December wrapped up the most successful year ever for Angstman Law Office. A combination of factors contributed to that, but primarily it was the result of clients bringing good cases to ALO in the last couple of years. Another major factor was the excellent work performed by the far flung staff connected by phone and internet. ALO thanks all who contributed.
ALO settled a major case in December involving a fatal airplane crash. The crash was the result of bad weather flying out of McGrath. The school based in McGrath was attempting to transport some of its teachers to the Yukon River village of Anvik. One company refused to fly because of the weather, but another company was called and accepted the charter, sending two airplanes. One made it through, but the other crashed into a mountain west of McGrath. ALO represented the estate of one of the teachers, a life long resident of the area who was survived by a husband and children.
A Bethel court employee received good news in December when his misdemeanor charges were dismissed. The charges resulted from an incident at a lake on the outskirts of Bethel where some young people were having a bonfire. Bethel police drove to the area and contacted several people, and charged two of them. The ALO client challenged the legality of the stop and the arrest, and an Anchorage prosecutor dismissed the charges without responding to the filed paperwork.
Andy Angstman made the statewide news in December when Channel 2 news interviewed him regarding the Bethel school shooting of many years ago. The interview was prompted by the recent school shooting in Connecticut. Interviews of parents after the Connecticut shooting brought back thoughts of that day in February of 1997. A law enforcement official with kids at the school knew the Angstmans well, and called ALO with a terse message. "There's a shooter at the high school, and there are three people down." The school is about a mile from ALO, and that distance was covered in a flash. A road block was going up near the school, but that was avoided easily by driving in the ditch. At the school, a line of kids was being led out, and their faces told the story of what they had been through. They were brought to the cafeteria, and parents were allowed in. The scene was terrifying. Only a few parents had arrived by then and there were many students milling about, many crying, most in shock. After Andy was located, a car load of neighborhood kids was taken home, where the day was spent awaiting word on the victims. It was soon learned that Principal Ron Edwards had died heroically going after the killer with a baseball bat. Another victim Josh Palacios, Andy's basketball teammate, died later that evening in Anchorage. Neighbor lady Reyne Athanas, the art teacher at the school, stared down the killer when he pointed a loaded shotgun at her. She risked death to provide comfort to Josh on the floor of the school lobby. The Bethel shooting was one of the first but is rarely mentioned when the subject is raised nationally.
The gun debate has been rekindled by the Connecticut shooting. There is no easy answer, but on this point every American should have an opinion, because gun violence is so widespread. It seems finally that the debate is likely to produce some form of gun control. Guns are dangerous instruments and deserve the nation's attention. To suggest that America needs more guns to combat the violence is a failed argument. The nation is already an arsenal, yet gun violence is pervasive as this chart shows. There are 15-20 guns around ALO and the elk farm, and they have been part of the Angstman family for as long as anyone can remember. Controlling their ownership and use makes perfect sense. Start by banning assault rifles, and control guns at least as much as cars are controlled.
Animal photos once again made the cut. Here is a video of a wolf fishing for his lunch.
This is an interesting view of a polar bear.
And of course the mandatory moose shot.
Old Friendly Dog Farm got off to a good start in the racing season with a close second place finish in the Holiday Classic. Steve Olive trained hard in tough conditions, and it paid off. He finished 8 seconds behind Schouviller Wassillie. Steve's helper, 15 year old Caleb Miller, got 11th place with the second team. This team didn't win any money, but would at least make folks smile.
This aerial shot of the Angstman cabin, taken by Craig Boney, is a gentle reminder that the days are getting longer and the ice will be out on Chauekuktuli Lake in about 6 months.
Already Alaska has gone through a long cold snap but temps have moderated recently. This article discusses recent weather trends in Alaska, with quotes from a Bethel elder who has seen a few winters. That same elder warmed a bit in Hawaii over the holidays, where some former Bethel folks got married. On the return trip, the flight from Honolulu to Alaska was held up a bit by the departure of Air Force One. Security was increased, the airport was closed to traffic, and two 747 jets left within moments of each other. Both planes seem to depart in an unusual manner, with steep turns after a very short take off run. It even seemed like the jets departed from a taxi way instead of the normal runway. On the long flight back that evening, it was hard to avoid thinking about those comfortable folks in Air Force One while scrunched in coach for six hours. But in the end, it seemed about right.