Letters to the Editor

Thanks for Epperson Day support

Our heartfelt thanks to all the volunteers and community members who helped make Homer Council on the Arts’ traditional celebration of Mary Epperson’s birthday along with our Annual Meeting and presentation of the 2019 Arts Awards a truly special day of events. From the families who joined the party to this year’s incredible class of artists and award recipients, it was a pleasure to see again how much our town enjoys getting together and creating art, in all forms. Special appreciation goes to the mural artists, Sarah Banks and Carla Cope, the musicians from Tamba Hadzi, Carol Comfort piano studio, and the donation of paint from Ulmer’s Drug & Hardware.

Homer loves the arts, and we love to make it happen.

Peggy Paver, Executive Director, Homer Council on the Arts

Thanks for grand reopening help

On behalf of the board and staff of the Pratt Museum, we would like to say thank you to our community for making our Grand Reopening Celebration grand, indeed! We had an amazing 750 plus community members and guests walk through our beautifully renovated spaces on Saturday, May 25. With a magical backdrop of amazing musicians and activities with our local organizational partners, we ushered in a new era for the Pratt.

Thank you to all who came, and please see our ad for the list of business and individuals who generously made our celebration happen.

Sevea Sueltenfuss, Office Manager Pratt Museum

Vernon letter disrespectful

I have to take exception to the tone in Gordy Vernon’s letter to Zac Brown. It’s easy to call Mr. Brown a “jerk” from the safety of your home via the Web, but would you say the same things to his face? When Mr. Vernon yelled “Go home!” to Mr. Brown he included me in his statement, “We have two words for you.” Mr. Vernon can speak for himself, but leave me out of it please.

We have only got one side here. We haven’t heard from Mr. Brown, and until we do we can’t know the whole story. I know that there’s a perceived “right” of access involved in this community disagreement, but we have to be civil to one another and be ready to compromise.

I don’t know Zac Brown and am not a fan, but I am a believer in treating others how you would like to be treated. And the first step is being able to have honest and direct communication between the parties that can settle this matter. Other than that, abuse from afar does nothing to foster understanding and a solution.

Jim Lavrakas

Grateful for Homer Foundation scholarships support

This spring, I, Rhythm Beckett-Cook, was lucky enough to receive $3,000 from the Tin Roof Fund at the Homer Foundation via this year’s Beluga Tale Fiction Writing Scholarship. I am both astounded by this organization’s generosity and honored to have been selected as the recipient for this scholarship. Surrounded by a class of incredible writers, it was a pleasant surprise to be awarded this particular scholarship.

Going into my freshman year, the $3,000 will be put towards my higher education at Santa Barbara City College, where I will pursue a degree in environmental science. SBCC, a two-year institution, is where I hope to graduate with an associate’s degree and have earned the credits which will help me pursue my bachelor’s at another California university. With this scholarship in hand, I am able to cover nearly half the tuition of my first two terms. Now I may begin to more comfortably tackle housing and food expenses over the coming year in an admittedly expensive destination.

Again, I want to thank the Homer Foundation for their kindness and service to the youth in Homer. With the help of this reward, my goal is to one day be able to make significant positive change in the world, and in my community, just as this organization does annually.

It has been a pleasure growing up in a community as supportive and kind as the one of Homer, Alaska. And now, at this turning point in my life, this community has continued to play an important role in my future. Because of the Homer Community Science Scholarship Fund and the Homer Foundation, and subsequently the generosity of my community, I have $500 more to put towards school in the fall.

This $500 also will be put towards my first semester at Santa Barbara City College, where I hope to get my associate’s in environmental science and work to gain residency for tuition purposes as well. This way I can move on to get my bachelor’s degree in the beautiful state of California at a price I can afford.

As much as I am excited for this new endeavor, I am thankful. Thank you, again, to the Homer Community Science Fund and the Homer Foundation. It is my hope that with the degree this scholarship is helping me pursue, I will be able to have a career which, similarly, benefits others, but through different actions.

Rhythm Beckett-Cook, 2019 Homer High School Graduate

Grace Ridge owners disappointed with Homer City Council vote

I was asked how I felt after the city council meeting on June 10 where Ordinance 19-25 failed 3 to 3, authorizing the city manager to get a current appraisal of the city owned property on Main street with the intent of selling it. I thank Mayor Castner for allowing the ordinance to go forward at the previous council meeting and allowing public input. All public comments were unanimously in favor of the city selling the property for development by a business, to put it on the tax roll and bring income to the city.

Disappointed. I was disappointed that three of the council members thought saving a piece of property for an unknown intent for an unknown amount of time possibly for a Rec Center, city office space, use of the police department or fire department or just to keep in case of any other need the city may or may not have was necessary to not sell this property. This is commercial property that has been for sale for 12 years with no feasibility study ever requested or done as to its value to the city other than to sell and pay down the library loan.

The Homer Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for the Downtown Vitalization goal is: “Enhance downtown Homer as a magnet for business development, a destination for residents and visitors, and a recognized asset contributing to Homer’s quality of life.” A brewery adjacent to Pioneer Avenue will help meet all these goals. Councilman Erickson was the chair of this Economic Development Strategy Plan. She did not feel the timing was correct to go forward with Ordinance 19-25.

Another councilman stated just because this property on Main Street (that is in the Central Business District) was a business’ first choice for a new building should not have any bearing on the sale of this property. This business stated the desire to build close to Pioneer for bringing locals and visitors to Pioneer Avenue, safety, good visibility, walk-ability to other businesses, view once built out, create a few year round jobs and stressing an anchor business is good for all surrounding businesses in downtown Homer.

I do feel the city council has a civic and a fiduciary responsibility to follow strategic plans, listen to public input and to increase the livelihood of the town. I also think by the mayor choosing not to break a tie vote, that will always be the same as a no vote that is breaking a tie vote.

So, when asked how I felt after the city council meeting on June 10, all I can say is “disappointed.”

Sherry Stead, Grace Ridge Brewing

Kachemak Bay Writers’Conference support appreciated

The Kachemak Bay Campus of Kenai Peninsula College would like to extend its sincerest appreciation and gratitude to the many individuals, agencies and businesses whose generous grants, donations and in-kind support made our 18th annual Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference such a tremendous success. Over 125 writers, students, teachers, literary enthusiasts and readers from Homer as well as throughout Alaska and the lower 48 spent four days together sharing workshops, informal conversations, discussions, craft talks, open mics and readings. Another 225 members from the public and visitors enjoyed the three evenings of public readings at area venues. Participants left with a renewed appreciation and passion for the written word, new friends, new resources, new tools and incredible inspiration. For 18 years, this conference has fostered a vibrant literary community in our state, and as such, a strengthened understanding of the evermore critical role that literature plays in our complex world.

This highly-acclaimed, educational and cultural experience could not have been made possible without the significant contributions from many, including: Advance Printing, Alaska Airlines, Alaska Coastal Marine, Alaska State Council on the Arts, Anahata Yoga, AQR, Atwood Foundation, Bagel Shop, Caroline M. Coons Fund, Sarah Barton, Barbara Baugh, Bay Excursions, Eleanor Andrews, First National Bank Alaska, Fresh Sourdough Express, Homer News, Mary Hughes, Gary Klopfer, KBBI, Land’s End Resort, Peter and Jo Michalski, Connie Ozer, Rasmuson Foundation, Cathy Rasmuson, Ravn Alaska, Beth Rose, Save-U-More, Peggy Shumaker/Joe Usibelli, The Homer Bookstore, Tutka Bay Lodge, University of Alaska President’s Office-BP/ConocoPhillips Fund, UAA’s Chancellor office, UA Press and the Usibelli Foundation. Thank you all.

See you next year, June 12-16, 2020.

Reid Brewer, Campus Director, Kachemak Bay Campus-Kenai Peninsula College

Carol Swartz, Director, Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference

Thanks to Grace Ridge Brewing for Water Trail tips donation

The Kachemak Bay Water Trail Committee and The Friends of Kachemak Bay State Park want to once again say thank you to Grace Ridge Brewery for their on-going program to support local nonprofits via their donation of tips. Tips from the month of May 2019 provided funds that will go to the development and maintenance of Water Trail sites, providing bear resistant food canisters for free check out, and boat transportation for volunteers doing maintenance on trails in Kachemak Bay State Park.

Grace Ridge Brewery is a business to be recognized and applauded for their support of our community.


Dave Brann and Robert Archibald, Co-Chairs Kachemak Bay Water Trail Committee and board members, Friends of Kachemak Bay State Park