Homer’s Best Bets

You know how in all the hip cities neighborhoods have cool names? There’s Soho in New York for “south of Houston” or SoMa in San Francisco for “South of Market.” Homer has Old Town, the area south of the Sterling Highway, and “The Views,” the area above Pioneer Avenue where all the names end in “-view.” Oh, and the Homer Spit, which everyone knows as “the Spit.”

Why don’t we have those short names, though? Here on the south shore of Beluga Lake our neighborhood has started to pick up — time for our own name. We could be SoSho for “South Shore” or SoBel for “South Beluga.” The north shore could be “NoSho.” OK, maybe not. Go with NoBel.

West Hill and East Hill could be “WeHi” and “EaHi.” All right, maybe just West Side, and then you could have a story. What else? Well, Ocean Drive Loop could be O-Drive or maybe The Wall, for the seawall. Kachemak Drive could be K-Drive, except that sounds too much like K-Beach Road up by Soldotna. You could just call the Kachemak Drive area “Mud Bay,” which would fit right in if you had a 15,000-square-foot mansion.

Brantley Edens, the late, revered pioneer Homerite, once said Homer had three kinds of people: the Sidehill Gougers, for the townies, the Swamp Rats, for the East End Road people, and the Hillbillies, for all the people living up on Diamond Ridge and Skyline Drive. You can imagine what city council meetings were like back then, except there wasn’t a city yet. OMG! Where did Homerites meet to yell at each other?

Well, it doesn’t matter what we call our little neighborhoods or each other, because whatever you call it, we all know we live in the best dang place in the world. Here in the first week of July, with sunshine, a little evening rain to cool things off, wildflowers and songbirds chirping, it just doesn’t get any better — oh, except for these Best Bets:


BEST SCIENCEY STUFF BET: Someone once said there are more doctorates per capita in Homer than Boston. OK, that might be stretching it a bit, but we do have some wicked smart people around. Learn from them how science helps us understand our environment with this week’s Discovery Lab, “Translating the Science of Our Landscape,” from 1-3 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center.


BEST PAINT AWAY BET: There are plenty of great First Friday shows opening this Friday, but the Betster never misses a chance to praise a young Homer creator making her mark on the world. That would be Hailey Smith, one of our homegrown talents who went out in the world, learned things and has come home to show us her stuff. Her show “Wildlands” opens with a reception from 5-7 p.m. Friday at the Homer Council on the Arts. For other First Friday exhibits, see page 10.


BEST REASON FOR THE SEASONING BET: Smell that? Yup, that’s the aroma of alder chips from a thousand barbecue grills on the Fourth of July. Whew — it’s legal to grill this weekend, but hey, don’t shoot off any fireworks. From Seldovia to Ninilchik, the weekend is jam packed with events. See the full schedule on pages 6 and 7.


BEST YEE HAH! BET: Oh yeah, Johnny B. is back with his popular Rhythm of the North show at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Pier One Theatre on the Spit. Along with Johnny B.’s toe-tapping tunes, see amazing Alaska videos. This week Johnny B. donates a portion of the till to KBBI Public Radio AM 890. See story, page 9.