The first month of visits to the Angstman cabin reminds a person how much a stay in the Alaska wilderness can improve one's state of mind even in the face of unsettled things elsewhere. This year's first month featured some outstanding fishing, great wild flowers and wonderful scenery . There was even a curious black bear. But nothing really matches the solitude of the cabin, located 15 miles from the nearest occupied dwelling. Here is a short video of the flight back from the cabin, taken by Matt Scott.
The law office was lively lately, with two settlements of note. One case involved a dispute in Kotzebue, where a group of folks made off with the assets of a fish organization and used those assets to start their own fish organization. It took a while to sort out but eventually they were forced to pony up most of what they took. ALO also settled a serious car crash which happened on the Kuskokwim River ice road near the village of Akiachak. Two vehicles met head on, and the four ALO clients in one vehicle resolved their claim against the other driver in a package settlement.
Sarah and Ben had their annual anniversary party July 3rd, and their invitation caused some chuckles.
Sarah of course has an elderly Dachshound which rules her house. At the party, this group was forced to have a picture taken. ALO has sponsored free swimming for kids at the local pool for a couple of years. For a while not enough kids were showing up, but on a recent Saturday 117 took part. Money well spent. Former ALO clients Nils Hahn and Diana Haecker have moved up in the news world. After many years of working for the Nome Nugget newspaper, they have purchased the business from the estate of the former owner. It has been the best weekly paper around for some time and is likely to get better with them in charge. They also purchased Mushing Magazine, and will attempt to revive that publication. Once a must read for dog race supporters, the magazine had fallen on hard times with an inconsistent schedule. Having paid subscribers and then missing a few scheduled publishing dates is not a recipe for success for a magazine. That will change.
Speaking of dog racing, change is underway for the Iditarod. The race recently reduced team size from 16 to 14, a welcome change for a host of reasons. The Kuskokwim 300 went from 14 to 12 dogs a few years ago and that has been a positive change resulting in less dropped dogs, freight costs, food, and vet care to name a few improvements. Other changes with the Iditarod are less certain to improve the race. People closely involved with racers have been eliminated from the board, and sponsors will have much greater control of race decisions. A conduct rule was passed which makes it possible for racers to be disciplined for misdeeds of people affiliated with them. That sounds like a legal problem. Racers elected Andy Angstman as their representative on the board, but that is a non-voting position. Iditarod faces a host of challenges going forward and solutions might prove elusive.
The Iditarod is not organized as a democracy but this quote seems timely for a lot of reasons. An early American offered the following: Ben Franklin: "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
Seth Kantner of the Kotzebue area makes this page when he writes something well, which is every time he writes. This recent article is featured here because it says the same thing that the ALO news tries to say only Seth says it better. Speaking of nature, here are some predators at work. One is a panther on the prowl in Florida. Another is a bear-eagle contest in Western Alaska. Finally, a wolf and a wolverine in Denali Park. Here is this month's mandatory moose . That's not all for animals. This video is in honor of an elderly Bethel attorney who is sometimes referred to as an old jackass. It proves that even a jackass can figure out a way to get the job done sometimes.
Bev Hoffman stories are a favorite at ALO. Most of them are old and have been told many times, too many times according to Bev. A new one has emerged, worthy of publication. Bev's family was traveling the road system and made their way to Homer where they were having dinner at a local restaurant. There was a piano player entertaining the guests, a lady named Sunrise Kilcher. The Kilcher family has been made famous by the TV series Alaska: The Last Frontier, which is filmed on the outskirts of Homer at the Kilcher homestead. The family has many musicians, the most famous of which is Jewel who is a national recording artist. Bev's family enjoyed the piano music, and then made their way to the door. All except Bev. She made her way to the piano bench where she cozied up to Sunrise. Daughter Casey was outside with Bev's husband John and they wondered where Bev was. Casey went to check. "She's singing with the piano player" was her stunned response. Casey snapped this picture for proof, and of course was asked why she didn't get a video with sound on her fancy phone. She said she was too busy to get a recording, helping her father get over his humiliation.
For those who don't know Bev, she has a great voice, just not for singing. Its well suited for getting kids out of bed in the morning, calling a meeting to order, or coercing folks to buy a raffle ticket. Bev often leads the Hoffman family singers in their famous rendition of Happy Birthday which has been known to make young children cry and pet dogs cower. ALO has reached out to the Kilcher family to see if they have made room for Bev on the show. Stay tuned.