Taco Bell dominated the June news. This story appeared in the LA Times, and started the ball rolling on a busy month of nationwide publicity for Bethel, culminating with free taco day when Taco Bell delivered a wad of tacos for anyone showing up at the local cultural center. Culture?? It was a scene. Everyone had to sign a release agreeing that in exchange for a free taco, pictures taken could be used for promotional purposes. And lots of pictures were taken. Several film crews, with 50-60 staff, covered the community for 3 days. A crew of nearly 20 came by Old Friendly Dog Farm to film the dogs going for a training run with a six wheeler. How that figures into a taco commercial is not clear, but the new ad is supposed to run on national TV this week. One scene that will likely make the cut is this one of the Taco Bell truck being delivered by helicopter.
Another shot of a very large man sprinting across the parking lot in front of the mob headed for the Taco Bell truck should make it as well. One of the producers who had been part of the crew at the dog yard recognized a certain Bethel elder waiting in line for a taco. "That attorney has been in line four times," he stated. It should be noted that the tacos were smaller than the home made kind. Of course there is a legal angle to this story. When the flyers were posted that started the hoax, a phone number was posted on the flyers to call for employment. The owner of that number has now filed a petition in court complaining of the harassment involved. One final free food thought, did anyone hear the rumor that Marx Brothers is planning a branch of its restaurant for Bethel?
Many have asked this week about the compensation paid for the pitchman work for Taco Bell. The total package came to $3.79, which is the value of the four tacos consumed. Deciding whether to place that windfall in a Swiss bank account or the Grand Cayman Islands is the big question.
The Angstmans returned to Alaska from Minnesota just as the heat wave struck. A wet spring did not prevent the crops at the Elk Farm from thriving. An old farm saying suggested that a good corn crop should be knee high by the Fourth of July. Boob high by June 26th should lead to a bumper crop.
Dave and Laura Price put a trail cam in the woods behind their house after seeing a black bear and some kind of wild cat in their yard. The first notable picture was of an unlikely woods dweller; a sandhill crane and two babies.
Back in Alaska, salmon were a major topic of discussion with king salmon in short supply in many areas, including the Kuskokwim. Subsistence fish closures were common, and met with some resistance locally. Fisheries are complex, especially when the State of Alaska must allocate a resource among so many different types of users. Lurking over that whole issue is a segment of the fishing industry operating on the high seas which is not subject to Alaska control, and capable of putting a big dent in fish stocks. Add in global warming and it really becomes murky. Thankfully, other species of salmon seem to be abundant in the Kuskokwim so fishers are busy in July filling freezers and fish racks. This photo reveals the number of red salmon that can fill a small section of river.
What may look like pollution at first is a mass of spawning salmon in a shallow stream in western Alaska. Fish are the main fuel of the ecosystem, and messing with the water they live in is unthinkable. Dams and mines are simply not compatible.
This month's mandatory moose photo is actually two pictures, the first of twin babies alone,
the other with mom, and neither could be left out.
The blue flowers are Alaska lupine. This picture features Chris and Donna Bach's dog Marvel toying with Tanner.
Marvel, a male, was trying to thwart Tanner's romantic intentions. Tanner is also a male. The final picture this month features Kenzie Sumpter's child with a dragon fly on her shirt. In the interest of science and art, Kenzie grabbed the camera before removing the bug.
Gold fever is of course rampant in Alaska. Reality TV and the high price of gold are fueling the craze. Grant Fairbanks is visiting a mine located near McGrath, and his excitement level is so high he claims to be getting up at 6 a.m. On a trip to former gold rush community Flat with Grant, these papers were discovered at the bottom of a pile of junk in an old store.
The checks are from the 1930's and the letter is from 1922. Nothing really changes. Just today ALO wrote a note to the Alaska governor complaining about the dam project in the Wood-Tikchik state park. Speaking of the park, lightning, thunder and hail were seen there for the first time in 34 years of visiting recently. Scientists claimed several years ago there would be more storms, and more severe storms as parts of the atmosphere became hotter with global warming. Folks that doubt that is happening must stay inside a lot. Here is one doubter
who changed his mind. Douglas is well known in Minnesota as a TV weatherman but he also has a national audience. Read a more complete account of his thinking here.
Recreational activities are an important part of the ALO news. Bethel guy Mick Davis tops the list for his recent ascent of Mt McKinley.
His Dad, LJ Davis was scheduled to reach the summit as well, but was thwarted by park rangers who told him he couldn't use a bull dozer to clear the trail and carry his gear to the top. Former Bethel guy Don Lehmann climbed Kilimanjaro in Africa. Another Bethel guy, an elder, attended a baseball game at Target Field in Minneapolis where the Twins played the Phillies. In the eighth inning former MVP Jimmy Rollins hit a solid drive down the right field line which hooked foul, toward the elder. Most of the fans in the area reached for the ball. The elder jumped his maximum, three inches, and with his right hand stretched to its limit, made the one handed catch. MLB captured the event on TV, and and despite great effort by Webmaster Rich Gannon, it can't be pirated here owing to some corny copyright law.