Senior exemption should remain
I am 68 years old and live on the Kenai Peninsula in the Homer area. My wife and I are seniors directly affected by Ordinance 2013-36 that has been brought to the assembly for consideration. We moved to the borough after traveling throughout the state, searching for the best place to retire. In addition to the beauty of the peninsula, the borough touted the unlimited senior real estate exemption, which helped solidify our decision to retire here. We moved to the area several years before reaching 65, and spent a substantial sum on our home and improvements under the false premise that the borough had made a commitment to its seniors for the unlimited exemption, only to find that after turning 65, that promise to seniors was taken away.
In 2007, the exemption was reduced from unlimited to $320,000; was voted to be increased to $350,000 in 2013; and now, some members of the assembly want to reduce that amount to $300,000. A biased and dubious example of the exemption is being used as reason to lower the exemption value. However, nowhere in the 2007 ordinance does that example wording appear. It is not part of the ordinance, so why even give it any consideration? There is no reason. Ordinance 2013-36 is an ordinance built upon a false premise. There are several items we ask that you consider when voting. The Residential Exemption has no mention of surrendering the residential exemption upon turning 65 years old. It specifically states the exemption is in effect “while owned and occupied by the owner.”
The senior exemption has no mention of surrendering the residential exemption upon turning 65 years old. The two exemptions are exclusive of each other and should be value added together for a total of a $350,000 exemption available for qualified seniors.
Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend the Jan. 7 assembly meeting. Our family is sitting in hospice with our 6-year-old granddaughter, Scarlett Olivia Zuyus, who has a rare and terminal form of brain cancer. She fought a yearlong battle, but has been sent home from St. Jude’s Medical Center to spend her last days with family and we are with her and them at this time. I ask that my assembly District 8 representative, Mr. Bill Smith, read this letter into the assembly record at the Jan. 7 meeting, prior to any vote, so that my objection to Ordinance 2013-36 is on record with the borough.
I respectfully submit that the assembly vote “No” on Ordinance 2013-36. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Peter T. Zuyus
HB 77 keeps building steam
Protecting Alaska’s and the world’s greatest salmon and trout streams binds Alaskans together, whether we commercial, sport or subsistence fish. The governor’s bill to allow millions of gallons of water to be taken out of our best fishing waters, HB 77, is finally getting deserved attention. The bill leaves the governor’s Natural Resources Commissioner to decide whether to take unsustainable amounts of water out of fishing streams in favor of a new class of dangerous mines like the Pebble strip mine.
The Canadian Chuitna Mine would dredge 11 miles of salmon stream that proponents say they’ll “replace” in 30 years. I, my Democratic Caucus, and a handful of republicans like Paul Seaton and Alan Austerman voted against the bill, but were outnumbered by the governor’s allies. We proposed rules requiring needed amounts of water to be left in our fishing waters.
Other measures are also needed before the senate acts. The governor’s allies have already allowed more cruise ship waste to be dumped in fishing waters. HB 77 adds more damage to our fisheries and economy.
Rep. Les Gara
Nonprofits collaborate to make events work
Months ago, our leadership council started planning a fundraising event for January Mentoring Month. In preparation, I emailed all the local nonprofits to see if others had events going on in January so we didn’t pick the same night and compete with them. After reviewing the responses, we chose Jan. 18 and shared our event date with the other programs.
One month later, Homer Council on the Arts accidently picked the same night to hold their “Stepping Out” variety show. When I reminded them about our event and that we would now be competing for guests, HCOA director Gail Edgerly quickly apologized and immediately offered to collaborate with us to make it work for both our programs.
As a result, we moved our event to Homer High School so people can get dinner and a show in the same location. And HCOA provided us with some free Stepping Out tickets, so the first 30 tickets sold for our BBBS Mentoring Fundraiser will also get a free ticket to the talent show. We appreciate how HCOA and all the local nonprofits work together to support each other. Please join us on Saturday, Jan. 18 from 5-7 p.m. for food and family friendly fun with the BBBS Mentoring fundraiser at Homer High School. Then stay for the Stepping Out talent show at 7:30 p.m. in the Mariner Theatre. Get your tickets for both events at the Homer Bookstore now — before they run out!
Homer Big Brothers Big Sisters
Compassion in action
On behalf of Hospice of Homer, I want to thank community members and local businesses for joining together to celebrate this season’s fundraiser. This November, Hospice held its sixth-annual “Preparing for the Holidays” fundraiser at Alice’s Champagne Palace. The event was a wonderful success.
Amid twinkling holiday lights, the event presented a delicious gourmet dinner, champagne, wine and dessert. Warm conversations, laughter and the spirit of giving stirred the evening’s patrons to bid on special silent auction items. Alice’s was transformed by good cheer and generosity. Special gratitude goes to a great number of people and businesses in our community for their support. (Without donated items for the silent auction and people attending, this event would not be possible.)
A big thank you to the talented Cindy Burns and her amazing staff at Alice’s. Your attention to detail makes all the difference. Thanks also to Alice’s, The Grog Shop, K&L Distributors and Odom Distributors for the fine wine and champagne. The champagne, red and white wine and port complimented each course and made the evening a hit. And to the Homer Bookstore, you make a difference by supporting nonprofits in Homer by selling tickets for events. Hospice appreciates all the effort and work that you do.
Fundraising Committee Chair
Hospice of Homer
Kevin Bell’s skating spirit lives on
The MicroBell/Learn to Skate through Hockey Program at Kevin Bell Arena would like to thank the Kevin Bell and Family Hockey Fund for allowing us to continue to offer safe equipment to our smallest skaters. Through their support, the gear bags we loan enable more kids to experience skating in a fun and encouraging environment.
The Bell Family legacy is doing its part to ensure that winter recreational opportunities exist for all who want to participate. I hope to see you at the rink.
Remembering Brother Asaiah
Those of us who knew Brother Asaiah (who left his body in 2000) were changed by his love and dedication to everyone who lived in our “Cosmic Hamlet by the Sea.” It helps us to remember his love by his words in this season of Love.
“Place thy soul before the great cosmic fireplace this Christmas night and it shall be filled to overflowing with wisdom and pure love. Let balance and equilibrium be thy gift from Santa Claus.”
“It came upon a midnight clear, The beautiful Christ did whisper in my ear, ‘I am the light of thy struggling soul. The true church is thine own heart, body, mind and soul.’”
“Look not to mangers and lonely tombs. I am the beginning from the Great Mother’s womb So dance and sing with great joy and glee Be assured that I dance with thee.”
Martha Ellen Anderson
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