July was a busy month. In addition to the normal office activities, a cabin building project in the mountains east of Bethel has kept the staff hopping. The cabin is located in the Wood-Tikchik state park, which is the largest state park in the nation. The park is dominated by a chain of 10 lakes, and our project is on Chauekuktuli Lake, the fourth one from the north end of the park, and the first one with forested terrain. The Angstmans first visited this lake in 1979, when Sarah was three months old. During that visit a bear visited our camp while we slept and stole part of our food. Shortly after that visit, we started looking into buying land there, but it took 25 years to make that happen. We finally secured 40 acres from a native allotment holder two years ago, and started the building process this year. The builders are starting to put metal on the roof today, August 1st, and hope to have the exterior completely done this month. Tomas Israelsson of Bethel is the main builder. To get some notion of how remote this site is, the building crew has seen one float plane land a ways up the lake during one month of camping there. Otherwise, the only visitors have been the planes bringing supplies.
Despite about 15 flights to the cabin site during July, Myron managed to settle a major case for a Grayling man injured in a fishing boat accident last fall at Dutch Harbor. He lost two fingers, and severely injured a third when his hand was caught between the boat and the dock. The initial portion of the case against the boat company settled for $1.1 million dollars, and the second phase, against another potential defendant, will now be pursued. No suit has been filed, and the settlement was reached during a mediation.
Matt has been busy in criminal court. In what was described as a major marijuana bust, Matt and Anchorage lawyer Al Beiswenger (formerly of Bethel) each were successful in having charges dismissed against their clients. Matt’s client obtained an outright dismissal through negotiation, and Al had the evidence against his client suppressed by the court. Old timers from Bethel will recall that Myron first hired Al to be the second lawyer in the Public Defender office in the 70's.
Matt was able to get a reduced charge of reckless driving for a Bethel person charged with drunk driving and refusing to take the breathalyzer. He also obtained a dismissal of a Dillingham area charge of importation. He has had a steady stream of clients in Nome and Kotzebue as well. Matt has a number of cases scheduled for trial in Dillingham in August.
The office will once again be well represented at a wedding in August, this time in Ireland. Former Bethel residents Nate Peters and Addy Roddy will be married in her home country in mid August, and most of the Angstmans will attend. Addy is a former roommate of Sarah, and Nate was a public defender and member of the Old Friendly Dog Farm basketball team. Addy had a short career as a Sunday dog musher for the dog farm.