Two notable cases were resolved during February. The first involved a suit against the state jail, brought by an inmate who claimed he was sexually assaulted by another inmate and that the jail should pay because he was not properly protected. The state asked ALO to take part in the case, and the case settled a few weeks before trial for an amount that can be best described as nuisance value. There was some question whether or not any assault actually took place, which certainly factored into the modest settlement.
The other settlement involved a claim against Hageland Aviation, stemming from an incident where ALO's client, a baby fell from a Cessna Caravan parked on the ramp at the Bethel Airport. The baby was on the floor in front of her aunt's seat as she put on her seat belt. The front door of the Caravan extends well behind the front seats and allows for an unbelted infant to fall out when the door is opened. The child fell about 5 feet and landed on her head, fracturing her skull. After several years of litigation, including two attempts to remove the case to Federal Court in Anchorage, the case settled for an appropriate sum. In such a case, the funds will be held in trust for the child until she becomes an adult.
A former Bethel person encountered some legal problems in New York.
If memory serves, she was once known as Nancy Kraning and worked in city administration for Bethel. The Kobuk 440 had theft problems of its own. Their manager is accused of stealing a bunch of money, and they are seeking financial support to stay in business. (sound familiar?) The race has a facebook page and a website which detail the fundraising. It's a good organization and deserves help. The manager deserves jail. Here is a copy of a and here is a copy of that shows how one creative lawyer handled a legal problem back in the day. It is not out of the question that a similar response will emerge from ALO someday.
Dog racing heats up in February. OFDF had mixed results. Chris Pike got second in a 50 mile race in Bethel, with a strong finish that impressed may observers. He didn't fare as well in the Aniak 150. After a strong first 75 mile loop where he led by about 15 minutes, he encountered lead dog problems which forced a scratch. Good results emerged from the Junior Iditarod where local kids Jeremiah and Jesse Klejka took first and sixth. Jeremiah benefited from a wrong turn taken by two teams leading him near the end of the race. The Klejka team operates without many of the benefits other competitive kennels have in this state. For example the two teams that lost the trail were driven by kids named Seavey and Osmar. Both families sport Iditarod championships among their resumes. The Klejka's annually come shopping for a few dogs to fill up their teams for the Junior Iditarod from leftover dogs at the Dog Farm. Their kennel is kept literally under their house. When it is time to dress for a training run, the kids grab from a stack of outdoor clothes owned by all, first come first served. With seven kids, the last to the pile sometimes shows up at a race with a funny looking costume. This is the second Klejka win in the Junior Iditarod, netting a well deserved $5,000 scholarship for Jeremiah. Both racers represented Bethel well, as they are good guys, always polite and respectful. As for the Junior Iditarod kids have gotten lost many times. It happened to Jessica Klejka a few years ago. A common complaint about the race is the lack of adequate markers on the return portion of the trail, where many forks lead off the race trail, and where tired kids are running in the dark. But don't bother making that complaint to the race organizers. Complaints are not welcome.
Buddy Streeper, on the other hand, needs some work on being polite and respectful. Born into a family of championship racers, Buddy emerged early as a top sprint racer. Wherever he raced, he made sure everyone knew that. He carries an attitude like an NFL wide receiver. That attitude got the best of Buddy in the recent Fur Rondy races in Anchorage. During a pass, he shoved an old time racer from Kotzebue who Streeper thought was in the way. Here's the video. He was disqualified. The video shows a fairly clean pass, and it clearly reveals that as soon as the front driver saw the dogs next to him he tried to pull his sled out of the way. Streeper made an explanation that fell way short of the mark. He claimed the race officials overreacted. The only overreaction happened on the video. Witnesses heard him drop a loud "F bomb" on the innocent musher as went past.
Here is how Sebastian Schnuelle's accommodations look at Dawson City during the Yukon Quest.
And finally, a few items worth noting. February features Valentine's Day, and here is Sunsets can be dramatic in Bethel, but few can match over the dog farm.
They need to use these grade school girls in next year's Super Bowl. Wow.