Letters to the Editor

TRAILS appreciates Foundation help

TRAILS offers heartfelt thanks to Homer Foundation and the KLEPS and Willow Funds it manages. TRAILS is the “inclusive recreation” program at Independent Living Center, promoting fun, recreation, and connection for people of all abilities. These activities are participant-driven and empower individuals by increasing confidence, teaching new skills, promoting social interactions and peer support, and helping them discover their capabilities in often joyful ways. Watch a 4-minute video about TRAILS at https://youtu.be/x6t8iT_cOd8.

TRAILS organizes and leads outings lasting a few hours to half a day at little or no cost. It also offers annual, sometimes multi-day adventures called One Hit Wonders (OHWs). Most TRAILS “consumers” (folks with disabilities who are eligible for ILC services) have limited incomes. Enabling them to join OHWs often requires financial aid. For this reason, TRAILS offers scholarships, and this is where Homer Foundation’s grant has been so meaningful, providing 14 TRAILS scholarships from July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019. Scholarships enabled consumers to berry pick in Little Jakolof, join a spring bike ride to Cottonwood Horse Park, attend a dance class and perform publicly, and spend a weekend at Alaska Horsemen riding through beautiful scenery around Kenai Lake.

We see the importance of scholarships as consumers radiate happiness or manifest increased confidence during OHWs. Positive effects ripple out into the community as participants come home happier, more at ease with others, and readier to lend a hand, having experienced helping hands themselves. And those who help on OHWs — vendors, volunteers, caregivers, participants — gain understanding, tolerance and patience. This is how communities become healthier and happier — by helping citizens grow in healthy, positive ways, and a community of healthy, caring individuals becomes a healthy, caring community. So, thank you Homer Foundation for your support.

Devony Lehner, Independent Living Center TRAILS program

Foundation helped Be Mary Tour

Homer Council on the Arts received a $2,500 grant from the Homer Foundation to support the New Old Time Chautauqua “Be Mary” tour. The grant helped fund the project partnership with Pier One Theatre and Bunnell Street Arts Center and the myriad of events, both planned and spontaneous, that the community was able to enjoy. With a 57- member troupe camping on the HCOA lot, the energy built over the course of the week, culminating in the final “Big Show” at the SPARC. The three arts organizations thank the Homer Foundation for their support; as a result of these funds, the three organizations were able to spend the time together planning, assigning tasks, and facilitate the classes, workshops, parades, volunteer projects, and performances that enlivened our community and brought us together through the work we love.

Peggy Paver, Executive Director, Homer Council on the Arts

Library thankful for Foundation support, too

We’re closing out another summer at the library, and enjoying the fall bustle of kids visiting after school. The library is a safe and informal learning space in our community—a place where many youth test their independence for the first time. Kids come to the library for a variety of reasons, and often leave with their backpacks laden with books and their sense of curiosity satisfied.

Kids who are mentally engaged and read over the summer, return to school ready to learn. 374 kids, teens and adults took part in the 2019 Summer@HPL reading and learning challenge, and collectively they earned 387,781 points—time spent reading and learning at the library, at home, and in the community. Equally impressive, 15,548 Youth books, magazines, eBooks and audiobooks were checked out.

We would like to thank the Homer Foundation for their continued support of Summer@HPL, and specifically the KLEPS fund, who supported a visit from a NASA astronaut, Storytelling with Bob Kanegis, and helped, along with other agencies, sponsor the annual Ice Cream Celebration with over 300 attendees. We are grateful to the Homer Foundation and the KLEP fund for their financial support of programs that serve families and kids, and for helping us build a culture that values lifelong learning.

Claudia Haines, Youth Services Librarian

Mercedes Harness, Friends of the Homer Library Coordinator

Understanding Permanent Fund

This letter, in its attempt to “explain” the Permanent Fund, misses some nuances necessary to “understand.”.

The PFD, from 1980 ‘til Walker changed the method arbitrarily to determine yearly value of the PFD payout, the established historical formula was determined, on a 5-year rolling average, based on a set percentage of each year’s profit from investment split between three components: a portion goes to the corpus for inflation proofing and the remainder divided between the PFD and the general budget for the Legislature to spend.

The funds were allocated by our House and agreed to by the governor. This year, the amount of the PFD was determined by a metaphoric dart thrown at a dartboard by a House majority who has demonstrated clearly an intentional indifference to their constituents and instead an intentional deference to their special interest affiliations. Sort of like little elitist gods chucking us common folk a bone. Pray, what will you “give” us next year, my lords? And yes, we the people should have an interest in protecting the Fund, and the Dividend, which is exactly why the vast majority voted for Dunleavy.

More to the point, however, is why a Permanent Fund? Hammond recognized, as many did, that politicians, in general, lack self control and, because they have to campaign every two years to get re-elected, need special interest groups to be willing to contribute to their campaigns repeatedly, creating a dependency relationship. And, given the compulsion of politicians over the years to fund boondoggles and every year to spend more than our income. It was never intended to perpetuate overspending our annual revenue. No amount of resources can sustain that. It is impossible to tax or spend our way to prosperity.

We the people are being tossed under the bus.

Duane Christensen

Be careful at Main Street project

As many of my fellow Homer residents have probably noticed, summer road construction season is in full swing. As our community continues to grow, improvements to our intersections and roadways are a part of that growth.

Southcentral Construction would first like to thank everyone for their patience during the current Sterling Highway and Main Street Intersection project. Most drivers have been very cooperative by following posted signs and the directions of the flaggers.

The reason for my letter is to ask the community to please slow down and be aware in these work zones. We have daily instances of drivers running through stop sign paddles. We have had many near misses involving cars, our employees and equipment and most seriously bicycles and pedestrians. We have been very fortunate we’ve not had any major accidents or injuries. With the start of the school year, we are more worried than ever about the very real possibility of someone losing their life.

There are many factors causing drivers to run these signs. Distraction, cell phone use, weather, limited visibility (drivers approaching the intersection in the early morning hours are dealing with the rising sun) changing traffic patterns and simple disregard for the posted signs and flaggers.

The city of Homer faces unique challenges with the influx of tourists visiting our beautiful area. We have people in cars, on bicycles and pedestrians all trying to share the same congested roadways. At the same time, our company has a short season to complete these much-needed improvements.

Please approach the work zones with caution, set down the cellphone, turn down the radio, follow the posted signs and the flaggers directions, and most importantly please slow down.

Thank you,

Vickie Reinhart, Traffic Control Supervisor SouthcentralConstruction

Make your vote count on Oct. 1

Do you and your friends like to talk politics? Do you sometimes wonder how some candidates get elected? And the most important question is, do you vote? If you don’t vote, you have lost your place at the table for what happens in your backyard and in your future.

Good news is that there is still time to register, but the deadline is Sept. 1, 2019. Register online at https://voterregistration.alaska.gov/ or register in person this week at Homer City Clerk’s Office, 491 E. Pioneer Ave., Homer, whether you are a city resident or not.

If you are going to be absent on election day, or wish to fill in your ballot early, then you can request a ballot online at

https://www.kpb.us/images/KPB/CLK/Elections/Candidate/Election_ABSENTEE_BALLOT_APPLICATION.pdf or

https://www.cityofhomer-ak.gov/cityclerk/absentee-voting

Or, stop by from Sept. 16 onward for Regular Municipal Election Absentee In Person Voting at the following locations:

• Kenai Peninsula Borough Annex Office, 638 East Pioneer Avenue, Homer

• Homer City Clerk’s Office, 491 E. Pioneer Avenue, Homer

Voting is a right and a duty, not just a privilege. Let’s shoot for 75% voter turnout and feel as if the candidates elected truly represent the community.

Angie Newby, Kenai Peninsula Votes (a nonpartisan group of dedicated voters)

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