The month of April was spent at the Minnesota farm where the abundant wildlife made the daily five mile walks entertaining. This was the first visit to the farm with no elk in about 25 years, which felt a little strange. Their place has been taken over with other critters, including an exploding deer population. On more than one evening drive, about 50 deer were spotted in the hay fields on the farm, which is by far the most ever seen. Turkeys, cranes, geese, swans, and ducks are also flourishing, and the bird noise to start and end each day is impressive. These giant Canada geese were some of the first to hatch.
With the increase in wildlife, naturally there are more predators. The first is a Great Blue Heron, and the next video features two river otters.
The otters and the heron feed on fish, and a fish trap that was placed in some of the farm ponds revealed that numerous species of fish are also thriving on the farm, including the golden shiner (a favorite bait fish) and a bluegill sunfish.
Two ALO cases settled recently. One of the cases involved an awful shooting incident in Eagle River described in this article - "Eagle River man says he was high on meth when he shot up neighborhood, charges say." The ALO clients were a married couple living near the shooter, who were awakened to the sound of bullets tearing through their bedroom window. One of the bullets struck the husband, who retreated to the floor of the bathroom with his wife as bullets continued to enter their house. Imagine the terror involved for folks with no clue what was happening outside in their quiet suburban home surrounded by trees on the outskirts of Anchorage. The shooter wisely settled without contesting the claim.
The other settlement involved a serious injury to a young girl who was playing with friends under an unoccupied house next door to her own family’s home in Bethel. She and her friends were under the elevated structure when one of the support beams came loose and fell on her. That case was also not contested and settled for the limits of the insurance policy involved.
Last month’s news featured a story about a musk ox hunt near Nunivak Island that resulted in charges for a man who claimed he shouldn’t be charged for shooting a musk ox floating on an ice floe in the Bering Sea. At that time, the State of Alaska didn’t recognize that defense as valid, but apparently that has changed. The State now has a special musk ox season for animals on ice floes, which was advertised on KYUK news last week - "Season Opener For Musk Ox Stranded On Ice Floes."
As a follow up of last month’s story, an alert reader notified ALO that the missing musk ox trophy from the hunt was eventually surrendered to proper authorities.
From the ALO Case File Vault
Old time legal stories are some of the most enjoyed by readers of this page, and this one ranks with the best. About 20 years ago a major trial was about to start in Bethel, and it involved a serious brain injury to a young girl from a nearby village. The case took years to make it to trial and during the time, her parents had split up with the mother moving to Anchorage. There was no divorce, and the family issues were not part of the case on trial. Both parents were scheduled to be present during the trial, to sit at counsel table. The morning trial was to start the mother arrived about an hour before the jury, and her appearance was the cause of some concern. Apparently in the period of time the mother had lived in Anchorage she had abandoned her traditional village attire and showed up for court in a very low cut top. A trial attorney is responsible for all aspects of the case, including the appearance of the clients in the courtroom. In that era, low cut attire was not the style in the Bethel area, and there was great concern that some jurors would have a negative reaction to the mother’s attire. And this choice of attire was quite revealing. A fair estimate would be that 46% of the parts normally covered by a woman’s shirt were visible. The theme of the trial was a common one, a village family with a scruffy rural lawyer, taking on a big company based in Chicago with a fancy lawyer. This fashion choice was not in keeping with that theme.
Now prudery is not a trait often associated with ALO, but it fell on trial counsel to delicately address this issue. A conference was held in a nearby private room, where the mother was advised that too much was showing. With that, she was left alone and within a few moments she came back into the courtroom with two additional buttons tightly engaged, covering her almost to her chin. It must have worked because the jury returned a large verdict for her daughter.
Speaking of Exposure
At a recent gathering in Minnesota, an acquaintance told a story of some consequence for ALO. The acquaintance, Barb Bender, grew up in Princeton and knew of ALO generally. She was at a conference in Washington DC along with folks from around the country wearing their mandatory name tags. One name tag identified the wearer as an Assistant Attorney General from Alaska. Barb approached this man and proceeded to make small talk. “There is an attorney from my hometown named Myron Angstman who now lives in Alaska. Do you by chance know him?” The answer was terse. “Everyone knows Myron Angstman.” With that, the Attorney General turned on his heels and quickly departed. Kind readers of ALO news will have to decide if that comment was an insult or a compliment.
Mandatory Moose & Close Contacts
The month’s mandatory moose doesn’t seem to be that concerned about the number of tourists being held up by her stroll in Denali National Park.
LaMont Albertson once again wins the cartoon contest.
And this one from the The Minneapolis Star Tribune,
Speaking of Covid-19, this story from a friend who does contact tracing is a classic. A lady was told on the phone that she might be at risk of Covid because of recent close contact with a current Covid patient. “Covid?? That’s bullshit! I ain’t had sex in two weeks.”
Remembering Jim Klobuchar
The recent death of Jim Klobuchar, long time columnist for The Minneapolis Star Tribune, brings back a memory from the old days. Having worked at the Star briefly answering phones and taking down results of high school games on Friday nights, it was easy to identify Klobuchar when he entered the newsroom. He was really the only star on the staff. Everyone recognized him and his good humor was infectious. One event from that era described him best. He was scheduled to speak at a sports banquet scheduled for lunch at a downtown hotel in Minneapolis. A free seat near the front afforded a good view of the podium. Klobuchar was introduced and entered from the side. It was apparent there was something wrong with his pants as he walked by. He started his speech by noting that he had a large stain on his pants. He explained that on his way to the event he had brought along a large cup of coffee in his car. Some mishap resulted in the whole cup spilling on his lap. Rather than take emergency measures to correct the problem he decided to make it the first part of his speech as he stepped to the side of the podium to show the huge stain. The message was to make the most of whatever hand you are dealt, and those are wise words. Jim of course was the father of US Senator Amy Klobuchar.
Some people ask how America can possibly afford the infrastructure bill now in front of Congress. A wealth tax is suggested as a solution. Here is an example of how it would work.
The fact that very few people would be subject to the wealth tax makes it seem almost a cinch to be passed by Congress, but never underestimate the power of wealth to prevent legislation from passing. These are the same wealthy people who received a unneeded massive tax cut from the previous administration.
Finally, some humor. One of the funniest comedians of the past 40 years is not that well known cause his humor is so off-beat. Steven Wright has a dry delivery that almost seems painful, but if you can’t laugh at his quotes there might be something wrong with you. Here are ten of his best. Look him up on a video for the full effect. Rolling Stone rates him in the top 20 comedians of all time.