Every now and then some data cruncher compiles chunks of information and spits out lists like “Top 10 Places in America to Get a Really Good Beer on a Saturday Night.” This week we got the annual HomeSnacks Best Places to Live in Alaska. Woot! Homer made the top 10, though it dropped from fourth place in 2018.
“These are the cream of the crop when it comes to places to live in the Last Frontier,” the press release says. “To the untrained eye they are the places that have awesome economies. They’re the places in the Last Frontier where people have the best jobs, residents are all above average and the sun shines the most.” And guess which town is No. 1? That’s right — sunny Unalaska, also known as Dutch Harbor.
To come up with its list, HomeSnacks looked at median home values, median incomes, population density (“higher better”), unemployment rate, commute time, crime, education levels, health insurance coverage and poverty rates. Unalaska rated high because of its quality schools, low unemployment rate and high median income.
Other cities that ranked higher than Homer are Cordova, Sitka, Valdez, Juneau and Seward. Uh-huh. We ranked higher than Dillingham, North Pole and Soldotna. Whew!
Holy socioeconomics, Betsteroids! Yeah, facts like median income ($59,185), median house value ($270,000), median rent ($1,026), unemployed (5.9 percent) and poverty rate (8.9 percent) matter, but how do you rank a town’s grooviness? How do you rank our vibe? How do you rank the incredibly talented and cool kids we have, our cute dogs, our sweet cats and our love for vintage Subarus and Toyota pickup trucks?
No one asks these questions. No one considers that in mid-January you can actually see the sun most of the day because it doesn’t hide behind a big ol’ mountain. Yes, we’re talking to you, Seward. No one considers that we have the best, hands down, most awesomest view ever for a small town in Alaska.
So never mind the data miners. We know that we are totes amazing. We know that when it comes to small town living, great restaurants, neat people and beautiful beaches, you won’t find a better place to live than Homer.
Pop the champagne corks and raise a cheer, because you know what makes Homer a really fun town? Things to do like these Best Bets:
BEST GO BIG BET: Uh, how many Big Reads have other cities in Alaska done? We start our fifth Big Read on Friday with the kick-off celebration starting at 7 p.m. at Alice’s Champagne Palace. This time it’s the quirky and poignant “Can We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” by Roz Chast. Pick up copies to borrow, check out the way cool skits and stick around for music by Burnt Down House.
BEST MORE BIGGLY BETS: Chast’s book looks at caring for aging parents and dying. Learn about some of those issues from the legal side when attorney Lindsay Wolter presents “Estate Planning 101” at noon Wednesday at the Homer Public Library. For more Big Read events, see the story on page 12.
BEST WAVY BET: The Betster figured out that drag racing isn’t about men in women’s clothes driving fast cars, but was surprised to find out that curling has nothing to do with beauty salons — at least the curling that goes on at the Kevin Bell Ice Arena. This is the sport where people slide rocks at other rocks and do something with brooms. If you’ve never tried curling, learn from the best with Learn to Curl at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Kevin Bell Ice Arena. Two-time Olympian curler Jessica Schultz teaches the basics. A $25 fee supports the arena.
BEST HEARTBREAKER BET: You have to love the 1980s with big hair, big shoulders and incredible music (not including disco). If you’re hankering for some of the classics, look no further than Tom Petty. A group of Alaska’s best musicians gather every year to do a tribute show to Petty. Catch it at 9 p.m. Saturday at Alice’s Champagne Palace. Tickets sell out fast, so go online to eventbrite.com ASAP.
BEST BROWN BAG AND BEEF BET: Got a complaint? Want to share some concerns with the Homer City Council, but don’t want to stay up late Monday night? Meet a council member at noon Monday at the Homer Public Library for the monthly event. Bring a snack and learn about city government. This week’s council member is Donna Aderhold.