Letters – March 6

Seafood industry example of cutbacks

Alaska can be a tough place to do business. That is especially true in today’s global economy, where competition from imports makes the business climate even more difficult.
A federal grant program is available to help “Made in America” companies become more competitive, and save U.S. jobs. The funds come from the Trade Adjustment Assistance program of the U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration to assist a wide range of businesses and service industries.
Companies that are losing sales to foreign imports, or have been forced to lay off workers or cut back on hours are likely eligible for the TAA grants.
Alaska’s seafood industry is a prime example. Wild salmon faces intense competition from less expensive farmed fish from Chile and Norway. Alaska king crab gets clobbered by the Russian product; snow crab sales get squeezed by imports from Eastern Canada. Most recently, Alaska cod markets have crumbled due to enormous amounts of fish coming from the Barents Sea.
Alaska seafood companies, fish processors and brokers, and other related businesses may be eligible to receive up to $75,000 in grants for a wide range of projects of their choice. The funds enable recipients to develop and complete projects that they might not otherwise have considered.
For example, with the help of TAA funds, an Alaska salmon processor created a new corporate brand identity, and developed product labels, brochures and other marketing materials in several languages. Sales increased by 20 percent from increased catalog and internet sales. An Alaska fishing family was able to start marketing their own products by using TAA funds to develop a web presence.
Other projects can include marketing and branding, designing trade show booths, new product development, site layouts, customer service analysis, custom software creation, manufacturing design and site layouts, and specialized staff training, to name but a few.
Seafood companies are just one example of the many kinds of businesses and services that may be eligible for TAA grants. Sawmills, farmers, co-ops and trade groups or association members also may qualify.
Our staff at the Northwest Trade Adjustment Assistance Center will work with you at no cost to determine if your company is eligible for TAA grant funding. We help clients develop a strategic plan, and make sure it is accomplished by hiring outside experts to complete the projects. All information is treated as confidential.
Find more information about TAA grants for “Made in America” companies at www.nwtaac.org or contact Patrick Meuleman, Client Development Manager, at patrick@nwtaac.org.
Patrick Meuleman

A man’s body is his castle

A recent article reveals that Homer, Alaska State Rep. Paul Seaton – like many other Alaskans – has discovered the health benefits of Vitamin D. But unlike we mere mortals who are limited to the power of persuasion, Mr. Seaton carries “The Big Stick.”
As a representative in the Alaska State Legislature, Mr. Seaton can bypass the seemingly less effective method of persuading others of the virtues of ingesting supplemental Vitamin D3 (when necessary) and simply force them to submit to a government mandated test which will lead to forced consumption of Vitamin D3 if such is deemed warranted by government.
“You can’t force anybody to take Vitamin D,” said Rep. Higgins.
“That’s true,” Seaton said.
How can Paul Seaton cause any constituent to believe that if government is convinced it has the power to cause a mother to submit to a blood test of her new-born child, this government does not believe it has to the power to mandate administration of Vitamin D if government tests show need is present?
The proper role of government upgrading Vitamin D deficiency should be advisory. Private individuals (including myself) will provide free Vitamin D3 supplements to those who believe they are lacking. The Rotary Club provides inexpensive Vitamin D tests at regular health fairs.
Mr. Seaton seems to have lost touch with the core value of many voters in his district – that a person owns his or her own body. Mr. Seaton: if a man’s home is his castle, certainly his body is, too.
Jack Polster

Paper bags on the come-back

I wonder how many of our city council members have noticed how many paper bags are now back in circulation. It would have made a lot more sense to have allowed the decomposable plastic bags to be used.  They could have added a small tax on them and used the money to purchase and service small, multipurpose recycling bins around town. 
Anyone that has regularly participated in Homer cleanup day knows the biggest litter comes from aluminum, glass and plastic containers. I have used my own bags for years. Those that will, are already doing it. I have never met a merchant that thought their profit margin was so large they could risk losing sales over a bag. With one knee-jerk ruling we’ve regressed 20 some years back to paper bags. 
Karen DeVaney

MAPP thanks the ‘orchestra’

MAPP of the Southern Kenai Peninsula has recently compiled the results of the “Perceptions of Community Health” survey that was distributed to the community in November and December 2012. 
This survey is just one component of our second Community Health Needs Assessment that is underway. Many thanks to the 1,180-plus community members who provided their input on our community’s needs and strengths as this information helps us identify priority issues from the community’s perspective. 
Identifying these issues – such as a need for public transportation and resources/services for youth – help direct additional data collection so we can investigate the status of these issues, identify existing barriers to address these issues, and inform our overarching prioritization of quality of life issues that we will focus on addressing for the next few years. 
You can download this preliminary compilation of community members’ responses at www.mappofskp.net.  Thanks again for taking the time to share your thoughts and for helping us move this community process forward. 
“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.”  ~H.E. Luccock
Megan Murphy
MAPP coordinator

Working together for habitat

Thank you to the KLEPS Fund and the Tin Roof Fund of the Homer Foundation for their support of the statewide meeting of Alaska Land Trusts. 
Together, the Alaska Land Trust community works to preserve the critical habitats that make Alaska special. These meetings help us develop long-term strategies and best practices to deal with the perpetual protection of land. This wouldn’t be possible without the generous funding from the Homer Foundation. 
As organizations concerned with the perpetual protection of land, it is important that we meet regularly to ensure we keep current with best practices in the land conservation community. The funds from the Homer Foundation were matched by other grants, so we are pleased to report that the Homer Foundation dollars went a long way and for a long time. 
Marie McCarty, executive director,
Kachemak Heritage Land Trust

Deserved to be heard?

First, let me disclose that my wife is on the staff at Homer High School, I have exchanged small pleasantries with Dr. Alan Gee at school functions, I count among my closest friends several current and former Homer High School teachers, that one of my oldest and dearest friends in Alaska is a long-time Homer News staffer and that one of the Homer Tribune’s higher-ups is an old grad school acquaintance, whom I have always liked and admired.
In other words, like everyone else in a town this small, I can’t even pretend to be unbiased in my reaction to the recent rant by Ms. Hope Finkelstein (whom, to the best of my knowledge, I have never met).
That said, and with extreme deference to my journalist friends, I have to ask: Why in the world would one parent’s understandable disappointment over losing an argument with her child’s principal be something important enough for both papers to print? Was news in such short supply last week, and ink simply that plentiful?
In what possible way is an irate parent’s discomfort with the school principal’s (also understandable) decision to enforce rules already in place a matter of public interest? A team athlete slept in one morning and skipped a class and was punished for it with a slap on the extracurricular wrist: she missed one road trip.
This is something the community needs to hear about? I think we should all fully expect parents to be unreasonably and insensibly loyal to, and supportive of their children – that’s what parents do. Fine. But why do I, or anyone else for that matter, need to read about it in not one, but two newspapers, as though the very survival of our community depended upon this?
The complaint was couched in language that implied malfeasance or, at the least, intractability on the part of the principal. But Ms. Finkelstein’s very assertion that we expect a person in high authority to make judgment calls with nuance is the undoing of her case. Dr. Gee made a judgment call of the highest order and finest logic when he decided not to argue with an incensed parent of a child who broke a simple, easy-to-understand rule.
The fact is, a team athlete should be wherever her team is at any given moment — even if that means sitting in a class in which, according to the student’s mother, “she would not be missing much.”
I’m part-time teacher at the University of Alaska Anchorage, and here in Homer at Kachemak Bay Campus of the Kenai Peninsula College. And, frankly, I find it insulting that a parent would suggest that any class on any day was not worth getting out of bed for.
So, between Ms. Finkelstein’s disregard for the professionalism of teachers and administrators, and our two newspapers’ willingness to give her a platform, I have to say it’s been a depressing and dreary mid-winter week here in a town that seems to be getting smaller every day.
One of the hazards of living in a lovely and close-knit small town like ours is the seductive tendency toward parochialism. Treating every mundane daily conflict as though it is momentous, or even vaguely interesting, is a sure sign of a community sliding down that narrow path.
Rich Chiappone,
Anchor Point

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Posted by on Mar 6th, 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.

1 Response for “Letters – March 6”

  1. The irony says:

    You don’t like someone’s complaints in the paper and the fact that is was printed, so you write another even more pointless complaint about a situation you were not even involved in, brazen stupidity of a hypocritical self righteous time waster.

    And to suggest, because you do not like something, that newspapers should not print it…you are on a very slippery slope that leads directly to fascism.

    This is what passes for a professor at the University of Alaska? Great, now I know there is no point sending my kids to college in Alaska.

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