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A Note from Representative Les Gara- June 10, 2013

A Fishing Story, Howie, Special Olympics, and a Money Saver

June 6, 2013

Voice Your Opinions!

Letters to the editor make a difference. You can send a 175-word letter to the Anchorage Daily News by e-mail (letters@adn.com); or by fax or mail (call them at 257-4300). Send letters to the Anchorage Press via e-mail editor@anchoragepress.com or by mail to 540 E. Fifth Ave, Anchorage, 99501. Feel free to call us if you need factual information to help you write a letter.

Contact the Governor. The Governor can be reached at 269-7450; sean.parnell@alaska.gov; or www.alaska.gov.

Contact us. My office can be reached at: 716 W. 4th Ave, Anchorage, AK 99501; by phone: 269-0106; visit my website at http://gara.akdemocrats.org; or email: Rep.Les.Gara@akleg.gov

Dear Neighbors,

I think winter might be over. I flinched when I said that, but I think it's true. It must be, because I'm off to take a few days to go fishing. But before I leave, I wanted to give you a few updates – one for your heart, and one for your wallet.

Special Olympics News, and My Foster Brother Howie

When we want to, we can come together as a community to do great things. This week I attended the commemoration for the new Special Olympics facility expansion in Mountain View. With state and private funds, the facility will be expanded so local athletes can train, can receive some health services, and can do what the American dream promises – reach their fullest potential. As someone who grew up with a foster brother who was born with disabilities, the opening was touching to me. My brother Howie was written off early in his life, and now has a graduate degree. Sometimes people just need a hand to get over hurdles they don't deserve.

Special Olympics Alaska works in over 10 communities statewide serving over 2000 athletes who are empowered by hundreds of volunteers. Athletes train and compete year-round in 16 Olympic-type sports with the assistance of volunteer coaches. This year Special Olympics Alaska received $500,000 from the capital budget and last year they received $4,000,000, and they’ve received a ton of help from individuals, businesses, and foundations in Alaska. Currently, over 2,000 Special Olympics athletes and 5,000 volunteers and family members will be impacted by the expansion. In addition, it is estimated that there are as many as 8,000 individuals with intellectual disabilities in the state of Alaska who have not yet benefited from Special Olympics Alaska programs and may ultimately benefit from this project.

Save $, Save The Planet: AHFC's Energy Savings Home Rebate Program Still Up And Running

I also want to remind everyone of the great work Alaska Housing Finance Corporation is doing to help Alaskans make their homes more energy efficient. And to take a look at www.akenergyefficiency.org, a great website with tips put together by the Alaska Energy Authority.

AHFC’s Home Energy Rebate Program offers up to $10,000 for homeowners making energy efficiency improvements or a $7,500 incentive for new construction to build 5 star plus home. The waitlist for the rebate program statewide is 208 and the Anchorage list is 49, so the average wait time is less than a month. And the separate Weatherization Program offers income-based home energy efficiency improvements to homeowners and renters. The weatherization program waitlists are maintained by the individual service providers and regional housing authorities and vary by region. Priority is given to the elderly, Alaskans with disabilities, and families with children. To learn more about these programs, click here.

Best Regards,

Les Gara

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