Story last updated at 2:55 p.m. Thursday, October 10, 2002

Remember all those 15-foot snowdrifts you fought last January? The days when you went to work in darkness, came home in darkness, and if you didn't poke your head outside, never saw the sun? Remember feeling the howling cold, chopping endless cords of wood, and wondering why the heck you stayed in Alaska? This week you got your reward when the Alaska Permanent Fund dividends got deposited. The Betster family will be putting its PFDs into nice stable mutual funds for our retirement - OK, maybe some technotoys - but who could blame Alaskans if we spent some of that bonus on making the coming winter bearable? Now might be the time to go shopping (our advertisers would appreciate it), or go to a concert or two, take a road trip. Who knows? Or, you could tithe a bit of that PFD to the charity or church of your choice and make the winter bearable for the less fortunate.

BEST ONE-TWO-THREE WHAT ARE WE FIGHTING FOR BET: You gotta love America. In few other nations would overseas military adventures even be debated. From President Bush, to the parents and spouses of the men and women who will fight, we're all pondering the wisdom and necessity of going to war in Iraq. Kindness Without Borders is one such group, and it's holding a rally, "Iraq: Inspection not Invasion," 4:30-6:30pm tonight at the corner of Lake Street and Pioneer Avenue.

BEST CH-CH-CHANGES BET: The Greek philospher Heraclitus said, "The world is in flux," and boy howdy, hasn't that been the case for Homer? The Pratt Museum sponsors "Catalysts of Change," a Community Conversation on this issue, 5:30-7 p.m. Friday in the lower level. Deland Anderson facilitates the discussion.

BEST MOVIE STAR FOLK SINGER BET: She comes from a large musical family, she's been writing and singing her own songs since her 20s, she's a film star, and she's coming to Homer. No, not Jewel - Iris DeMent, who performs 8 p.m. Friday at the Mariner Theatre. Tickets are $18 general admission, $20 at the door, or $16 for Homer Council on the Arts members, $18 at door.

BEST BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME BET: Our neighbors to the north open a new library Saturday. Help them celebrate the grand opening of the new Ninilchik Community Library starting at noon with the dedication and refreshments being served until 4 p.m.

BEST GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY BET: The Homer Volunteer Fire Department turns 50 this month and holds an open house 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday to celebrate. Tour the fire hall, meet the volunteers and staff, check out some demonstrations and interactive events, and give our firefighters and EMTs a pat on the back for protecting us for half a century.

BEST POKE IN THE ARM BET: Back at the 1976 World Science Fiction Convention, the science fiction writer Robert Heinlein invited anyone who had ever given blood to a private reception. Donated blood saved his life once, and Heinlein figured any blood donor could be his lifesaver. The Blood Bank of Alaska comes down to South Peninsula Hospital from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday and holds a blood drive. Drink plenty of fluids (but not caffeine) before going in.