Homer Alaska - Announcements

Story last updated at 6:42 PM on Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Homer's Best Bets

You can tell summer has started already. Nah, it's not by the deluge of energetic, highly educated young minds that burst forth this week into the world. It's not the white crowned sparrows, hermit thrushes and golden crowned sparrows that showed up this week with their symphony of song — although the Betster thinks that's way cool and has been smiling every morning on the canine companion walkabout just listening to those birds.


Photo by Michael Armstrong

Welcome to the world

A cow moose rests with newborn twin calves Monday night in a yard off the Sterling Highway near Homer Middle School. Homer Police guarded the sidewalk to caution students walking by of the moose. The moose was still in the yard on Wednesday. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game asked people to keep back from the moose.

Nope, it's the traffic. Even before the Memorial Day weekend, it seems like more cars and trucks are on the road. Have all the snowbirds come back to town? Are all the summer shop owners here early getting ready? More than once the past week some slow poke has been driving along ahead of the Betster, gawking at the eagles and the mountains like they're some novelty. Get with the program. If you've made it to Homer, you've already seen these natural wonders. Focus, citizens, focus.

Like many of you, the Betster has places to go and things to do, particularly in the fast paced world of weekly journalism. High school graduations! Chamber luncheons! Newborn moose photo safaris! Homer Playground Project tours! We just don't have time to dawdle. On a cross-town trip from Land's End to Pioneer Avenue, someone driving slowly could add minutes to the trip. Minutes!

Wait a second — why do we live in Homer? Why do we work at really fun jobs that would pay three times as much if we moved Outside? Why do we suffer $4.83 a gallon gas (if it hasn't gone up by press time) and luxury produce? Yeah, because on a trip across town you can see newborn moose calves, eagles nesting, sandhill cranes flying overhead and beautiful mountains across the bay.

"Slow down. What's the hurry?" it says on Reuben Call's memorial bench on Diamond Ridge. Yeah. That's it. Why rush? Chill, Homerites. Enjoy the world. It has unfolded in all its glory this month. The fun has begun already, and there's lots more to come, like these Best Bets:

BEST BIG AIR BET: It's wild, manic and fun. You may have seen local kitesurfers plowing through the bay. The Homer Kitesurf Festival returns this year, but it's a little more informal. From today through Sunday, swing by Mariner Park and watch the action. Or, learn the sport yourself at daily clinics, with times to be announced because, well, the winds are fickle that way. Look for the big Alaska flag and the kites.

BEST BIG VOICE BET: This guy could be from Homer. Lee Koch didn't give up on his dream of becoming a singer songwriter while pounding dough at a California Great Harvest bakery. He got noticed on the TV show, "The Voice," hanging with singers like Jewel and Christina Aguilera. Thanks to some Alaska connections, he's up here visiting. Catch his original tunes in a concert at 8 p.m. Saturday at Land's End Resort. Tickets are $20 or $30 for two. Atz Lee Kilcher also performs. See story, page 17.

BEST BIG BUILD BET: It's all smiles up there at Karen Hornaday Park as build teams put together the Homer Playground Project. No doubt there's lots to do through Sunday. Check out the website at www.homerplaygroundproject.org. Or, just show up and someone will put you to work. If you've helped, don't forget the big celebration starting at 5:30 p.m. Sunday.

BEST BIG BEAST BET: As big as horses get, they're gentle beasts. If you love riding horses, caring for horses or just watching horses, check out the annual opening of Cottonwood Horse Park starting at noon Monday on Scenic Park Drive off East End Road. There's fun for the whole family with face painting, pony rides, games, homemade chili and corn bread. Watch equestrian demonstrations, too.

BEST BIG HEARTS BET: Don't forget the reason for the weekend, Memorial Day, when we honor the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Honor our military in services at 10 a.m. Monday at Hickerson Memorial Cemetery on Diamond Ridge in Homer, noon at the Anchor Point Cemetery and 2 p.m. at the American Legion Cemetery in Ninilchik.