As the city of Homer slouches toward a budget to be born, seasoned citizens might ponder how the heck we ever managed in the days before huge oil revenues and big federal spending. From what the Betster understands in talking to pioneers who lived here long before reliable internet, it was dang tough.
If you wanted a road, you and a bunch of buddies fired up the D-10 Caterpillar and made it yourself. If you wanted electricity, you attached a couple of wires to a generator run by a horse walking a treadmill, and when the horse got tired, you walked the treadmill yourself. Potable water? They called that a pipe running down from Woodard Creek. For entertainment, folks went down to Beluga Slough and watched the tide come in.
So all this modern stuff of sewage treatment, paved roads, a real library, 24-hour-seven police patrol and emergency services, and even someone to answer your calls at City Hall — heck, that’s all gravy. OK, maybe the old timers lay it on thick, but there has been progress.
Each week when we go through editions of the Homer News searching for “Years Ago” items, almost every month the paper of the past announced some new civic facility today we now take for granted. Harbor opens! Pioneer Avenue paved! High school opens! For the past 50 years it’s been an ongoing struggle to bring basic functions that someplace like Philadelphia has enjoyed for centuries.
The Betster knows better than to predict how the Homer City Council will solve its budget woes, although yours truly will go out on a limb and say that there will be intense and spirited discussion. It is Homer, after all. Yours truly also will not advocate for any particular solution. We report the news. You guys make it, and good luck with that.
What you won’t need luck for is to have a good time. In good times and bad, in times of fat or slim budgets, somehow we always pull it together. That’s how we roll at the end of the road, and when we’re done, we’ll celebrate another week of making do, maybe with these Best Bets:
BEST FAB FASHIONS: Talented artists, students and performers strut their stuff Saturday evening at “Animalia.” This time the annual fun fashion show goes multimedia and multigenerational, with animal-themed storytelling, dance and “a fantastical wearable arts performance” at 7 p.m. at the Mariner Theatre. Proceeds benefit the Artists in the Schools program. (See related story, page 10.)
BEST HOMER HAUNTINGS: You still have a week to prepare for Halloween, but the tricks and treats already have started. Besides the costumes of “Animalia,” check out the “Museum Macabre” show at the Pratt Museum. Then ship out to the “Haunted Hickory” on Oct. 29 on the Spit. The Coasties do an awesome job every year thrilling young and old onboard their cutter and collecting nonperishable items for the food pantry. Remember, there will be two sessions: 4-5 p.m. for the young or timorous, and 6-10 p.m. for those itching for a fright.
BEST CAMPUS IN TOWN: Fall means school, and the Kachemak Bay Campus of the University of Alaska, our local school for grown-ups, has rolled out an array of options for edification, entertainment and self-improvement. Fall classes beginning tonight include a seminar on global climate change and a workshop on “Flash Fiction.” Visiting writer Allen Gee, author of “My Chinese-America,” novels and essays, will give a reading and talk about the craft of writing at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the college. Later this fall the campus offers classes and one-day workshops on fisheries technology. It also serves the community with GED, ESL, ABE and health career classes. For info, call 235-7743.
BEST TAKE-CARE-OF-YOURSELF OPTION: Plan ahead for the Rotary Health Fair. Put it on your calendar for Nov. 7, but call 399-3158 or go online to www.sphosp.org now to sign up for a bargain on comprehensive blood test screenings. While thinking about wellness, note that this is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a chance to support the Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic programs offering screening, treatment, education and other services on the southern peninsula.
Meanwhile, don’t forget that moving around, especially outdoors, is vital to health. Enjoy the last days of fine, fall weather. Remember that bucking firewood is excellent exercise.