After a winter with virtually no snow, the Bethel area got a few inches in March which stayed and provided outdoor entertainment for local folks tired of sitting around inside. Several dog races were held, and steady temps in the 20-30 range with sun and light wind made everyone forget the months of brown tundra. Old Friendly Dog Farm had teams in many races, and with brand new racers competing, there were no wins. Nick Berres and Victoria Hardwick did most of the racing. In fact Victoria took part in the 70 mile Akiak Dash after only a couple of previous runs with a dog team, and she won rookie of the year. The Dash had around 20 teams, and featured a mass start, which was captured on video.
Unofficial grandkid Sunset Woods took part in the Kuskokwim 300 kids race, and finished second in an eight team race.
The Iditarod created some controversy this year when rough trail and weather conditions forced some teams out of the race. One such story caused this post race article in the Alaska Dispatch, quoting a Bethel elder. The unfortunate racer stuck in that situation needed to chop a hole a few inches into the ice, tip his sled to use as a windbreak, throw extra stuff from his sled in the bottom of the hole as a liner, crawl in his sleeping bag, gather his dogs around and wait. With a good winter bag, he would have been good for a long time. As it was, he was lucky to survive.
Of course dog racing isn't the only thing keeping the folks at ALO busy. This article discusses a hard fought case in Dillingham that resolved favorably for an ALO client. Another Dillingham area assault was reduced from a Class B felony to disorderly conduct, with a one day jail sentence for the ALO client.
The Allen River dam project mentioned here several times has been dropped. After spending more than $4 million, the advocates of the dam acknowledged they were not going to get the dam approved and withdrew their request. That $4 million could have built a lot of wind turbines in western Alaska, where many already operate. The biggest one yet recently went up in Bethel. ALO thanks all who joined in opposing the poorly conceived dam project.
Complaints were received that there was no mandatory moose photo in February. To make up for that error, here is a moose video that provides a bit of justice.