A trumpeter swan feeds in Beluga Slough on Monday, April 12, 2021, in Homer, Alaska. According to local birders, both tundra and trumpeter swans have been seen in the area the past week. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

A trumpeter swan feeds in Beluga Slough on Monday, April 12, 2021, in Homer, Alaska. According to local birders, both tundra and trumpeter swans have been seen in the area the past week. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Best Bets

Congratulations, citizen! You have diligently fulfilled your duties as a tax-paying, law-abiding resident of the United States of America and Alaska. Today you no doubt have completed your Internal Revenue Service tax return. Doesn’t it make you feel virtuous that you are doing your part to keep the finely tuned wheels of the U.S. government moving smoothly, ready to provide for the defense of our great nation and the general welfare of its people?

And hey, the Betster also is pretty darn sure you’re also so organized that you have swapped out your studded tires, just in time for April 15. Way to go! You will not be driving around click-clacking your tires on our well maintained roads.

Wait — you didn’t? You’ve been in a pandemic fog these past 15 months, barely able to roll out of bed, slap on your face mask and confront the world? What’s the matter, punk? Snap out of it! We have governments to fund and duties to follow.

Well, OK. It’s been a pretty crummy time. Fortunately, the IRS feels your pain and has extended the tax filing deadline to May 17. And Public Safety Commissioner James E. Cockrell has moved the studded tire deadline to May 1 for those driving cars south of Latitude 60 degrees north and to May 15 for those north of Latitude 60 degrees north. If you pay attention driving up to Anchor Point, that’s about halfway between Homer and Anchor Point. The deadline also is for May 15 for those driving on the Sterling Highway south of Latitude 60 degrees north. Confused? Of course.

Here’s a question the Betster has for the smarty pants geniuses in the Alaska Legislature who wrote the studded tire law. When you wrote that thing about the Latitude 60 degrees north line, why the heck didn’t you say “except for the southern end of the Kenai Peninsula, including Homer and the surrounding area?” Did anyone stop and think, Huh, there’s just this little hunk of land south of latitude 60 degrees north on the Kenai Peninsula that for consistency’s sake we should just include in the May 15 deadline? No. Every year we have to do this little studded tire extension dance.

And how about all those people who have run for legislator on the southern Kenai Peninsula. Did anyone of you ever think of running on the platform of “And first of all I am going to change that stupid little studded tire law?” Fix the law and you could be the next Clem Tillion.

But if you want to get right down to it, how much more damage are studded tires going to do to East Hill Road, West Hil Road and Kachemak Drive? Those all look like a B-52 assault on the Ho Chi Minh Trail back during the Vietnam War. The state was going to have a contest to name the potholes after distinguished citizens of the area, but there are only 15,000 of us and pretty soon they’d run out of names.

So buck up, Betster persons. Maybe everyone will get vaccinated and we’ll send this novel coronavirus packing, and we can go back to a normal life full of fun like these best bets:

BEST FISH ON! BET: The Homer Winter King Salmon went on hiatus last year because of the pandemic, but thanks to lower case numbers and more vaccination, it’s back a bit later in the season. The tournament starts Saturday with lines in at 9 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. with lines out. Check out the weigh-in starting around 6 p.m. at the Deep Water Dock bus turnout on the Homer Spit.

BEST STEP UP BET: Sign up for the annual Homer Steps Up! from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center. The annual free community wide steps challenge runs from May 1 – 28. Everyone in the local area can participate for prizes, bragging rights and good fitness. Online registration also starts Saturday. For details, visit homerstepsup.com or call 235-0970 or email wellness@sphosp.org for questions or more information.

A pair of trumpeter swans feed in Beluga Slough on Monday, April 12, 2021, in Homer, Alaska. According to local birders, both tundra and trumpeter swans have been seen in the area the past week. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

A pair of trumpeter swans feed in Beluga Slough on Monday, April 12, 2021, in Homer, Alaska. According to local birders, both tundra and trumpeter swans have been seen in the area the past week. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

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