Letters to the Editor

Family of Duffy Murnane thanks community for continued help and support

There are likely few readers of this publication unaware that my cousin, Anesha “Duffy” Murnane, has been missing (likely abducted) from Homer since Oct. 17. Such has been the outpouring of help and support to our family: volunteers searching, printing and posting flyers, making meals, bringing flowers, attending the candlelight vigil and — last but not least — saying prayers for Duffy and us, by religious communities spanning many faith traditions.

I remember vividly when our telephone in Anchorage rang with the news from Homer that Duffy had been born. Since that day a bit more than 38 years ago she has been a part of my life, one of the best parts. Duffy’s main interest in life has always been children. Her year volunteering in an orphanage, her academic studies or her hobbies – virtually everything she does centers around them. I saw this personally. Whether via the handmade toys and clothing she made and sent our three children when we were serving overseas or the attention she gave them when we were back in Alaska, Duffy always made her love for them clear.

Since Duffy was taken, several people have said to me, “I can’t imagine anything worse.” And, truth be told – living through this and seeing my aunt, uncle and cousin live through this — neither can I. At the same time, paradoxically perhaps, I have never seen human goodness manifested quite as clearly as it has been in Homer, throughout Alaska and even among those who live far away and have never met our family. Whether a simple message of support, hours searching for Duffy in the cold and wet, the continued coverage by the media or the tireless work of the police — it all means so much to us.

Thank you to all of you for everything you have done and thank you in advance for your continued help and support to find Duffy and bring her home.

Heather Byrnes, Washington, D.C.

Don’t pave the beach

I am opposed to expanding the parking area by the Seafarers’ Memorial. Parking on the Spit in summer is a huge problem; this project, however, isn’t an acceptable solution.

This project would increase erosion. This project will compromise the existing berm and grassland area, which is extremely important due to increased severe erosion on the west side of the Spit. The natural vegetation, storm berms, and natural buildup of driftwood are crucial to the stability of the land there, particularly since this is near the tip of the spit. With climate change and rising sea levels, the erosion will continue to worsen so there would be ongoing costs of repair/reinforcement.

Habitat would be destroyed for birds and small mammals; also, beach grasses and plants would be gone.

The parking lot would usually sit nearly empty because tourist numbers peak only in summer. After destroying the natural habitat, the lot would be nearly empty all those other months.

Evacuation of the Spit would become much more difficult with more car, such as for a tsunami. A safe evacuation of everyone out on the Spit is the responsibility of the City.

This project does not fall under the original intent of the “Open-space Recreational” zoning since it would be primarily parking for commercial customers.

This project would be only a short-term solution. A closer look at the total issue, which includes both parking and traffic congestion, is needed.

To conclude: this project would destroy the natural habitat of that beach, jeopardize the geological structure of the Spit there, and would sit nearly empty most of the year. There are other alternatives and other solutions to the parking issue. Let’s work on them.

Lani Raymond