Property loss settlements dominated the news at ALO in April. The biggest such claim was a vehicle accident in Aniak, where a small truck driven by a drunk driver slammed into a parked fuel truck containing close to 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel. No one was injured in the crash. The driver’s insurance paid an amount calculated to be the fair market value of the fuel truck plus freight, because the truck was totaled. ALO’s client pointed out that the truck was about 15 years old with a total of less than 3,000 miles, driven about once or twice a week for a mile or two. With good up-keep, the fuel truck would likely last for a very long time and was worth more than most 15 year old trucks. It was also argued that the replacement truck would not have increased value in Aniak because there was no chance of reselling such a vehicle in a small bush town. The case was settled a few weeks before trial for $90,000, the original demand.
Two other cases also settled, one a residential fire case in Shaktoolik against the local electric utility for $20,000, leaving intact a companion case against the regional housing authority. The other settlement involved damage to a rental unit in Togiak for which a contractor paid $15,000.
April was one of the biggest months in a long time for newly opened files at ALO. It was also the month when ALO dropped all newspaper advertising in Bethel. This was done because of the ever escalating ad wars in this this community. Of course, attorney ads are controversial, after being forbidden for many years nationwide. Now such ads are allowed in Alaska, but with some regulation by the Bar Association. It is clear that large colorful ads attract business, especially for a firm that might not get business any other way. But ALO seems to get enough business without such ads, and prefers to have clients who select their attorney based on past performance rather than color photos. Grant Fairbanks has frequently offered to prepare an appropriate ALO ad, which would spoof the local ads he reads every week. Maybe one of Grant’s ads will appear on this webpage someday.
There were two correct guesses in last month’s trivia quiz. Dean Painter was the training partner. Rich Gannon and Bob Rearden guessed right, but of course there was a juicy hint in the story. Three upriver guys helped out during that first Iditarod year, and all three are still around. In addition to Dean, James Nicholas and Nathan Underwood helped train and feed dogs at times.
The pictures of the successful ski trip to the mountains were posted earlier, and as a result of that trip a major expedition by dogs is planned for next March. ALO is seeking volunteer snow machine drivers to break trail and already Greg Ponsness has expressed interest. He is married to ALO employee Amy, and is an avid outdoorsman. His biggest claim to fame, though, is his connection to a company which was featured on the TV show Dirtiest Jobs. His parents run Forked Tree Ranch in Idaho. They recently visited ALO and identified website forkedtreeranch.com where the viewer learns that money can be made selling maggots.
Finally, marathon runners often speak of “hitting the wall” at about the 22 mile mark in a race. This dog video reveals that it can happen in a much shorter race.