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  • Writer's pictureMyron

April 2024

The April News comes to you from Anchorage after completion of a stay at the Elk Farm in mid-May. The farm visit featured  a possible end to the two year shortage of rain, with several serious downpours bringing water levels in most places to near normal levels. Sue managed a side trip to Sweden and Denmark during that stay and that allowed the designated farmer sufficient time to accomplish a few farm chores that had lagged such as pocket gopher control, tree transplanting, and trail maintenance.  That makes 120 years and running where some Angstman guy has puttered around the farm every spring, and people without a rural background would have  a hard time understanding the appeal of such activity.   70 years ago that puttering was done with  old Uncle Warren who moved to the farm in 1904 and lived there until he died. He was an unmarried man who had little time for the older sisters but was more than happy as the oldest Angstman sibling to spend time outdoors with the youngest offspring among the countless kids produced by his family of 13. On daily tours of the 450 acres with Jack, specific memories from various corners of the farm are triggered, and none of those are unpleasant.

Spring unfolded in Anchorage and the 133 inches of snow is now gone and with that  last minute preparations for the opening of Tikchik Narrows Lodge are underway. As this photo shows, Mother Nature needs to step up her game to make that possible.

The first flight with a start-up crew left Anchorage May 20, with several more  in the following days.  Guests arrive in mid-June.  One of the early arriving staff members is Eddy Hoeldt of Aniak who will be learning the ropes of the mechanical operation of the Lodge.  He comes advertised as a competent mechanical person, and is an early example of the plan to hire locally  when possible.  Western Alaska folks have a long history of seasonal employment in the commercial fishing industry and other summer jobs, making the June through September season of the Lodge appealing to some.  Scenes like this also make employment at the Lodge a good option.

Employees get plenty of opportunity to find one of these.

ALO Update

ALO never closes unless the smart phone runs out of juice, so legal work continued on the farm.  Through the use of noise cancelling earphones, one recent deposition was attended while driving a  piece of farm equipment.  Of course, it was a non-speaking role with a microphone on mute and no video, but most opponents of ALO prefer that option.  If input was needed, the tractor was shut off and the mic activated, and the other participants assumed the connection was to a guy in a suit and tie in a high rise office building someplace.  


Three cases were settled recently.   One client was seriously assaulted at an Alaska jail and after a many year delay, that case was finally resolved.  It was argued  that the person  guilty of the assault was known to be violent to other prisoners but was not segregated and as expected turned on his roommate. A serious auto-pedestrian accident from Bethel was settled for policy limits. The driver was charged with a felony for badly injuring one walker, and killing his companion. In Kodiak, another serious crash resulted in a policy limit claim against the injured party’s own UIM policy.


A case reported here a while back involving theft from a local business has had a new development.  Long time client Wade Renfro discovered an employee was  on a spending spree at Wade’s expense, and fired him.  He turned over the evidence to the state troopers and also filed a civil suit to recover his missing money.  The Bethel grand jury heard the case recently and returned a five count indictment against the former employee.  This case has an interesting twist in that the prosecuting attorney Andrew Grannik was the prosecutor who handled the famous case against the former Kuskokwim 300 manager who was convicted of a felony for stealing money from the race in 2007.  See KYUK story here.

Belle and John Deacon from Grayling were a classic pair living on the Yukon River. Belle was once flown to New York City to demonstrate her birch basket making skill at a museum in the 1970s. Their account of that trip is fascinating. John went along, and it was their first trip to the big city. John hung around the museum while Belle made baskets. This museum had a large Native crafts section, and John spotted a Native made dog sled in one exhibit. He ducked under the rope, and went to inspect the sled up close. The guard was not amused. "Sir you are not allowed to touch the exhibits" John was a charmer and rose to the challenge. "I flew all the way from my village in Alaska to look at this sled, and I want to see if I can find ways to make mine better." With that the guard stood back and watched.

Later John and Belle went for a walk in Central Park with a person from the museum. They encountered geese that reside in the park. John immediately employed his best goose calling technique, telling the guide he wanted to find out if New York geese spoke the same language as Alaska geese. While walking he asked the guide "Where do all of these people have their place?" By that he meant, their house, smoke house, cache, drying rack and shed, all needed to survive on the Yukon River, but nowhere to be seen in the Big Apple.

Spring has Sprung

Bethel had its worst flood in many years and that caused reflection on the many floods of ALO’s early years.  This photo shows the Angstman cabin in 1976 before it became the main office of ALO.

The photo was taken from a boat north of the cabin.  The water came up to the base  of the front step and for years surveyors in the neighborhood would shoot off that point to determine how high new houses should be to avoid the flood.  A recent posting by Katie Basile mentioned how stressful the flood was for her as she worried about her family’s property and  the safety of her small children who live in the flood zone.  Having lived near her parents and other neighbors in the flood zone for many years it should be noted that there was low stress in the early years.  Instead it was usually a big party and the kids ran loose for a day or two, including Katie.  Here is Katie’s crew during the flood.

This account of break up in Bethel appeared in Alaska Magazine in 1978, with photos and story by John McDonald of Bethel.

Mandatory Moose & Other Characters

There is an otter that hangs around the farm in Minnesota. These are trail cam shots.


That same camera got some nice Sandhill crane shots, including two babies called colts. 

A muskrat house on one pond was a popular spot this spring. Swans and geese traded off using it as a perch, and they sometimes seemed to contest the spot. Swans have become permanent on the farm because there is always open water within flying distance. There seemed to be about 10 on the farm most of the time, and about the same number of cranes as well.

Here is the Mandatory Moose sporting the start of his new antlers.

In Other News

The recent death of OJ Simpson calls for the recollection of an early encounter with the former Heisman Trophy winner and later infamous criminal.  Back in 1968 Simpson was a star running back for Southern Cal,  and was in Minneapolis to open the season against the Gophers.  The game was competitive but Simpson’s prowess as a runner eventually made the  difference as the Gophers couldn’t stop him late in the game.  A press pass offered the opportunity to chat with the star after the game.

A former roommate Ken Strand was present as Simpson was encountered just outside the locker room. It was a three person conversation.  Simpson was asked if he cared to hear about a quote about him posted on the Gopher locker room bulletin board. His exact response still echoes because of later events. “What did it say? Kill Simpson?

Someone posted this photo of prices in the Nome grocery store.

Seems a little high, but somebody must buy it. 

Florida toughened it immigration laws and not everyone is happy with the result. Read why here. Be careful what you ask for.

Running track in Alaska spring weather has a different look than in some places.

This cartoon is a good one.

Finally some golf news.  Former President Trump announced recently that he won both the senior club championship and the overall club championship at one of his golf courses.  Here is the swing he used to attain that high honor.

This might be Trump’s most blatant lie ever. It doesn’t take a golfer to recognize his swing as seriously  flawed.  His golfing partners have stated in the past that he stops counting strokes when he is several feet from the hole, and in a club championship that might make a difference in his final score, but the greater problem is that no one challenges him on this and other lies he tells daily.  Its is just accepted that he tells whoppers and he goes about his business. That allows him to claim that he has hit seven holes in one in his career, when no  one has actually confirmed this feat.




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