Letters to the Editor

Keep recreation options open

As users of the Homer Educational and Recreational Complex, we want to make sure that our City Council heard from us concerning the future of the building. We are concerned, because we have heard discussion by the Council about demolition, with no real plans for a replacement facility for recreation in Homer.

We want to remind the council of the parameters of the agreement when the borough deeded the HERC property to the city, and that was that the property would be used for education and recreation.

We believe that recreation opportunity for all area residents is a quality of life issue that council members should take seriously. We saw the benefits of a regional facility when we lived in Ketchikan. It was beautiful, inclusive and well-used. We want Homer to have a similar facility and are willing to pay for it in the form of a sales tax, similar to how we are paying for our new police station.

As we age in Homer, Ruth and I want to continue to enjoy being active year-round. We hope you will take up this issue in the New Year.

Jim and Ruth Lavrakas

Thanks for Ski Your Age help

Ski Your Age was a success the Homer High School Ski Team, would like to thank everyone who came to support our team and to get out there on the snow. And a special thank you the KNSC groomers for making it happen with the little snow that we have. It was a fun event.

Amy Stonorov

Jet Skis have their place — but not in Kachemak Bay

Just before Jet Ski type watercraft were banned in Kachemak Bay about 18 years ago, I had an opportunity to watch a couple of these in action. Two fellows camping on the outside of the Spit had brought Jet Ski type watercraft and were giving them a workout. They would go from zero to crazy fast within seconds, shooting out big rooster-tails of water. They turned on a dime and spun circles. They tried to see how much air they could get as they jumped their own waves.

Three times I watched them tip over and lose their craft. The machines self-righted and obediently stopped and the captains just climbed back on and continued their fun. They stayed fairly close to shore. I did notice that they cleared away every sea bird within about a half-mile radius.

Since then, I have had opportunities to play on such watercraft (in warm water locations). They certainly are fun. I get why the personal watercraft group wants Kachemak Bay opened up to their use. They keep suggesting these are just like other boats. Ya, maybe the same way dirt bike enduro motorcycles are like passenger cars or drone airplanes are like float planes.

They all have their place and it probably isn’t in the same place or in a critical habitat area for wildlife like Kachemak Bay. I shudder to think what a couple such watercraft would do to the viewable waterbirds during the shorebird festival. I hate to think how the marine mammals would be affected by a new breed of high-speed watercraft that can spin circles around them. I would dread camping on a beach with those things buzzing around off shore.

Our governor has apparently been lobbied to open up Kachemak Bay to Jet-Ski type personal watercraft and says he will do it unless he gets a majority of letters or e-mails opposing the idea. The rest of the state is open to their use. I would hope Kachemak Bay with all its marine wildlife would continue to be excluded. (Jan. 21) is the comment-vote deadline. Email doug.vincent-lang@alaska.gov or rick.green@alaska.gov.

Lee Post

Alaska women are three times more likely to be murdered

Alaska has the highest rate of murder of women in the country (as per 9/16/2019 Violence Policy Study reporting). A woman in Alaska is three times more likely to be murdered than the average American female. Alaska also “leads” the nation in per capita missing persons (according to Vivintsource.com, 41.8 people per 100,000, more than three times higher than the next highest state, Montana). How many of these missing persons are actually murder victims whose bodies have not yet been found?

These might seem like just statistics, but each number is a person — a daughter, mother or sister — someone loved and for whom friends and family are grieving. Unfortunately, I know this personally. My niece, Duffy (Anesha) Murnane went missing on Oct. 17 while walking to a routine doctor’s appointment in downtown Homer.

We need to do more to protect Alaska’s women and girls. Cases involving missing women need to be elevated to special, trained investigative units either run on a statewide basis or else led by the FBI. Local police forces — already heroically handling a gamut of issues despite being dramatically under-resourced — simply do not have the specialization and resources needed to solve these cases.

How many more Alaska women have to die or go missing before we give this issue the attention and resources needed?

Michael Huelsman, Uncle of Duffy (Anesha) Murnane, Newberg, Oregon

Salvation Army is grateful for holiday support

Hello Homer Family-

On behalf of The Salvation Army in Homer, we would like to say thank you this holiday season.

Thank you to Kachemak Bay Lions Club, Rotary Club of Homer, all volunteers, and anyone that donated to the Red Kettle. This year, we were able to raise over $10,000, All of these proceeds will go to fund our programs here in Homer — programs like our food pantry, emergency housing, rent and utilities assistance, camp scholarships, and more.

Thank you Homer Community.

Lieutenants David and Rachel Jimenez

Wasabi’s photo was unnecessary

I feel a need to express my disappointment in the Homer News 2019 Year in Review issue. My disappointment concerns the photo on the front page of the racist “graffiti” that was painted on Wasabi’s Restaurant this last March. To give the perpetrators the personal “glory” that a front page photo would create only serves to boost their mission and sadden the majority of us who peacefully reside in Homer.

As the front page was covering stories from January, February, and March of 2019, might it have been more appropriate to have a February photo — perhaps of the winter carnival? — rather than two March photos, one of which I feel was in very poor taste for the Homer News to display? I agree that it was a story which should have been mentioned by the text as it was written by the News. However, given the enormous offense of this crime and the fact that a picture tells a thousand words, I was saddened that the News felt a need to display it. Wouldn’t it be nicer to concentrate on the positive events of 2019 while still remaining watchful for perpetrators of hate crimes?

Were it not for the tremendous outpouring of support from so many of Homer’s residents, we would have lost one of Homer’s finest restaurants as this act was so discouraging to owners Colt and Dali that they had planned to leave Homer for a place more tolerant and accepting. Again, I am personally disappointed in this unnecessary attention that the Homer News has given to the “hate minority.”

I have always had more respect for our only local newspaper and send my best wishes and thanks to the owners and staff of Wasabi’s. With the strong support of our community I hope that they can put the memory of this crime behind them and continue to be a great asset to our town.

As the sign, which was painted by Homer residents who cared enough to stand up against hate crimes and support Colt, Dali, and staff said, “We in Homersupport Wasabi’s owners.”

Randi Iverson, Sadie Cove

Green New Deal is based on a false premise

NPR “news” has begun capping on music venues because of travel emissions. Any social gatherings requiring travel will be coming under attack.

See the writing on the wall. Demobilizing the population is another step toward control of the many by a very few.

The Green New Deal is based on a false premise. The earth’s avereage temperature is not rising. Sea-level rise remains steady, ever since the last glacial melt, thousands of years ago.

Happy New Year, Homer people.

Tod Tenhoff

No Jet Skis in bay

I am writing to oppose the regulation changes as outlined in the prohibition of the use of personal watercraft in the Fox River Critical Habitat Area (FRCHA) and Kachemak Bay Critical Habitat Area (KBCHA).

As a nearly 30-year resident of Homer, I have collaborated with local citizens, business owners, elected officials, public servants, non-profit organizations, researchers, and visitors to promote and protect FRCHA and KBCHA. Overturning this prohibition will negate the work of hundreds if not thousands of people who have spent decades building businesses that are sustainable and dependent on an intact and productive ecosystem. These businesses include kayaking guides, wildlife viewing, hiking tours, photography opportunities, fishing, camping and yurt rental opportunities, lodging and dining. Private property owners will be impacted by the nuisance noise that occurs with Jet Skis.

Jet Skis are designed and marketed as thrill craft. Their design, maneuverability and high speeds make them very different from boats and skiffs. Marine mammals, birds, kayakers and swimmers are in danger from these fast moving vehicles.

In 2018 there were approximately 676 total casualties from personal watercraft, including 634 injuries and 42 deaths. Who will be responsible for costs associated with maintaining the safety of those harmed by Jet Ski users? Will local tax payers, the U.S. Coast Guard, Alaska State Troopers all have to absorb this increased cost to budgets? Small business owners will lose their livelihoods. The value of personal property will decline as home owners will be unable to sell their properties due the impact of Jet Skis to their quality of life.

The manner in which this proposed change was announced is antithetical to good governance. I support a public process including public hearings with testimony from local business and property owners, staff biologists and managers at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and other stakeholders with a 90-day comment period with public hearings.

Respectfully submitted,

Patricia Cue, Lt. Col., U.S. Army (retired)