The awesome weather we’ve been having this past week has done wonders to ease a lot of the anxiety and stress of the past winter. Overwhelmed by deep snow? A wee bit frazzled by 16 months of masking up, social distancing and lying low during the COVID-19 pandemic? Worried about bills and how you’re going to get through the next year?
Yep. You most definitely are not alone. We’ve learned a lot about perseverance, resilience and resourcefulness in 2020 and 2021. While some things have divided us, think about how we’ve come together. We rallied as a community to learn about the pandemic. We sewed face masks. We relearned those health skills from kindergarten — wash your hands and cover your cough. A lot of us worked from home, alone and distant from friends. We had to become teachers to kids doing distant learning.
Some got sick, some were hospitalized, and some still suffer from the long-term effects of COVID-19. Some lost family and friends. On top of that we had a winter that tested us.
In a way, the pandemic has taught us what service members have experienced in war. Most of us have been spared the challenges of combat. Through this crisis, we’ve learned the lessons our brothers and sisters in uniform know: stay strong, be careful, take care of your friends, heal if you’re wounded and grieve for those we’ve lost.
Memorial Day honors those lost to battle over generations of war. On Monday take a moment to think of those who gave all to keep our country free. In that spirit, maybe also think of the hundreds of thousands lost to COVID-19 in America and the millions lost worldwide.
We’ll take the long weekend to start the summer, to plant gardens, to visit with family and friends, to enjoy nature and our glorious wilderness. Hardship helps us better understand the joy of life, so what better way to honor this weekend than with these best bets?
BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK BET: Looking to get vaccinated and wanting to earn $40 in Homer Bucks? The South Peninsula Hospital and the City of Homer are hosting a pop-up vaccination clinic today from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on the Spit, and everyone who receives a dose at the clinic will automatically receive $40 Homer Bucks, which can be spent like cash at more than 75 businesses in Homer.
Already vaccinated but still want a chance to earn a reward? Visit the pop-up clinic to enter your name into a drawing for the chance to win a $100-$500 gift card! This incentive program will be offered every Thursday through June. Visit the clinic at Boat House Pavilion near Ramp 2 to get vaccinated or to receive more information.
BEST ROCK STAR BET: Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink has become something of a celebrity during the COVID-19 pandemic, with stories about her on National Public Radio, the New York Times and other national media. She’s been touring Alaska this month as part of the Sleeves Up for Summer effort to get more people vaccinated against COVID-19. Today from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the Homer Public Health Center on Bunnell she joins others who have been working in the trenches to stop the pandemic at a meet-and-greet. Stop by, learn about how the pandemic threat is being reduced and give a thank-you to all the people who done their best to keep Alaska safe.
BEST MEMORIAL BET: The American Legion Posts 16 and 19 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Anchor Point post will host three Memorial Day services in honor of the men and women who lost their lives in military service to the United States of America. The ceremonies will be held at Hickerson Memorial Cemetery in Homer at 10 a.m.; Anchor Point Cemetery at noon; and Ninilchik Cemetery at 2 p.m. The public is invited to attend the ceremonies and remember the fallen heroes of this country.
BEST FISHING BET: Wanting to catch some kings this Memorial Day weekend? The Betster has the scoop for you! The Anchor River, Deep Creek and the Ninilchik River will open to sport fishing on Saturday, May 29 through Monday, May 31. The kings have started to return to these streams in low numbers, and fishing conditions should be fair this week. For those interesting in fishing in Homer, fish are beginning to return to the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon. Other options include fishing off of Homer Spit for walleye pollock, Pacific cod, Dolly Varden, a variety of flatfish and even a wandering salmon or two.
BEST COMMUNITY BUILDING BET: “Familiar Faces: Portraits of Community” is on exhibit at the Pratt Museum through May 29 and features and up-close observation of community members and their stories. During an era of social distancing, this exhibit provides visitors the opportunity to “meet” the people of Homer throughout history through portraits and photo memorabilia. The Pratt Museum is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.