Letters to the Editor – December 4

A little history behind Foundation funding
Many thanks to Carey Restino for her clear reporting in last week’s paper about the city council’s funding cuts to the Pratt Museum and other local, nonprofit organizations.
As the years pass, I worry the public has lost touch with the history behind that funding. In particular, I want Homer folks to understand that the city does not, as is often reported, fund the Homer Foundation. It funds area nonprofits through the foundation.
Years ago, nonprofits went directly to the city council to request assistance. That political process was difficult for everyone, and a better way was offered. The Homer Foundation, using an application process and the expertise of community members, took over the task of distributing the City of Homer’s Grant Program.
This year, the foundation awarded $19,000 of appropriated city funds, plus a nearly equal amount of earnings from the city’s endowment fund, to eight local nonprofits. All recipients put that funding to good use in programs that benefit our citizenry and leverage additional giving from other sources. The foundation awarded another $300,000 in grants from its donor-advised and other philanthropic funds.
We have a tremendous asset in the Homer Foundation, which serves the city and all area residents through the generosity of so many.
The Pratt Museum has remained outside that grant process because of its separate history and special relationship with the city. While other cities generally own their community museums, Homer does not. We have been fortunate that the Pratt has operated so successfully as a nonprofit, with just a little bit of needed help and recognition each year from the city.
Nancy Lord

The battle of the budget
Well, it all comes to a knock-down, drag-out fight over $100,000.
Why?
This is a city with a budget of $25 million, and almost $50 million in discretionary funds. For some reason, this money represents the pivotal appropriation between success and ruin. If you fund any “recreation, you are doing it on the backs of the employees,” said city council woman Barbara Howard.
Tear down the gym; build a bigger jail.
I plan to provide some push-back at the City Council meeting on Dec. 9 and hope some of you will join me.
Ken Castner

You can’t always get what you want
The governor isn’t willing to go forward with the Medicaid expansion because it is not the program he wants. We all know he has done all that can be done to get the oil companies as much money as possible.
Perhaps an exchange can be made where the working poor send in their dividend checks to the governor so he can turn them over to the oil companies in exchange for their Obamacare.
In this manner, the governor would have the program that he wants, the oil companies would get the needed cash to do what they want and the working poor would get Obamacare.
This would be a win, win, win program that would fill everyone’s needs. If things stay the way they are, no one will get what they want or need.
John Suter

Ah, the sweet sound of philanthropy
Thank you to the Homer Foundation’s Youth Advisory Committee for granting The Homer Youth String Orchestra Club funds to purchase new sheet music.
Due to the generosity of individual donors to the Youth Advisory Committee, the Ashley J. Logan Fund, and the Sheldon Youth-to-Youth Fund, 15 enthusiastic young musicians are now playing a great variety of new music.
Chosen for its accessibility to audiences and the challenge it would provide to the musicians, pieces include 16th-century renaissance dance music by Tielman, a march by Tchaikovsky, a fan dance by Korean-American composer Soon Hee Newbold and music from contemporary American composer Brian Balmages.
This generous gift will be treasured not only this season, but also added to our library for future use.   Please come share the joy of music at our Winter Concert, Dec. 5 at 2 p.m. at the Friendship Center.
And stay tuned, you will be hearing more great music in the months to come, thanks to our fantastic community.
Kara Clemens, program administrator
Homer Youth String Orchestra Club

Big ‘Socktober’ thanks to Homer’s Jeans
Homer’s Jeans is an example of a local business that gives back to the community. With more than 600,000 homeless people in the United States, YouTube sensation, “Kid President,” started a campaign encouraging donations of socks to those in need for the month of October.
Homer’s Jeans took the challenge, and, with the help of the community who purchased and donated socks, Homer’s Jeans’ matched these sales and donations by donating hats and more than 150 pairs of socks for our youth in transition. What a fun way to get local businesses and the public involved in doing something important, while contributing to the common good of our community.
Socktober challenged people to perform a small act of kindness toward someone less-fortunate than they. Thank you Homer’s Jeans for setting this precedent.
The Students in Transition Program is for students and families who lack a stable, adequate and permanent place to sleep at night. Please call 235-8130 for more information.
Amanda Neal
Students in Transition Program

Cosmic Agents bring Kurva Choir
Bunnell Street Arts Center is pleased to announce the continuance of Cosmic Agents with support from Homer Foundation’s Willow fund.
Cosmic Agents is Bunnell’s recent initiative to connect and support emerging leaders in Homer  with programs that foster creative expression, critical dialogue, networking  and professional development. Homer Foundation awarded Bunnell $2,500 to support presenter fees, food and gas reimbursement for several Cosmic Agents programs in the next six months.
The first of these exciting programs was Brave New Alaskan Voices, award-winning, spoken-word performers from Anchorage. With the goal of sparking a spoken-word team in Homer, Bunnell sponsored two workshops by BNAV at the R.E.C. Room and two performances at Homer High School and K-Bay Caffe.
The next Cosmic Agents event happens on Dec. 8, with Kurva Choir bringing their “Experimental chamber music” that has been described as, “Naked. Fragile. Connected. Transcendent.”
Kurva Choir is a touring ensemble featuring original compositions for violin, cello and bass. Bunnell provides dinner at 6 p.m. for Cosmic Agents, and invites discussion about how we can help Homer’s emerging leaders, ages 20ish to 40ish, with questions such as, “What kind of workshops do you seek,” and “What kind of opportunities do you crave?”
Dinner and discussion at Bunnell is followed by Kurva Choir in concert at 7 p.m., open to everyone.
Each Cosmic Agents occasion is an open forum for critical, creative dialogue and networking among young creatives of diverse backgrounds and interests. Look out for more exciting, educational Cosmic Agents events this winter.
Thank you, Homer Foundation, for fostering Bunnell’s innovation and risk in presenting programs for Homer’s emerging leaders.
Asia Freeman,
Executive/artistic director
Bunnell Street Arts Center

Free holiday cooking class just for teens
Youth ages 12-18 are encouraged to join the FORK Club Cooking class at the R.E.C. Room  3:30 – 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10. Teens will learn how to make homemade bagels and schmears, thanks to a great opportunity to learn from Margarida Kondak, Homer’s bagel-maker extraordinaire.
Bagels can be enjoyed in numerous healthy ways: as sandwiches, pizzas, with hummus or schmears and more. Participants will learn how to make several widely loved and affordable meals in this free class.
In addition, R.E.C. Room intern and holiday treat-master Amy Woodruff will help teens make truffles and festive chocolate-covered pretzels that make wonderful gifts.
Pre-registration is required. Sign up via email at recroom@kbfpc.org, call 235-6736, or stop in at the R.E.C. Room at 3957 Nielsen Circle, Mon- Fri, 3-6 p.m.
Are you interested in teaching teens a skill?  Contact the R.E.C. Room to learn about volunteer opportunities.
Anna Meredith
Youth Program manager

The ‘dumbing down’ of America
RIP JFK. Fifty years later, most of the who, how and why of his assassination is known. Will it be 50 years before the true perpetrators of 9/11 are also known?
In JFK’s words: “The very word secrecy is repugnant in a free and open society” and “Those that make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable.”
It is estimated that 90 percent of our world’s opium now comes from Afghanistan. Production is up some 80 percent since Afghanistan’s U.S.A. occupation (with distillates apparently now reaching Alaska).
But, maybe, I should be more concerned that, nationwide, some 30 percent of all male children are being diagnosed with ADHD; for which Ritalin is the most common recommended remedy.
With fluoride added to much of our nation’s drinking water,  known to reduce IQ, and mercury in vaccines, one might wonder if America is intentionally being “dumbed down.”
Good thing we have an independent, uncontrolled media (like government-subsidized NPR) that gives us accurate and agenda-free information. I jest!
Richard Olson

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Posted by on Dec 3rd, 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 – December 4”

  1. whose priorites? says:

    “Tear down the gym; build a bigger jail” who are these people?

    As the city council continues to tell us there is no money (although they always find money for their projects, like one million dollars for bathrooms)….they asked the state to pay for a $15 million dollar police/fire station.

    The city of Soldotna, Kenai, and Sterling instead asked the state for money for community centers….and they got it. They asked for more money for improvements and they got it.

    They have a modest fire house that tends to the needs of the community, and THREE community centers in a ten (or so) mile radius.

    Homer is supposed to be the progressive community? But our city council ignores our pleas for a community center, while asking for an absurd amount for an enormous unnecessary structure that we will have to pay to fund maintenance and utilities in the future.

    We want community…. they want Police State Homer with the authoritative/fascist government to go along with it.

    We don’t have time to rewrite the city code, we don’t need to tax the greater community to pay for a rec center….we need to get rid of this horrible, unresponsive city council with very strange priorities.

    Let’s get the recall votes going now!

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