Last week, I had suggested that the city administration needed to provide the public with cost estimates for converting homes to natural gas; otherwise, an information void would exist and fools would rush in where angels fear to tread. Sure enough, I jumped in, and shortly thereafter my hide was flayed to the bone by Borough Assemblyman Bill Smith’s whip.
Of course, he was correct. You know Bill, who can argue with his charts and graphs and 30 years experience as a mechanical engineer – or, something like that.
Anyway, Bill pointed out that my estimate of $20,000 for a complete system replacement, converting an older house to natural gas, was money that mostly would have been spent anyway for necessary maintenance. OK, that makes sense. So, my estimate for a voluntary conversion was probably pretty high.
But, I still think my instinct for cost-creep with natural gas conversions remains valid, and I believe that you share my suspicion, based upon your own experiences.
How many times has your car returned from the shop for a simple brake repair job where it was found necessary to also replace the shocks, muffler and water pump. Bought a new computer lately? The price didn’t include a two-year warranty, Microsoft Works, or new peripherals for the upgraded 64-bit processor, did it?
How about a new clothes-washer/dryer system requiring a new expensive power cord and probably up-graded plumbing to service it. Did you think to include those items in your price calculation? Probably not.
Most of us don’t have Bill Smith’s analytical mind and we get caught short. Why expect natural gas conversions to be any different? In fact, the city’s administrators are quite wary of this cost-conversion quagmire – they won’t touch it with a 10-foot pole.
Yes, it’s true that many homes are on simple systems and upgrade costs will be minimal. So you might get by for $6,500 or so, total costs over 10 years. Incidentally, Bill has prepared a chart with various case studies for conversions. You can get a copy from the city.
But a lot of unknowns will remain for many homeowners. To remedy each one will surely be expensive.
The following is how I envision the process likely playing-out: Your propane lines may not meet code, requiring expensive replacement at $100-plus/hour; even if they do meet code, they and your appliances may require a day of cleaning at $100-plus/hour; or your newer, higher-energy (btu’s), appliances may need larger pipe; your 15-year-old boiler, otherwise still functional, may no longer have parts available for conversion; your water heater may not be compatible with a natural gas boiler; your cheaper Home Depot style appliances could easily fail prematurely.
Your plumber may not even recognize these potential problems until he’s actually involved, knee-deep in plumber’s putty and wrenches, doing your conversion. Furthermore, at your plumber’s insistence you might unexpectedly feel compelled to convert to expensive newer boilers and on-demand hot water heaters, etc. After all, the whole idea is to save on energy costs, isn’t it?
At the meeting last week at the Homer High Commons regarding the new natural gas line coming to Homer, I asked where the gas was going to come from. In this Sunday’s Anchorage Daily News, there are two articles asking that same question, one titled “Analyst warns of shortage” by Alan Bailey of the Petroleum News, and the other titled “Southcentral faces running short of natural gas soon,” by Tim Bradner.
So the question remains.
In my two years as a resident of Homer, it is quite evident that our little town is a “51/49” sort of place. What pleases me is the amount of energy we, as a small community, put in to support efforts we believe are advantageous, and to fight against efforts we do not believe are in our best interest.
On Oct. 24 at 6 p.m. at the Bidarka Inn and Thursday Oct. 25 at 6:30 p.m. at McNeil Canyon School, Buccaneer Energy will be discussing their plans for petroleum extraction on the southern Kenai Peninsula – namely offshore drilling near Anchor Point and onshore drilling out East End Road.
If you have strong feelings, have unanswered questions, or are uneducated on these topics, I would strongly encourage everyone to attend these important meetings. Our environment and economy will both be greatly affected.
Justice group meets Thursday at Library
Citizens of Alaska Truth, Justice and Reconciliation commission meets Thursday, October 25, 4-6 p.m. at the Homer Public Library. Our mission is a fair justice system under the Constitution. Our work thus far includes listening to citizen accounts of unfair treatment by the police/court/jail system, communicating with law enforcement, and encouraging citizens to make written reports. At this meeting Larry Slone will report on his analysis of Homer’s Police Policy Manual. We will also be addressing the continuing problem citizens report: when they try to submit a written complaint to the Homer police, they are discouraged by certain ill-natured police officers. (We notice the Homer police force also includes many good-natured individuals.)
We have been studying Glenn Greenwald’s book, With Liberty and Justice for Some. This book details America’s two-tiered justice system, with two very different tracks for rich and poor. Here in Homer, we notice a pattern of cultural discrimination by certain police officers against those who think and dress differently. We think regardless of what is going on in the lower 48, Homer’s justice system should be impartial and constitutional.
Some citizens who support our work and have genuine grievances are reluctant to attend our meetings for fear of surveillance. Personally, I refuse to participate in a fear-based system. Having been outspoken for decades, I figure everything I do and say is monitored. I do my best to provide a good show of beautiful music and educational thoughts. Besides, it seems redundant to fear surveillance when our Creator knows everything we do and say.
If you have a story to share, a report to make, want to support the Constitution, or are just curious, you are cordially invited to our meeting! No law enforcement officers have been invited, this is a citizens only meeting. And if government agents are listening in, let’s offer them uplifting thoughts.
Lindianne Sarno, Secretary
Citizens of Alaska Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission
Cook Inletkeeper would like to extend a big thank you to the City of Homer grants program, administered by the Homer Foundation, for supporting the efforts of local nonprofit organizations. Support from the City of Homer helps Inletkeeper continue important work toward its mission to protect the Cook Inlet watershed and the life it sustains.
Now in its 17th year, Cook Inletkeeper and its many members, supporters and volunteers appreciate the City’s support for the work we do in the Homer area, including electronics recycling, citizen stream monitoring, clean harbors and safe drinking water projects, among many others.
Inletkeeper looks forward to continuing to serve Homer residents, and we invite community members to visit with us at the 29th Annual Rotary Health Fair at Homer High School on Nov. 10. We will be presenting our Clean Water, Healthy Families program, providing information about how to ensure safe drinking water for residents and their families.
Thank you, again, to the City of Homer for funding this important project through their grants program with the Homer Foundation.
community outreach assistant,
The show was a double hit last Thursday night at the Down East Saloon Singer Song-writer talent show. Hawkins Wright and Michael Howard each played a variety of their own songs, giving us the pleasure of hearing songs we’d never heard before. Singer song-writers are extremely creative artists, and each week, on Thursday, we get a good taste of the best “coffee house” musicians available in Alaska.
Friday night an amazing band from Kasilof, Off the Cuff, with Sue Singleton, Bob Costley, Robert Sather, Cody Kniteley and Mika Day kept the dance floor busy with a solid beat for several hours. Off the Cuff will be back in Homer again for the Mayan: Beginning of a New World party, Dec. 21, 2012, so be sure to watch for their names around town.
Another sweet treat for Down East Saloon was the eclectic sounds of the Iron Mermaid last Saturday night, with Atz Lee Kilcher and Tyler Moons on guitar; Ben Gerhard on drums, Robin on banjo, and, Jane Kilcher on keys. They rocked the house ‘til 2 a.m., stopping only for a few brief breaks. The dancers were spectacular, as well, and a couple of them even got down to dancing on the floor (which made for very interesting creative entertainment). What will they think of next?
The students and the staff would like to give great thanks for allowing us to participate in the “Artist in the Schools Program.” I am a student at Flex and was a participant working with Martin Zeller on improvisational theater. I learned many of his methods and was excited to be experiencing new things. Martty taught our improvisational theatre class how to better express ourselves and come out of our bubble, so to speak . Over the past few weeks Martty was with us, we learned different methods of theatre and games. It was a treat to perform what we learned in front of friends, family and the Flex staff.
Some of our other students also enjoyed coming up with new ideas and using imagination to create different characters. There were many different types of scenes and characters. My favorite, the conjoined octuplets, involved eight students to join at their elbows and speak in unison. The director, Martty, asked the future of some of the audience members, and the octuplets told it in unison. It was funny, due to the fact that none of us knew what the rest would say.
We would like to give thanks to our legislators Paul Seaton and Gary Stevens for funding the Alaska State Council on the Arts, to ASCA for supporting the Artist in the Schools Program, the Rasmuson Foundation, and finally to the Bunnell Street Arts Center for their local administration of the AIS program.
On behalf of Homer Flex, and the rest of my fellow classmates and staff, we would like to thank you again for supporting the Artist in the Schools Program and letting it happen. We enjoyed learning from Martty’s perspective how to do things a different way, to make it easier for some people.
on behalf of Flex staff and students
Many thanks to SVT Health and Wellness and to Best Beginnings Homer for their recent financial contributions to MAPP of the Southern Kenai Peninsula, our local partnership for improving community health. It is through this direct support, in addition to many other in-kind contributions and support from partners that enables MAPP to function. The primary purpose of MAPP of the SKP is to improve our community’s health (broadly defined) and quality of life by providing a process by which community partners can come together to strategically and collectively address our community’s priority health needs. MAPP is presently conducting its second Community Health Needs Assessment and will be reaching out to community members this November-December to provide input on our community’s strengths and needs. From here we will be better able to prioritize the issues we want to work on together for the next few years. So – thanks again to SVT Health & Wellness and Best Beginnings Homer for supporting this community vehicle for positive change – it takes all of us to play a part! “No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.” ~H.E. Luccock.
On behalf of shellfish farmers throughout the state, I’d like to thank Rep. Paul Seaton for his years of support for our small business enterprises. Rep. Seaton understands the challenges of running a small business in rural Alaska and is dedicated to the creation of new sustainable jobs in coastal Alaska.
Rep. Seaton has tirelessly represented the interests of lower Cook Inlet and all those who struggle to make a living from the sea. Thank you, Rep. Seaton, for recognizing the importance of small businesses to economy of coastal Alaska.
Rodger Painter, president,
Alaska Shellfish Growers Association
A mere thank you cannot begin to express my gratitude to all who helped with and attended my medical fundraiser, but it’s where I’ll start.
To my family and friends who planned and attended the event, thank you. To Alice’s and their staff for hosting and making such a yummy spaghetti dinner, thank you. To all the individuals and businesses who donated such wonderful items, thank you. To Chris Story, auctioneer extraordinaire, thank you. And how did you learn to talk so fast?
The band “907” was awesome. So much so, that some of my friends traveled out of town to see them play again. Pat McBride also entertained the crowd with his Alaska stories, and had the kids sitting rapt with attention, which is no small feat.
It was very humbling to have people come together to help me with my medical expenses. It’s also a testament to the people of Homer and how we can all support each other in a time of need — even when others are dealing with so much.I am forever grateful to the people of this town for their caring and generous spirit.
This is one of the many reasons I’m glad to call Homer my home.
Aimee Van Wagoner Sulczynski
Do events like the Winter Carnival, Clean Up Day, The Shorebird Festival and the 4th of July Parade help to make this community your home?
The Homer Chamber of Commerce is pleased and proud to spearhead and present these events for our community year after year, but they do cost money.
We are currently in the middle of one of our biggest fundraisers of the year, our annual Car and ATV raffle. This is your chance to not only win a wonderful prize, but support the Chamber so that we can continue to do our best to help make our community a warm and friendly place we can all be proud to call home.
Please, take the time to stop by the Chamber/VIC in the next few days and pick up your Car and ATV raffle tickets and GOOD LUCK!
Thanks for the opportunity to be of service.
Monte Davis, Executive Director
It’s cool to care. Negative comments or put-downs are emotionally abusive. If you hear some, stop them and request three positive comments immediately.
Fifty-seven percent of all bullying is stopped in the first 10 seconds. Let’s increase this by more percentage points.
Ways to praise kids: That’s incredible! How extraordinary! Outstanding performance. I can’t get over it! Great. Amazing effort. Unbelievable work. Wonderful, marvelous, phenomenal! You’ve got it. Superb. Cool. Excellent. You’re special. You are first rate. Your project/work is first-rate. Way to go! Terrific. You came through. Terrific. Your help counts. The time you put in really shows. You should be proud of yourself. Very good. Thanks for being honest. Super job. How thoughtful of you, you are getting there. You are getting better. You are a big help. You’ve earned my respect. Thanks for caring.
Brenda Dolma and family
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