Best Bets

If all goes according to plan and Gov. Mike Dunleavy makes his plane to Homer, he should be dropping in today at about 2:15 p.m. to speak at the Alaska State Homer Building and Kenai Peninsula Builders Associations conference at Land’s End Resort. Dunleavy will talk about national cuts to the building industry and how it impacts our local economy.

We love to see governors visit the end of the road. Over the years the Betster has seen them come and go: Gov. Tony Knowles, Gov. Frank Murkowski, Gov. Sarah Palin, Gov. Sean Parnell and Gov. Bill Walker. Whew! Palin drew quite a crowd when she dropped in to sign a bill former Rep. Paul Seaton sponsored, and that was before she got nominated for vice-president. Parnell also proved popular, but that might have had something to do with holding the governor’s picnic here. You know Homer: If there’s free food involved, we’ll show up.

Big Mike has been taking some hits lately. As per the Betster’s vow to avoid political discourse, we’ll avoid commentary there. However, should the governor want to increase his popularity, see above: Serve free food. It couldn’t hurt. Parnell even worked the serving line, a nice egalitarian gesture.

Given the criticism Dunleavy has faced, he can probably expect a warm Homer welcome, just like Pres. Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of the Interior James Watt got when he visted Juneau back in the 1980s. As the Betster recalls, Watt got a 21-chainsaw salute. We can be polite here in Alaska. When Pres. Jimmy Carter visited back during the whole D-2 lands thing and right after he kinda upset folks with some federal land withdrawals, Gov. Jay Hammond showed some class by taking Carter fishing. We might disagree in politics but sometimes we can find common ground in our love of fish.

Oh, and to the builders in town, welcome to Homer, the do-it-yourself capital of Alaska. One of the rites of passage here is that at some point in your residency you have to at least built a prove-up shack. Is there a woman, man or child in this town who has not swung a hammer and framed a wall? Some people will take out a mortgage and hire a professional to build their house, but not us. We dive in and build up some sweat equity.

This might be why you now and then see a house covered in Tyvek. The running joke is that no one finishes a house until they’re ready to sell. Kenai Peninsula Builders, this is why you might find the lower peninsula a lucrative market. While we’re pretty dang good at starting houses, and maybe even getting to the hanging sheetrock phase, finishing is another matter.

So grab that claw hammer, put on your tool belt, dig out your battered tape measure and start building. Winter is coming and pretty soon it will be wee bit difficult to work outside. Close in that house, that cabin, or that outhouse. And when you’ve put in the final nail, take a break and relax, perhaps with these Best Bets:

BEST ARTISTIC BET: Artist Kim McNett will host a Fireside Nature Drawing Series, starting from 1-5 p.m. today. They are held at the Carl E. Wynn Nature Center. Come sit by the fire in the Daisy Lee Cabin at the Wynn Nature Center with Kim. She teaches to inspire an immersive relationship to the natural world. Her lessons are designed to demystify drawing for all ages by making it fun, accessible, and rewarding in the process. Come for one or for all four sessions. Register online at

BEST BOO BET: Get your spook on at the Chapman School Halloween Carnival on Friday from 6-8 p.m. at the school in Anchor Point. There will be activity booths featuring games like ring toss, darts, putt putt and more. The carnival also features a haunted house, raffle and pie in the face fundraiser.

BEST OCTOBER BET: Fun for kids and adults alike abounds at the Oktoberfest Family Festival, being held from noon to 11 p.m. at the VFW Post 10221 in Anchor Point on Saturday. This is a community event and all are welcome. Food is served from 2-5 p.m., there is a hay ride from 4-5 p.m., kids are welcome until 7 p.m. and adults until 11 p.m. This festival includes a chicken dance contest, keg barrel races, a costume contest, music and food. Bring a canned food item for the Anchor Point Food Pantry.

BEST BRIGHT, SHINY AND NEW BET: Take the opportunity to visit the West Wing Clinic of the Homer Medical Center during an open house of the clinic being held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. Meet and visit with the West Wing midwives and have lunch while touring the clinic. There will be kids activities and a drawing for a car seat (ordered for your child’s size and specific needs), with installation and safety check by our Child Passenger Safety Technician Laura Greet, CNM. You can also choose a free 5-minute professional photo shoot. Maternity, family, newborn or individual.

BEST GET TO WORK BET: Getting excited for the Homer Rope Tow to be open again for the season? Get in on the fun a little early by attending the work party being hosted at 10 a.m. this Sunday at the Rope Tow by the Kachemak Nordic Ski Club. Bring some tools. Email for details.