As a reminder to be safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, Homer artist Julie Tomich painted face masks on the figures of Tom Reed’s mural, “Tribute to Performing Artists,” as seen on July 3 on Pioneer Avenue in Homer. Reed painted the mural in August 1985 on a retaining wall in front of NOMAR (then Proctor’s Grocery), and updated the mural with additional figures in 2008 under a city grant. Using a chalk-based, non-permanent paint, Tomich got permission from the city to add the masks to the mural. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

As a reminder to be safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, Homer artist Julie Tomich painted face masks on the figures of Tom Reed’s mural, “Tribute to Performing Artists,” as seen on July 3 on Pioneer Avenue in Homer. Reed painted the mural in August 1985 on a retaining wall in front of NOMAR (then Proctor’s Grocery), and updated the mural with additional figures in 2008 under a city grant. Using a chalk-based, non-permanent paint, Tomich got permission from the city to add the masks to the mural. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Best Bets

Once again some Lower 48 website has provided the Betster with exciting news about Alaska. In this case, Sixty and Me, an online magazine for seniors, has revealed that Alaska is the least exciting state to retire.

Florida tops the list because it has the most golf courses, free college for seniors and one of the highest percentages of people older than 60, making it “one of the best states to make friends and enjoy a relationship/companionship.” It’s a bad place to start a business or write a novel.

Hah! Alaska scores at the top in those categories — “authors’ average annual salaries are $65,630,” the site notes. Alaska is the last place to live if you want to “play golf, explore plenty of state attractions or mix with people over 60.”

Holy Chip Shot! While golf is cool and all that, how can anyone say we don’t have state attractions? True, we don’t have Disney World, Weeki Wachee or Miami Beach, but our entire state is one ginormous awesome attraction. We live in a land where anywhere you turn you will see mountains, glaciers, oceans and bays amazing enough for 20 lifetimes.

We might not have a ton of gray haired citizens, but the elders the Betster has met don’t play shuffleboard, ya know? They climb mountains, run sled dog races, ski marathons, bike mountainspasses, and oh yeah, write novels. Our seniors are cool because they also hang with people of all ages and don’t sit around in a railer watching soap opera. You want excitement? We have it by the boat load, and you can experience it, maybe with these Best Bets:

BEST RISE UP BET: Get up early at 8 a.m. Saturday for the Naturalist Led Early Morning Bird Walk at the Carl Wynna Nature Center on East Skyline Drive. The birds will be awake and waiting for you. Please be COVI-19 aware and bring your mask and binoculars.

BEST DYE FOR IT BET: As part of the Homer Peony Festival, artist Elissa Pettibone holds a fabric dyeing workshop using local peonies. Natural dyes have been used to produce beautiful colors on fiber for over 6,000 years. There are many incredible colors provided by historic dye plants, but there are even more varieties of color using locally sourced plants.

Learn how to use local, deadheaded peonies to dye a silk scarf. Materials included. The workshop is 1 p.m. Saturday at the Wynne Nature Center, with a $100 fee or $80 for Homer Council on the Arts members.

Visit www.homerart.org or call 907-235-4288 for registration and information.

BEST PINK AND WHITE BETS: Speaking of peonies, this week starts our big Homer Peony Celebration. Start with a stroll down Pioneer Avenue and smell the peonies, and then visit the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center’s website at www.homeralaska.org for all the exciting, COVID-safe events running July 10-25.

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