Yurt manufacturing owner stages one woman protest at economic forum

By Naomi Klouda
Homer Tribune

Jesse Tenhoff, owner of Nomad Yurts, talks with officers Stacey Luck and Lt. Randy Rosencrans at Land's End.

The owner of a Homer business that manufactures yurt homes shipped all over the state and nation staged a protest Thursday after organizers of an economic forum denied her permission to attend.
Key industry leaders from oil and gas companies, Kenai Peninsula Borough officials and city officials from Seward to Homer are engaged in the 2013 Industry Outlook Forum: Cook Inlet – Energy for All Alaska today and Friday at Land’s End. Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell was to be the keynote speaker at lunch, but he was unable to make it after his Minnesota flight was cancelled to weather.
Jesse Tenhoff, who with her husband founded Nomad Yurts 20 years ago, owns the Homer Yurt Village. It is a place where manufacturing is done in an economically sustainable manner: in addition to the yurt factory, the village incubated a yarn shop whose owners card and spin their own yarn, a kayak builder who works from an ancient Alaska Native design, healing therapies, arts and jewelry merchants.
Police were called to the Land’s End Resort after Tenhoff loudly disrupted the forum to say she was being kept out of the meeting. She then sat down outside the door and said she wanted to “just listen in.”
But organizers called in Homer police to escort her from the premises. The forum is being hosted by the Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District and the City of Homer. Tenhoff was not arrested at the end of a discussion with the two Homer Police who responded to the call but she was not allowed to remain.
“I’m at a tipping point with my tolerance for the way extractive businesses are ramming their way down our throats,” Tenhoff said when contacted at the Yurt village. “I tried to get into this meeting. I knew it wasn’t a policy making meeting. They made me aware this protest was not applicable but I disagree – the people who were invited were extractive businesses and state agencies.”
Tenhoff wouldn’t be out of place at an economic forum as a presenter, explaining the yurt manufacturing business. It has taken off through the years, supplying steady local jobs for everything from cutting the material for the shelters to stitching it on commercial machines to construction workers responsible for frames. Presently, the company is filling a contract for the Tustemena 200 dog race supplying shelters along the route.
“But what I really wanted to do was meet these folks and see if there is any kind of movement or understanding that there is an alternative path to the extractive path,” she said.
In several ways, Tenhoff said she tried to attend the meeting through the regular channels, but was late in attempting to register for the two-day forum.
“I made numerous phone calls. I asked for my name to be on the wait list. I saw people leaving from the building and so I asked if I could come in, and they said ‘no.’ That’s when I lost it,” she said.
Denied of an ability to take part in the dialogue, even with individuals, Tenhoff said she decided to draw the line. The effort made her feel embarrassed to make an exhibition of herself, she said, but she wanted to make a point.
“I’m tired of the madness happening and it’s my children’s future and my children’s children’s future,” she said. “I wanted to talk to the people that are making these decisions that are so wrong. There is a way to have an economy that isn’t from extracting resources.”

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Posted by on Jan 31st, 2013 and filed under Headline News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

36 Responses for “Yurt manufacturing owner stages one woman protest at economic forum”

  1. Nina Faust says:

    Jesse, you were brave to take a stand on this. It is a closed system and the extractive industries have the upper hand because they have the bucks. What I don’t understand is why the City of Homer and the Economic Development Council did not partner with KBBI to at least get parts of it broadcast, or make a feed available on the internet, which would have been the most democratic as then anyone could listen. This type of meeting should be widely available. Shame on this group for not coming up with a simple solution like an internet connection to allow any interested citizen to attend electronically!

    • Jessica Tenhoff says:

      Thanks Nina, I would hope its just ignorant incompetence that stopped KPEDD from making this a real forum. They are on the “milk the position for benefits and salary track” and have not done anything really worth while that
      I’ve seen over the last 13 years. They just do the minimum they need to to get funded again. Their funding should get taken and applied to the Small Bus Dev Centers in my view. Those folks actually provide a service!
      I thought it was cool that Naomi mentioned that the Knitting store and others were “incubated” at the yurt village. KPEDD wasted huge amounts of public money on a patronizing and expensive “incubator ” building in Kenai. I haven’t heard they actually hatched anything yet!
      I am pretty sure I would never have gotten into that meeting after I missed the sign up. I tried every angle i could. I lay down actually because i thought i was having a heart attack I was so angry. Just over the top. I hope there is debate coming out of it anyway. Thanks for your support.

  2. Ruby Wolfe says:

    Kudos to this Woman’s Courage. We need more folks like her. Get Bold, People. Shove this garbage and this false destructive economy back where it belongs. Stand up, Shout Out. Thank you Jesse. You are a Hero. We are proud of you for standing up to Nonsense. It’s a new world and We the People have arrived in the full glory of our collective power, no llonger your dumbed down Slaves.

    • Jessica Tenhoff says:

      Amen, lets all be present in our own power and take charge of our local environment and resources for our childrens childrens chilren as we are mandated to do by a power higher then any multinational or international bank. The choice is ours we live in a free society right? This is a pivotal time. wee can turn on a dime if we want to.

  3. deb says:

    isnt her son extracting gold from the ocean using a boat run by oil and gas and recorded by cameras for televison powered by electricity made from coal or gas?

    • Jessica tenhoff says:

      Thank you for caring to respond. I have no problem with extraction industry practiced on a small scale. Gold in particular. If there were a sustainalbe fuel available to do the job Zeke would use it. That is the problem. The big extraction companies are delaying the conversion to sustainable energy on every level when the technology and resoirces are hear now to make the switch. Get active we need debate.

  4. Kate Finn says:

    I am so proud of Jess Tenhoff for staking a claim for participation in the “2013 Industry Outlook Forum: Cook Inlet – Energy for All Alaska” on Thursday ! What is the “Outlook” for our future if there can be no dialogue? I’ll be interested to see who the entry-worth participants were. Were there any sustainable, environmentally supportive, and non-earth damaging businesses represented? If not, why not? Jesse Tenhoff and others who have, not only the vision, but experience in bringing sustainable businesses into our community deserve a place at the table and access to the microphone! Thank you Jesse!

    • Jessica Tenhoff says:

      Thanks Kate, I miss our meetings. Pay attention to the gas line extension vote this next council meeting!

  5. Lani Raymond says:

    You are very brave to stand up to so many people! I applaud what you did; many of us feel the way you do about the issue.

    I heard that the room was really not full but they used that as an excuse to exclude the public. Was it really full?

    I also did not see any announcement of this meeting anywhere until I read it in the TRIBUNE Wednesday afternoon, and apparently the forum was closed even at that time. The paper said “open to the public” which implies that some folks, if not many folks, should have been allowed to attend. Where was the publicity that would have been in time?

    I believe we Alaskans are being throttled. Just look at the “Lawless Lucy” legislation just proposed and at Parnell’s attempt to curtail the public’s right to participate in important decisions (HB 77 and SB 77).

    We need to be paying attention to this all…

    • Jessica Tenhoff says:

      Thank you for your support. I was waiting outside with my phone number on a piece of paper inside asking to be allowed in when someone left. I watched people leave and then went in to see if they would let me in yet. They wouldn’t so at that point i knew it wasn’t about space it was about selective audience. That is when I decided to go crazy on it. Its not fun being the crazy lady but it seems to be what it takes to be heard. I hope that there is some honest debate come out of my ruckus and that there is more then the one path for development presented in the future.

  6. Catherine H. Knott says:

    Let’s make that a two woman protest. The Yurt Village has employed my son, and several of our friends and neighbors in this community over time. My son bought his yurt home from the Tenhoffs, and put it up on land he purchased in Homer. Nomad Shelter Yurts is a sustainable business that fits in with the self-sufficient and environmentally conservative character of Homer. Nomad Shelter Yurts should be part of any economic forum in Homer or the Kenai Peninsula. -Dr. Catherine H. Knott, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Kenai Peninsula College, Homer AK

  7. foreign_observer says:

    Sounds like she wanted to tell them their “way” is “wrong” and her “way” is “right”. I wonder how she traveled to Land’s End? Making yurts and selling them is a good business, apparently but what heats a yurt? Wood? Cut all by hand? With hand saw blades made of? The entire picture of human progress and “extraction” is a whole lot more complicated than Tenhoff believes. I’m glad she has a successful , alternative business but hope she can look realistically at the billions of people who depend on extraction of resources to live.

    • Jessica Tenhoff says:

      Thank you for taking the time to reply. I am so aware of the grey areas of our times. I manufacture shelters using polyvinyl and because of that I am not considered a sustainable product manufacturer by purists. ..or fundamentalists as we like to call them. They are right to oppose poisons in any form but at this time the best choice is the most durable.
      I believe there is an appropriate technology for every need and environment, one that is the least destructive and the best choice given the technology of the time.
      When the decisions are made by profits for multinationals backed by corrupt banks. When there is no debate . When there is only one path presented for development presented. When the public most effected is denied informed choice then there is a problem worth making a ruckus about. So I made a crazy ruckus and I am sorry if I offended you but I could not face my children if I let it go. No one was speaking for value added resource development. That should also be on the table don’t you think? I’ve been trying to build this business with no state help for 20 years. Enstar is being handed 12.5 million locally to link us up to their product like an umbilical . The gas and oil industry has not proven to be run in our interest. There is another path.

    • Jessica Tenhoff says:

      Thank you for caring to respond. My product is dependent on polyvinyl at this point. A value added petroleum product. . I believe there is an appropriate technology for every concern. The problem arises when multinational companies backed by corrupt banks determine for us what that appropriate technology is.
      In Alaska there is no alternative path for development being presented. There is some opposition to the current path but without a viable option being presented there can’t be any informed choice. Without informed choice there is no debate or freedom of choice. I just wanted to be able to present an alternate path by my presence. I was denied the right to even listen to this forum that was presented with public money. I have 20 years of work into developing a value added product using local resources here in state. I should be allowed to listen to them at least. I tried all week to just get in to listen. We were busy making yurts for the Tusti 200 when they held sign up and so I never knew it was happening. Did you know it was happening?

      In my opinion… If the giant petrochemical industries were not detouring us with their gas extraction we would be using the available sustainable technologies now. They have us, they own the forum . there is no alternative path being presented. This makes me a crazy lady…so be it. I need to speak for my kids. I welcome your opinion and your debate . We all need each others perspective to arrive at any truth

  8. big dog says:

    Thanks Jesse for doing your part to reinforce to the rest of the state that homer is full of nothing but irrational nutcases. You did a good job!!!

    • Jessica Tenhoff says:

      Thank you for taking the time to care. I have worked as a sane manufacturer of portable shelters using local wood and oil products for 20 years. A value added product using the resources we have in state. Wood and oil both.
      I have received no assistance from this state ever in building this product over the last 20 years. Enstar is about to receive 12.5 million of our local money to link everyone up like an umbilical cord to their product. We don’t even have a choice.
      The forum was stacked with multinational companies backed by corrupt banks. There were no value added development alternatives presented. How can we have an informed decision if there is not access to information about alternatives. They would have you believe there is no alternate path and that is not true. We are sold out. I can’t even get permission to listen never mind speak. Welcome to the the new USA . We are no longer a free people.

  9. Bradley Kloeckl says:

    Thank you, Jessica. Happy Day!

  10. Louis Dupree says:

    We need more people like Jesse to stand up for all Alaskans. My hat is off to you Jesse. Thank you for what you did. I wish more people would stand up and be counted.

  11. BillyH says:

    And the point she made was that people at the end of the road are actual crazy. Looks like she was wearing rubber boots (not made by her) a pair of denim pants ( not made by her) and she probably drove her rusted Subaru with a boycott Pebble Mine bumper sticker on it (not paid for by her).

    • Jessica Tenhoff says:

      Thank you for caring to respond. I manufacture shelters made out of oil products and have been for 20 years. I believe in using technology appropriate to the need and most responsible to the environment. At this point oil products still make the best roofing for portable shelters. When something better comes along i will switch fast.
      The problem comes when big multinational companies decide for us what the appropriate technology is based on their own profits. These companies are owned by the big banks that also fund much of the evil in the world. (Google Libor) . The technologies are here now to make the switch to more sustainable energy right now. The gas industry and oil industry is not allowing the alternative choices to be presented in this state. That is clear. They wouldn’t let me in to even listen.
      I made a ruckus and I’m sorry if I offended you. I am actually over the edge on this issue I agree. People like you who care to pay attention even are so rare. Lets debate this. Lets make sure we have informed choice before making decisions that will impact our grandchildren.

      • BillyH says:

        Why is it always the big bad oil companies? Is it because they make Billions of dollars in profits each year? If this offends you so much, you can do what most people do…..purchase shares of stock. They do pass on profits to shareholders in the form of dividends. Why don’t you go to your beloved tax-payer funded library and read up on the industrial revolution in the US. If we didn’t have companies that extracted oil and coal from the earth, we’d all still be living in yurts and have 50 year old life expectancies. One last thing….I’d bet you probably cashed your PFD last October, which came from those dreaded big oil companies.

        • Maka Fairman says:

          Hello Billy,
          Apparently you too work for the oil company, or have some stock in the oil revolution … however, what Jesse is trying to put out there is THERE IS ANOTHER WAY TO PRODUCE EVERYTHING WE NEED WITHOUT EXTRACTING THE OIL. Didn’t you get that part?

          Since 19O2, advances in electromagnetic energy generating systems have allowed for the extraction of limitless free energy from the space around us. This energy field, termed Zero Point Energy and Quantum Vacuum Space energy, allows for the extraction of vast amounts of electromagnetic energy that can run our homes, cars, factories and businesses at very little cost and with absolutely NO pollution, emissions, greenhouse gases or ionizing radiation.

        • Jessica Tenhoff says:

          Wow thanks for responding. Yes I do cash my oil check every year its the least they can do. I’m ok with oil companies but do they really need subsidy?..do they really need to control access to information?…do they really need to back pocket every politician so that no other alternatives are presented ? Why can’t they play fair? Big bullys.
          I would not put my money (if I had any) near any shares of these businesses also because they are backed by giant international banks…evil banks that launder money for criminals and crazy terrorist groups. (Google libor) You should take the time to follow the money trail…see what your hard earned dollars are doing in this world…then bring em back home to your community where you can really keep an eye on them…that’s just my opinion tho…support the Mexican cartels etc if you choose. …but don’t begin to talk about freedom because you are sold out for profits.

      • foreign_observer says:

        “The problem comes when the big multinational companies decide for us what the appropriate technology is according to their profits.” They have not decided for you. Many folks are using other, less mainstream technologies for profitable purposes. You don’t seem to take into account the development costs that were NOT paid for by government funds, over the years, nor the fact that they make profits because they are successful at their business. The truth is closer to the fact of there not being, profitable, sustainable technologies that can DELIVER the energy necessary to maintain all the factories that produce what you use RIGHT NOW. That is not even taking into account the millions of other individuals, businesses and yes, basic government services that depend on current volume technology. Hydropower is one of the few viable energy producers but even that is under attack by those that SEEM to want to return to the past. Every viable technology (so far) has problems. I do agree that oil companies(in particular) make obscene profits and then whine!

  12. head of the snake says:

    Thank you for standing up. We all need to unite and speak the truth about the corruption happening in our state.

    Has everyone seen and signed the petition to demand Governor Sean Parnell has a debate his oil tax bill with Senator Bill Wielechowski?

    All the public wants is to discuss these things out in the open, have an honest logical debate about policy, and our corporations/politicians aren’t interested in allowing us any voice at all. That is called fascism and it is unacceptable. We are a democracy, this is our state, not the state of Sean Parnell and ConocoPhillips.

  13. problems in Homer says:

    There is plenty to do right here at home, dealing with our city council and requesting they do what is best for the city.

    At the recent Homer City Council meeting, they requested the state shift two million dollars that had been given for main street, to a new building for the harbor master and a new fire station on skyline to save those people in insurance costs. Seriously.

    ‘Slow down, plan more,’ residents tell city council

    Two million dollars which could have been used to build a community center as exists in many towns in Alaska smaller than Homer. Two million could build a really awesome teen center too.

    But what they city wants to do with our money is another fancy office, and save some people money on insurance.

    This is unacceptable, and everyone who is angry here, needs to start fighting for our rights in town right now.

    Also Sean Parnell has been handing out grants right and left, like the Homer Prevention Project. A one million dollar grant for one person to spend on their 180,000 salary, 9,000 of janitorial supplies, 10,000 on office supplies, 9,000 travel….it is ridiculous. And they say teachers are paid too much? This is a dream slush fund for school supplies that any teacher would celebrate, but they would spend it on children unlike this director and this program, This is where our state treasury is being squandered, on people who will probably take our state money then run for office to provide more legislators for Republicans. Or maybe a fake Democrat like Lindsey Holmes.

    Alaska is the current poster boy for corruption (we are worse than Wisconsin, and we have way more resources). We must root out this corruption everywhere if we are to save our state.

    Is everyone aware that the state incoming and outgoing is not being audited?

    Anyone else notice our permanent fund checks should have been higher and they tried to blame it on the year’s oil production which is unrelated. They are lying and looting and giving Alaskans the shaft. Wake up everyone!

  14. problems in Homer says:

    The city of Sitka is using $60,000 to build a skateboard park for pre-teens.

    Imagine what Homer could do with that two million dollars that they city just asked the state to reallocate to a new Harbor master office and fire station on Skyline to save Homeowners on insurance costs.

    When community members asked the city council for a community center, something for community schools, something for teenagers in town…they said ‘oh, no we have no money’.

    Turns out the city had two million the whole time.

    Imagine if we spent just one million on building a new Boys and Girls Club, instead of continuing to pay for an asbestos laden building?

    That building would serve hundreds in the community, whereas the harbor master office will be a nice building for a few employees.

    A fires station will save people who live on Skyline money. Is that really what we need to be using one million dollars for? Where is the common sense here?

    Does it seem like the city has come up with any good ideas for us, the people of Homer? Add a sales tax to food, stop plastic bags and force everyone to pay for natural gas whether they want it or not. They don’t seem to be serving our best interests.

  15. Roark Brown says:

    So let me get this straight… She drives to Lands End and crashes into the forum in the middle of a presentation by the city manager of Seldovia. She throws herself on the floor in a tantrum because she is not allowed to attend a forum that she did not register early enough for. Her point appears to be that sustainable businesses like hers are not represented at the forum unlike the evil extractive industries. Yet she produces a product using a polyvinyl fabric, a petroleum product produced by the petrochemical industry, which is assembled with wood harvested by the logging industry, and metal fasteners from the mining industry. In the mean time Apache celebrated planting their 3 millionth tree. Point taken, nicely done!

    • Jessica Tenhoff says:

      Thank you for taking the time to think about this. I agree my behavior was over the top. I have been very quietly and sanely manufacturing portable shelters using local resources , wood and oil for 20 years. I have never had any support at all from our state even though i employ lots of people and provide an export product.
      I was denied entry to the forum even though there was room at the tables, I had called a week earlier to ask to be put on a list for a vacancy. Many people did not show up due to the ice. I went in the morning of the event and asked to called if anyone left and there was a space opening. I watched people leave and then went again and asked to be able to listen. They were not going to let me in to this forum even to listen. That is when yes I snapped.
      If there are no alternative paths to development presented , if the access is denied to present those alternatives then do we have informed choice? The big multinational companies are stalling the switch to sustainable energy because they are so invested and they have us. We are even paying for the right to buy their product? What?
      Yes I do drive a car, because they squashed the production of electric vehicles. I do burn wood , I use rocket stove technology that burns 2/3 less wood cleanly for the same heat as archaic wood burning technologies and i got that stove made locally by local people. I don’t want to go backward. i want to go forward with technologies that are in balance with our environment and aren’t supporting the worlds evil with their profits. ( google libor).
      I appreciate your input, your perspective is also valid…as is mine and together we approach truth if access to information is free.

    • Tom Stroozas says:

      The Tribune’s articles about this issue are classic presentations of “sensationalism” at its finest! Your publication’s recent reporting that Jessica Tenhoff was denied entry into the recent KPEDD Industry Outlook Forum has created an unnecessary stir. I was in attendance when she burst into the meeting room screaming at the top of her lungs that she had a right to attend because she represented an industry that has created economic development via her yurt manufacturing business. Her denial to attending was due to the fact that she did not register; plain and simple.
      Advance registrations to events such as this forum are important so that proper planning for seating and meals can be ascertained. So registering in advance and getting your ticket to attend is no different than going to a movie at the Homer Theatre, where you must have a ticket to attend or, yes, be denied entry!
      This Economic Development Forum was no different. Jessica’s “temper tantrum” and unprofessional interruption was rude and grossly impolite. The implication by your publication that Jessica is a “hero” is flawed. She certainly had knowledge of the event well in advance as a newspaper published an editorial written by her in their January 31 edition, the opening day of the event. So if she took time in advance to write an editorial why couldn’t she have taken the time to register? I’ve always been told “if you snooze, you lose”, and she certainly lost out by not securing a “ticket” to attend.

      • Jessica Tenhoff says:

        snooze? I was busy making shelters for the Tusti 200 when the registration went on. I called multiple times to get in before the event…one would think investing 20 years in industry development would get you in to listen anyway. I watched people leave whose place I could have taken that morning.
        Doesn’t it bother you that there is only one plan for development presented at a “forum” put on with public money.
        It takes being rude to be heard when trying to be heard above multinational banks and giant oil concerns. This forum was stacked.

  16. Jeb says:

    This lady is totally out of line. Not to mention an embarrassment to the people of Homer who don’t share her views. The Homer tribune should be ashamed for reporting on this, how about the information that was discussed at the venue? This article contradicts more of your mission statement than it supports. More than one person discussed how she expressed her intentions on another web site. Why didn’t she just arrange to be there in advance like the rest of us? For some people it’s always someone else’s fault. If this lady looked at herself for a change, instead of all the people and companies she is always pointing her finger at for her own perceived wrong doing, maybe shed be in a better place. Everyone has as much of a right to be here as the next person. Next time exercise some civility and professionalism…or even just the tiniest modicum of reason.

    • Jessica Tenhoff says:

      Thank you for caring enough to respond. You are right my out burst was over the top and embarrassing. I was driven to that because after 20 years of quite sanely working on building a value added manufacturing business using both wood and oil products .Value added to local resources for commerce. I was not allowed to even listen to the people speaking on behalf of the multinational companies that are dictating our economic development.
      I was busy making shelters for the Tusti 200 when the forum was open for enrollment. I tried all week to get in to the forum and asked to be put on a list for participation if anyone cancelled. That morning i waited outside and watched people leaving.There were many who didn’t show up because of the ice. I asked again to be allowed to listen and was denied entry. I have my whole adult life invested in producing value added development here in Homer and I’m not allowed to even listen?When there was indeed room for me?
      There is only freedom when there is access to information. Only one path for development is being presented. and promoted. There is no debate. There is a little bit of opposition but that isn’t the same thing. There has to be a choice if there is freedom and without an alternative plan there is no choice.
      I just wanted to talk with people to present individually another perspective. I agree i was driven over the edge.
      I lay down because i thought i might be having a heart attack. i am not used to being so extroverted. I feel like this is a closed deal, no debate and I really believe that it is an enslaving and destructive industry that will harm our local environment and enslave our population. What would you do if you thought you had no freedom of information or expression? I would hope you would make a ruckus also. Your perspective is also valid…as is mine . Its only in informed debate that we approach truth…not yours , not mine but ours.

    • Trudy Snellen says:

      I don’t feel she was out of line at all. Your letter implies….”if she would just act like me it would all be okay”. Well sir, it’s not all okay. I give her kudos for her small business. She doesn’t have to wear animal skins to be a great advocate for using less extractive type of commodities. It’s always good to see someone passionate about something (besides sitting at the bar and watching tv, Jeb).

    • concerned sourdough says:

      A “Mission Statement” simply means you have nonprofit status, thereby with the 501(c)(3) endorsement from the IRS, the nonprofit gets put on the $$feeding trough to write grants from taxpayers money. In reality, any nonprofit organization belongs to the public, and the public has a every right to know their business, whether it’s at the top level of government to the bottom level of “care” for handicapped, mentally challenged, or poverty stricken … it’s our money … our business. Now go on out there and get your nonprofit status so you can get on the BIG tit.

  17. ray says:

    This is one of the best debates I have seen in the paper. I love the passion and concern of the Homer community so much.

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