Periodically the Homer News gets press releases from Outside media flacks pitching a story. Usually they went us to cover some event happening in Anchorage and we have to explain Alaska geography to them.
This week, though, something called the Selfstorage.com Moving Blog actually sent us a press release that shows they know something about the Last Frontier. In an analysis of Alaska compared to other areas, the writer, Brian Schreckengast, used mapping software to show Alaska’s true size relative to other areas. The traditional Mercator projection makes Alaska look really, really big, as opposed to just big. For example:
• The Lower 48 states combined are 4.7 times the size of Alaska;
• Greenland is 1.2 times Alaska;
• Alaska is 2.6 times the size of France;
• Mexico is 1.1 times Alaska.
That number of 1.1 also is the population density per square mile of Alaska. If Manhattan Island in New York City had the same population density there would be 25 people.
So, we’re not exactly ginormous, but as we all know, pretty darn big. A map of Alaska projected over the Lower 48 shows that from Ketchikan to Barrow is about the same as from Atlanta, Ga., to Fargo, N.D.
All of which makes the spring migrations of birds totally awesome. The Canada geese, varied thrushes, shorebirds and songbirds that are starting to show up? They’ve put on some miles, and all on the wing. How do you get to Kachemak Bay from California? Flap, flap, flap.
Spread your wings this weekend, Betsteroids, because the flowers are out, the sun is shining, the snow is melting and there’s lots to do, like these Best Bets:
BEST A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC BET: It seems like every weekend some totally talented musician drops by town. At 7:30 p.m. Friday we’re blessed by Duo Amici, Tamara McCoy and Valerie Hartzell, performing a gallery concert at the Homer Council on the Arts. McCoy is a 2015 Rasmuson Individual Artist Award winner and an amazing pianist and vocalist. She’s joined by Hartzell on guitar. Admission is by donation.
BEST LEARN ON MACDUFF BET: Throw a penny into a crowd in Homer and you’ll likely hit someone with a PhD — or the equivalent earned through a life of learning. We’re pretty dang smart in this town, eh? Honor some area academics with the Celebration of Lifelong Learning at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Homer Public Library. See story, page 8, for details. Bonus: keynote speaker Heather Lender also does a free writing workshop, “Writing the Obituary,” from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Kachemak Bay Campus. She also signs books at 1:30 p.m. at the Homer bookstore.
BEST BIG DIME BET: That’s dime as in 10 years, how long the Kevin Bell Ice Arena has been around. Celebrate a decade of icy sports with Kevin Bell Day from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. There will be an open skate, a barbecue and other fun activities. See story, page 1.
BEST MORE MUSIC BET: Oh, and if you want even more music, the Homer Youth String Orchestra performs a free concert at 3 p.m. Sunday in the Homer High School Commons. They’ll be playing everything from Mozart to John Williams (as in Star Wars).