Editorial

50 years ago, Homer saw opportunities following disaster

From the Homer News 

April 1, 1964

Homer and the entire state of Alaska have suffered a disaster the magnitude of which has seldom been known in the world. We must all remember that in the first confusion that many exaggerations and false rumors are bound to be spread. We’re not discounting the terrible effects of this tragedy; however, let us stop for a moment and think of the possible good that can come from this.

Council must be hard of hearing

The Homer City Council needs to come up with a new song and dance. While it may be hard for some of them to believe, residents are tired of hearing the same old refrain, which is always a version of: “If you want ____________ (fill in the blank with what’s on your wish list for the city to accomplish), are you willing to do away with seasonal sales tax exemption on nonprepared food items?”

Help us celebrate 50 years by getting involved with Homer

We hate to write it, but you really can’t believe everything you read. Take the first edition of the resurrected Homer News on Jan. 7, 1964. The front page puts the year as 1963, but subsequent pages, where the date is handwritten, have the correct date.

That means 2014 is our 50th anniversary. Those of us at the News see the upcoming year as a milestone that presents the perfect opportunity to reflect on the past, while we continue to record the present and anticipate the future. 

Some memorable words from 2013

Notable and quotable quotes don’t just come from the rich and famous. There’s a gold mine of inspiration all around us. We found lots of memorable words from those who were featured in the pages of the Homer News during 2013. Here are a few of our favorites that also serve as reminders of the year’s top stories:

 

“As Americans, for us to believe that we’re going over the cliff and that we’ll be gone as a society, I will never believe that.”

— Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, speaking 

Some memorable words from 2013

Notable and quotable quotes don’t just come from the rich and famous. There’s a gold mine of inspiration all around us. We found lots of memorable words from those who were featured in the pages of the Homer News during 2013. Here are a few of our favorites that also serve as reminders of the year’s top stories:

 

“As Americans, for us to believe that we’re going over the cliff and that we’ll be gone as a society, I will never believe that.”

— Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, speaking 

Restoring trust as simple as getting involved with others

During the season in which we celebrate good will toward all, some troubling news has been reported: Americans don’t trust each other.

That’s the conclusion of an Associated Press-GfK poll conducted last month. Among the poll’s findings, only about one-third of Americans say most people can be trusted — down from about half who felt that way when the question was first posed in 1972. According to the AP report, about two-thirds of Americans say “you can’t be too careful” when dealing with other people.

Every day can be Thanksgiving Day

I grew up in a family where a version of Thanksgiving was celebrated almost 365 days a year. Really.

Family around the table? It was our tradition to gather for the evening meal — supper, we called it — every weekday evening at 6 p.m. On Sundays, it was right after church. Oh, and on Saturdays, we all ate breakfast together. Talk about a feast. Biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs and sausage were the standard fare. Sometimes, that Saturday morning meal was waffles or hot cakes and bacon. Always, it was delicious.

Will home rule mean better government?

For some longtime Homer residents, the current discussion on whether Homer should change from a first-class to a home-rule city might seem like déjà vu all over again, as Yogi Berra would say.

Homer was just 11 years old as an incorporated city when residents had their first discussion of the issue, which ultimately ended in defeat of a charter in 1977, two years after the discussion began. 

Alaska Salmon Alliance proposes better way to solve our fish fights

Battles over fish are nothing new to Alaskans. It is part of the state’s story that different user groups fight over who gets what and when. There’s one constant in those fish battles, however: Everybody wants to protect the fish. 

Fish are integral to all Alaskans — they may figure prominently in your household’s livelihood or lifestyle. Even if you’ve never caught a fish, the health of Alaska’s fish runs is interwoven into the health of the state’s environment and its economy. 

Haven House works to make community safer place for all

Before we turn a page on the calendar, let’s take a moment to remember October as Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Awareness Month — a month “devoted to honoring those we’ve lost and those who’ve survived,” said Jessica Lawmaster, executive director of South Peninsula Haven House. She and other Haven House staff spoke this week at several “lunch and learn” meetings informing people about Haven House programs.

Government needs to remember its role is to serve the public

What’s the proper relationship between the private and public sectors? Recent government actions have prompted us to consider that question anew.

The seeming unwillingness of the Homer City Council to provide relief for the estate of late council member Dennis Novak, whose Bay View Inn lost its permit for nonconforming use in a rural residential area, makes us wonder why compassion can’t be considered with consistency when enforcing city rules. (After all, the inn was there before the zoning rules.)

Test your readiness with shakeout drill

Disaster experts say it’s not a question of “if,” but “when” another big earthquake like the one of Good Friday 1964 will shake Alaska. That quake, the second largest ever recorded with a 9.2 magnitude, and the seismic sea waves that followed killed 131 people. It reshaped the landscape of several coastal communities in Alaska, including Homer.

Government should run on compromise

When it comes to how government operates, the past couple of weeks have offered plenty of good news-bad news examples.

The bad news has dominated national headlines: the federal shutdown. It’s too bad our elected officials in Washington, D.C., aren’t acting on what most citizens are saying, which is: End this foolishness, now. Find a solution, which is what you were elected to do. Let federal employees do what they were hired to do, which is work. 

Propositions will reveal attitudes about government

Propositions on the Oct. 1 ballot will give voters plenty of opportunity to show what they really think about government. Friend or foe? Those who think government has become a big, unwieldy, unthinking machine likely will show that by:

•Voting “yes” to repeal Homer’s plastic bag ban.

•Voting “yes” to increase the borough’s residential property tax exemption from $20,000 to $50,000. 

•Voting “no” on the school bond issue.

•Voting “no” to repeal term limits.

Strong rec program can play big role in community’s success

With the Homer City Council approving its 2014 capital improvement projects priority list and four campaigns for two city council seats getting underway, we’re reminded of a book we read a few years ago, “Thirteen Ways to Kill Your Community.” It was written by Doug Griffiths, a rural Western Canada legislator, and Kelly Clemmer, a Canadian journalist.

Enough’s enough

Thank you, Judge Murphy, for saying enough time has passed in the case of two brothers charged with sexual assault at a teen-age drinking party last September. More than a year has passed since that incident grieved and outraged a community.  

It’s not too early to meet candidates, study up on issues

Mark you calendar now: Oct. 1 is the date for the municipal election. 

If you aren’t registered to vote, you have until Sept. 1, 30 days prior to the election, to do so.

All elections are important, and this one is no exception. In addition to filling two seats on the Homer City Council (there are four candidates running), voters on the southern Kenai Peninsula also will fill a school board seat and several borough service area seats. Candidates for those seats are running unopposed.

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When you think about it, not much. In one lifetime, a person is likely to see lots of culture shifts. We change our music, our fashion, our words.

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