Updated: Jan 14
The end of 2021 couldn’t come soon enough for many but at ALO, the year was hardly a disaster. A year of COVID-19-related issues was not everything it could have been, but after a 47 year stint in rural Alaska, where nothing comes easy, weathering the pandemic in Anchorage has not been painful. Part of that is the ability to maintain a legal practice that is thriving despite the pandemic. Working from any location has been the norm at ALO for many years so it was business as usual from the corner office in the Angstman home on F Street. Another big part of pandemic survival is the daily walking regimen, still at 5 miles, which has been consistent for 14 months. The final piece has been the regular exposure to grandkids which were the main reason for the Anchorage move.
Jack turned one year old this month.
These are two of his many tricks. He loves to rapidly kick his feet, so someone suggested strapping on a pair of tap shoes and this was the result.
And here Jack practices one of his many sounds effects.
And this is Ada framed by the Christmas tree, wearing a dress made by her great-great grandmother for Sue a long time ago.
Speaking of grandkids, Mary has just returned to Mt. Edgecumbe High School in Sitka where she is a junior. Her education story is an interesting one. She has attended numerous outdoor science outings, which are actually raft trips down remote rivers with teachers and counselors. Those trips usually involve fish studies, and in the process, Mary has decided she would like to pursue a career in fish management. Here she is making a point at one of her camps.
And watch this video of her camp from last summer.
Erich Kuball made the video. He is from Aniak where he was an educator before retiring, and he is instrumental in organizing the many trips that Mary has attended. These are total wilderness camps always with a bunch of teenagers and logistics must be immense, but they have turned Mary into a star student.
ALO managed to settle two cases in December. One involved a bad dog bite Bethel. A janitorial service worker was cleaning an office while the occupant of that office was present in the room. The occupant had his large dog next to his desk and when the cleaner got near, the dog leaped up and bit him in the face. The case settled without litigation. The other case involved a young wrestler at a school in southeast Alaska. The junior high student was involved in a practice bout with his coach who was about 50 pounds heavier and much stronger than the student. At one point, the coach executed a move that badly broke the student’s arm when he wrenched the student’s arm behind his back. This case also settled without litigation.
Covid continues to dominate the legal community. Trials are still on hold, and it is very hard to predict when that might end. With nationwide COVID-19 hospitalizations at their highest level ever, there is high danger of overwhelming the stressed medical system - and much of that stress comes because of failure to vaccinate. The numbers continue to reveal that the risk of hospitalization and death are much higher for unvaccinated people. The power of politics over science is becoming a national crisis.
Here is an irony: Many of the unvaccinated are conservative folks, yet they don’t seem to mind when the various med pay programs foot the bill for Covid treatment, much of which could be avoided by vaccination. That includes private health insurance, which of course is just a privatized version of socialized medicine.
Mandatory Moose (rural edition) & Other Quacks
A loyal reader of the ALO news registered a modest complaint in December that there weren’t enough rural moose featured in the Mandatory Moose section of the news. So to fix that, Harry Alexie sent this video of a moose walking out of the woods headed for the river near Bethel. The key part is the moose call, so turn up the volume and listen carefully.
If you can mimic that call you might get a bull to walk out in front of you next September. There are other critters. Here are a bunch of mallards that frequent the creek on the daily walks. That’s Chester Creek which runs right through Anchorage, along with a bunch of other creeks, that make the city’s trail system nature friendly.
Here is a squirrel who spun out.
Four cartoons made the cut for December. LaMont Albertson catches the Virgin Mary at a bad moment.
The others are from Gary Larson.
And the last one from Larson's image of Hell.
Coming Out of the Cold
Dolly captured this image in her yard.
When it comes to coming in out of the cold, dog racers are pretty bad. In the recent Copper Basin 300, temps reached 55 below, and this is the scene at the start with 38 below:
Having twice encountered temps between -50 and -60 while racing, it now is hard to remember how damn cold it actually felt. It is safe to say that there will never be another chance to refresh that memory. Recently training dogs for the Bogus Creek 150 with good friend Jessica Klejka, it was understood she would have to find a younger racer if the forecast called for extreme weather. That race was postponed because of a rainy spell that ruined the trail, but stay tuned.
Current State of Affairs
Irish friend Conor Roddy posted this article which should be read by all - "The American polity is cracked, and might collapse. Canada must prepare.". The current state of affairs in the US is alarming and suggestions on how to fix it are few. If people are willing to resort to violence to obtain political power, then democratic voting becomes meaningless. And that time has arrived.
Finally this piece from Kacey Miller, a good friend in Nome. She said she had no problem with ALO news posting this short account of her son Jack’s curiosity which she posted on Facebook. After all he just wanted to see what was under there… She did recreate the scene for the photo.