Letters to the Editor – October 23

‘One way’ toward happy haunting
Halloween is approaching where more than 500 robots, knights, witches, wonder women, princesses, pirates, goblins, ghosts, aliens and angels will come to our Bayview/Mountain View neighborhood to trick or treat in one of Homer’s cherished annual traditions.
However, so too comes an increasing amount of traffic. With no sidewalks or even shoulders on the road, families walk in and among a snarl of cars and trucks. Drivers find few places to park, and residents are trying to get home, while other drivers are slowly following their trick-or-treaters down the road. There have been accidents, and there have been many near misses.
This year, our neighborhood will try something new to streamline traffic and provide a safer space for trick-or-treaters on foot.
Mountain View and E. Bayview will become “Halloween One-Ways” from 5-8 p.m. on Oct. 31. Cars will flow east on Mountain View (access from Main Street) and west on Bayview (access from Kachemak Way).
The lane closed to cars will be a pedestrian lane from 5-8 p.m., with exceptions made for residents trying to navigate home during those hours. An overwhelming number of neighborhood residents support the idea, as does the Homer Police Department, who work very hard to keep our community safe on Halloween.
Be aware of the change and plan accordingly. Help spread the word. Consider visiting the neighborhood on foot. In years past, trick-or-treating families have parked at the high school, in town or on side streets rather than add to the traffic. The Calhoun Trail is a fantastic entrance to the neighborhood.
A safer place for kids on foot will make the evening more enjoyable for all: residents and visitors, motorists and pedestrians, goblins, ghouls, pandas and kitty cats, too.
E-mail halloweenoneway@gmail.com with questions or to help.
Adele Person Groning

Public assemblage
“The right of the people freely to assemble” is enshrined in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
For Alaskans, to exercise our right of public assemblage, we need indoor heated space. Places of public assemblage in Homer include churches, schools, restaurants, bars, lodges and cafes. A stellar example is the HERC building, Homer’s old high school, with its fine gymnasium and bleachers.
For decades, the gymnasium served as a place of public assemblage for dances, sporting events, public meetings and most recently, the Homer Boys and Girls Club.
Now, the City of Homer proposes to destroy one of Homer’s finest places of public assemblage and education because of asbestos.  Yes, asbestos exists in the building, but it’s not falling down and no one is coughing.  The asbestos could be permanently and safely contained within a covering layer.
The city also claims the building is too expensive to heat, relative to the income it generates. Community service, recreation and education organizations could easily operate the facility’s classrooms, offices, gymnasium and kitchen at a profit, especially if the building were retro-fitted with solar, wind and geo-thermal heating systems.
Homer residents, please question the city’s plans to destroy this public assemblage facility.
Lindianne Sarno

Homer makes it happen
The adjective quixotic (from Don Quixote) means exceedingly idealistic, unrealistic and impractical.
Indeed! At first glance, the idea of bringing Quixotic to Homer was truly quixotic. The cost, the size, the tech requirements, the time — how could we? But we did it! With hundreds of supporters offering volunteer time, as well as donated services and cash.
The seed of the idea to bring Quixotic to Homer was planted in the summer of 2011. The first step was grant writing and the first grant received was from the National Endowment for the Arts. They understood the quality of the show and the need for support in order to make it happen.
Next, was support from the Rasmuson Foundation and Alaska State Council on the Arts for round-trip transportation from Kansas City to Alaska. Then ERA Alaska sealed the deal for the tri-city tour (Anchorage, Homer and Fairbanks) with a 75 percent discount for instate transportation. Ocean Shores Motel did not hesitate to house the 16-person troupe for six nights.
Meanwhile, the “Q Team” committed to raising the significant amount of money needed to ensure success. They worked for a year on fundraising, and took leadership roles with all of the logistics: from local transportation, gear transportation, theatre tech and meals.
The Mariner Theatre’s set shop was a beehive this week, with an endless supply of delicious food from homegrown vegetables and gourmet desserts, to king crab legs feeding the entire ensemble and support team  three meals a day.
A special thanks to the “Q Team:” Gary Thomas, Laura Patty, Joy Steward, Stu Schmutzler, Luanna Stoval and Jewels (aka Karen East.) Thank you Mark Turner, who gave his time and cargo van to drive gear from Anchorage to Homer and all the way to Fairbanks.
Thank you to Homer High School for generously giving us free range for the week, utilizing the commons and theatre to their fullest capacities. We had 1,500 Homer students and teachers in grades 3-12 (including students from the Russian villages and schools in Nanwalek, Port Graham and Seldovia) come to the Mariner Theatre for assemblies.
There were two evenings of dance and aerial workshops in the commons, and a very special performance at the Friendship Center. The thank you list includes hundreds of people, businesses and foundations. Please take time to look at the list in the ad on page 21 of this paper, and thank these generous folks for supporting the arts.
All of this was possible because Homer supported the emerging talents of our very own Homer-grown Mica Thomas – Quixotic’s artistic director. Teachers, parents, mentors and friends recognized potential and supported Mica’s interest. And Mica took full advantage of what Homer has to offer our youth. He went off to college for more and has come home to share with us, the very talent he first developed here. The Quixotic ensemble has had a wonderful week experiencing Mica’s hometown and everyone wants to come back.
Thank you to the HCOA membership. Your support is the foundation of Homer Council on the Arts, and thank you Homer for your appreciation and value for the arts.
Gail Edgerly, executive director
Homer Council on the Arts

True heros
Last year, my niece Sarah was diagnosed with breast cancer. When my family discussed what we should do for her, we decided to do the Susan G. Komen, 60-mile, three-day fundraising event in Seattle in her honor.
We recently completed our challenge as team “Sarah’s Soldiers.” What a wonderful experience. Three days filled with fun, laughter, tears, joy, sunshine, wind and cold. It was a challenge physically, mentally and emotionally. We laughed, we cried, we shared stories and we made new friends along the way. We were surrounded by thousands of amazing people.
The Seattle police officers were fun, helpful and encouraging while volunteering their time. The breast cancer survivors and those currently in treatment showed much courage and strength. Many were there to support and honor their loved ones. They were inspirational. The Seattle community offered cheers of encouragement, snacks, water and joy, just when we needed it the most. We were a huge group of people all united in one goal – to help find a cure for cancer.
During our walk, a gentleman said to us, “When you get home tonight and look in the mirror, you will see real heroes.” This was a very touching statement. It brought tears to our eyes, but we knew he wasn’t speaking only of us walkers, but of each of you who gave your hard-earned money to support our cause. You are the heroes. Thank you!
Why do we walk? Why do you donate? We do it because we believe everybody deserves a lifetime. Thank you seems so inadequate in expressing my gratitude for every dollar given for research or directly given to my niece, but please know those words are spoken from my heart.
Special thanks to Bear Creek Winery, Doug and Leone Morra, Dale Burdick, Jolayne Soplanda and 8-Mile Band for their generous donations. A huge thank you to my friends Brigid McCarthy and Sandy Lettis, who helped with my many miles of training. I couldn’t have, and wouldn’t have wanted to do it without you.
Loretta Stapel
for “Sarah’s Soldiers”

Fundraiser success
The Rockett Family and Homer Hockey Association would like to thank everyone who attended and contributed to this year’s free spaghetti feed and pie auction.
The fundraiser was a great success and will help many youth and adult hockey players of all ages thrive  this year at Kevin Bell Arena. A majority of the proceeds will go to youth programs, as well as new youth equipment. Great job!
A big shout-out to the Rockett Family, Deb Germano, Liz Cupp and Jen Jiron for the work they personally put in so this fundraiser could happen. Another shout-out to all the generous sponsors: McNeil Canyon Meats, Two Sisters Bakery, Fritz Creek, Sysco, Kachemak Wholesale, Peterkin Distributors, Alaska Aces, Champions Choice, Instant Replay, Lynden Transport, Scruggs, Save-U-More, Safeway, Healing Hands Elks Lodge, Marlena and Jane Hodgkins, Homer Tribune, Homer News and the Salty Dawg.
And of course, the biggest shout-out to all of our members. There is no way this could have been made possible without the countless hours and money put into baking the great desserts, helping set up, clean up and of course, buying the desserts. Also, thanks to the HHA hockey players for greeting the senior citizens, as well as everything else they did throughout the night.
Congratulations Homer Hockey Association — you raised more than  $4,500!
Chance Rockett
Member of Homer Hockey Association

Angels on earth
Hospice of Homer is a wonderful gift of many talents and a very valuable resource to get to know because they do so much more than help with the passing of friends or loved ones.
Hospice is connected with the medical and spiritual groups of this community. The people of Hospice helped with my wife’s passing from this life to the other side. Every day for more than a month,  her spiritual needs were addressed in the most compassionate, beautiful experience. I have gained many new friends in Homer thanks to Hospice. They are angels here on this earth.
Robert Murdock

Want to learn how to talk to your teen?
Every day, young people in our community are faced with situations in which they must make choices about their health and future. Many of these choices involve drugs and alcohol. No young person is immune to social pressure to drink or use drugs.
The best way to support your son or daughter is by talking with them about social situations involving alcohol or drugs that they may encounter, and helping them make a plan for how to navigate those situations in the future.
Adolescent brains are still developing, and that makes teens especially vulnerable to the introduction of substances and the development of addictions.  Knowing how to best respond to social pressure can make a crucial difference in your child’s development.
Join us on Wednesday, Oct. 23, for the “Substance Abuse Prevention Workshop for Parents of Teens” from 5-6:30 p.m. at the R.E.C. Room (3957 Nielsen Circle, next to Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic on Ben Walters).
Please know you’re welcome to arrive later or leave early if you need to.
Thanks for being the difference in your child’s life.
Anna Meredith
R.E.C. Room Youth Program manager

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Posted by on Oct 22nd, 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.

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