This week marks a momentous occasion. After many long years of struggle, after thousands of hours of hard work, Alaska changes this week. Holy Sinsemilla! What, you thought the Betster meant Feb. 24, when marijuana became legal? No, no, we’re talking the retirement of McKibben Jackinsky, Homer’s hardest working reporter.
After 10 years at the Homer News, and a writing career that goes back to the 1970s when she wrote under a name only old timers dare mention, McKibben is taking a rest from journalism. Today from 3-5 p.m., we’ll have a reception for McKibben and share stories, like the time she — well, no,what happens in the newsroom stays in the newsroom.
Here at Betster Central, this creates a problem. The Betster has crafted the careful fiction that Best Bets remains anonymous. The Betster is gender neutral and could be McKibben. Yours truly could be what’s his name, the Armstrong guy. It could be the hardest working editor in Homer, Lori Evans.
But with McKibben leaving, some of the mystery vanishes. People might start figuring out the Betster’s secret identity. That way lies madness. We know how powerful a Best Bets listing can be. Why, sometimes it’s been known to increase attendance at a concert by 15 audience members. If people figure out the Betster’s true identity, they might come up to one of us and pitch Best Bets. They might try to bribe us with chocolate and lattes — maybe even a nice bottle of Highland Park 18-year single malt Scotch whisky.
That will never work. We’re incorruptible. We cannot be bribed. The Betster has a diabolical method for choosing Best Bets which amounts to “If it’s cool, you’re in.” Now go define “cool.” See?
Besides, who’s to say McKibben won’t keep writing Best Bets? Maybe the deal to leave the finest small town newspaper in America means McKibben has to write Best Bets once a month. Maybe she wrote this Best Bets as a clever way to misdirect everyone. She’s pretty sneaky, you know.
The Homer News won’t be the same without McKibben. We love her dearly and are going to miss her, but if anyone deserves the fruits of hard work, it’s McKibben. She’s just awesome — you know, like these Best Bets:
BEST UP THE CREEK BET: It’s one of Homer’s finest natural gems, a beautiful stream winding through downtown Homer and down to Bishop’s Beach. Woodard Creek faces a lot of challenges, and even disappears into culverts in some places. Learn about a plan to preserve and improve the creek at 6:30 p.m. today for the Woodard Creek Watershed Open House at the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center.
BEST BEN, CHRIS, AARON, UH BET: There’s a trivia question for you — name all the reporters who have worked at the Homer News during McKibben’s tenure. It probably won’t be in the contest, but you’ll be challenged by equally tough ones at the Homer Animal Friends Trivia Night at 5:45 p.m. Friday at the Homer Elks Lodge. Admission is $20 and benefits HAF.
BEST WINDS OF CHANGE BET: This will be the last Marimba Madness concert for Williwaw as its high school senior members graduate and head off to college. Catch them in concert with marimba groups Shamwari and Tamba Hadzi at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Homer Elks Lodge. See story, page 2.
BEST SHOWTIME! BET: If you can’t wait for next fall’s Homer Documentary Film Festival, get your film fix at 6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday for the Best of Anchorage Film Festival at the Homer Theatre. See story, page 9.