Letters – May 2

City sweeper signals sweet spring

One of my favorite signs of spring is the street sweeper with the big, goofy smiley face painting. Thank you to the City of Homer, along with the borough and state for doing such a great job during an unusually snowy winter. An extra thank you for getting the task of grit and sand removal off to a good start.
This spring’s thaw and melt revealed just how much sand had to be used to give us traction to get through the winter. The deep accumulation of sand in the road gutters and on the shoulders, along with extra build up on street corners, makes cycling a dusty and unpredictable undertaking.
As Homer Cycling Club encourages all area cyclists to celebrate that May is bike month, it’s awesome that we don’t have to deal with the worst of the dust and debris. Keep up the good work.
It’s lovely out. Get out and ride, and share the road.
Catriona Lowe

Thanks to VISTA’s many roles, supporters

Sitting in the Homer Theatre a couple of weeks ago surrounded by Homer Farmers’ Market supporters and watching a movie about farmers on a sunny day – I couldn’t love this town more. Spring has been very good to us this year, dropping the snow levels at a stunning rate and promising a bountiful gardening year. The air is abuzz with thoughts of growing things. People are getting excited about high tunnels, growing their own food and the Farmers’ Market is growing.
And every day I get to work with the Farmers’ Market VISTA, Bronwynn Kelly. She is tracking this growing enthusiasm, working with producers, gardeners, educators, local organizations and agencies around the state on this local food topic. She has been helping with grants, helping with gardens, helping with networking on a larger scale. My office might be one of the most optimistic, enthusiastic, productive places I know thanks to Bronwynn’s work.
As a VISTA, Bronwynn’s monthly paycheck is diddly. In order to get her here, I needed to show that the community would support a VISTA. Thanks to the donors of the Tin Roof Fund at the Homer Foundation, Bronwynn gets a stipend toward her housing costs. You can’t imagine what a weight has lifted with that generosity. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Seeing all the supportive folks at the Farmers’ market movie or community high tunnel meetings that Bronwynn has organized, seeing all the food that the market vendors have given her, seeing how many different people drive her to the office in the morning when she has been walking to work, I couldn’t love this community more. Thanks to everyone for your support of the local food movement and this keystone facilitator, the Farmer’s Market VISTA.
Kyra Wagner
Director of Sustainable Homer
Homer Farmers’ Market’s biggest fan

Generous hearts saved a heart

My husband, John, had a coronary bypass and aortic valve replacement on March 7. John and I would like to thank everyone who poured out their generosity during this time. This community has been and continues to be such a wonderful, outreaching and generous community. It is what helped us decide to stay here 33 years ago. Thank you, all you wonderful people who reached out and helped!
John and Betts Callahan

Emergency dock repair help thanks

The Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies would like to extend its sincere thanks and appreciation to the Tin Roof and Cottonwood Funds, donor advised funds of the Homer Foundation, for their financial support for the building of a replacement floating dock for the Peterson Bay Field Station. We would also like to thank Petro Marine Services for allowing us to use the area near their storage shed by the deep water dock to stage our project. Use of this area allowed us to build four 10-by-20 frames which were then moved down the barge ramp, floated and linked together to make our finished 20-by-40 floating dock. We were not anticipating having to build a new floating dock this season, but the extreme snow load coupled with ice and tidal influences caused our existing floating dock to collapse and be determined unsafe for continued use. This unexpected discovery came just two and a half weeks before our first large school group was scheduled to arrive at the Peterson Bay Field Station for a 2-day Alaska Coastal Ecology program. In addition to the financial support of the donor advised funds of the Homer Foundation, hours of volunteer labor, including foreman-type oversight by Bill Wells and design work by Dave Beck and Ben Gibson, and many other community members lifting and pounding, we were able to complete the project in an amazing short time span. Folks at local businesses, such as Wakeen Brown with Spenard Builders Supply, Shea Robinson with Alaskan Coastal Freight, Lance Haggerty with Mako’s Water Taxi and Brian Hawkin’s with the City of Homer Harbormaster’s Office, went above and beyond to help get materials in a speedy fashion and solve many logistical puzzles.
CACS greatly appreciates such an outstanding show of community support for our organization, allowing us to not miss a beat in delivering a wonderful spring program season to hundreds of school children and their teachers and chaperones from around the state.
Beth Trowbridge
Executive director, CACS

Arts generate important revenues

According to Americans for the Arts, the nonprofit arts industry (museums, theater and dance companies, performing arts centers, orchestras, arts councils and others) generates $29.6 billion in federal, state, and local tax revenues annually. By comparison, federal, state, and local governments combined spend less than $4 billion on support for the arts each year.
The financial return on government’s investment in the nonprofit arts is, therefore, more than seven times the investment annually. Bunnell Street Arts Center is a case in point. The City of Homer Grants Program through the Homer Foundation is the lever we use to grow our foundation of support on all levels. A dynamic formula of complementary funding sources fuels this Art Center’s stability.
City support is the keystone, a critical feature of every grant we write, every sponsor we attract. Private funders, especially foundations, look to the level of City Support this Arts Center receives when making funding determinations. City support leverages nearly 400 percent more in total, when all grants are considered.
We thank the City of Homer and the Homer Foundation for their visionary partnership in fostering  our cultural and economic ecosystem.
Asia Freeman
Executive Director Bunnell Art Center

Is this justice?

One recent fine evening, while enjoying a casual bike ride on a city road, a vicious-appearing dog from a nearby house suddenly rushed out at me in a very aggressive manner.
In response to this physical threat, I immediately felt an adrenaline rush as my body’s instinctive “fight or flight” self-protective systems kicked in. During this mode, my dominant emotions were, in sequence: Surprise and fear, followed by anger at being so suddenly and arbitrarily threatened. Then came a compelling desire for revenge against the threat.
This is the same sequence of emotions felt by man since time immemorial, when suddenly threatened, and it has served as the basis since then for men’s efforts to protect their families, friends or groups (“remember Pearl Harbor”) from physical threats.
Panic is the flip side; the result of acceding to the “flight” aspect. “Fight or flight” is one of the most powerful and culturally necessary instinctual modes possessed by humans. One interesting feature of the mode is that, while it can be activated almost instantly, it does not recede as rapidly. It diminishes slowly and can linger for an extended period of time. Again, I emphasize its instinctual source; the result of a million years of evolution.
Fast forward one day to the sentencing of Mike “Spoonman” Glasgow for apparently threatening to assault the owner and young son of three large unleashed dogs immediately after the dogs had unexpectedly rushed him while he was cycling home on East Road bike trail.
No person was injured or even touched. Did the experience traumatize the boy? The father says so. But what provoked Mr Glasgow’s instinctive “fight or flight” response? Given the situation’s context, I believe the dog owner’s lack of responsibility set events in motion toward the predetermined end.
For his action, Mr. Glasgow has been sentenced, among other requirements, to incarceration. Under the circumstances, I find it absurd that the justice system has allowed this unsatisfactory ending.
Larry Slone

Support natural breast cancer prevention

Research now links vitamin D deficiency with a significantly increased risk of breast cancer. So, why don’t more people understand this and take simple, natural steps to reduce their risk?
Vitamin D is made naturally and abundantly when skin is exposed to sunlight. Because sunshine is free, there’s no marketing department to promote this valuable information.
Humans today spend more time indoors and less time in the sun than at any point in history, thus vitamin D levels are declining and more than two out of three North American women are vitamin D deficient, unnecessarily putting millions of women at an elevated risk for breast cancer.
 Since the stakes are so high — 200,000 women will be told they have breast cancer in North America this year, and 45,000 will die – I am proud to be supporting the Natural Breast Cancer Prevention Campaign, an effort to fund education about vitamin D and other lifestyle choices proven to reduce the risk of breast cancer.
The research on vitamin D and breast cancer prevention is impressive.
• A 2011 study published in Anticancer Research linked natural vitamin D levels with a 50 percent reduction in breast cancer risk.
• A 2006 paper published in Anticancer Research established that women with higher vitamin D levels are 50-70 percent less likely to develop breast cancer.
• A University of Toronto study found that women with vitamin D levels above 30 ng/ml (75 nmol/l) at time of breast cancer diagnosis had half the 12-year all-cause mortality rate of those with less than 10 ng/ml (25 nmol/l).
• A 2007 study in the American Journal of Epidemiology reported that women with high sun exposure levels—the most natural and abundant source of vitamin D—had half the risk of developing breast cancer.
• A 2007 paper in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that women with high vitamin D levels have up to a 77 percent reduction in overall cancer risk—including breast cancer.
• A 2002 paper in Occupational and Environmental Medicine established that women who received regular sun exposure were less likely to die from breast cancer.
The Natural Breast Cancer Prevention Campaign is being supported in the month of May by small businesses across North America. Patrons are being asked to donate $1 to $10 to support vitamin D breast cancer research. Visit Stay Tan-Homer’s Midnight Sun to show your support for natural breast cancer prevention education.
Carol and Fred Kaatz
Stay Tan-Homer’s Midnight Sun

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Posted by on May 2nd, 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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