Homer Alaska - Announcements

Story last updated at 3:57 PM on Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Homer's Best Bets


Photo by Michael Armstrong

Face off A great horned owl, top, and a raven, bottom, squabbled in a spruce tree on Lakeshore Drive on Monday.

Snowshoeing up from Diamond Creek beach the other day on a long, winding trail, the Betster realized the hike served as the perfect metaphor for winter. Well, life, actually. To get through the snow and the ice, the darkness and cold, you take it one step at a time. Day by day, shovel load by shovel load, you get through. "Inch by inch, life's a cinch," the Betster's mom likes to say. "Yard by yard, life is hard."

Not that back-page philosophy alone will get you through what's left of winter. Well, technically spring, if you looked at the calendar on Tuesday. The Betster tried to, but a howling southwesterly ripped the calendar to shreds and buried it under a drift on the Spit. The Betster knows it's hard. The Betster feels your pain.

On Monday, even though the Betster had a story list longer than the Alaska Legislature's get-out-of-Juneau dance card, yours truly sneaked out of the office for that all-important first-halibut-landing-of-the season photo.

The sun shined on our fishermen and fish pitchers. Crane operators swung big brailers full of beautiful halibut through the air and dropped the fish onto sorting tables. Quicker than you could say "International Pacific Halibut Commission," those fish pitchers had the halibut tossed into totes. A guy using a shovel for what it's intended, shoveling ice and not snow, kept those halibut chilled.

And everyone smiled. Maybe it was the sun. Maybe it was the start of another big fishing season. Maybe it was the paycheck coming at the end of a good day's work. Maybe it was just getting outdoors and not freezing, moving fish and not snow. The harbor was clear and boats kept coming up to the docks.

See? We had the Winter King Salmon Tournament. The halibut season has opened.

Coming off the beach last weekend, even though snow covered everything above the tide line, the Betster saw a marvelous sight. Pussy willows scrambling for sun had started to bloom. Nature knows. Spring is here, although she might be lying low in disguise.

So get out, embrace the turning of the seasons, and have some fun, perhaps with these Best Bets:

BEST CHILLER THRILLER BET: Forget Hollywood — Barrow is where the filmmaking action is these days. Filmed at the top of the world with a mostly Inupiaq cast, Andrew Okpeaha's ''On the Ice," about a seal hunt that goes tragically wrong, has been the buzz of indie film festivals. It shows here at 6 p.m. today and 1 p.m. Saturday at the Homer Theatre.

BEST EARTH SOUNDS BET: Maybe we need to scare winter away, and what better technique than with a community drum circle? Bring a drum and join the circle. No experience necessary. The circle is at 7:45 p.m. today in the Homer Council on the Arts building. Donations are requested to help pay for space rental.

BEST FABULOUS FEMALES BET: Homer's women are all so awesome, it's hard to honor just three. Well, South Peninsula Haven House has gone out on a limb and honored three wonderful women for its annual Women of Distinction awards. Honor Susan Phillips Cushing, elder woman of wisdom, Kate Kerns, young woman of the year, and Bonnie Betley, woman of the year, at the banquet starting at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Land's End Resort. Tickets are $35 each or $350 for a table of eight, on sale at the Homer Bookstore.

BEST WEAR A HEADLIGHT BET: Spooky things happen when you go into the dark woods, so you'll want a flashlight, magic wand and maybe a spell or two to ward off evil. See the Homer High School Concert Choir's take on fairy tales with "Into the Woods," the Stephen Sondheim musical. It shows at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 3 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Mariner Theatre. See story, page 14.

BEST SECRET SKI BET: The way of the Mofo is mysterious, grasshopper, so we can't even tell you exactly where this year's Mofo ski extravaganza will be. Meet at noon Saturday at the McNeil Canyon Elementary School parking lot and take it from there. Costumes suggested.

BEST BURN BABY BURN: Yahoo, the Elders are on fire again, which means a night of just solid dance music. Elders on Fire play at 9 p.m. Saturday at AJ's Old Town Steakhouse. That'll take the chill off.

BEST SKI ON BET: Thanks to support from Homer Electric Association, it's HEA Ski for Free Day at the Ohlson Mountain Rope Tow. Sun. Spring skiing. Beautiful powder. Did we mention free? Ski from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.