The great experiment in representative democracy continued this week when new and returning Alaska Legislators were sworn in on Tuesday. Yesterday, the Trumps moved out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and the Bidens moved in. We have a new president, Joseph R. Biden Jr., and a new vice president, Kamala Harris. History was made when Vice President Harris hit a triple: the first woman, the first Black person and the first person of South Asian descent to be vice president.
Biden wore a sensible blue coat, Harris wore purple, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden wore blue and the amazing Amanda Gorman, the coolest poet ever to recite at an inauguration, wore yellow. Sen. Bernie Sanders wore a practical, New England puffy down jacket, which is totally Alaskan. The crowd was thin because of the pandemic but we were all represented by a sea of flags on the Mall.
Oh, and dogs have returned to the White House. Major and Champ are both rescue dogs. Do the First Pets take an oath of office, too? They’re both German shepherds which should make enemies foreign and domestic think twice about sneaking into the Lincoln Bedroom. Grrr.
President Biden spoke of unity, of disagreeing amicably and pulling together to overcome our challenges. Gorman hit the grace notes, though — not bad for a 22-year-old just recently graduated from Harvard. She said:
“The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
If only we’re brave enough to see it,
If only we’re brave enough to be it.”
We’re moving toward the light, Betster persons. The sun broke through the clouds yesterday, temperatures rose above freezing and we gained four more minutes of daylight. In another sign of hope, 715 seniors over 65 got their first COVID-19 vaccine, an amazing roll out of public health get-er-done spirit. Whew. We’ll get through this. To celebrate, how about these best bets:
BEST START CREATING BET: Homer Council on the Arts is exploring wellness through art, and how art can facilitate wellness in us as individuals, families, a community, and across the Southern Kenai Peninsula. The council invites literary, visual and multimedia artists to be part of a new community exhibit, “The Art of Wellness: Stories of trauma, loss, and resilience.” The exhibit will be hung in HCOA’s gallery during March and will also be viewable online. Works in all media (visual art, digital media, literary, performance recording) are encouraged. To submit your work, visit HomerArt.org/Gallery.
BEST GET CONNECTED BET: Project Homeless Connect will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 27 in Homer and Anchor Point. This is the second year the peninsula-wide event has taken place in Homer. This is a chance for those experiencing homelessness or near-homelenessness to get supplies and get connected with medical, food and housing resources. The two locations are the Homer Community Food Pantry at Homer United Methodist Church at 770 E. End Road and the Anchor Point Food Pantry at Greatland Worship Center on School Street in Anchor Point. Kostas Taxi is providing free transportation to and from the event. Call them at 907-399-8008. The Independent Living Center will also provide transportation in the Anchor Point area. Call them at 907-756-3375. Free supplies include emergency gear, backpacks, laundry/shower vouchers, food, sleeping bags, hygiene kits and more. Masks will be required at the event and will be available if needed.
BEST LAST CHANCE BET: The public has until Friday to make comments on the plan that manages the Kachemak Bay State Park and Kachemak Bay State Wilderness Park.The Alaska Department of Natural Resources is accepting comments on an intent-to-adopt version of the management plan through this Friday. A public review draft of the plan was released in 2018. Based on the comments received at that time, DNR made changes and is now presenting the intent-do-adopt version, which can be read here: dnr.alaska.gov/parks/plans/kbay/kbayplan.htm. Submit comments on the plan via email to email@example.com, or fax them to 907-269-8915. Submit comments via mail to Kachemak Bay State Park Planning, 550 West 7th Ave., Suite 1050, Anchorage, AK 99501.