A large flock of rock sandpipers flies over the Mud Bay side of the Homer Spit on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

A large flock of rock sandpipers flies over the Mud Bay side of the Homer Spit on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Best Bets

For about a week there the year 2021 looked like it might show some promise. We had an awesome fireworks display on the Spit, and at a time of the year when there’s actual darkness in Alaska to enjoy them. The holidays went well. We spent some socially distant, COVID-19 safe time with family and friends. A warm Chinook didn’t come in and melt away the snow — well, at least up on the higher elevations.

Health care workers and elders posted photos of sleeves rolled up and arms getting poked with the COVID-19 vaccine. By last week, some had even gotten the last shot. In Alaska went through the Phase 1a tiers so fast the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services opened up the next phase, with seniors age 65 and old at the top of the list. Our most vulnerable could see some hope, with more hope to come for the rest of us.

And then Jan. 6 happened. The Betster is going to tippy-toe around the political implications of that. Let’s just say last Wednesday was like when you were a teenager and your parents left town and you decided to have a little party with some friends from church youth group. Word got out and the next thing you know that rough crowd with the tattoos showed up and by the end there were cigarette burns in the carpet and the mohair couch had collapsed under the weight of a guy in facepaint jumping up and down.

This week in Washington, D.C., is the equivalent of the parents coming home, except that people died, including a cop. Jan. 6 will be one of those historic moments where we hope we can turn away from the abyss. Representative democracy has always been challenging. Sometimes people raise their voices and get angry. It shouldn’t be bloody.

Let’s hope we can get through this. Let’s hope we can have a peaceful transition to a new president. Let’s hope that here in Homer at least we remember we’re friends and neighbors and not enemies. Gather together and be kind, perhaps with these best bets:

BEST CHANGES BET: The Arctic National Wildlife REfuge has been in the news lately with recent oil lease sales on the coastal plain. Want to learn more about the area? Join the Friends of the Alaska Wildlife Refuges for their January Meet-Up from 5-6 p.m. Tuesday held via Zoom or by phone. Explorer Roger Kaye presents “Arctic Refuge, A Symbol for a Time of Global Change.” Kaye has done it all — worked the Slope, spent a winter on a trapline, flew his own float and ski planes, hunted, hiked, explored all over Alaska, wrote a book on the Arctic and earned a doctorate at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He has spent much of his 41-year career with the U.S Fish & Wildlife Service experiencing, thinking about and advocating for true wilderness, particularly of the Arctic Refuge.

Please join the Friends online or by phone for the monthly meet-up with Kaye of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge .

For more information and how to connect, visit the Friends’ webpage at https://alaskarefugefriends.org/category/meetings/ for the zoom link or instructions for joining by phone.

BEST GET CREATIVE BET: The Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is hosting its 3rd annual beer label design contest. Design a beer label for the Grace Ridge Brewing ‘64 Afterbock beer and have your art displayed on each bottle. The theme this year is resiliency. The deadline for submission is this Friday. Submit all artwork to Dana Nelson by email, ddnelson4@alaska.edu, or by mail, 2181 Kachemak Drive Homer AK 99603. The winning artist will be announced at 6 p.m. on Feb. 5, with all submissions on display at Grace Ridge Brewing and showcased virtually following CDC guidelines. Contact Nelson for more information.

BEST GET INVOLVED BET: Kachemak Bay Conservation Society and Friends of Kachemak Bay State Park are co-hosting an information session at 6:30 p.m. this Friday to help people prepare comments for the intent-to-adopt version of the Kachemak Bay State Park and State Wilderness Park Management Plan. The meeting will be held via Zoom. Join Zoom Meeting at: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81991751427?pwd=NldXQTBmZExlZTNyTHJaMWZTdFhMQT09

Meeting ID: 819 9175 1427

Passcode: 948849

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