A different focus may do some good

This week I had the opportunity to sit down with Sen. Gary Stevens, who by my estimation, is a pretty upbeat guy. When I first met him, he was delighted to be representing Homer once more with its strong vocal chords, in of its oddball coastline glory.
He seems to be fairly relaxed in front of a crowd, and also just sitting at a table in the Legislative Information Office.
So, when Stevens says that things are “really, really, really bad for the budget this year,” I am fairly convinced we are all in a bit of hot water.
But such a caution should not incite fear or panic; rather it should serve as a sobering reality that we all share in the coming challenge.

Protecting salmon in a changing climate

The National Weather Service reports that 2014 was Alaska’s warmest year on record. Even with record-breaking temperatures occurring all across the state, I see climate change getting framed as an “Arctic” issue. For example, at the November transition conference, the Walker-Mallott transition team established 17 topics for discussion, including fisheries, wildlife, natural resources, subsistence and infrastructure, but climate change was only coupled with Arctic Policy. Certainly, unique and imminent climate-related threats face the Arctic region and its communities, and it’s no surprise national attention focuses on the Arctic as new shipping and drilling opportunities emerge with melting sea ice. Alaskans, however, know that rapid change is not just happening in the Arctic.

Birders make case for beach protections

The Kachemak Bay Birders appreciate the recognition the Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission is giving to ongoing user problems at Bishop’s Beach and Beluga Slough. These problems impact the quality of these sites, as well as the enjoyment and safety of the many area residents and visitors that use Bishop’s Beach and Beluga Slough.
We agree with the methodical approach you have used to better understand these problems, as well as develop possible solutions. We also appreciate the support you have received from the City of Homer Planning Department in working to resolve these issues.

Pedestrian trails save lives

The other day, I was driving home up the hill from the Spit on Kachemak Drive. The elderly lady we always see with her bicycle on Ocean Drive, Spit Road and Kachemak Drive was walking her bike up the steep hill on Kachemak Drive. She was about two feet from the edge of the road, because there is no shoulder along Kachemak Drive. She was just below the crest of the hill, where you can’t see oncoming traffic coming from East End Road.

Letters – Feb. 25

Not too late to sign up for health insurance Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic held free “Get Covered” events to help people sign up for health insurance throughout the Homer and Anchor Point communities. Our Certified Application Counselors were available to answer questions, get individuals signed up for health insurance and assist in applying for […]

Cutting Alaska’s university budget without affecting classrooms and laboratories

The current Alaska budget crisis is directly tied to the Saudi ruling families’ putting the screws to Vladimir Putin for his expansion agenda in Eastern Europe and Southwest Asia. Undoubtedly, this petroleum warfare was done with the blessing — perhaps instigation — of the Obama Administration, and is intended to flood world oil markets, lowering prices to squeeze Russia’s oil-dependent economy. To what extent it works will depend, in large measure, on Russia’s “cursed capacity for suffering,” as Boris Pasternak put it.

Hemp: foundation of an economy

The Latin name for the hemp plant is cannabis. Hemp is the English word for this useful plant that made ancient history.
Hemp seeds provided high-protein porridge and often saved populations from famine. Oil pressed from hemp seeds provides fuel, lighting oil, paint base and cooking oil. Hemp meal (what remains after pressing the oil) is high protein food. Hemp fiber becomes rope, fine clothing, canvas, sails and durable paper. Hemp hurds provide fuel and building material.

Heart disease is leading cause of death in U.S.

The well-known phrase, “knowledge is power,” is an appropriate one to apply to cardiac disease and its preventable risk factors.
The Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics reported that, in 2011, the leading cause of death on the southern Kenai Peninsula was heart disease. According to the National Institutes of Health, it is also the leading cause of death in the United States.

Big Fat Bike Festival 2015; A low-pressure weekend for all

Fat bike, fat-tire bike, snow bike, omni-terrain vehicle, whatever you want to call them, they’re fun and versatile.
“Beach bike” is not a commonly used term to describe these machines, but rolling over the beach is something they do best. Beaches, although constantly changing, are dependable and often predictable. Unlike some seasonal activities, you can count on fat bikes, much like the beach. Before I alienate half the readers by metaphorically riding my bike over their skis, let me tell you about the now over a year old, but still practically brand new backcountry ski kit I bought instead of going to Mexico last year.

GMO foods revisited — with special concern for children

Readers liked my last essay about genetically modified organisms:
“I posted it on my refrigerator.” “It saved my life.”
Let’s review the basics: GMO foods are pumped full of a bacteria called bacillus thuringensis, mutated to include herbicide in its genes. These bacteria with poison genes are injected into corn, rice, soy, sugar beets, alfalfa and canola. In the human body, GMO foods release predatory bacteria and poison oil molecules that kill healthy micro-organisms in the human gut, perforate the human gut, degenerate muscles, tendons, ligaments and organs and produce mucus globs in the throat.
America’s food supply is 95 percent contaminated. GMO grains make up the bulk of animal feed, so most American eggs, dairy, poultry, pork and beef are GMO.
A close friend reported she was losing weight rapidly and down to 85 pounds at 5-ft. 7-inches). She feared she would die.

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