Best Bets

The nights grow colder and the days grow shorter, and we’re all looking forward to the holiday season. Winter’s steady approach also means the incoming arrival of cold and flu season — not to worry, there are plenty of health classes and events on the calendar to give you tips on staying well! In addition, check out who’s running food drives for your local food pantry in advance of Thanksgiving, or get some hands-on experience in learning to preserve food safely! For details, take a look at these Best Bets.

BEST LIVE HEALTH TALK BET: Join South Peninsula Hospital on Thursday, Nov. 9 at 5 p.m. for a monthly “Down with Downey: Live at Five” talk on COVID-19 and Long-COVID. Explore practical tips and strategies to safeguard yourself from COVID-19 and learn how to minimize the risk of developing long COVID. Stay informed and empowered about your health and well-being. Dr. Rob Downey, MD is an IFM-certified practitioner at Seaworthy Functional Medicine Clinic. “Down with Downey” is a monthly series held on Facebook Live where participants can hear Dr. Downey’s insights on health, wellness and functional medicine, followed by a live Q&A. For more information, 907-435-3070 or

BEST THRIVING HEALTH BET: Join SVT Thrive! Health and Wellness Coach Jenifer Dickson for another presentation on the traditional Japanese art form of kintsugi on Thursday, Nov. 9 from 6-7:30 p.m. in the Wellness Wing. Narrative and art therapist Kristin Pedemonte will join by Zoom to give a specific focus on redefining chronic illness. Everyone is welcome to take part in this informative series and learn to redefine “gold” and what we might see as we put pieces back together in new ways. Join in person or by Zoom. For more information, visit 880 East End Rd.

BEST FOOD DRIVE BET: Alice’s Champagne Palace is hosting a Thankful Market and their third annual food drive, collecting shelf-stable holiday food for the Homer Food Pantry, on Saturday, Nov. 11 from noon to 4 p.m. Suggested donations include boxed or canned stuffing, cranberry sauce, baking supplies, fried onions, cream of mushroom soup, olives, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and green beans. There will also be an arts and crafts fair at the event! Sip and shop for a good cause. 195 E Pioneer Ave.

BEST FOOD PRESERVATION BET: Learn to preserve meat and vegetables in jars safely during a one-day class hosted by the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service at the Classic Cook Kitchen. On Sunday, Nov. 12 from 1-5 p.m., UAFCES health, home and family development agent Julie Cascio will teach participants how to heat-process low-acid food in jars, use and care for a pressure canner, prepare meat, fish and vegetables to place in jars, and make stock and soup. Participants in this hands-on class also will learn to determine if the canned product is correctly processed and sealed, as well as how to store canned food. If time allows, Cascio will discuss general tips for freezing foods. There is a $25 fee to participate in this class, and registration much be completed by Friday, Nov. 10 at 3 p.m. Register at and bring an apron to wear. For more information, contact Julie Stricker at 907-474-5406 or 378 East Pioneer Ave.

BEST TRAILS INFORMATION BET: Homer Soil and Water invites you to an informal evening of information sharing about recent trails activities on the South Kenai Peninsula. Zoom in or drop by Kachemak Bay Campus on Tuesday, Nov. 14 from 6-8 p.m. for a series of informal 10-minute presentations from groups and organizations working on local trails. For more information or for a list of presenters and topics, email 533 E Pioneer Ave.

BEST WEEKLY WELLNESS BET: Join South Peninsula Hospital for a free weekly gathering on Wednesdays from 5-7 p.m. at Kachemak Bay Campus! Part of SPH’s Wellness Wednesdays series, participants can enjoy tasty food and a dose of health education from a rotating presenter, followed by an hour of yoga. On Nov. 15, SPH’s infection prevention nurse, Anna Lewald, will provide essential health education tips on protecting yourself and your loved ones against the flu. Stick around for a Q&A session and receive a free flu shot. Community members of all ages and abilities are welcome at SPH’s Wellness Wednesday events. Come for a part of it or all of it! For more information, call 907-235-0285 or email 533 E Pioneer Ave.

BEST KNOW YOUR NUMBERS BET: South Peninsula Hospital will host a free community event on Thursday, Nov. 16 from 6-7:30 p.m. in the SPH Conference Rooms 1 and 2. Join endocrinologist Michael Hennigan, MD for information on understanding your lab test results. Hennigan is board certified in internal medicine. Participants are welcome to bring their Rotary Health Fair lab test results and questions. If you have not picked up your results yet, they will be available at this community event. Please bring a photo ID to receive your lab test results. This event is open to all; snacks, coffee and tea will be provided. For more information, call 907-235-0285 or email 4300 Bartlett St., lower level Bartlett Street entrance.

BEST SISTER CITY ART BET: Attention Homer artists! The Consular Office of Japan in Anchorage, in an effort to support the activities of local citizens and cultural groups, is holding the “Japan-Alaska Sister Cities Town Pride Festa,” where a wide range of original “town pride” works from the sister cities can be submitted. The theme is “Works by citizens and organizations of the Japan-Alaska, that emphasize ‘town pride’ and introduce shopping streets, tourist attractions, traditional arts, culture, etc. of the town they live in,” and there are no restrictions on the medium of the work. The application period is open until Jan. 19, 2024. For more information or to submit your work, visit

The cold weather on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023 doesn’t deter cars from going through the drive-through for ice cream and other treats at the AK Sugar Shack on Pioneer Avenue in Homer, Alaska. (Delcenia Cosman/Homer News)

The cold weather on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023 doesn’t deter cars from going through the drive-through for ice cream and other treats at the AK Sugar Shack on Pioneer Avenue in Homer, Alaska. (Delcenia Cosman/Homer News)