Letters – Feb. 29

Catch a skate, win a hat

I hope everything is going well for the fishing community. As fishing ramps up, I want to remind you of the skate tag reward program put in place by Alaska and myself. We have tagged skates in Prince William Sound and are interested in knowing where they get caught.
If you see a skate with a tag, write down the identification number of the tag, give us a call (the phone number is on the tag), let us know where you caught the skate and get a free hat.
If you have any questions, please contact me, and I will be happy to talk to you.
Thomas Farrugia, M.S. Biology
Ph.D. Student, NSF Fellow (MESAS)
University of Alaska Fairbanks
(907) 474-7594
tjfarrugia@alaska.edu

Don’t just sit back — do something

Albert Einstein once said that the only thing more dangerous than ignorance is arrogance. The Alaska Board of Game was not ignorant of the facts, but chose to be arrogant and ignore them. Area biologists found that the moose population near Homer and Anchor Point is generally healthy, and is currently in the middle of their objective numbers. An article in a local paper advised that the moose population in this area has even increased from 1992 to 2010 by 30 percent.
Fish and Game has received funding to conduct moose studies and wolf control in March. Why then, would we spend upward of $1 million for controversial aerial wolf control before those findings are presented? Is it any wonder that citizens question state government budget management? In many areas of the United States, people have moved in and destroyed the natural resources and indigenous flora and fauna. We, in Alaska, have the opportunity to learn from these mistakes.
Many tourists come to the Kenai Peninsula to view its stunning vistas and enjoy the diverse wildlife. With gunfire emanating from airplanes in a populated region, wolves may not be the only species exposed to danger.
If you are concerned about this, please contact your legislators. People can make a difference. Don’t sit back. The first step is to do something.
Cindy Birkhimer

Facilitating funds for Franklin family

We recently held a benefit dinner and auction for the Dale Franklin Family at the Homer Elks Club. We greatly appreciate all the time and effort provided by the staff at the Homer Elks Club and the Emblem Club. They really did a great job.
We would also like to thank all the people in Homer who provided auction items and those who purchased them. A special thanks to Jeff Josephenson and the Salvation Army Church, as well as the Mike and Connie Geagel family members and auctioneer Don Ridl, who went above and beyond to make the event successful.
Thank you, Homer, from the bottom of our hearts for the generosity and compassion given to our friend and co-worker.
Lloyd Newkirk and
the boys at Kar-A-Van Transfer

Prescriptions for strengthening schools

The Homer Swim and Dive Team, as well as other groups at Homer High School, would like to thank Bob Malone and Homer Safeway No. 1832 for their assistance in the eScrip program.
The eScrip program allows groups to earn money by signing up friends and families who shop at Safeway. Donations are made to their organization by Safeway, when purchasing any of the hundreds of eScrip products. During the August 2011 “10 percent Goes Back to Schools” Program our group was able to earn $5,388.80. That put us in the top 100 earning organizations, and earned us a $1,000 bonus. And, the best part is that it did not cost any extra money, as we earned it by shopping at Safeway.
The Homer Swim and Dive team uses fundraising money for travel expenses, which are high for all of our sports teams, and to purchase healthy meals and snacks for the athletes as they travel. We not only thank Safeway, but all the people who donated their receipts to us, plus Safeway cashier, Beth Gilliam, who took the time to collect receipts. Please remember, if a group asks you next year to help with this program, it is an easy way to support our schools and extracurricular groups – and all you have to do is shop.
Becky Ginter

Group studies law enforcement

Several Alaskan citizens on the Kenai Peninsula have formed a law study weblog to present results of research into current prison conditions and behavior of police and attorneys in local criminal cases. Our study of local court cases reveal that police and prosecutorial cultural discrimination, police dishonesty, police disregard of due process and constitutional rights, police asserting discretion to arrest when no law has been violated, prosecutorial ethics violations, and inadequate public defender work on behalf of clients. Innocent citizens have been framed and jailed by these tactics.
Kenai Peninsula Wildwood Pre-trial Facility subjects prisoners to arsenic-contaminated water and toxic foods dangerous to the life and health of inmates. Inmates can suffer serious health deterioration in as little as three weeks incarceration.
Our intent, as Alaskans, is to create a public process to examine patterns of abuse. Our motives are to shed light, focus public attention and peaceably inspire our Alaskan police to correct behaviors that pervert justice. In our deliberations, we uphold the constitution of Alaska and the common law and we rely on Alaskan jurisprudence.
The police force of Homer is paid by the Homer City Council, a body elected by Homer citizens. Therefore, Homer’s police are public servants of the citizenry. It is the responsibility of the citizenry to observe, report publicly, and hold police accountable for patterns of abuse, lest these abuses take hold in our civic culture.
Homer citizens, you are cordially invited to attend an event Friday downstairs at the Homer Elks Lodge. Readers can visit the weblog at http://citizensofalaska.blogspot.com with illustrative cases and fact patterns, as well as your opinions. Local police are cordially invited to join this dialogue.
Lindianne Sarno

Learning from ‘The Horn Section’

I am pleased to announce a new funding opportunity from the Homer Foundation, through a music education fund in memory of Renda Horn called The Horn Section.
Renda Horn lived in Homer barely a decade, but in that short time she made an enormous impact, teaching elementary music and band in Homer-area schools, giving private music lessons and reviving Inlet Winds, Homer’s community band. Renda inspired many with her musical expertise, her boundless energy, her devotion to family, friends and community and her passion for living life to the fullest. Her community service extended to participation on several boards including the Bunnell Street Arts Center and the Homer Foundation.
Community members who knew, and loved Renda, established this new permanent endowment fund as a lasting legacy to preserve her memory and her impact upon the community and to extend that impact, particularly with regard to music and music education to future generations. Grant awards from the fund will be used to provide musical opportunities for school-age students, support musical events and programs, enhance school music programs (including the purchase of instruments for participating youth), and/or should a credible effort to create a community performing arts center be launched, the fund could support such a campaign.
The fund will continue to grow over time as community members add to the fund.
Grants will be made from the fund’s distributable earnings, and will follow the Homer Foundation’s year-round grant review process. The Homer Foundation distributions committee will use its discretion and its understanding of community needs to select grants that meet the criteria set forth by the fund’s founding donors. The fund’s earnings accrue quarterly and grants will be awarded as earnings are available. Interested applicants may call the Foundation to get an update of available earnings at any time. Currently, there is over $900 available, which may be used to fund one, or multiple grants.
Joy Steward,
executive director
The Homer Foundation

‘It’s for the kids’

Thank you to the governor for pushing back against the National Education Association’s constant demand for more money when they consistently fail to demonstrate any real progress toward better educating children. When you said, “I don’t believe that increasing the funding formula is the right way to do the math,” you made a reasonable and legitimate statement. By your actions you are exhibiting leadership and a tremendous amount of courage we hope the Legislature will seriously consider.
The Alliance of Concerned Taxpayers is a Kenai Peninsula Borough based watchdog group that has been tracking the cost-to-benefit ratio of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District for many years. The unions tell our assembly every year at budget time that more money equals better education, but the school district numbers observed over time do not support that claim. See the A.C.T. Website at http://act-kpb.org/FUNDING_KENAI_BOROUGH_SCHOOLS_TO_THE_CAP.htm for details.
All numbers are taken directly from the school district CAFR and can be easily verified by contacting the school district directly.
Everyone involved in this discussion is encouraged to review the NBC news special report, “Education Nation,” the documentary “Waiting for Superman,” USA test results compared to foreign countries and a plethora of studies all say the same thing: the United States education system is losing ground against other nations. Also, watch what Mayor Sullivan is doing in Anchorage. He has put a lot of effort into this issue and the results should be carefully considered.  
In this ever-shrinking world, our kids are no longer competitive. In almost every study, the education system and their powerful unions are responsible for this failure. An overhaul of this system is long overdue. Our society, as a whole, and our kids in particular, are coming up way short of our potential. We can and must do better.  
As our elected leaders, you have a huge responsibility to the people of Alaska. It is imperative that you act now by seeking solutions to this well-documented failure. At issue is not more money for a failing system, but finding models that work and implementing them here. We are sure there will be tremendous resistance from the unions. Ask yourself, what is more important: our children’s future or union power? 
We hope you act wisely and make the right choice. Tell yourself, “it’s for the kids.” That is all the justification you should need.
Mike McBride
Board of Directors
Alliance of Concerned Taxpayers, Inc

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Posted by on Feb 29th, 2012 and filed under Letters to the Editor. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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