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Homer's Best Bets

OK, Besteroids, here’s something the Betster bets you didn’t know: This is National Moth Week. In celebration of that event, Shana Loshbaugh, area researcher and journalist and all-around awesome person (who has done more than her fair share this week to make sure you have a Homer News in your hand) shared some pictures she recently took of moths on the southern Kenai Peninsula. (See above and get a macro science lesson.)

Homer's Best bets

On an early morning walk this week, the Betster, observant as always, noticed a couple of things:

1. In the wee hours of the morning, when some fishermen may be stirring but most of the rest of Homer is still slumbering, it’s light. The sun may not officially have risen, but it’s light outside. That early-morning soft summer light that makes you glad you’re in Alaska.

Homer's Best Bets

Recently while walking the Spit, the Betster noticed an odd phenomenon: Homer cars sure do have a lot of bumper stickers. At least the B. thinks they could be Homer cars. They have Alaska plates, and the “no Pebble” stickers suggest a local origin. 

Homer's Best Bets

You know how in all the hip cities neighborhoods have cool names? There’s Soho in New York for “south of Houston” or SoMa in San Francisco for “South of Market.” Homer has Old Town, the area south of the Sterling Highway, and “The Views,” the area above Pioneer Avenue where all the names end in “-view.” Oh, and the Homer Spit, which everyone knows as “the Spit.”

Homer's Best Bets

Lately it seems like Homer has had some really important people come to visit. Earlier this month King Harald V of Norway dropped in to chat about climate change. The Norwegian ambassador Kåre Aas also came with the king. This week Her Excellency Anne Anderson, Ambassador to the United States from Ireland, graced our town. His Majesty might have been royal and all that, but Her Excellency smiled a lot more. 

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As the latest whining about our heat wave shows, you just can’t please Homerites. Let the temperature fall below 5 degrees (“balmy,” as they say in Fairbanks) and we’ll say, “Oh, I hope next summer is really warm.” Then when we get a fantabulous stretch of weather like we’ve had since last week, we start grumping about how it’s just too dang hot.

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Next Wednesday the Homer Advisory Planning Commission holds a public hearing on how to connect Waddell Way from Lake Street to Heath Street. Should it be at Grubstake Avenue or Bonanza Avenue? Buried in the discussion is another question: What to call the street?

Homer's Best Bets

What with graduation, climate change  and the state budget, there’s been a lot of talk about the future. OK, make it The Future, kind of like Detroit, a place we might want to visit someday, except shinier and with jetpacks. At graduation ceremonies, you heard a lot of talk about where we go next. That would be The Future, kids.

Meanwhile, the Alaska Legislature has been making its own future by dragging out the present as it goes into double-triple overtime trying to pass a budget. 

What with graduation, climate change and the state budget, there’s been a lot of talk about the future. OK, make it The Future, kind of like Detroit, a place we might want to visit someday, except shinier and with jetpacks. At graduation ceremonies, you heard a lot of talk about where we go next. That would be The Future, kids.

Meanwhile, the Alaska Legislature has been making its own future by dragging out the present as it goes into double-triple overtime trying to pass a budget.

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If you’re like the Betster, you might have been putting in some extra hours lately. Hey, it’s summer, and you know summer. The daylight hours get longer and somehow so does the work. The garden needs planting, stuff needs painting and the punch list grows longer. Plus, it’s tourist and fishing season, when we power up our big economic engines. Someone has to pull lattes and cut bait. Yeah, that would be you.

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Senators, governors and distinguished congresspeople have visited Homer. Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, came here once. There have been unconfirmed rumors that Sean Penn and Lady Gaga once graced our town. But royalty?

Holy bow and curtsy! For the first time ever, a European monarch comes to town when His Majesty King Harald V, the king of Norway, visits Homer Tuesday for a tour of Kachemak Bay. Mayor Beth Wythe will accompany him to the Spit and they arrive at the Homer Harbor, Ramp 2, at about 11:40 a.m.

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Here’s the thing about living in a magical place people pay lots of money to visit. Sometimes we work so dang hard trying to make a living that we don’t have the time to appreciate Homer. I think doctors call this “Carpe diem deficit disorder.” You’re supposed to seize the day and we’re lucky if we can seize 40 winks.

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After decades living in Homer, the Betster can finally admit it. Yours truly has succumbed to birder fever. Consider the evidence: bird nerd sweatshirt by Amanda Brannon, two pairs of binoculars and a spotting scope kept in the Betsterbaru, seven bird guides on the shelf and checklists for the last 15 years of the Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival.

Homer's Best Bets

Last Thursday the Betster took a photo safari looking for sandhill cranes at Beluga Slough. The B. got a solid tip that cranes had been seen at 11 p.m. last Wednesday, right on time for Earth Day. Out in the grass about 70 greater white-fronted geese waddled around feeding on whatever geese feed on there in the slough. The B. loves those darn goofy birds. 

Homer's Best Bets

Just when you think the world might be getting back to normal, shazam, things have to go all topsy turvy on us. Not that the Betster has found a thorough definition of “normal,” and certainly not in Alaska. Your actual mileage may differ. How’s this: Normal in Alaska means that at least for one week things more or less remain the same.

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When, oh when will our long seasonal nightmare end? Day after day, roaring blizzards have left maybe an inch of snow daily on our winter-weary town. Up in the hills, some people have reported deluges of up to a foot. It got so bad that every single day last week the Betster had to brush off a light layer of fluffy flakes from the Betstermobile.

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Congratulations, citizens. This week you earn the distinct honor of directly participating in your government. Unlike voting, where you just have to show up and fill in some bubbles and make an informed choice, on April 15 you put some real skin in the game.

Holy Alexander Hamilton! That’s right, Betsteroids. Wednesday is the day we’ve been looking forward to all year, the day we send off our income tax returns. It’s the day we pay our fair share to keep this grand experiment in democracy running.

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In the ongoing drama of our changing season, stuff happens. Sometimes it happens so fast you wonder if maybe we’ve slipped into one of those science-fictional time shifts. You know — nice English nurse wanders into a Scottish stone circle and, shazam, next thing you know she’s in the 18th century and being rescued by men in kilts.

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Go to any meeting around town and you’re likely to hear the call of Homerus cruditis — that beast we transform into when the spring rhinovirus hits town. Holy hippopotamus! No, we’re not talking a beast with big horns, but rhino as in “nose,” an infection that takes up residency in your schnozzle. Not being content with the warm, moist microclimate there, the virus also migrates down into your chest.

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Friday at 2:45 p.m. the sun crosses the celestial equator, an imaginary line in the heavens above the earth’s equator. We’ll experience one of those cosmic events marking the passage of this big blue marble around the sun. You may know that event as “spring.”

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