Letters to the editor

Grateful to foundation for scholarship

I feel blessed to have grown up in Homer, surrounded by such a loving and supportive community. I cannot wait to take the skills and lessons I have learned and apply them to my life at college.

I am extremely honored to have been selected for the Nikki Geragotelis (Fry) Memorial Scholarship at the Homer Foundation. Growing up with my parents who coached Nikki and her sister Jazzi, I heard many stories of Nikki and her infectious spirit. When I was gifted the middle name Jazzi, I knew I would be carrying on the “Fry” spirit and strived to be just like them in my academic, athletic and everyday life.

Thank you for your generous donation to my future. I am so excited to start my new adventure at Colorado State University, studying journalism with a concentration in public relations. I will work to spread the positive energy Nikki possessed through my writing and interactions with others.

Once again, thank you for selecting me for this scholarship as it means more to me than you know.

Rylyn Jazzi Todd

Ulmer’s helps us color our world

Homer Council on the Arts would like to thank Ulmer’s Drug and Hardware for donating paint for our upcoming community mural project to take place on June 7, during the Mary Epperson Day Celebration from 4-7 p.m. Each year we celebrate Mary’s life and legacy by engaging our community in an art project and gather to honor special individuals that have contributed their time and talent to enhancing the beauty that surrounds us. This year we are really looking forward to bringing to life two murals guided by the artistic vision of Carla Cope and Sarah Banks. Join us in the fun as we paint, listen to great music, and celebrate all things art. Thank you, Ulmer’s.

Peggy Paver, Executive Director, Homer Council on the Arts

Grateful to foundation for scholarship

I would like to thank the Ptarmigan Visual Arts Scholarship Fund for awarding me with a scholarship to continue my passion for ceramics in college. Also, I would like to thank the Homer Community Science Scholarship for their grant which will help me cover some costs at the University of Jamestown.

These two scholarships from the Homer Foundation will help me start my journey to a major in environmental conservation and policy at the University of Jamestown in North Dakota. I plan on returning to Homer to do everything that I can in order to preserve our beautiful environment once I am done studying.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Anna Brock

More gratitude to foundation

As this year’s recipient of The Homer Foundation’s Health Care Providers Scholarship, I would like to thank the Foundation, the scholarship committee, and the many donors who have contributed to this fund over the years for their generous financial support and ongoing commitment to the development of aspiring healthcare providers of the lower Kenai Peninsula. I am deeply passionate about mental health care and excited to be continuing my nursing education with their award. The Foundation’s investment in the academic and professional dreams of our community is part of what makes living in (and in my particular case, returning to) Homer so special.

Mackenzie Callis

Community made festival a success

The Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival is incredibly grateful to the entire Homer community for helping make our 27th annual fFestival a success. Homer is a truly an extraordinary place: We are host to one of the most magnificent displays of migrating shorebirds, and more importantly, we are home to incredible people and businesses who support and value our local community. It is because of you that the Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival exists and continues to flourish after 27 years.

On behalf of the Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges, and our partner, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, we’d like to recognize our major sponsors: The Homer News, Cook Inletkeeper, Land’s End Resort, The Homer Chamber of Commerce, Ulmer’s, Alaska Audubon, and Homer Stay and Play.

And a special thank you to our main sponsor, the World Wildlife Fund, for continuing to support our Festival and recognizing our mutually beneficial work in connecting people to wildlife. Thank you.

Above all, we want to thank the over 80 volunteers (and our amazing Volunteer Coordinator) without whom this Festival would not be possible. To those of you who expertly guided birding trips, collected tickets, donated artwork and auction items, hung up signs, delivered programs or stood in the wind, rain (and sun!) to help identify birds: Thank you!

We are so humbled by the outpouring of community support for the festival. Your enthusiasm, hard work and care have created a truly amazing event as only Homer can produce. So, mark your calendar for next year’s Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival, May 7-10, 2020.

On behalf of the Festival Planning Committee, we are incredibly grateful to our entire Homer community.

Mallory Primm, Festival Coordinator, Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges

Be cautious about water expansion

Should Homer provide piped water outside city limits?

It’s a long-standing question — allowing access to City of Homer water to property owners in Kachemak City along the existing water main that runs down East End Road. At first, the arguments sound OK: the water is there anyway, it would add customers to the utility service, why not? Here is why I am strongly opposed to allowing piped water access to non-city properties.

I strongly support good planning and development within the city. Increased density provides the population and business base that supports strong services like fire, police, library, parks, roads and sidewalks.

The City of Homer-Kachemak City boundary runs along East End Road. There are many undeveloped and underdeveloped lots along both sides. While the Kachemak City properties enjoy certain benefits by agreements between the cities (i.e. fire protection and sewer service), they currently do not have access to piped city water (with one new and one old exception).

When considering developing a property, there’s a world of difference between piped and bulk water delivery, and piped water is a major benefit to any property. If we were to proceed, extending water service to the Kachemak City side of the road would create a direct incentive to develop outside of the City of Homer. If you are a developer looking to build, and if piped water is equally available, why would you ever build on the Homer side if — by just going to the other side of the road — you can enjoy the same services without paying property or sales taxes? As a member of the Homer City Council, I cannot support directly incentivizing development outside of our City limits.

We’ll be discussing this issue at council at our next worksession at 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 28. I hope you’ll come and share your thoughts.

Rachel Lord

Clean up junk vehicles

This is a portion of a letter I wrote to Rep. Sarah Vance.

She did not reply or acknowledge.

Today I drove from my home near Nikolaevsk to Anchor Point, a trip of only about 16 miles. On that stretch of road ( mostly North Fork road) I counted 82 junk cars on people’s property. This was just an informal count and at normal driving speed. I’m sure that number could easily double or triple as I only counted cars easily seen from the road and only cars that are clearly derelict. I did not count businesses, construction equipment or trailers.

I think it’s time to start a conversation about this growing problem. Alaska should be better than this. Maybe an increase in registration fees that are refundable upon salvage or a buy back program. Maybe the borough needs to get more aggressive with ordinances and building codes (another sore spot). But this problem will only get exponentially worse by ignoring it. This is a small 16-mile stretch of road but it is typical all across the state.

I’m all for personal freedom and the freedom of government intrusion, but Alaska can’t be a refuge for the socially irresponsible.

I grew up in farm country of Iowa. Every farm had an area of junk but most had pride in their land and kept the junk to a reasonable amount and hid the junk from view.

Alaska is the most beautiful state but one of the ugliest from the road near any civilization.

It’s a touchy subject, I know, but I think it’s an important one for us to overcome to grow as a state , to be a state that someone wants to come to work, prosper and raise families. Not to live irresponsibly and turn Alaska into a third world trash heap.

Scott Van Hoozer, Nikolaevsk

No on Pebble Mine

The public comment period concerning the Pebble Mine will be ending soon and I just want to let it be known that I, Kim Burrows, am totally against it. The creation of the Pebble Mine will only open the door for other mega mines throughout Alaska.

Let me be perfectly clear. The inevitability of the erosion of the earthen dam over the years, compounded by the fact that the Pebble Mine will sit on an actual fault line in a state that is known for its earthquakes shows the absurdity of the proposal itself. The destruction of the dam will allow a multitude of toxins to seep into the surrounding water table, nearby streams, rivers, and lakes, eventually flowing into the Bristol Bay itself killing off the last major salmon habitat in the world and destroying a vital wild-protein food system that feeds this world.

Although the Bristol Bay is only a small microcosm of earth’s vast oceans, it is imperative we remember that all our seas and oceans are interconnected. Radioactive waste is still seeping into the Pacific Ocean from Fukushima. Add seepage from the Pebble Mine and the Pacific Ocean will become a toxic quagmire. And, as everyone should remember from their eighth-grade biology class: we kill the oceans, we kill ourselves.

For those of you who think the Pebble Mine will bring jobs to Alaska, I would remind you of the number of construction projects in Homer alone for which out-of-state contractors were hired…contractors who brought in their own employees from outside…employees and companies who took their profits with them when they left the state. Northern Dynasty Minerals, Ltd. is the Canadian company that owns the Pebble Limited Partnership. When they leave the state, not only will they be taking all their profits from Pebble Mine, but they will be leaving us, the people of Alasks, with the toxic mess of an abandoned open-pit mine.

I believe that the Pebble Mine is only another example of predatory capitalism that is engulfing our planet. I just have one question for those of you in support of the construction of the Pebble Mine. What are you, stupid?

Sincerely,

Kimberly Burrows

Homer High School students thank Bay Welding for tour of shop

On May 7 approximately 30 Homer High School students and staff took a tour of Bay Welding Services’ facility. Among those participating were students of Homer High welding classes and the Homer Marine Trades Association FOL Program. Bay Welding showed us all the stages of their boat building process, from the first cuts of aluminum to the vinyl lettering as the vessels are getting ready to head out the door. I can’t image a more inspirational field trip for students considering careers in welding, computer-aided design, finish carpentry, marine electrical systems, or marine mechanics.

On behalf of the participating Homer High students, I would like to thank the management of Bay Welding for opening their doors to us and for helping local youth see employment opportunities right here in Homer. Additional gratitude is due to Brad Conley for his time planning and leading the tour during our visit. And to all of the Bay Welding employees that greeted us with smiles and took the time to show us their amazing craft, thank you too.

Gordon Pitzman, Coordinator Homer Marine Trades Focus on Learning

Blast off with Summer@HPL

Summer@HPL has launched. The national theme this year is Universe of Stories, and the Homer Public Library has planned over 50 plus free events to inspire families to read and learn together. Registration is now open at www.cityofhomer-ak.gov/library/. Programs will run from May 28-July 31 and include the kickoff Ready for Launch Family Night, Maker Lab: Galaxy Slime, Coding Camp, ASL for Kids, Be a Citizen Scientist, Storytimes and more. Some programs require registration, so be sure to check out the website for the full line up of events.

New this year, free bags of nonperishable food for hungry and/or homeless youth are available in the lobby every Wednesday, May 29-Aug. 14. This program is co-sponsored by the Homer Food Pantry, with support from Wells Fargo.

This past spring Friends of the Homer Library sold rockets to support Summer@HPL. Each rocket cost $25 and represented one youth’s participation in Summer@HPL. Over 120 rockets were purchased, and we raised over $3,000. Thank you to all who purchased rockets to support Summer@HPL. Your contribution speaks to the value our community places on reading and learning. We also appreciate the many donations from businesses and individuals during our fundraisers Celebration of Lifelong Learning and the Spring Book and Plant Sale. These fundraisers help make possible the myriad of programs offered at the Homer Public Library. We are filled with gratitude for all who volunteered and attended these fundraising events. Your support helps keep our library a vital presence in the community.

See You at the library.

Mercedes Harness, Friends of Homer Library Coordinator

Stop The Cycle of Hate

Why has our society devolved more and more into hate? We have become haters; we hate each other if we are of a different ethnicity, whether its because we have a difference of opinion, ancestry, culture, color of our skin, religion, or our age.

I am reminded of a pre-World War II Germany. How did a nation get to such a fascist state so quickly? By conditioning their youth to hate anything not approved by the state, through their “education” system. I refer to this system as a “government-funded indoctrination process”. We are repeating this cycle here in the USA. Our “education” system is throwing our children and our future under the bus because of one particular ideology.

The first step is to teach children to think circularly instead of critically, or independently. Secondly, teach revisionist history. Third, teach them that anyone who does not “believe” as they are being taught is not just wrong, but an enemy. We end up with young adults that hates someone who does not accept the pseudoscience that man is the express reason for global warming, that everyone who disagrees with their ideology is a racist, homophobic, bigot, nazi, or, if that confused person is white, they are “privileged” and racist just by the fact they exist. We confound the issue by confusing them more with biology and we tell them their life has no meaning until someone declares so.

Explain for me why the number of 13 year olds committing suicide has doubled over the last 2 years. If the irony of Antifascist gangs escapes you, you are a successful graduate.

In Alaska, we increase “education” funding every year and get worse results. Time to break the cycle, reboot and rethink what we are doing.

Stop the hate.

Duane Christensen

Voices came together in peace

On May 3 and 4 about 200 community members ranging in age from 9 to 85 came together to sing and play. Their purpose was peace. Peace for themselves, peace in this community, and peace in the world. The Concert for Peace, directed by Mark Robinson and Kyle Schneider, a co-production of Homer High School and Pier One Theatre, was a culmination of months of rehearsal with the community choir, the high school concert choir, and a volunteer orchestra. Local artists and artists from around the world donated mail-art to raise money for the Global Arts Corps, an organization which uses theatre to heal communities torn apart by conflict; Rev. Lisa Talbott lent her voice to the words of activists and poets calling for peace; Ginger Bryant danced the words of the songs in sign language; local businesses sponsored the beautiful program, choosing quotes of peace which reflected their hopes for the community; and you, the audience joined in and sang along with open hearts. In a time of much division, of hidden prejudices boiling to the surface, with hate speech flying around our community, our nation and our social media, it is a great comfort to know that you all are working toward a brighter future where art and connection can triumph over hatred and fear.

Special thanks must go out to Paul Aitken, Douglas Waclawski, Alison Mall, Christopher Brown, Jesse D. Bolt, Asa Panarelli, Lisa Talbott, Ginger Bryant, Shari Daugherty, Britny Bradshaw, Joel Pietsch, Wendy Bales, Daniel Perry, Nancy Lander, Celia Quinn, Jo Going, Lora Wilke, Brian Smith, Bob Moore, the Homer Bookstore, the many businesses who contributed, and all of the musicians who made up the choir and orchestra. If you would like a keepsake copy of our beautiful program please contact the Pier One Theatre office at 226-2287.

Our hearts are full.

Sincerely,

The Production Crew: Mark Robinson, Kyle Schneider, Laura Norton, Beth Schneider and Jennifer Norton

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