Story last updated at 2:39 p.m. Thursday, April 18, 2002

HOMER'S BEST BETS
Have you noticed the backpackers walking through town, and the first few out-of-state license plates, and that Beluga Lake is starting to clear up around the edges? If the Betmeister is not mistaken, those signs point to just one thing: UFOs. Aliens have landed in our midst, and are among us as we speak. Their craft landed at the head of Kachemak Bay when everyone was concentrating on annexation and king salmon, and now they're everywhere. But that's OK, they're harmless. They only want to learn more about our civilization. That and, of course, to check out this week's Best Bets.

BEST BREAK OUT THE SPIKES BET: No really, the Betster swears it's track and field season. And just in case you don't believe it, the Homer High School track and field team is inviting you to compete in a friendly citizen's track meet at 4 p.m. on Friday. So dust off your track shoes (and you might want to sharpen the spikes in case of ice on the track) and come on out for the All Comers Meet, a fund-raiser for the Mariner runners, jumpers and throwers. And if you've been hitting the treadmill, you might just have a shot at outrunning the 14- to 18-year-old crowd. Or clearing that first hurdle.

BEST FROGGY WENT A-COURTIN' BET: The Alaska Natural Heritage Program would like you to know that there are frogs in our midst. In fact, there are six amphibian species native to Alaska. Because nobody pays these little critters much mind, the group has started the Cook Inlet Wood Frog Monitoring Program to help document the distribution and population of the wood frog and is now looking for people from across the Cook Inlet drainage to participate in the study. And here's the good part <> all you have to do is hop off the couch during froggy mating season, usually April 25-June 10. Then head to the nearest pond, lake or bog (for many of you that will be your backyard) and listen. For more information call 257-2782.

BEST GET OUT OF TOWN BET: Seldovia is the place to be for jazz on Kachemak Bay this weekend. The 2002 arts season starts Saturday when the Anchorage-based jazz and swing dance band St. John's In visits the quiet town on Seldovia Bay, courtesy of the Seldovia Arts Council. The quartet includes Dirk Westphal on bass, Andy Mullen on guitar, John Damberg on drums and Dan McElrath on keyboards. Tickets are available for the concert and dance only, but those who want to make a fuller night of it can have dinner as well. Lynn Corwin and the senior class are cooking barbecue pork ribs, salad, cooked vegetables and dessert. The combination package is $22 per person or $40 a couple, and dinner begins 6 p.m. The show is at Susan B. English School, and starts at 7:30 p.m. $15 at the door. For information, call 234-7614.

Best Trolling for sharks bet: Even if you don't know Ray Troll by name, anyone who has lived in Alaska long has seen his artwork on the backs of passersby. Troll is the creator of those fantastic T-shirts with droll, fishy puns like "Bass Ackwards" and "Spawn Till You Die." But beyond that, he's also a self-proclaimed "a-fish-ionado," and has just finished an alphabet book featuring 26 sharks, "Sharkabet." Troll will be in town touting his new treasure at elementary schools as well as at the Pratt Museum at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. He will give a slide presentation on these fascinating creatures of the sea, as well as sell his book and give away posters.

Best young stars bet: The Betser couldn't hold a note for nothin,' but luckily there are lots of young voices, musicians and other talented kids to fill the airwaves with beauty. The Jubilee Performance will be held Friday at the Mariner Theatre starting at 7 p.m. It includes more than 20 acts, from classical piano to Irish dancing. Admission is $10 general, $8 for Homer Council on the Arts, $5 for youth 18 and under and $20 for a family of four, and are available at the Homer Bookstore, Etude Studios and the council office. Call 235-4288 for details.

Best oh-so-sari bet: Sorry for the pun, but you won't be sorry if you head to the Sari Project fund-raiser Friday night at The Living Room at 6 p.m. The event includes a buffet-style Indian dinner with curries, those fascinating Indian breads and chai, of course. On sale through a silent auction will be more than a dozen decadently ornate saris donated by wealthy women in India to raise funds for Child Haven, an orphanage program. Funds from this event go straight to help hundreds of children, and at $10 a plate for adults, $5 for kids and $20 for families, it's well worth it. Head to the white house next to Don Jose's for the feast.

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