Point of View

What's next for Supreme Court

Someone once noted “a man is like a novel: until the very last page, you don’t know how it will end. Otherwise it wouldn’t be worth reading.”

Speaking of which, President Obama will go a long way in redeeming his performance as resident if he picks former Harvard law professor Sen. Elizabeth Warren as his nominee for the Supreme Court. She’s from the hard scrabble side of the tracks.

Some always oppose positive change

The Homer Playground Project got started when a group of people — mostly mothers (some with children in tow), a couple of city staff people, and a few folks dedicated to recreation in the Homer community — met at the playground in Karen Hornaday Park in late spring 2011. At the time, yellow CAUTION tape surrounded a number of pieces of play equipment. The tire swing — made out of a steel-belted radial — was so worn it could draw blood. 

And other parts of the playground looked like a mess. 

Alaskans need to know the facts about the state’s financial crisis

Not a day goes by without Alaska’s fiscal problems making the news. Whether cuts to public services, talk of new revenues, or a downgrade of the state’s creditworthiness, it’s hard to escape the numbers. 

With 737,000 people spread over 663,000 square miles, sub-$30 oil, and a pipeline that is 75 percent empty, the numbers just don’t add up like they used to do.

Efforts to prevent sexual assault, domestic violence make a difference

The Council on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault supports the work of Alaska’s domestic violence and sexual assault shelters and violence prevention efforts statewide. To do that, the council has engaged a wide range of programs to make a difference, from sponsoring the Green Dot Alaska program to teaching effective violence intervention techniques, to supporting Coaching Boys Into Men and our Girls on the Run programs, to sponsorship of The Fourth R curriculum in schools, and more. 

Healthy you key to healthy community

Editor’s Note: MAPP,  Mobilizing for Action through Planning & Partnerships, is a local coalition that aims to use and build upon our strengths to improve our individual, family and community health. Health is defined broadly to include cultural, economic, educational, environmental, mental, physical and spiritual health.  

Challenges ahead will make university stronger

As I reflect on my first 120 days serving as president of the University of Alaska, and look toward the days and years ahead, I see three important realities:

• The university — like our state — faces very serious organizational and budget challenges that we must confront head on;

• Our vision and the tough choices we make for moving the university forward must be clear and focus on meeting the state’s short- and-long term needs; and,

Time to put our wealth to work

By now, most of you know we have a budget challenge: Over the past two years, Alaska’s oil revenue has plummeted by 88 percent, mainly due to a sharp drop in oil prices.

We’ve cut the budget from $8 billion in 2012 to $4.8 billion. Despite these reductions, our deficit amounts to more than half our annual budget.

Time to thank all who lend a hand to feed the hungry

It is amazing how quickly fall slides into the end of the year. And what a year we’ve had. We want to mention as many contributors as possible. 

In September, the Alaska USA Federal Credit Union members and staff teamed up with the Alaska USA Foundation to conduct the “Cash for Cans” fundraiser. The Alaska USA Foundation supports local Community Food Pantry’s and we were blessed with their generous $2,000 contribution. 

Balance in all things

As the executive director of the Homer based Whirling Rainbow Foundation non-profit organization on culture and the arts, I wanted to share my input on the Burning Basket Project and the events I witnessed in the courtroom on Dec. 17, 2015. As an international artist and teacher, I have traveled nearly a million miles across 20 countries touching a million people in cultural, visual, healing arts workshops, performances festivals and ceremonies.

New year, new challenge

What books did you read last year? Were they fiction or nonfiction? Did you read any poetry collections or perhaps a memoir? Do you have a new favorite author? 

Most of the books I chose to read in 2015 were from the Homer Public Library’s 15 in ’15 list compiled by the library staff at the beginning of the year. 

The idea behind the 15 in ’15 Reading Challenge was to give people an incentive to read more and read differently. I can say without a doubt that it worked for me. It was also a lot of fun.

Community resilience starts with you

Editor’s Note: MAPP,  Mobilizing for Action through Planning & Partnerships, is a local coalition that aims to use and build upon our strengths to improve our individual, family and community health. Health is defined broadly to include cultural, economic, educational, environmental, mental, physical and spiritual health.  

 

Time for Legislature to put up or shut up

With just a couple weeks to go until the next legislative session begins, Alaska’s elected officials have a hefty to-do list. In no particular order, here it is:

• Restructuring the Permanent Fund earnings in order to use a portion to pay for state government, and possibly reducing the annual citizens’ dividend.

• Considering whether to raise or institute new taxes.

• Cutting spending.

It’s time to build trust about cannabis

Alas, state regulators have wrapped up the marijuana regulation-making process and the regulations are now heading to the Department of Law for review. From there Lt. Gov. Byron Mallot will review them and sign or not sign them into law. 

Now, local communities are working out their local cannabis ordinances, zoning, etc. 

Something I am finding in many communities, including Homer, is a general distrust and fear of the cannabis industry. 

Cook Inletkeeper celebrates 20 years of accomplishments

T

wenty years ago, a group of concerned Alaskans decided enough was enough. They were fed-up with toxic pollution in Cook Inlet, so they brought Clean Water Act claims against the oil and gas corporations for more than 4,200 illegal dumping violations. And they won. 

Then, they formed Cook Inletkeeper as part of the settlement. Today, Inletkeeper celebrates our 20th anniversary, and we’re proud and humbled by the countless members and supporters who have made our work possible.  

Sustaining our living and dying in Homer: a Thanksgiving reflection

A few weeks ago, I found myself trapped for 12 days in a hospital in Seattle, receiving “top-notch care” for an emergency complication of late-stage breast cancer, longing only to get home. The doctors in Seattle were nervous to release me to “the middle of nowhere.” Everything in me desired Homer, despite what I knew of November with its slick roads and snow-rain cycle. Despite our relatively small hospital. Despite the lack of, technically, a “medical hospice” or official palliative care program.

Vision, hard work, money create great place to live

I was 5 the first time I flew to Alaska by myself to visit my dad. We drove the impossibly long road to Homer, and when we arrived I was sure we were in the wrong place. 

In my absence a real grocery store had been built, roads were paved, and everything seemed somehow bigger. Every summer thereafter I would hold my breath coming into Homer and scan for the changes winter brought: homes blooming across the hillside, new businesses along Pioneer, landmark businesses like Proctors and Uminskies retired, and more fresh pavement. 

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