June was one of the busiest months for civil settlements in ALO history. There is no explanation for why, but these things run in cycles. This rush of settlements is good news for ALO and its clients, but bad news for the fish swimming in the lake in front of the Angstman cabin.
The largest settlement was a claim against a foster parent selected by the State of Alaska. ALO alleged that the foster parent negligently caused the death of an infant placed in her care by the state. Under Alaska law, the state can be held responsible for such claims. This was a strong claim, and the state chose to settle early rather than risk a jury trial in Bethel.
The state also settled a claim against a trooper and two city officers in Dillingham. The officers responded aggressively when ALO's client started videotaping an incident at the Dillingham airport when a family member was being detained on suspicion of drug possession, a claim which proved to be false. The trooper grabbed the camera, and a struggle ensued. The client was arrested for the struggle, but that claim was also dismissed. Much of the event was on video, which revealed that the officer was clearly the aggressor in the struggle. When are officers going to learn that many of their arrests made in public are going to be recorded by witnesses? This is one of the biggest changes in police work in recent years, and it appears to be a positive change, revealing that a few cops act like bullies.
ALO also settled one part of an airplane crash case which happened near Galena last year. Three passengers of the plane hired ALO after their plane ran out of gas and went down in the water. One client settled before the law suit got started, but two more are pursuing their claim.
A car crash in Bethel settled, after a rear end collision caused the driver of the stopped vehicle to suffer a broken hand. A very serious car crash in Dillingham also resulted in a settlement. ALO's client was initially charged with a felony assault for a head on crash which eventually was shown to have happened in her lane of traffic. An engineer was able to establish that the other driver was in the wrong lane, and the ALO client was compensated for serious injuries which included several leg fractures. The same engineer's report resulted in the felony charges being dropped. The driver had been drinking, but in both the criminal and civil cases, it was determined that her drinking was not a substantial factor in the accident. The final settlement was for a fall at a store in Nome. This same store was the site of a previous claim which went to trial last year. That time, ice was the cause of the fall. This time, a hand railing which was too big to grab (and thus a code violation) was the cause of the accident. ALO's elderly client was videotaped during her fall leaving little doubt that she had her hand on the rail and was being careful on the stairs. When she fell, she grabbed for the railing but her small hand couldn't grip the flat 2x4 serving as a railing.
Enough law news for this month. Current events took some unusual turns during June as well. ALO favorite Sarah Palin was dropped by Fox news. One would hope she was dropped because of the sometimes absurd comments she makes, but then several others on that network make such remarks regularly and still have a job. Fear not though as she still has enough public presence to make more goofy comments.
She has yet to comment on her daughter's latest pregnancy. Proving once again that abstinence is a poor strategy for birth control, Bristol Palin said she doesn't want to be lectured about her current situation. That seems fair, but it should also apply in the future to Bristol who has a habit of lecturing folks who have different views on social issues than she does. She and her Mama need to shut up.
Speaking of social issues, Long Pond Elk Farm is claiming a spot in the record book. The ink is not yet dry on the Supreme Court's gay marriage decision, yet the Elk Farm has already provided a quantity of elk meat as the main course for a gay wedding dinner in Montana. Make that a gay, vegan wedding. From a legal standpoint, ALO has a question about the court clerks who refuse to provide marriage permits to gay folks. What will their position be on gay divorce paperwork?
Enough about people, on to Mother Nature. This month's mandatory moose was submitted by Nils Hahn of Nome, who has publically stated his appreciation of ALO monthly news. Cousin Scott Angstman sent this picture of a critter who has apparently figured out the selfie craze.
Neighbor Collette Ackerson in Minnesota thought this raccoon was getting a little huffy.
Julia Redington sent me this wonderful baby loon shot from Knik Lake.
Here is a series of shots which might explain why a trip to the Angstman cabin is always a highlight.
The clean environment of the Alaska wilderness is an exception however. When a bunch of people gather in one place, the results are often different. Take a look at these shots from around the world, and think about the fools who say humans aren't harming our planet. No wonder the Pope is worried about the future of the human race. One of the Pope's concerns is global warming. In Alaska, the warming is having a significant impact. Lightning has started countless fires, and many are burning without attention because there are more important fires in other areas near villages and towns. 40 years ago lightning was very rare in Alaska, but now it is common place. Here is a recent shot of a heavy bolt over Bethel taken by Danielle Kannenburg.
Of course lightning comes from hot weather, and in southwest Alaska it has been hotter than Dutch Love for much of June. Mother Angstman was the source of the Dutch Love saying, and she never explained its source. It is suggested, however, that the Angstman family has a Dutch component. Occasionally old fashioned sayings like that show up in the ALO news, which possibly reveals the age of the author. Here is an interesting discussion of where some of those sayings came from.
Finally, a mention of guns. The recent shooting in a South Carolina church prompted more discussion about guns, a discussion that is going nowhere because of the incredibly strong resistance to any meaningful change to our current gun laws. Take a few minutes to listen to this Australian talk about American guns. Remember Australia had a major gun disaster, and they took dramatic steps to address the problem and have had no more major incidents. Oh, and be warned that the tape has a few choice adult words mixed in. Remember too that comedians are often the best at pinpointing human failures.