June was spent at the Elk Farm, where abundant wildlife made for entertaining walks and golf cart rides. Various critters continue to thrive on the farm, and most were seen with their young during June. For the first time a black bear interrupted a walk, a mother with her yearling cub. She made life exciting for a moment with two bluff charges, accompanied by impressive woofing. Her cub, meanwhile, was safely up a tree nearby. The walk continued, but in the opposite direction.
Other babies encountered included deer, turkey, pheasant, sandhill crane, duck, geese, and of course the home grown elk. This picture from a trail cam captured a crane family out for a walk in the woods, which seems to be an uncommon place for a crane.
Several such family groups were on the farm, a sight not seen there until a few years ago when people would pull into the farm uninvited to observe the tall birds in the fields.
The time spent enjoying nature at the farm was tempered a bit by news that the Alaska governor signed a bill appropriating $10,000,000 to further advance a plan to establish a hydroelectric dam on Chikuminuk Lake near the Angstman cabin in Wood Tikchik State Park. The proposal was advanced very quietly, and few people in Western Alaska heard about the plan until after it was signed. Information about the plan is still hard to obtain, but basically it calls for a dam near Chikuminik, which is the most protected lake in the state park system. No outboard motors are allowed on the lake, and very limited camping. It was recently featured in a National Geographic photo spread on Bristol Bay. That article focused on the potential harm to the region from the proposed Pebble Mine, and no mention was made of the dam project. There are no roads into the park, and it is unclear how the dam would be built. It is clear that power would run about 100 miles to the Bethel area via power lines, which would pass through the park and also the national wildlife refuge. The resulting power would lower the cost of power in Bethel by a modest amount, Meanwhile, dams are being destroyed in many areas of the US because of the environmental damage they cause. Eventual construction costs are rumored to be in the hundreds of millions, which would buy a lot of wind and solar power much closer to Bethel. Boondoggle projects of this sort are not uncommon in Alaska, but no one ever seems to be able to answer the question of who actually dreams them up. Whether this project ever gets built is still uncertain, of course, as there are many challenges to overcome. The only landowner other than the State of Alaska on Chikuminik is the Nature Conservancy, which may have some thoughts about the value of such a project. One wag pointed out that the presence of a hydro project that close to the Angstman cabin might result in a long extension cord to power the cabin.
ALO settled a traffic accident case in June. A Bethel man was injured in a crash caused by a drunk driver, and accepted an offer to avoid filing suit. A resident of a nearby village obtained a dismissal of felony theft charges after ALO convinced the state that she was unaware that the credit card numbers she was provided by her boyfriend were actually stolen.
Former Bethel public defender Josh Fitzgerald now resides in Kodiak where he operates a private practice. Aside from the fact the he shamelessly promotes the Iowa Hawkeyes, his Facebook posts generally provide a good insight into America's political issues. His views are somewhat left of center, and his Fourth of July link to this song shows that he is a true patriot.
It's a good rendition of a good tune. Josh hosts a live streaming radio show in Kodiak on KMXT.org, which is worth a listen. Meanwhile, Dolly and David along with Mary, Sunset and cousins celebrated Independence Day in style.
The lady kissing the salmon in the National Geographic photo is Ina Bouker, a friend of ALO, former landlady for the Dillingham office, and helper during jury trials in the Dillingham court.