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  • Writer's pictureMyron Angstman

June 2019

A record heat wave delayed this month’s news, cause it was too damn hot.  Bethel hit 93 degrees, far above its all time high, and the cabin hit 90 which is incredible for a mountain lake.  The lack of comfort created for the humans involved is a minor inconvenience for a few days, but wildlife continues to take a more serious hit with dead fish and animals showing up around Alaska in alarming numbers.  And this is just getting started.  The pace of warming is higher in the far north,  but hot spots around the globe remind folks how some places will become unbearable in the near future.  India is a good example.  Already a hot locale, increasing temperatures are making parts of the country deadly.  Cramped housing,  little air conditioning, and a poverty stricken populace create a situation where excessive heat kills people, as described in this article. Climate issues are rapidly becoming one of the most pressing political problems in America.  That is reflected in the significant number of Republican voters who rank climate change as an important matter for government action.  That number now exceeds more than 50 percent for Republicans,  despite the fact that many party leaders still avoid the issue like the plague. That’s because they are bought off by the oil companies.  Climate events will overwhelm the diminishing number of doubters soon, but the question remains whether it will be  soon enough. Bethel has since cooled off, and the change to 55 degrees in the morning is refreshing.

Casey McDonald’s wedding was easily the highlight of the recent social scene.  She was married to Ryan Rammell and her brother Colin officiated.  He did so in an authentic looking Pope costume. His words were quite non-Pope like.  Here is the photo and transcript. Beverly forbade recording the event, and probably now regrets that move, as it was a classic.   Uncle Mike Hoffman displayed how well his knee has recovered from surgery in this clip with Sunset.

It took some coaxing to get Sunset to dance, but she actually approved of this posting, so  it must have been a good time.

In legal news, Bethel’s liquor laws are always a matter of discussion.  Right now booze can be purchased from a liquor store located near the riverfront.  As a result, there are many intoxicated folks hanging around the river bank, and several have fallen in this summer.  That often results in a drowning, cause most can’t swim.  The ones who don’t fall in make it uncomfortable for other folks who like to use the riverbank for recreation.  As a long time river walker, it was with considerable regret that a venue change was needed because of the drunks.  Most of them are harmless, but a few have looked and sounded angry, including a couple who threatened  Jack the dog.  Before anyone suggests the dog should be on a leash, let it be said that it’s the drunks who need to be tied up.  There is an argument to be made that a person has the right to get drunk and fall in the river, but there is also an argument that at some point a community can’t allow some of its citizens to completely take over an area of the town because of their unruly behavior.  This issue is certainly going to be addressed more in the near future by the city.

This month’s mandatory moose dealt with the heat wave in a creative fashion. Many folks have climbed aboard the company plane at Hangar lake.  Here’s what the lake looked like in the 1960’s  when it already was a busy float plane base before airstrips were built in area villages.   

Hangar Lake, August 10th, 1965

Long time Bethel resident Diane Carpenter has written a number of Facebook posts about her early  years in Bethel.  She arrived in the 50’s when Bethel was truly still a frontier town.  Current Bethel folks sometimes think they are really living on the edge of the world, but there really is no comparison to that early era.  Here is one of her memories. When the Angstmans arrived in 1974 the town had more in common with the Bethel Diane writes about than  the current version.  Frequent gatherings were held in various houses, and the fare was usually potluck.  There was one catch, most people didn’t have enough eating utensils for a crowd.  The solution was to bring your own and try to remember to take them home with you. Former Bethel guy Dan Boyette was especially prepared for a potluck.  He would show up with a giant  mixing bowl for a dish, and a serving spoon for silverware. Chairs were also in short supply. If anyone got up to use the honey bucket, their chair was gone in an instant.  Dan’s theory was that a big bowl would give him a better chance of holding on to a chair because he wouldn’t have to go back for seconds.  One way to get him out of the chair was to play Jay and the Americans on the stereo.  He would often stand up, find a broom and dance with the broom while crooning to himself. When the music ended, he had no chair.

Alaska budget cuts have the potential to damage the state's economy drastically. When the oil companies pushed through a tax credit bill a few years ago it was predicted that the state budget would suffer as a result. Now that has happened. A 1.2 billion dollar tax credit to the oil industry was left untouched by the legislature and governor in this year's budget mess. Meanwhile poor people, elderly and students of all ages are cut back sharply. The oil industry runs Alaska, and they are doing a poor job of it.


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