Letters – Feb. 20

Take precautions against school shootings

Parents, children and school employee’s need realistic solutions to prevent death during school shootings in America. Through January and February school safety evaluations and discussions are being held in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District. I believe schools are vulnerable because of classroom doors and outdated windows.
Classroom doors typically open outward into the hallway; mainly for mass evacuation safety. Classroom doors should open inward so they can be barricaded or held shut if necessary. Fire drills are practiced monthly and classroom size is limited. This should prevent dangerous evacuation of classrooms with inward opening doors.
Classrooms and administration office doors need interior and exterior key actuated locks. Doors are impractically locked from the hallway alone. This creates vulnerability of being exposed to gun fire and letting the intruder know your location – not to mention wasting precious time.
Finally, windows should function as emergency exits. Some schools in the borough have jalousie style windows. This makes exit through them difficult and time consuming. Schools with second stories could be issued fire ladders as a practical option. If leaving through the door is impossible, there must be a safe alternative. This applies to fire, earthquake and violence.
The average school shooting lasts fifteen minutes. Providing barriers between our children and evil are our best proactive solution. As discussions are being held, please consider these ideas and speak up.
Michelle New

Talk to legislators about SB 80

On Tuesday, our state Senate will likely take a final vote on HB 80, Gov. Parnell’s legislation to allow cruise ships to dump partially treated sewage and heavy metals in Alaska state waters. HB 80 would overturn the 2006 citizens’ initiative to regulate the cruiseship industry. As a commercial fisherman, I am strongly opposed to HB 80. This act would harm Alaska’s fisheries and tarnish our reputation.
The citizens’ initiative that Gov. Parnell and Sen. Cathy Giessel are trying to repeal says cruise ships “may not discharge untreated sewage, treated sewage, graywater or other wastewaters in a manner that violates any applicable effluent limits or standards under state or federal law, including Alaska Water Quality Standards governing pollution at the point of discharge.” Parnell’s bill, HB 80, would repeal the last clause of this law so that dumping of partially-treated sewage and wastewater in Alaska state waters could be considered adequate “treatment.”
The 2006 citizens’ initiative was passed by the people of Alaska. The Northwest Cruiseship Association spent $1,344,244 to oppose this regulation, while the opposition spent less than $8,500. Our legislators should not sell out our fishery and our future to the highest bidder.
It makes no sense that a representative from the Kenai Peninsula would support this bill, which harms our fisheries … until you follow the money. An executive from Holland America made the maximum allowable campaign contribution to Sen. Giessel during the last election. All told, the cruise industry is spending over $390,000 on campaign contributions and lobbyists to pass HB 80. Outside CEOs and Washington D.C. lobbyists have big money to push this bill. In fact, the CEOs/presidents of Carnival, Princess, Holland America and Royal Caribbean, none of whom live in Alaska, have all contributed money to the Republican legislators in Juneau who are pushing this bill.
Those pushing this bill claim that “mixing zones” are adequate treatment of partially-treated sewage and heavy metals. “Mixing zones” are just areas of our state waters. They are where I fish, and many other residents of the Kenai earn a living or go sport fishing. Alaska’s fisheries should not be the dumping grounds for the cruiseship industry.
Sadly, Sen. Giessel is a leading proponent of HB 80. She not only supports this bill to allow partially treated sewage and heavy metals to contaminate our fisheries, but also led Senate Republican efforts to block all amendments to HB 80. Sen. Hollis French led an effort, supported by the United Fishermen of Alaska, which would have required any cruise dumping to take place at least two miles offshore. Sen. Giessel claimed that “science” didn’t support that amendment. I don’t need a Ph.D to understand that sewage and salmon don’t mix.
Sen. Giessel even blocked an amendment, which would have required public disclosure of where dumping takes place. I don’t want to fish right where thousands of gallons of partially treated sewage just got dumped, and I want to know what is dumped in Alaska waters.
This bill still can be stopped if Sen. Micciche votes no, but unfortunately Sen. Giessel is one of the ringleaders trying to pass it. Thanks to Sen. Giessel and Gov. Parnell, if HB 80 passes we won’t have the right to know where cruiseships are dumping their filth.
We need for our legislators to represent all Alaskans’ interests, not those of Outside lobbyists and corporate contributors. Thousands of Kenai Peninsula residents rely on Alaska’s fisheries to support our families. Sen. Cathy Giessel and Gov. Sean Parnell should be ashamed of selling us out to a bunch of Outside lobbyists and CEOs. Those lobbyists will never have to fish right where a cruiseship’s partially treated sewage got dumped. Fishermen from the Kenai Peninsula certainly will. Please ask your senator to vote no on HB 80.
James Price,
Nikiski

With heartfelt thanks

On behalf of the gala organizing committee, I would like to express enormous gratitude to our town for their generous support of the Homer High School Nordic Ski Team at the Gala dinner and auction.
Our ski program continues to be strong because of the contributions from this community. Huge thanks to all who helped, including our sponsor, Kachemak Nordic Ski Club, The Homer Bookstore for selling tickets, Carri Thurman and crew from Two Sisters Bakery for preparing an out-of-this-world feast for our annual Gala Dinner, Lydia Arndt and Daniel Perry for playing beautifully throughout the evening.
We also thank our auctioneer Darrel Oliver, Homer High School skiers and parents for fabulous door prizes and auction items, and to the more than 100 generous local businesses, artists and individuals for items to auction, to those who sponsored tickets for our coaches and honored guests, to the Halls for the venue and to all those who attended our Gala dinner.
Our hardworking skiers, a young team this year, made us all proud with a strong showing at both Boroughs, and this last weekend’s Region III competition at Lookout Trails. These races require loads of volunteers to put on. Thank you for giving your time to our youth.
Cynthia Morelli

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Posted by on Feb 20th, 2013 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.

3 Responses for “Letters – Feb. 20”

  1. vhoozer says:

    HB80 passed. The argument whether it is a good or bad bill, to me, is moot. Alaskans voted for this initiative and that vote should be honored. Just like the other initiatives have been honored. Like the cruise ship head tax, Pebble mine initiative and the Murkowski jet…….oh wait! ….never mind. Just our elected officials looking after us uninformed citizens as usual.

  2. throw them out says:

    Blatantly ignoring the Alaskan people, trying to change the state constitution to give public money to religious schools, giving away our water rights, giving away our treasury to oil and gas…they illegally gerrymandered the legislature and are behaving like they have a mandate to act like authoritarians.

  3. Louis Dupree says:

    It is time to elect people that represent us period.

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