Oct. 10 was a joyous occasion at the Homer City Council. Accolades for our outgoing mayor, the swearing in of a new mayor and two new council members. Congratulations, one and all. Bryan, Shelly and Tom are my friends, and I shared in the celebrations (mmm, great cake). But somewhere in all the festivities the passing of the torch — the passing of an era — went almost unremarked and unnoticed.
The Southern Kenai Peninsula Annual Veterans Picnic was held Oct. 9. Approximately 130 people attended even though it was a cloudy/windy/wet day. The picnic was opened by the presentation of the American Flag and Pledge of Allegiance by the Junior American Legion Auxiliary members Violet and Lulu.
The Paul Banks Preludes violin program has begun. All three first grade classes are participating and have spent one week making cardboard violins and one week learning with them. After a few more weeks of learning how to use and care for a violin, the students will have a chance to have a real violin to play. Those have arrived in Homer and we now have one classroom set (24 violins).
The ice is in, the doors are open. Your community rink is ready for another winter of on-ice recreation.
With volunteer help and supplemental support from the Jenson, Compass Rose and Unrestricted Funds at the Homer Foundation, the Kevin Bell Arena was able to conduct rink efficiency and improvements in the off season. The Kevin Bell Arena offers figure skating, curling, broomball, hockey, public skate and is home ice to the Mariner Co-Op High School Hockey team. Check the ice calendar at kevinbellarena.org.
A huge thank you to all who made Oktoberfest a fun and successful event. There’s not enough room for all our thank yous, but special thanks are needed to the Homer Elks Club, Alaska Blaskapelle German Band, Homer Brewing Co., A Brew with a View, Grace Ridge Brewery, Kenai River Brewing Co., SYSCO food distributor, and all the volunteers.
On behalf of Homer Flex High School, I would like to sincerely thank Bunnell Street Arts Center for their engaging work with our students. Our Social Environments classes had the opportunity to visit the exhibition “Decolonizing Alaska.” The trip was enhanced by a tour from Adele Person. Adele challenged students with insightful questions and interpretations, creating deeper meaning for attendees and providing a wonderful backdrop for the workshop which followed.
I hope the residents of Homer give serious thought to the upcoming election. The Homer City Council, the past mayor, the former and present city managers and department of public works have all been aware of the damage to the property in the Baycrest Subdivision by the cutting of trees and the clear-cutting on the bluff done by Enstar Gas.
In less than one week Homer voters will be asked to spend $17 million on two public projects that too few young voters are paying attention to. A $12-million police station and $4.8 million to bail out the hospital. We expect the folks behind these projects to support them — but why should the rest of us — young people in particular?
South Peninsula Hospital needs to wean itself from the property-tax-funded subsidy it enjoys. The South Peninsula Hospital Service Area property owners (and renters via their landlords) pay a 2.3 mill rate on the value of their property per year to the hospital. The Central Peninsula Hospital Service Area property owners pay .3 mills.
Why are we paying almost eight times more?
Writing this comment in regards to the new police station. As with all new building/amenities that the city provides us via our vote, here is another opportunity to upgrade our town’s infrastructure. The cop shop is outdated and will be unsafe for its duties, if not now, very soon. Here is our chance to vote in enough money to make it happen.
Utilizing the existing HERC building significantly cuts the cost of the project. Those of us who have been here awhile love that old building and would love to see its improvement.
Note: The following statement is my personal opinion and does not represent the views of the Kenai Peninsula Borough or the KPB Assembly.
As most people know our city government has certain responsibilities to ensure a prosperous, livable and safe community. Included in these responsibilities are the harbor, public utilities, fire and public safety. The city supports the harbor which provides safe moorage for the charter fleet and the commercial fishing fleets. This provides for a steady reliable economic base for Homer. The city provides our citizens with access to sewage disposal and a safe water supply. Our roads are well maintained even in the winter with prompt snow removal.