I have called Alaska home for over 40 years. Anyone who has been here that long knows that we are a resource-driven state – fish, oil, gold, coal and other minerals, timber – unless and until we tap those resources we starve and freeze in the dark. It’s the only reason we have roads and schools and so many of the services we take for granted.
A contingency from Homer fights this, and almost every kind of economic development that isn’t farming, at every turn. I don’t believe they speak for the majority. More often than not they have moved here from somewhere in the Lower 48 in the last one to eight years and will tell you that they know what is best for everyone, all the while pointing fingers at “outside interests” when the oil and gas companies have been here much longer and, in a lot of cases, been better citizens than they. It reminds me of people who get a certain type of religion and say that if you don’t get their type of religion quick you are doomed. Thanks, but no thanks. I prefer to have a job, eat and stay warm.
Charles Dickens may have said it best with the opening line from his 1859 classic, The Tale of Two Cities. “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.”
The current economic situation in Homer reflects many aspects of that sentiment. Changes in both commercial and recreational fishing industries, combined with the general state of the economy, leave Homer in a financial situation that requires reviewing what we have to offer. At this point in time, Homer certainly needs to present itself as a community that is open for business.
Eileen Becker’s commentary in the Jan. 23 issue of this newspaper is an example of “one size fits all” belief. Because she personally opposes abortion at least as early as 21 days after conception, she wants all of us to reject abortion. “Is it a life?” she asks. An egg is a living cell and a sperm is a living cell, but after many decades of societal debate we have finally made birth control legal despite the protests of those who oppose sex without the intent to conceive a child.
Abortion is also legal in America. The law doesn’t require Becker or any other woman who shares her abhorrence of abortion to submit to one. Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision Becker attacks as “notorious,” simply protects my right, my daughter-in-law’s right and my granddaughters’ right to a safe medical abortion.
Alaska has some of the world’s most abundant and prosperous fisheries and a reputation for science-based management. Fisheries are the life-blood of coastal Alaska and a major driver of the state’s economy. So when it comes to managing our fisheries, it’s critical we get it right.
Today’s challenges in sustaining our fisheries and communities touch all Alaskans. We all share concerns about diminishing returns of Chinook salmon and the declining trend in halibut. Salmon disaster declarations, significant reductions in the allowable halibut catch for commercial and recreational fishermen – these hit home in a big way. But while salmon and halibut fishermen are restricted to protect the resource, bycatch of the same species is allowed in trawl fisheries as a cost of business. To their credit, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council is taking steps to address these bycatch concerns.
Recent events brought home the care that must be exercised at all scales and circumstances when it comes to marine vessels of any kind operating in Alaska.
In Jakolof Bay, the Christmas-time sinking of two vessels leaking diesel fuel and other petroleum products, places the livelihood of the local oyster farmers in jeopardy. Yet the sheen continues to spread at the time of this post. According to the owner, 50 gallons of diesel fuel and 35 gallons of hydraulic fluids, along with lube oils, were aboard.
Shell’s giant drilling platform, the Kulluk, broke loose while in tow from Dutch Harbor to Seattle and grounded on rocks of the storm-pounded southeast coast of the Kodiak archipelago. Shell reported there were 143,000 gallons of diesel fuel on the vessel and another 12,000 gallons of lubricants and hydraulic fluid.
I have always wondered in amused silence as I watch Alaska high school hockey. When two hockey players get in an obvious fight, (this happens almost every game), one or both of them are put in the penalty box for two or three minutes. I have wondered amusement because, in all other high school sports, a similar incident would have resulted in both players being suspended from the game. And, according to Alaska School Activities Association rules, would be barred from playing in the next contest.
Jan. 22 commemorates the 40th anniversary of a notorious decision passed down by the Supreme Court of the United States.
Roe vs. Wade was followed by Doe vs. Bolton, allowing abortions to be legally performed at any stage of a pregnancy. A demonstration march of more than 250,000 people is scheduled for Jan. 22 in Washington D.C. The annual March for Life will probably receive little or no coverage by the mainstream media.
The original case of Roe vs. Wade was based on lies given to justify the need for this procedure. The first lie was the false testimony given by Jane Roe (real name Norma McCorvey) of being raped. The second was the erroneous information that back-alley abortions were the cause of thousands of women’s deaths.
Future case scenario: An English teacher at a high school near you decides to take training that allows him to be certified to carry. A principal at a nearby elementary school can also take the training, newly allowed by a bill signed into law in the Alaska Legislature.
Students catch wind of the information. It’s printed in the local newspapers that various teachers and administrators took up the idea for greater protection of their students should a troubled person attack the school with an automatic weapon.
We are writing to express our concern regarding the Homer Natural Gas Line and the manner of assessing condominium properties. The benefits of these improvement to Homer and the surrounding area are understood and accepted. However, the method of assessing condominium properties is illogical and places an unfair cost burden on condominiums. We are very concerned about how the financing of the gas line will affect our condominium associations and their owners.
During the Great Depression, in 1937, in order to survive, my family had to split up. At age 14, I found employment as a live-in caregiver to Mrs. Sally Tomilson of Milford, Del. She was a cripple in her mid-90s, but still remained very mentally sharp. She used a wheel chair and crutches.
I did the grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, and hand washed on the scrub board. I dressed and undressed and bathed her. She paid me four dollars a week. I could buy a pair of new shoes for two dollars a week and a new dress for one dollar.
In September 1937, I turned 15. I attended Milford High School. Rain or shine I walked to school. I filled the coal stoves with coal and made her lunch. During my school time she took care of herself. After school and on weekends, I did my chores.