Excited for fish, rivers and residents of Alaska

In a recent ruling by the ninth circuit court of appeals, the court ruled that the North Pacific Fishery Management Council has been, and is required to develop a fishery management plan for Cook Inlet. I see this as a huge win for the fish that migrate into Cook Inlet.
In the past — since back sometime in the 1980s — the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has been tasked with this chore. The criteria for doing so were meant to include the 10 national standards of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

Registering to vote the first step in fixing painfully broken political state

Political races are sort of like divorces — they tend to bring out the deepest divisiveness among people who otherwise manage to live reasonably well side-by-side. It’s ironic that a process that should bring us all together for the common pursuit of choosing the direction of our future seems to create so much dissonance among friends and neighbors. But that certainly seems to be the way it is these days. After the first national debate this week, passionate opinions were flying fast and furious over the internet as everyone analyzed, fact-checked and ranted. It was interesting that people seemed to spend more time poking holes in their opponents than they did considering the proposed policies of the candidate they supported. That’s too bad, because we really need to pay attention to what’s being proposed down to the nitty-gritty details, not the flashy plans to change the face of the earth.

Proposition 2 best serves residents’ health care needs

You have many decisions to make in the upcoming regular election on Oct. 4. Proposition 2 is one that actually saves you money while improving healthcare for the service area.
Proposition 2 asks voters of the South Kenai Peninsula Hospital Service Area for permission for the Kenai Peninsula Borough to borrow up to $4.8 million in general obligation bonds for purposes of improvements to the hospital’s operating rooms and an expansion at Homer Medical Center.

Together Alaskans can weather this fiscal storm

Today a large swath of Alaska was preparing for the first fall storm, the equinox storm, locals called it. News of the impending high winds and rain rippled through the region over the last 24 hours as weather predictors put their bets on a wild night for much of the state.
While storms like this can be disruptive, they also bring out some great qualities in Alaskans, because what we do when there’s a storm brewing is gather. At the local coffee shop this morning, every table was full, and almost everyone knew each other. The tourists and seasonal folks are largely gone now. It’s just us locals, and a storm prediction seems to make us social. There was a kind of anticipation in the air, even joyfulness, maybe, at the sloth of bad weather coming. People traded notes on the preparedness — batteries, check; wood split, check; extra gallon of milk, check.

German visitor learns much from participating in burning basket

I am visiting Homer from Berlin, Germany to participate in the Burning Basket Project. I found lead artist Mavis Muller on the WWOOF website looking for an assistant for her project. After reading her profile, I thought, “yeah, sounds like a good Alaska experience; I want to be part of it.” And that was how I came to Homer five weeks ago.
At this time, I had no idea what the burning basket is about and what our work will look like. So, we started with talking about the intention of it as a celebration and the vision for this big basket.

Remembering Saulitis with impermanent art

The 13th-annual enactment of the Burning Basket community interactive, impermanent art experience shined its glowing fiery light once again.
The large, intricately woven basket and walking labyrinth were created by people of all ages who donated hundreds of hours to gather materials and to build the impressive installations. I deeply appreciate and thank you one and all for sharing your time, skill, passion, support, creativity and imagination.

Questions about HEA deregulation election

Providing electric service to Homer Electric Association members is not a simple job. That is one reason HEA is currently regulated. Before voting on deregulation of HEA, members should fully understand the impact.
HEA claims that deregulation of the utility can be reversed if members are unhappy. This is try, it’s just not a simple process. Rules for an election to re-regulate are found in Alaska statute AS 442.05.712, section g provides: “The board of directors of a cooperative shall call an election upon receipt of a valid petition from subscribers or members. A petition shall be considered valid if it is signed by not less than the number of subscribers or members equal to 10 percent of the first 5,000 subscribers or members in excess of 5,000. An election under this section may only be held once every two years.”

Alaskans need to tell their suicide prevention success stories

We really don’t need a day or a week or a month to be reminded to think about suicide and our need to find ways to prevent it. Those sad reminders are around us all the time, in the faces of our friends and neighbors, in the missing places where vibrant lives should have been. There’s no glamour in suicide. Just sadness — and a whole lot of misperceptions about how to prevent it.
By-and-large, suicide is linked to two things — substance abuse and mental disorders, the latter of which includes a wide range of conditions that are understood almost as little as suicide. Depression ranks high, and is so often linked with both substance abuse and suicide that it’s rare when this deadly trio do not go hand in hand.

Letters – Sept. 15

Improving access to healthcare a community responsibility South Peninsula Hospital and the Kenai Peninsula Borough are underway with two very important projects. The first is a long-overdue replacement of the air-handling system in the operating rooms.  Originally installed in the 1970s, this 40-year-old antiquated system is no longer adequate for the OR. In addition to […]

School district seeks to stay afloat in a sea of economic challenges

Some people believe the school year is a marathon, but I liken it to a 400-meter run — the toughest race to run. We have precious hours, minutes and seconds with students in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District. Our nearly 8,800 students with diverse backgrounds and learning needs require parents, support staff, teachers and administrators to maintain focus, while moving briskly to meet their varied needs. We do this to keep students on track to achieve success and a meaningful high school diploma. In a few short months, several hundred students will walk across a stage to receive a diploma, and head into their future beyond K-12 education. It seems like a long race, but it happens fast.

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