Letters to the Editor

Plastic Bags

Yes to Dan Gardner, Justin Arnold and Marlina Hogdon. Yes, yes, yes. Like the rest of you, I am a citizen of the city of Homer, and detest the manner in which this city council dictates the way the citizens of their town are “allowed” to function.
Most cities have a city manager and/or mayor who run the city. However, for some strange, unexplained reason, Homer has evolved into a city whose city council micromanages the city manager and mayor. Never in my life have I lived in a community where two or three individuals dictate rules of living to their residents. The terms tyranny and oppression come to mind.
What happened to democracy? Everywhere we travel, when we say we’re from Homer, people respond, “Oh, I’m sorry.” It’s not a very nice thing to hear when you want to be proud of your town. Things in Homer must change. Yes to those citizens who have enough guts to take that leap to change it. Thank you.
Melanie Meeker

Love and fear as basis for relations

It has been said at the ultimate root of all human interactions is either love or fear. Love motivates people to selfless service and sacrifice. We saw this played out, most recently, in the aftermath of the tragic Boston bombings. Love impels, it does not compel. It asks nothing for itself. It is coherent energy flowing from the heart. By its very nature it unifies and heals. This, too, we have seen in recent days and in the aftermath of other tragedies. Only love has the power to drive out or transform energies of lower frequency or vibration –  fear, hate, anger and the like.
Fear is incoherent energy. It separates, alienates and can paralyze. Fear is energy of the mind, and ego driven consciousness – without heart. It manifests as violence in its many forms. It virtually shut down the city of Boston, it imprisons without hope of release, it justifies state sanctioned killing of perceived enemies in the name of freedom. It makes war.
We’ve become a nation more driven by our fears than our love for one another and ourselves. Yet, in our finest hour, in the aftermath of tragedy, we unite for a higher good. In the moment, we move out of our heads and into our hearts. Love is our true nature, if we allow it. 
What can we do individually and collectively to transform ourselves and our nation – love –  fear not? This we have been told repeatedly. Only love has the power of transformation, to heal our ourselves, our nation and the world. Love or fear, the choice is ours. On this we will rise or fall. 
–Don Ross
Peace Rider of Fairbanks

Waste privatization ‘dumped’ on Homer

Garbage is a dirty business. Homer’s new transfer site, a $12-million-or-so project, has been privatized, and will soon be operated by the lowest bidder.
I had been waiting to see the proposal for privatization to come forward as an ordinance on the assembly agenda, so that I could testify to the assembly, since I have a few things to say on the matter.
But, lo and behold, the mayor decided it was not necessary to have any public hearing on this type of privatization action, and moved forward administratively with soliciting bids for the operation of the transfer site and hauling of waste to Soldotna.
Hauling around Homer has been done successfully by private operators for a long time, but the operations at the Homer site have always been a borough responsibility. According to a quote from the mayor in a local paper, this privatization will save the borough $250,000 per year. That’s about $5 per person in the borough.
I’m sure we’re all happy to save $5 a year, but how does one go about saving $250,000 in a year out of a major operation budget, and still have a contractor making a profit? My guess is that the formula will include lower wages, lower (if any) benefits and a reduced number of staff at the site. I can’t help but think this will lead to a lower level of service.
How much of that $250,000 “savings” will be at the expense of local jobs? How will this loss of good jobs affect the local economy? How will privatization affect possibilities for potential future changes at the transfer site, such as composting?
There is currently an ongoing borough-funded feasibility study looking at municipal composting. It’s due to be completed soon, but with a privatized operation, it seems less likely that composting would move forward here — even if recommended by the study.
Will private contractors promote recycling, since there is no direct benefit either way for them? What long-term considerations, such as maintenance and repairs on the facility, are factored into the savings? How could a real number for savings even be arrived at without any baseline history about how much it will cost to operate the new facility effectively?
It seems the borough would need to operate it for a year to determine actual costs for comparison. Is the cost of monitoring and oversight of the contractor included in this accounting?
I don’t know the answers to these questions, since there was no meaningful public discussion or presentation of the issue, or any of the details. I am disappointed the mayor moved for privatization without bringing it out first as an ordinance to the assembly; or at least having a hearing in Homer to gauge the local preference.
I am concerned Homer will be left with a lower level of service, will have less potential for progressive waste-management solutions, and will take an economic and social hit as a result of this action. If indeed these are the costs of the “savings” from privatization, then I would gladly give my $5 back. The proposal to privatize operations at an important and integral community facility should have been brought before the community to be affected. Instead, it has been dumped on us.
Dale Banks

Escrip program benefits high school sports

The Homer Swim and Dive team, and other groups at Homer High School, would like to thank Bob Malone and Homer Safeway No. 1832 for their assistance in the eScrip program. The program allows groups to earn money by signing up friends and families who shop at Safeway. Donations are made to their organization by Safeway, when purchasing any of the hundreds of eScrip products.
During the “10 percent Goes Back to Schools” program in August 2012, our group was able to earn $1,658.35. The best part of all, is that it did not cost any extra money, as we earned it by shopping at Safeway.
The Homer Swim and Dive team uses fundraising money for travel expenses, which are high for all of our sports teams, and to purchase healthy meals and snacks for the athletes as they travel.
We thank not only Safeway, but also all the people who donated their receipts to us. Please remember, if a group asks you next year to help with this program, it is an easy way to support our schools and extracurricular groups, and all you have to do is shop.
Rebecca Hardy
Homer High School swim coach

Divas divvy up thanks

Homer Hockey Divas would like to thank the following sponsors for a great 2012-2013 season: Beluga Lake Lodge, The Salty Dawg, Down East Saloon, AJ’s Old Town Steak House, Dr. Adcox and South Peninsula Orthopedics, Homer’s Jeans, The Alibi and one other lovely lady who wishes to remain anonymous.
We had 44 ladies of all ages playing hockey at Kevin Bell Arena, and the help of a great coach, Buck Laukitis. We learned lots of skills, completed many drills and competed in many fun games and tournaments.
Every year, the amount of skaters increases and our sponsors have assured us there are scholarships when needed so all can skate. Thanks again for a great year.
Sherry Stead
Diva Manager

Volunteers make the difference

April is National Volunteer Recognition Month, and South Peninsula Hospital would like to recognize the more than 100 individuals who volunteer to make our community hospital earn a spot in the Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals in the nation. 
Volunteers contribute to the leadership and vision of the hospital, the patient and resident care and the health and wellness of our community. They raise funds, give advice, play a game, make a craft, donate supplies, weed a garden, decorate a tree and fill a stocking. They are there year-round to add that extra TLC and truly keep “community” in our community hospital.
On behalf of all of us at South Peninsula Hospital, we salute our many volunteers and say “thank you” for all that you do for the community.
Derotha Ferraro,

director of Public Relations
South Peninsula Hospital

Time to move out last year’s salmon?

Maybe it’s time to empty out the freezer and make room for this year’s catch of salmon. Did you know the Homer Food Pantry provides 450 people per week with their basic food needs?
One of the food items in short supply, and yet essential for basic nutrition, is protein. The food pantry would be happy to receive your salmon or other meats. Please bring them any Monday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Or, you can call 235-1968 and make arrangements to drop it off.
Maybe you, or a small group you attend, would like to make a small donation or regular contribution to purchase beans or other inexpensive protein sources. You can call that same number and discuss this.
Finally, how about stopping by the Homer Food Pantry at Homer United Church any Monday between 9 a.m. and noon, and have a rewarding morning preparing the food for distribution. You’ll enjoy the fellowship and feel rewarded.
Homer Food Pantry

Life in ‘Zone 907’

Life happens too fast, and here in Alaska we manage to accommodate that speed by having two wonderful seasons, summer and winter. Also in Alaska, we live in a zone. It’s called 907, and it’s fortunate for us to have such wonderful, musically talented souls among us who call themselves, “907.” They came, they played, and they conquered our hearts like the Pied Piper.
All night long, they pulled our strings, like puppets, dancing to the rhythm and frequency of those brand new sounds. Magical, heart-melting melodies resonated from Robb Justice, Scott Merry, Travis Barnes, Brandon Palleti, Casey McKinnen and Garret. A very young and talented sound engineer, Alex, was also a part of the musical offerings.
Homer, and especially all the patrons and crew of the Down East Saloon, wish to thank “907” (and the Great Spirit), for creating this band, and allowing them to grace Homer for one great night of high entertainment.
Next time you see 907 advertised for entertainment, don’t miss out. Check the newspaper calendars for their next engagement. They are magical numbers all of Alaska resonate to. Looking forward to the “smoke free” environment you promote. Thank you 907.
Maka Fairman

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Posted by on Apr 24th, 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 to the Editor”

  1. re: Homer Transfer station says:

    I strongly believe this is being privatized in order to allow what would not normally be acceptable standards for waste.

    It is no coincidence that as Oil and Gas corporations are coming to Homer whether we want them to or not, Parnell gives 12 million for a transfer station (that we didn’t really need, but Buccaneer does) then allows it to be privatized.

    Who here would like the state to put 12 million into their private enterprise so they can make a profit? Good gig if you have connections.

    I think it might have something to do with this story from another community…

    Fracking waste deemed too radioactive for hazardous-waste dump

    “A truck carrying fracking waste was quarantined and then sent back to where it came from after its contents triggered a radiation alarm at a Pennsylvania hazardous-waste landfill. The truck’s load was nearly 10 times more radioactive than is permitted at the dump in South Huntingdon township.

    The radiation came from radium 226, a naturally occurring material in the Marcellus Shale, which being fracked for natural gas in Pennsylvania and nearby states. “Radium is a well known contaminant in fracking operations,” writes Jeff McMahon at Forbes.”

    I feel very sorry for anyone living near the new transfer station, but of course we will all be affected by what it does to the watershed and the fisheries.

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