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October 2016

Warm October on the Elk Farm | New Dogs | Medical Malpractice in Kotz


The news is brought to you this month from the Elk Farm, where the recent pattern of warm temperatures in the fall has continued. Today it is in the sixties, sunny with no wind. These Black Eyed Susans are still blooming in November and years ago they were rarely seen after September.


Wildlife is abundant once again, although turkeys seem to be missing from the mix. This video features swans in one of the many farm ponds.



And this video shows some of the many thousands of Sandhill cranes in the area.



Neither swans nor cranes were present in the area for the past 100 years until showing up a few years ago. The largest count of swans in the small pond pictured has been 36 a few days ago, and the number seems to be still growing.


There are two other new additions at the Elk Farm, as the crack security team is once again at full strength.


Gracie the Terrier is a bit tentative about the golf cart, but Jack the English cocker took to it right away. Jack at six months old is already a proficient retriever



and seems to find the couch to his liking.


Jack's former owners John and Michelle Alstad of North Dakota delivered him to the Elk Farm, and shed tears over him when they left. Perhaps not the happiest moment to observe, but it certainly speaks well of both the dog and folks who raised him. Both of them train Cockers for field trials, and have been quite successful.


ALO still functions during trips to Minnesota. A medical malpractice case out of Kotzebue was settled in October. A two year old child from that community was diagnosed with a somewhat rare disease that causes seizures and could be fatal if not properly monitored. Later the child was brought to the emergency room in considerable distress, exhibiting "lethargy" according to the medical records. Without consulting prior records and learning of the child's diagnosis, the attending doctor sent the mother and child home where he soon died. There were simple steps that would have prevented that result if the records had been checked. This is the second time ALO has handled a case where lethargy was observed and not acted upon. Look up that word as medically applied to small children, and ask yourself why any medical professional would describe a child as lethargic and then send them home. The Kotzebue hospital is funded in part by the Federal government, which is responsible for payment of settlements such as this one.


Former Bethel resident Casey McDonald was among many folks who reposted on Facebook the remarks of Brad Benson, who runs Stampede Aviation at Healy, Alaska. Casey had some choice words for him, and lots of others proceeded to lambast him as well. The story reached the media, and ADN ran this article. Benson's description of flying in and around Bethel had many disparaging remarks about the town and Native folks who live in the area. Poor Brad forgot that the internet actually exists in rural Alaska, and folks can read as well. What he must know by now is, never mess with Bethel folks cause they will mess with you right back. Casey is a prime example of that. She of course is the daughter of Beverly Hoffman and John McDonald who frequent this page. From them, especially Bev, she inherited a streak of feisty that was on display during her early years when she spent a bunch of time camped at the Angstman household. Casey shares a trait common among Bethel folks which is fierce loyalty to her community. The sense of community in Bethel far surpasses that of most towns in this era, mainly because of the remote location and sometimes harsh living conditions. Bethel folks know the challenge involved in living in rural Alaska, and honor their neighbors who adapt. This trait is obvious when its time for a community event. Take the Kuskokwim 300 for example, where hundreds of volunteers put on an event that pays out prizes of about $250,000 a year and attracts world class competitors from far away. Try that in a typical American town where many people don't know their next door neighbors.


This episode brings to mind a legal conversation a few years back that involved ALO. Several lawyers were involved in conference call concerning planning for an upcoming Bethel trial. Several high grade Anchorage lawyers were involved, and one slightly unimpressed Bethel lawyer. During the introductions, the Bethel rube announced his name and noted he was a Bethel lawyer. An Anchorage gentleman on the opposite side of the case stated "you live in Bethel as well?" Upon hearing an affirmative response, the Anchorage fellow stated "you have my sympathy for living in that place."


Now a kinder person may have protested gently, attempting to enlighten the speaker with a few of the attributes of "Paris on the Kuskokwim" But the situation didn't call for kindness. The response was immediate. "One of the best parts of living in Bethel, is that people like you don't." That of course shut him up, and his client paid a significant amount to settle the lawsuit shortly after that conversation.


This month's mandatory moose is from Anchorage Dispatch News which runs a ton of moose photos year round. This eagle photo was taken by Mark Schwantes, who is winter caretaker at a lodge near the Angstman cabin.



He is ALO's only link to that area in the winter, and his pictures are wonderful. This bird was identified by expert John McDonald as a first year Bald Eagle. Old friend Art Glasoe brought his buddy Al Krogstad from North Dakota to visit the cabin in the last visit of the year. Here is Al with his first ever Dolly Varden



and Al also took the last shot off the deck for the year That view never gets old.



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