Point of View

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

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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. 

With not much effort, you can recycle

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 believe more people would recycle if they knew how easy it can be. I have written some short articles that will be published in the paper in the next few weeks that will tell what and how to recycle, where recyclable items can be taken, what new items can be recycled now (including some changes the borough has made recently), and some practical tips for making the process easier.  

Rural hospitals at risk

Many rural American hospitals are struggling to keep their doors open in the face of rising costs. Fifty-eight have closed since 2010 and many more may follow if the pharmaceutical industry gets its way and dismantles a little-known federal drug discount program called 340B.

Legislators pull together, remove middleman from Alaska’s future

Last week was historic for Alaska. Thanks to our state legislators, we took a significant step toward controlling our own destiny. 

The Legislature held about two weeks of hearings to examine my proposal to buy out TransCanada’s interest, then almost unanimously approved my request to exercise our option to take over Alaska’s share of the gas pipeline project. 

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