members, but we also raised enough to donate to Haven House. It is incredibly meaningful that this community is willing to take time out of their busy schedules to come play trivia, bet on desserts and donations from local businesses, and eat delicious snacks provided by our members. We are incredibly grateful for your generosity.

Sincerely,

Ruby Allen, for the Homer High School National Honor Society

Thanks to the Homer Foundation for emergency supplies

Razdolna School would like to send their appreciations to the Homer Foundation for their partnership in the development of school Emergency Packet Supplies. Your funding has improved our school’s ability to respond effectively to emergency situations, which in return creates a safer learning environment for children in the community. Each classroom now has an emergency waterproof, dry backpack complete with supplies and resources that enhance our teacher’s ability to keep students safe both indoors and outdoors. We appreciate your generous support, and will forever be grateful.

Greg Melvin, Razdolna School Principal

Homer Foundation supported Bunnell decolonization talk

Bunnell Street Arts Center celebrates the support of community partners in the Kenai Peninsula Resilience Coalition to and the Homer Foundation in helping us to present Dr. Michael Yellow Bird, a leading visionary on the subject of decolonization, for a community talk and workshops at the end of January. Dr. Michael Yellow Bird is a Professor of Sociology and the Director of Indigenous Tribal Studies at North Dakota State University. He is a citizen of the Three Affiliated Tribes, (Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara). His teaching, writing, research, professional presentations, and community work focus on Indigenous Peoples health; the effects of colonization and methods of decolonization; neurodecolonization and mindfulness approaches; neuroscience, microbiome science, genetic science and Indigenous Peoples; and ancestral lifestyles.

Homer Foundation’s Willow Fund grant was matched by generous support from Seldovia Village Tribe and Haven House, Homer United Methodist Church, Cook Inlet Keeper and private donors who shared in travel costs with Fairbanks Resilience Coalition, which picked up his travel from Homer to Fairbanks and back to Fargo. We had intended to present this talk at Islands and Ocean, but could not due to the government shutdown. Thankfully, Homer United Methodist Church welcomed this talk and workshop.

This project attracted widespread community support and engaged diverse organizations and individuals in healthcare, education and the arts to learning and discuss how to provide better trauma-informed care. We are truly invigorated by the amount of interest, generosity and participation in this program.. Certainly, the leadership role of Homer’s MAPP Coordinator and Kenai Peninsula Resilience Coalition leader, Hannah Gustafson was central to the success of this project. As we move forward to promote cultural competency, sensitivity and strength within our community, we are excited to work inclusively and collaboratively.

Sincerely,

Asia Freeman, Artistic Director, Bunnell Street Arts Center

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