A cow moose and calf stand by spruce trees on Tuesday, March 23, 2021, near the Homer News in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

A cow moose and calf stand by spruce trees on Tuesday, March 23, 2021, near the Homer News in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Best Bets

Last week the Betster got so busy yammering away about Salty Dawg hoodies that yours truly totally forgot about the biggest news of the week.

Welcome to spring.

That’s right, Betster persons, last Saturday, we slipped from winter into spring. How could we have not noticed? Could it have been that even in town snow covers our lawns? Could it be that last week we had a low temperature of 2 degrees F? Could it be that all the signs of spring we expect and celebrate have been buried under all that snow — and not to mention the horrible gloom of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Times like these try the souls of even the most cheerful Pollyanna. Through lockdowns, school closures, meetings held on Zoom, and friends and family getting sick and sadly dying, it’s been a rough year. So when the arbitrary date on a calendar says it’s spring, Alaskans have to be extra observant to notice signs of hope.

Take the pandemic. We’re not through it yet, though some might have COVID-19 fatigue and like a bunch of rowdy college students on spring break in Florida, try to deny that a nasty little coronavirus still lurks among us.

Still, every day we see signs of hope. The Betster’s social media feed features dozens of selfies from friends celebrating that they got The Shot. The more people who get vaccinated, the harder it will be for the coronavirus to hurt us.

New cases also are on the decline, at least on the southern Kenai Peninsula. Whatever we’re doing here, we’re doing it right. As the cliche goes, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s not a speeding train ready to flatten us.

Signs of spring this year require some scrutiny. First, there’s the growing daylight, now up to almost 12 and a half hours. We’re over the hump. That also means the sun rises higher and higher each day, brining not just more light, but warmer rays. Streets are drying up. Grass at the edge of buildings starts to emerge. Even up in the hills, the Betster noticed that elderberry and alder bushes have buds. Look to the tips of twigs and see how they have turned red, almost ready to burst into green.

We’re in the slow attrition toward brightness and color. Winter is losing her grasp on the northern hemisphere. Though trying to make a final stand, winter cannot prevail. Warmth will return. Light will return. We will emerge from our cover of thick white and into … well, mud. But then green.

Persevere, Betster people. You’ve got this. Celebrate with these best bets:

BEST BENEFIT BET: There’s no better way to embody being part of a community than by showing up for those in need. Join the Kelly Scott Benefit at 5 p.m. this Saturday at the Anchor Point VFW Post 10221. This is a potluck benefit fundraiser that includes a live auction, silent auction and dessert auction to help raise money for Kelly Scott who is battling stage four lung cancer. If you have an item you wish to donate to the auction, please call Heidi Adams at 399-6025. Doors open for items to be viewed at 5 p.m. and the auctions will begin after 6 p.m.

BEST LEGISLATIVE BET: Rep. Sarah Vance (R-Homer) will host a Sip with Sarah event at 5 p.m. Monday, March 29 at Captain’s Coffee. Get the skinny on what’s happening in Juneau and share your ideas and suggestions with out local legislator. Join Vance for a town hall meeting over a cup of coffee, which will be provided. For more information, contact Legislative Aide Greg Knight at 907-465-2689.

BEST SNOW IT GOES BET: Even thought the daylight hours are getting longer, there’s still plenty of snow left up in the hills. If you haven’t ventured beyond the Homer bench, check out Wynn-ter Fun Days from 1-3 p.m. Sunday at the Carl Wynn Nature Center on East Skyline Drive. Check out some of the fun things there are to do outside this month. It’s family friendly fun for all sponsored by the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies.

Plenty of snowshoes are on hand to check out for a hike or for an extended time. The Wynn has two firepits going to keep you warm and safely distanced, and s’more kits for a tasty treat. Self guided or naturalist led hikes and activities with a new theme are held each week.

BEST GET READY BET: Fishing season will be here soon, so now’s the time to renew your training for working on boats. The Alaska Marine Safety Education Association (AMSEA) will offer a Fishing Vessel Drill Conductor class in Homer from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, March 27, at the Best Western Bidarka Inn, 575 Sterling Highway. The cost for the class is $125 for commercial fishermen and $175 for all others. Interested mariners may register online at www.amsea.org or call 907-747-3287.

Instructor Rob Hulse will cover cold-water survival skills; EPIRBs, signal flares, and mayday calls; man-overboard recovery; firefighting; flooding and damage control; dewatering pumps, immersion suits and PFDs; helicopter rescue, life rafts, and abandon ship procedures; emergency drills; and an in-the-water practice session. AMSEA’s Fishing Vessel Drill Conductor workshops meet the U.S. Coast Guard training requirements for drill conductors on commercial fishing vessels, 46 CFR 28.270 (c).

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