Story last updated at 12:35 p.m. Thursday, September 19, 2002

Homer's best bets
Scraping the season's first ice from my windshield one morning this week, and looking around in the evaporating darkness at the frost sprinkled like sugar on the grass and weeds of my yard, it occurred to me that I can no longer delude myself. Along the highway and in the hills that texture Homer, leaves are alight with color, fireweed is a rosy memory, and last week the first termination dust was spotted in the mountains across the bay. The dogs of summer are long in the teeth. Next week marks the first day of autumn. Time to start bucking up firewood, putting away the pink flamingos and lawn jockeys and otherwise start preparing the homestead for the encroaching winter. With all that work ahead, it's important to find time to relax and unwind, and the next few days in Homer will provide ample opportunity. If you don't believe me, just check out these best bets.

BEST MEET YOUR DEITY BET: In a town with more churches than bars, Homer spiritual seekers never lack for choices. Some special events this weekend offer a sampling of that variety. Women seeking fellowship among their sisters in the faith can hear Women's Aglow area president Nancy Haney speak 7-9 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.-noon Saturday at Christian Community Church on Bartlett Street. Fans of that old time religion can listen to the lifelong wisdom of "90-years-young" Pastor Perry Gotham of Grand Prairie, Texas, as he preaches on "The Fundamentals of the Christian Faith" at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. at the East Homer Church of Christ, 2879 Little Fireweed Lane. Over at the Kachemak Community Center, Nancy Levinson talks about "The Joy of Rest" 12:30 p.m. at the meeting of the Unitarian/Universalists.

BEST GET A GROOVE BET: If you saw the Alma Andina Band at the Alaska State Fair, you'll likely take advantage of this opportunity to see them again; if you missed them, now's your chance. The acoustic band plays traditional, folkloric and contemporary music from South America, using hand-crafted wind, string and percussion instruments. Highly danceable tunes notwithstanding, the instruments alone are reason to see the band. Among them are pan pipes, cha-chas and something called a Qijada, a percussion instrument made from a horse's jawbone. Though largely instrumental, the songs played by the Alma Andina Band on occasion include lyrics sung in Spanish, Quechua, Queechua and Aymara, dialects from each of the regions where the music originates. The show begins at 10 p.m. Saturday at Alice's Champagne Palace. Admission is $3.

BEST EAT FOR A GOOD CAUSE BET: The Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies holds a kick-off volunteer gathering and dessert potluck for the 18th annual Coastweeks at 7 p.m. at the center on Smokey Bay Way and Lake Street. Sign up to walk, monitor and clean up a stretch of beach. Tom Rothe of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game presents "Sea Ducks of Kachemak Bay and Beyond" at the gathering.

BEST LOCAL BOOKIE BET: The Friends of the Homer Public Library holds its annual fall book and plant sale 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday at the library. Donations of books and plants can be dropped off at the library today and tomorrow from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Proceeds benefit the library. Call 235-3180 for more information.

BEST CHEAP SALSA IN TOWN BET: Warm your soul as the nights cool down at The Studio on Bunnell Avenue, which will play host to a Salsa dance class Saturday beginning at 8 p.m. taught by Miranda. The cost is $5. You need clean shoes. You don't need a partner. For more information, call 235-0124.

BEST MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR BET: The second season of KBBI's "Conversations with Jaylee Nash" kicks off tonight at 7 p.m. on AM 890. The show, which focuses on people in and around the Homer community, offers listeners an opportunity to get an up-close "look" at area residents. This week, Nash chats with Anne Wieland, a classical music DJ and advocate of "voluntary simplicity." The show will be rebroadcast at 9 p.m. Sunday.