Spring is here in Homer and the gardeners are chomping at the bit to get outside and get in the dirt. I know, because I’m one of them. But, I also know because of the more than 60 folks who have taken gardening classes in the last few weeks. Growing your own food is super gratifying, helps the pocketbook and feeds you well. What more could you ask for?
And what more could I ask for than a super excited, idealistic, motivated VISTA volunteer to help connect our local food resources?
Sara Conyers, the Homer Farmers Market’s new VISTA is like spring all year round. Sara has dreams of farmers here in Homer one day supplying the restaurants, supplying local cafeterias and basically feeding our town local, healthy food and creating a strong, resilient economy. We’re a long way from that, but Sara lives here in town and plans on staying, so don’t expect her to give up any time soon.
Being a VISTA, however, is not easy. Idealism doesn’t pay the bills. I want to say a huge thank you to the Homer Foundation for connecting us to the Cottonwood Fund and the Gooseberry Fund. The donors to these funds are going to help Sara pay for housing, an expense that the VISTA salary doesn’t cover well. With this help, Sara can focus on the community, instead of stressing so much about bills.
The help this community has shown toward Sara and the projects she works on have been tremendous. You gotta love this town. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Coordinator for Sustainable Homer
Homer Farmers Market’s biggest fan
I have a pressing issue that is dear to my heart, and I feel it needs to be addressed. Our community is estranged from the realities of homelessness. I’ve seen an influx in the number of homeless, transient people coming into town during this time of year. This is not news. For many years, seasonal workers and travelers have come into town and camped out on the Homer Spit. These folks worked the fish docks and did other seasonal employment. The only difference now, is that our community is trying very hard to expel the very people who drive our suffering economy.
With the cuts in IFQs and a dying commercial fleet, there is less work on the docks. The cost of food and housing is higher than ever before, and there’s not one place in town to get water day and night. I live in a drafty shed without electricity or running water, and I’m very grateful for the roof over my head.
When I address these issues, I by no means have any solutions. I am just a witness to the homeless man being removed at all hours from the post office by the police; or the homeless being awakened by librarians and the staff at McDonald’s, and being told, “this is not a place to sleep.”
This is an everyday thing for these entities. What is our little fishing/tourist community without these minimum wage workers? What are they worth to us when they encounter consecutive sleepless nights and days without access to food or water? I would hope more people see what they can do for us, and what we could do to make their summer stay a little less strenuous.
Thank you for reading my letter and I hope you might pass it along.
April 13 marked HoWL’s fourth-annual Homer Climbing Competition, held at the Bay Club since 2010. The event has traditionally been a fundraiser to support HoWL’s rock climbing programs, and this year, thanks to more sponsors and more climbers than ever before, it was a tremendous success.
The HoWL board of directors, our staff and all our climbers would sincerely like to thank all the local businesses that supported this event, as well as the volunteers that made it all happen. Rock on Homer!
HoWl executive director
It’s time for an update on the continuing saga of our Anchor Point heroine. It has been 14 months since it started, and in spite of dishonorable politicians and incompetent borough staff, our heroine is still fighting the good fight. She continues to serve our community with honor, integrity and a sense of duty that is made all the more striking by the complete lack of honor, integrity and duty from our elected officials.
Our borough mayor, in addition to choosing to act in a condescending, egotistical and incompetent manner, has surrounded himself with certain staff members who share the same inclination as well. It is also obvious that our locally elected “representatives” prefer to choose to curry favor with the mayor, rather than perform their duties for their constituents.
And, local news sources continually refuse to get involved in any serious investigative reporting – perhaps because the mayor shares their world-view. But then, I suppose the mating habits of a sea urchin does make for better copy in Homer and Soldotna than say, a local citizen being abused, mistreated, slandered and having her character assassinated by small-minded politicians and their staff.
It is very sad to sit here and watch our heroine being maligned by these individuals who have been given a little power, hopefully for a very short time. It is the service area that should be dictating what happens here, not these self-serving folks who, given the opportunity, choose to play small. Our outstanding staff and volunteers have been serving our area for a very long time with efficiency and effectiveness with the model that we, the people of Anchor Point, prefer.
Why is it so hard to find people of integrity and honor to serve in positions of power and authority?
Many ‘share the love’ with food pantry
The Homer Community Food Pantry recently received significant financial support from the Community Chest at the Homer Foundation. The Community Chest is intended to provide emergency help and bridge funding to support families with children that are in need of services other than food. The ability to partner with the Homer Foundation is a blessing and will help many.
We are also grateful to those responsible for this support. We received a generous distribution from the Jane Little Fund (a donor-advised fund of the Homer Foundation.) Many thanks to you for this helpful gift.
Thanks go to Homer Middle School for collecting canned food with their “Share the Love” food drive in February. They collected about 1,000 pounds, and boy did it make our shelves look great. We needed everything they collected. Way to go, kids and teachers.
Because of the generosity of Carlile Transportation, some 80 seniors (who qualify) receive a federal commodity food box from Kenai once a month. Our deepest gratitude goes to them, as they brought us some 24,570 pounds last year.
Kandu, the Care O’Saurus is Brad Hughes’ fun food-collection invention. It is now in residence at Save-U-More, thanks to Manager Mark Hemstreet. With many hours into Kandu and help from assistant, J. P. Brooks, Mr. Hughes released him into the wild to the wonder of many children. We so appreciate his brain child and sparkling talent.
We need fish, meat and protein. We run low at this time of year. And, we could always use jam or any frozen berries. Thanks to Theresa, Mary, Vicki and our crew, we were able to make homemade jam recently.
We continue to need volunteers, so come when you can and we will put you to work. Our 100 percent volunteer army thanks you, Homer, for your continued support for our community.
“Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller
Diana Jeska and HCFP board
We thank Mayor Wythe and the Homer City Council Members for their service and dedication to Homer’s vibrant culture, economy and government. Democracy is animated when an informed public is engaged in the issues affecting people’s daily lives. The arts contribute unique programs, settings and creative approaches that reach new and diverse participants, stimulate public dialogue about civic issues and inspire action to make change.
Bunnell Street Arts Center is dedicated to sparking Homer’s creative ecosystem through the arts. The City of Homer Grants Program, through the Homer Foundation, is the lever we use to grow our base of support. A dynamic formula of complementary funding sources fuels the Art Center’s stability. City support is the keystone; a critical feature of every grant we write, every sponsor we attract. Private funders, especially foundations, look to the level of city support this Arts Center receives when making funding determinations. We’ve leveraged City support for a 400 percent return for many years.
We thank the City of Homer and the Homer Foundation for their visionary partnership in fostering our cultural and economic ecosystem.
Homer Senior Citizens, Inc. and Friendship Center Adult Day Services would like to thank everyone in the community who so graciously helped us with our talent show.
We have received much support from the following volunteers who donated time and talent to make the show a success: Pat Hagen, Chuck Buck, Beverly Buck, Allan Phelps, Floyd Seekins, Sunrise Sjoeberg, Tim Quinn, Jake Hodnik, Peggy Wright, Loretta Pyatt, Rhonda Gibson, Galen Gordon, Arlene Gordon, Alathea Clymer, Jack Vantrease, Dottie Webster, Nadine, Pence, Peg Perkins, Mary King, Cathy Stingley, John Baird, Steve Mueller, Marcia Lynn, Mike Murray, Lindianne Sarno, Atz Kilcher, Bonnie Kilcher and the Ukulele Band.
We also want to give a huge thank you to the Homer businesses that donated items for the door prizes: Caribou Family Restaurant, Homer’s Jeans, Tangles, Alaska Wild Berry Products, Cosmic Kitchen, Upstairs Boutique, The Homer Bookstore, J&B Smokin BBQ, Vicky Hodnick, The Blackbeary Bog, Duncan House and All About You. Special thanks to Homer McDonald’s for the use of their cooler.
These events don’t happen without community support and we are fortunate to live in a community like Homer.
Homer Senior Citizens, Inc.
The Homer Council on the Arts wishes to thank Lindsay Schneider for her eloquent statement on, “Why The Arts are Essential.” Lindsay’s positive personal experience is a truly gratifying affirmation of HCOA’s mission and particularly our emphasis on engaging young people with the arts. Lindsay also summed up very well, the many documented benefits that a thriving arts culture endows to a community and its youth.
Art in all its forms: drawing, painting, sculpting, dance, music, film-making, puppetry and theatre, is being used more and more across the world for uses varying from therapy to treating learning disabilities. The Obama Administration has been looking into how art can help children improve their grades and stay in school longer. It has committed $2 million to the eight schools with the poorest results in the country to test the hypothesis.
At a school in Boston, the results have been dramatic. In three years, results have improved significantly and children say the project has changed their lives. Thank you Lindsay for your wonderful message.
Homer council on the Arts
On behalf of Hospice of Homer, I would like to thank the Jane Little and Family Fund for the recent, unexpected and much-appreciated unrestricted funds grant. Also, thank you to The Homer Foundation for facilitating this grant, as well as all they do for the community.
The Jane Little grant is so important to Hospice of Homer, in that HOH receives very few unrestricted funds. These are monies that support the day-to-day operating of Hospice. In these challenging economic times, unrestricted donated funds are essential in allowing us to keep our doors open so we can continue to provide services free of charge.
Specifically, the monies from this grant will be used to pay the postage of grief correspondence mailings. Hospice of Homer served approximately 200 family members and significant others through the HOH Bereavement Program in 2012.
If you are interested in learning more about Hospice of Homer, becoming a Hospice volunteer or making a donation to HOH, please stop by the office at 910 East End Road or give us a call at 235-6899.
Compassion in Action
I just want to give a shout-out to Kellie Blue and the Bay Club for the great classes and up-to-date fitness instruction they offer.
In between all her responsibilities with running the place, Kellie has been teaching a cross-training class for women. The class combines the latest techniques in weightlifting, cardio and stretching, and is especially designed for women.
Being strong and fit at all ages is crucially important for women, especially in Alaska. This is Kellie’s mantra and she puts her muscle where her mouth is.
This particular class emphasizes calorie-burning cardio, strength training and PHA (peripheral heart action) maneuvers, alternating between upper and lower body, and bigger and smaller muscles. All of this results in an incredibly effective workout.
Kellie provides us with individual attention and the latest information on how to get the most from our time spent exercising.
There are many other instructors and classes at the Bay Club providing a wide variety of opportunities and education, so you can alternate between Zumba, aquacise, yoga or spinning. You will never get bored with keeping healthy and fit.
Thanks to Kellie and everyone at the Bay Club for providing these invigorating, challenging and incredibly effective workout opportunities.
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