Letters to the editor

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 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 hate 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 two 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

The little Anchorage

Greetings, Homer. Congratulations on the brand new police station — so much needed.

Ridiculous is putting several million dollars of public investment below flood grade on this unstable earth and that puny spot. This ruins our pretty little road and gorgeous library with the sounds and the claustrophobia. It makes zero sense to put sensitive electronics below flood plain, plus the animals hate it.

It simply doesn’t work there. Better on the other side of the dump, way high up, preferably near the corner of Sterling/Old Sterling — stingpoint gates. We all know 97% of crime originates in Anchor Point (the crystal meth capital of the known universe).

It could be built to last 100 years. Build it right the first time.

And God bless Homer.

J.M. Reed

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.


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

Grad thankful for scholarship

Dear Bill and Liz Johnson Teacher Education Scholarship,

I am extremely honored to have been selected as the recipient of the Bill & Liz Johnson Teacher Scholarship. Thank you for your generosity, which has allowed me to continue my education to become an Elementary Teacher. As I work towards my degree this fall in Juneau at the University of Alaska Southeast, I am very appreciative of the generous gift and because of it I will be able to continue my education to become a teacher.

Thank you again for your thoughtful and generous gift.


Cora Parish

City grants program helps nonprofits

Cook Inletkeeper would like thank the City of Homer Grants Program, administered by the Homer Foundation, for supporting local nonprofit organizations. Through the grants program, Inletkeeper supports hundreds of people each year through our work on electronics recycling, stream monitoring, clean boating outreach, and our local foods initiative. As local budgets increasingly feel the pinch of reduced revenues, it’s important to recognize that Homer grants program funding has a strong multiplier effect in our community, and we leverage these funds to bring even more resources into the Homer economy. We are only as strong as the communities we work within, and with support from the Homer grants program, we’ll keep doing our part to ensure Homer remains a world-class community.

Carly Wier, Executive Director, Cook Inletkeeper

Syringe-needle exchange program appreciates fundraiser support

Dear Editor: On behalf of all the Exchange volunteers and participants as well as the amazing crew that presented our Vaudeville Fundraiser at Alice’s, I want to express our gratitude and appreciation for the overwhelming support we feel from our community. From the folks that happened to stop in for a meal and emptied their pockets to the most generous joint donation from Todd Boling and the new South Peninsula Hospital CEO Ryan Smith, this community stepped up in a big way.

Your support helped us exceed our goal and will allow us to provide over 18 months worth of supplies, including sharps disposal containers that we will be able to provide local businesses soon.

More than the funding, we appreciate the demonstration that we all care for each other, and all hands are on deck as we tackle the complex issues of addiction. This event was an important reminder that the best of a community comes out in real life. Thank you.

Ginny Espenshade

Vance wrong on PFD

I read Rep. Vance’s op-ed regarding the Permanent Fund Dividend. She believes the PFD is a birthright. I along with many Alaskans receiving the PFD were not born in this state, and in fact, it takes only a year of residency to qualify for it. I am not sure how she got from one year to birthright, but I would say we receive the PFD because in 1980 legislators decided it would be a good idea to give residents a part of the earnings.

Rep. Vance also believes the money given to residents is more important to the economy than the state services she and the governor would like to cut. This includes things like education funding from pre-K to the university system, medicaid expansion funds that provide health care and addiction treatment for low income residents, transportation funding for road services and the marine highway system.

When I look at government funded services, I see opportunities for an educated, thoughtful and healthier society. I see connected communities that promote small business and commerce in general. I see public service jobs all over the state that make our lives better now and far into the future. These jobs provide economic stability to every community with a school, hospital, mental health facility, airport, ferry dock, or state highway.

I am disappointed with Rep. Vance’s views on the PFD and state funded public services, so I send her messages giving my perspective on government services. I encourage all voters to communicate with our legislators so they get a better idea of how we want them to vote on issues important to our lives.


Lynn Takeoka Spence

Business support for Elks essay contest appreciated

I would like to thank the following businesses for contributing prizes to this year’s Elk Essay Contest: Captain’s Toy Chest,

The Gear Shed and the Homer Bookstore. I so appreciate their participation to enrich the prize packages for the winners. Please know that they are a great community support.

I would also like to acknowledge the continued support of the Homer Elks and Emblem Club for continuing this essay project from year to year.

We are blessed.

Sharron Cotogno

Alaskans need to contribute to state

In 1967, 5th grade economics lesson in Anchorage taught us that petroleum and mineral extraction, combined, was the 4th leading economic driver in Alaska, behind timber, fishing, tourism.

We had no dividend check, paid school tax and state income tax.

We were proud to be Alaskans and not opposed to contributing to the great state of Alaska. We had a well respected school system.

We don’t have big oil money any more.

As Alaskans we need to contribute to the state or get the heck out of here and go to another state. Put a cap on the PFD as the great Gov. Hammond first intended, before the Zobel decision.

State income tax is necessary — $80,000,000 alone would be collected from Carpetbaggers, out-of-state workers who as of now only contribute the price of a beer at the airport on their way back to Louisiana.

Richard Frost

More scholarship thanks

I am very lucky to have grown up in the loving and supportive community of Homer. I am grateful for everyone who made an impact on my life, making a conscious effort to create a bond with me. In addition, I am thankful for the hundreds of small businesses and local clubs that have supported the financial and educational needs of the young people in the community.

I want to thank Homer Electric Association and the Homer Elks Club for awarding me their annual scholarship. Both organizations’ support of the youth in our community is outstanding.

I will put these scholarships to good use next fall at Colorado State University and make Homer proud.


Rylyn Todd

Unlock city bathrooms

You would think the city might unlock the bathrooms that were specifically built to accommodate cruise ship visitors when the cruise ship is in town. But there I go, thinking again.

And a side note, having public bathrooms open all the time would be nice for cab drivers, delivery drivers and people doing errands around town. I know all the excuses why they’re locked and none of them are valid.

Chris Needham

Yale-bound and grateful

I would like to thank the Tin Roof Fund at the Homer Foundation for their generosity in awarding me the Beluga Tail Non-Fiction Writing Scholarship. Non-fiction writing is an essential tool to practice and apply in nearly any type of work we pursue. I am excited to continue refining this skill at Yale University, where I will study Political Science and Environmental Studies. I know that non-fiction writing will be a vital asset to me as I work to achieve positive change through politics.

I would also like to thank the Drew Scalzi Memorial Maritime Scholarship fund at the Homer Foundation. Days away from embarking on my fifth year of commercial fishing, I am thrilled to see what this summer has in store. I am so thankful for the incredible support this community offers to those in the maritime industry, and I am excited to keep fishing in Alaska for many summers to come.

Thank you again,

Avram Salzmann

Grad night support appreciated

It is with sincere gratitude that the parents of the Homer High School 2019 graduating class thank over 100 businesses, families, and individuals who generously donated prizes, money, food and time to the “2019 After Graduation Casino Night” held at the Elks Lodge on May 22. Please view the ad in this week’s paper for a complete list of businesses.

Sixty-one students attended the event and had a great time. The love and support of the community for Homer’s youth was felt by all throughout the night, and I know they look forward to paying it forward in the future.

Special thanks to Darrell Oliver and Ken Castner for giving of their time to help parents learn the casino games and to Ken for helping at the event.


Julie McCarron and Deborah Anderson, for the 2019 Parents Graduation Committee