A bald eagle perches in a spruce tree near the Lake Street stoplight on Thursday, March 11, 2021, in Homer, Alaska. Since 2010, a pair of bald eagles has nested in the area near Beluga Slough south of the Lake Street and Sterling Highway intersection. The first nest was destroyed when the tree fell down in a winter storm in 2011. In 2012 the eagles built a new nest across from the Homer Post Office by the motorhome dump station. In 2014 they built another nest in a new tree closer to the slough. This year’s eagles have returned to a nest built in 2016 just east of the 2014-2015 nest.

A bald eagle perches in a spruce tree near the Lake Street stoplight on Thursday, March 11, 2021, in Homer, Alaska. Since 2010, a pair of bald eagles has nested in the area near Beluga Slough south of the Lake Street and Sterling Highway intersection. The first nest was destroyed when the tree fell down in a winter storm in 2011. In 2012 the eagles built a new nest across from the Homer Post Office by the motorhome dump station. In 2014 they built another nest in a new tree closer to the slough. This year’s eagles have returned to a nest built in 2016 just east of the 2014-2015 nest.

Best Bets

Social media is all aflutter with the news that an Alaska man the FBI arrested on charges that he participated in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot was photographed wearing a Salty Dawg Saloon sweatshirt that day in Washington, D.C. Homerites are aghast about the association with the Dawg and Homer.

“A vile desecration,” one Twitter user wrote.

It goes without saying here that the suspect remains innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, so we should reserve judgment on the possible misuse of a sacred Homer icon. Citizen wearing a Dawg hoody while exercising his First Amendment right to free speech? Good. Insurgent wearing a Dawg hoody while attempting to disrupt the lawful process of the U.S. Congress? Well, if so, you have to admit it’s a better fashion choice than a shirt with a big Q or going bare chested while wearing cattle horns and face paint.

For decades the Salty Dawg hoody has been on the top-10 list of Homer souvenirs to take home. If Alaska imposed a $1 fee for snapping a photo outside the Dawg, we probably could solve our fiscal crisis. It’s the photo that will pop up in Google images searches of “Homer, Alaska.” Just like the Eifel Tower, the Statue of Liberty and the Taj Mahal, the Salty Dawg has become an icon of our town.

You can’t control how that icon gets used. You can’t control who buys and wears a Salty Dawg hoody. Why should we be surprised that someone who enjoyed our amazing town showed his love by wearing a Dawg hoody on a trip to the Lower 48? People do that all the time. It’s how we notice other Alaskans at remote airports.

It’s how we strike up a conversation with some stranger sipping wine at a little cafe on the Boulevard St. Germain in Paris. “Pardon,” you might say in bad French to that cute woman in a lime-green Dawg hood. “Q’est que vous journee au Homer, mais non?”

So celebrate this town in fashion and fun, perhaps with these Best Bets:

BEST SCIENCE BET: You still have time to catch the last day of this year’s Kachemak Bay Science Conference, which was held virtually this week. Check out the conference website kachemakbayscience.org to see what events, presentations and talks are happening throughout the day Thursday. You can also participate in the Community Conversation from 6-7 p.m., hosted by the Pratt Museum and Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies. During this conversation that’s open to the public, you can share insights, questions and curiosities based on the conference or the science happenings of Kachemak Bay. Register online at the conference website for free.

BEST MARCH ON BET: Don’t miss this month’s exhibit at the Homer Council on the Arts. “ The Art of Wellness: Stories of trauma, loss, and resilience.” The gallery is open 1-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Homer Council on the Arts has teamed up with South Peninsula Behavioral Health Services to explore wellness through art, and how art can facilitate wellness in us as individuals, families, a community, and across the Southern Kenai Peninsula.

The exhibit is on view in the gallery through March 29. Covid precautions are in place- gallery occupancy is limited to 10 visitors at a time and masks are required.

Proceeds from artwork sales will benefit the Independent Living Center TRAILS program.

BEST OH MY IS THERE SNOW BET: Up on Olhson Mountain, there’s so much danged snow we’ll be skiing until May. There’s so much snow that people have not only broken old shovels, but the new shovels to replace them. There’s so much snow decks have become overrun and snowpack on roofs have slid so deep the side walls have been buried.

There’s so much snow the path out the to outhouse has turned into a tunnel. There’s so much snow it impresses even old timers who remember that winter back in the last century where anything shorter than 5 feet disappeared until August and the snow melted.

There’s so much snow that, well, the Homer Rope Tow holds at Banked Slalom event. Check out the slopes from noon-4 p.m. Sunday at the Homer Rope Tow on Ohlson Mountain Road. The banked slalom event is a competition for all skiers and boarders ages 13 and older.

There will be a $10 entry fee (no change given). Proceeds go to the rope tow. Sign up can be done at the base of the rope tow during open hours before March 21 or online by emailing homerbankedslalom@gmail.com. Masks and social distancing enforced. Expect a fun day of camaraderie and competition.

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