Point of View

Magnuson-Stevens reauthorization moves forward

Almost 40 years ago, without regard for the conservation of our fisheries or the needs of the Alaskan people, foreign fishing fleets dominated the waters off Alaska’s shores and took anything and everything in their reach. Ask anyone familiar with the times, deck lights of foreign vessels — dozens if not more — could be seen just miles off the coast of Kodiak and other coastal communities.

Recognizing the need for change, countless Alaskan fishermen came to Congress to ask for help in pushing the foreign fleets out. 

Beware spring equinox; it’s a tricky time of year

I

 wish I had a picture of Sadie. But even if I had a photo to go from I don’t think I’d be able to properly describe her. 

I remember a weatherworn face and a missing tooth. I remember her layers of clothes, faded and worn to a color similar to that of her skin. I remember the way her odor — distinct and offensive, but impossible to describe — lingered for a long time after she’d come inside to borrow our phone. 

And I remember her adamant warning that came every year in March: “Beware the spring equinoxal.”

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Let’s work together for better policies at Bishop’s Beach

Homer’s citizens and visitors encompass a wide spectrum of beach users: dog walkers, quiet seekers, coal collectors, off-road vehicle drivers, kayakers, paddle boarders, fat-tire bikers, picnickers, wave-watchers, painters, tide-poolers, birders, educational and recreational class attendees, and the many other user groups I likely forgot. 

Cause of razor clams’ demise no mystery; it’s overharvest

T

he Kachemak Bay Science Conference held last week in Homer was a valuable opportunity for those who attended to gain perspective in scientific endeavors that effect all of us in a very local way.

Many experts gave presentations on everything from phytoplankton to elodea to marine vertebrates. I attended part of the conference, but was particularly interested in the presentation given regarding East Side Cook Inlet Razor Clam Stock and Fishery Assessment.

Birders propose actions to protect area bird habitat

(Editor’s Note: The following recently was presented as Kachemak Bay Birders’ testimony to the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission and submitted as a Point of View piece.)

The Kachemak Bay Birders appreciates the recognition that 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.

Real story of UAA music program

The good news is that the University of Alaska Anchorage Department of Music offers high quality degree programs that are meeting the employment and artistic needs of Alaska.  The faculty are outstanding performers, scholars, and teachers. All three of our degree programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music, and our undergraduate degree to prepare music teachers is considered a model program nationally.

Have Homer’s mayor, city council gone rogue, lost touch with reality?

I like my political leaders to be one-quarter aspirational and three-quarters grounded in reality. Mayors, like business leaders, need to look out for good opportunities, adapt to changing environments and set the course with long-range planning. Mostly we ask them to be predictable, conservative in a sense and follow reasonable plans.

In love with a place

Be still, my beating heart! I’m sitting at the table in the house at the lake. The sunlight is shading the mountains pink and gray and the stillness of frozen swamps and a soft crackle from the woodstove makes me want to freeze this moment as well.

I love this place. 

I love its subtle isolation — a couple hours from town but miles from Internet or phone signals.

I love its cozy crowded nights with friends out for the weekend. 

Keep your heart healthy: there’s a lot you can do

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. 

HCOA facing wave of change

It is with deep gratitude that I have submitted my letter of resignation to the board of directors for Homer Council on the Arts, effective June 30, 2015. 

Opportunity is the operative word of the HCOA mission: providing opportunities for everyone in the community to experience and participate in the arts. And opportunity is what HCOA has so graciously offered me. I have learned so much, grown so much, and discovered the art of administration. I want to thank the HCOA board and the people of Homer for embracing me with warm and welcoming arms. 

Preventing childhood trauma will improve health of 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.  

 

Time to empower, employ next generation

Alaska is one of the most productive commercial fishing economies on the planet. More than five billion pounds of seafood were pulled from the waters surrounding Alaska in 2012. This world-class catch generated $1.7 billion in Alaska ex-vessel value and earned Alaska the title of top U.S. seafood producer. We provide more than 55 percent of U.S. domestic seafood production. That’s nearly four times more seafood than the next largest seafood producing state.

Engine trouble brings TOTE ship into bay

It was probably the shortest job in the business. Marine pilot Captain Donal Ryan took the M/V Midnight Sun out of its anchorage off the tip of the Homer Spit to the pilot station near the green navigational buoy. From getting out of his car in the parking lot near the Salty Dawg to getting back in, the whole operation took only an hour. Ryan boarded the 839-foot vessel and ascended 10 flights of stairs to the bridge. 

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