I met Sen. Micciche at the Homer City Council Town Hall meeting on March 8.
My comment to him began by saying I was impressed with his news story where he met with former Alaska Senator Vic Fisher and “… ended up having a great history lesson for about 30 minutes.” I mentioned that I had seen the recent PBS special with Vic Fisher and was especially impressed when he described that the Constitutional Delegates were “more interested in being Alaskans than being Democrats or Republicans.” I said that I hoped our current legislators could share that same focus.
Gov. Parnell’s “Roads to Resources” program is a major concern of mine, I explained. How can he justify a road to Ambler with $4 million allotted just for road exploration and an additional $430 million for the initial cost estimate for the actual road construction?
How can Gov. Parnell consider a 548 mile one-lane road to Nome estimated at more than $1.1 billion dollars? The governor does say that’s in the future, but for now he’ll settle for a $69 million one-lane road going 39 miles to Tanana. This road is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2013.
Where is the logic or fiscal responsibility in building the road from Juneau to Skagway that Gov. Parnell is advocating? Does he not know the geologic hazards such a road would entail? The citizens of Haines, Skagway and Sitka clearly expressed their opposition to such a foolish effort. Instead, the governor unilaterally decided he would save money by scuttling the new, long planned 350 foot Alaska Class Ferry that was running $47 million over budget and replace it with two 255 foot to 305 foot shuttle ferries at a cost of $120 million. The new vessels will not be able to replace mainline vessels crossing the open waters of Dixon Entrance to Prince Rupert, British Columbia, according newspaper reports.
The major missing element common in the entire Road to Resources Program is the money to pay for the road maintenance.
Does Gov. Parnell not know that the U.S. Federal government has discontinued the funding for the Shakwak Highway project on Canadian portions of the Alaska Highway and the Haines Road? The U.S. has spent more than $400 million over the past three decades to maintain this surface route to Alaska. I would expect Alaska to pay something to maintain this road because most of the traffic on those portions is American.
How does Gov. Parnell justify Roads to Resources when the road from Homer to Anchorage is in such dangerous condition with pot holes that can throw a vehicle into the on-coming lane of traffic? If the existing road cannot be safely maintained then logic would suggest there can be no funds expended for any Roads to Resources Program.
There is another aspect to the road situation in the Anchor Point-Homer area. Everyone should read the article, “America Strikes Oil, The Promise and Risk of Fracking,” March, 2013 edition of the National Geographic Magazine. The article’s graphic detail with pictures, map and personal accounts shows what our area can expect in the very near future if the West Eagle gas project comes to fruition. Our roads are simply inadequate for such an intense industrial development in the Cosmic Hamlet.
The map on pages 46 and 47 show there are more than 3,000 active wells in the Williston, North Dakota area. This sort of density developed in less than seven years. Each of these wells requires multiple truck trips to service them. “…the first year of every new well, from drilling to fracking to early production, would entail 2,000 truck trips. This doesn’t include hauling out huge amounts of oil and salt water during the remainder of the well’s life,” p.44 National Geographic, March, 2013.
Two years ago Watford City had a population of 1,700 today it’s more than 6,000. I drove through this town last year and the traffic was worse than Anchorage’s rush hour. Please look at the picture of Williston, North Dakota’s traffic where 18 wheelers are nearly double the number of pickups and cars, see pages 52 and 53.
In the an interview with Sen. Micciche, he was quoted, “We hope people in the district recognize we’re trying to be leaders in the state for spending responsibly.” I don’t agree with Sen. Micciche’s definition of spending responsibly when it comes to Gov. Parnell’s Roads to Resources. If only we had a majority of Vic Fisher’s Alaskans in the Legislature instead of misguided partisans.
Retired Registered Geologist
One need not look to Washington D.C. or Juneau for injustice that is forced on people by those in power. We in Homer need to look no further than our Homer City Council. Let me explain:
We all need fuel to provide the energy needed to live, and we basically have three different kinds: electricity, oil and wood. Now, a fourth is soon to be forced upon us. Those who provide electricity and oil pay in full for the products and for its delivery to their customers. Customers can then choose to purchase it of their own free will. Neither of the oil companies have used the power of the city council to force the citizens of Homer to pay for oil tanks, tank trucks or other costs involved in its delivery. That includes those oil trucks driven by the non-user.
The same is true of those who provide electricity. I have not known Homer Electric to charge a non-user just because the line crosses their property. This is not true of the providers of natural gas. They have used the city council to force every landowner to pay for the delivery of their product, whether or not it is used by that landowner. If it is used, more delivery costs are added. In addition, we also have the cost of new appliances.
Is this blind or premeditated injustice forced upon the citizens of Homer by our government?
To provide a level playing field and free choice, I ask the city council to remove the forced gas delivery charge or also force all citizens to pay for the delivery costs of oil and electricity for fairness or just treatment. Who knows? That just might bring the costs of our present fuels down, making them competitive with gas and saving us all a lot of money.
I wonder how our council members can sleep at night after forcing such injustice on this city, including their unfair attack on present energy suppliers.
The Homer Cycling Club would like to extend a big, fat thank you to all the local businesses and organizations that sponsored this year’s Big Fat Bike Festival. We believe Homer is an attractive destination on behalf of our thriving community and unique small businesses.
Thank you to Alice’s Champagne Palace, Bike Belts, Cycle Logical, East End Mini Storage, Fat Olives, Free Spirit Wear, Healing Hands Massage, Homer Art and Frame, Homer Brewing Co., Homer Bookstore, Homer’s Jeans, Islands and Ocean Visitors Center, Many Rivers Alaska, Northern Enterprise, Sasquatch Alaska Adventure Co., Small Potatoes Lumber, and Two Sisters Bakery.
Many thanks as well to all of our volunteers, registrants and organizers for another fantastic year of festivities.
One of the things that makes Homer unique is its sense of community. The Big Read, sponsored by the Friends of the Homer Public Library, was meant to foster that sense of community, give us all a chance to tell our stories and open up conversation.
Over the course of six weeks, The Big Read offered book discussion groups, art classes, lectures, a visit from Tim O’Brien and much more. The best part of the Big Read was the support it received from the everyone involved.
The Friends of the Homer Public Library would like to thank the institutions and individuals who made these events possible: National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, and locally, the Homer Foundation, the Cottonwood Fund and the KLEPS Fund, donor-advised funds with the Homer Foundation.
We’ve been fortunate to partner with the Kachemak Bay Campus of the Kenai Peninsula College, Kachemak Bay Broadcasting Inc., Pier One Theatre and the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District. Individual thanks to: Michael Hawfield, Lance Petersen, Carol Swartz, Ann-Margaret Wimmerstadt, Rich Chiappone, Dr. Allan Gee and Suzanne Bishop. We have much gratitude to the amazing folks who run and work at the Homer Bookstore. It is an incredible asset to our community.
We would also like to thank Library Director Ann Dixon and the staff of the Homer Public Library for all they’ve done to help the events of the Big Read part of the myriad programs that the library offers each month.
Thank you Homer, for being book lovers, thoughtful discussers and curious seekers of answers. Thank you for your empathy and your support. May we continue to share stories with you for many years to come.
Friends of the Homer Public Library
I would like to say thank you, on behalf of the Homer High School Drama, Debate and Forensics Team, to all those who helped us to have a successful season this year.
To all who donated their time to help our tournament run smoothly (the largest one we’ve ever had at the high school) and those local businesses who donated to our Random Acts of DDF fundraiser (we raised more than $4,000 in one evening), thank you.
To the staff and faculty of Homer High, who continually push the students to perform to the best of their abilities and to the parents who put up with one of the longest seasons, thank you. To my assistant coaches – Kyra Wagner, Brian Strickland and Peter Sheppard, thank you for giving of your time to help the students continually become better.
This was the most successful year that Homer High DDF has ever had – seven events that broke to finals in the State Tournament, and even more who finished in the top 10 in the State. Thank you to the Homer Community for valuing this wonderful team, and supporting us in our competitions.
Homer High DDF head coach
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