Best Bets

Best Bets

There’s a chill in the air, says the Betster. And the ground, and the car, and the corners of the house that can’t seem to be reached by the heating system.

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As short as our Alaskan summer may be, it still seems to be enough to embolden us and lull us into a pattern of traveling at speeds an ornery moose would surely love to take advantage of in the dead of winter’s night (or, you know, 3:30 p.m. in January).

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The Betster has an announcement this week of utmost importance — it’s here. Our most beloved National Coffee Day is finally here on Friday.

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For those keeping track, the signs that summer might be ending continue. Kids back in school? Check? Most of the Homer Spit businesses boarded up? Check? Fireweed turning crimson. Check? Last cruise ship of the season. Check? Burning basket burned. Check? Sandhill cranes left? Check.

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Even though the Betster toils in the word mines here at the Homer News and has a modest understanding of the news business, apparently journos do things a bit differently Outside. The ways of travel writers are strange, Grasshopper. Inside of six weeks Homer has appeared in two publications.

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The Betster wonders how many other Homerites were kept awake the other night by the gale force winds that ripped through town at all hours of the night. PeEking out the window around 1 a.m., one might have thought the alders were fixing to uproot and hightail it out of here.

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As we all know, Homer along with the rest of the country was recently subject to a solar eclipse.

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As idyllic as our little corner of the world can be, sometimes one finds oneself in need of a vacation. Maybe we find ourselves in a rut creatively, maybe our job has been weighing on us, or maybe we just really need a change of scenery — though the Betster fails to see what scene could be more perfect and picturesque than the mountains looming across Kachemak Bay.

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The other day the Betster dared to attempt a left turn on Ocean Drive at mid-day. Holy Gridlock! What happened to our sleepy little town where if you have to wait 10 seconds to turn onto the Sterling Highway from West Hill Road, impatient bush rats start pounding their steering wheels?

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Alaska has sure seen its fair share of celebrities of late. Former President Barack Obama graced the state with a visit to highlight global climate change, Mark Zuckerberg hung out in Halibut Cove, and most recently the almighty Oprah Winfrey detailed every moment of her Alaskaventure in the Southeast via excited social media posts.

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At the Battle of Little Round Top on July 2, 1863, at Gettysburg, Pa., as Union troops rallied to hold the strategic hill, U.S. Army Col. Strong Vincent, commander of the 3rd Brigade, gave his orders to Col. Joshua Chamberlain, leader of the 20th Maine Regiment: “This is the left of the Union line. You are to hold this ground at all costs!” Chamberlain stood fast, though the legend has it he said to himself, “Hold the line? How the heck do I do that?” At one point he mounted a list-ditch bayonet attack at the 15th and 47th Alabama of the Confederate Army, routing the Rebels. The 20th Maine kept Little Round Top, and the Union won the bloody battle of Gettysburg.

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Once again we get the great gift of a day off in the middle of the week, thanks to the Fourth of July falling on a Tuesday. If you’re a foreign visitor who happens to be in town next week, welcome to the quintessential American holiday. Like Bastille Day in France or May 17 in Norway, it’s a day we celebrate our roots as a nation.

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Yo, visitors from far-off lands. If you want to see moose in Homer, here’s a hot tip from the Betster: stay up late. Recently what with city meetings and stuff, yours truly has been working past sunset. That’s an Alaska summer solstice sunset, too, at 11:30 p.m., not a wimpy tropical day ending at 6 p.m.

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The other day the Betster stood in line at the liquor store between some nice guys from Yukon Territory, Canada, and a couple with British accents. While cruising the Spit on a photo safari recently, yours truly spotted a slick little 4-wheel-drive motorhome from France. Yep: it’s that time of year when we’ll see not only tourists from the Lower 49, but travelers from foreign countries.

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Here on Kachemak Bay, we’re hip to the concept that tides can change quickly and rise dramatically. Mariners know not to push certain channels, and beach walkers keep an eye on the time so as to not get forced into the bluffs while walking from Diamond Creek to Bishop’s Beach.

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As regular readers of our Cops and Courts section know, the pace of police activity changes come summer. In winter Homer’s finest deal with the usual small town despair: driving under the influence, disorderly conduct, domestic violence assault and drug possession. As soon as the sun starts shining and the snow melts, things can get a bit, uh, odd.

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Batten down the hatches, Betsteroids. Get out the barbecue grills. Go find the garden tools. If you haven’t noticed, we’re coming up on the last Monday of May — Memorial Day, the traditional start of the tourist season, the weekend when the rest of Alaska seems to invade Homer, the day when finally all the tourist shops open up —

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