Winter doldrums plague much of the cold weather parts of America but they never seem to reach ALO. This month's news includes the first part of March to take in the Iditarod. ALO has been busy during the race, doing two daily reports for the John Baker website, plus watching the race tracker, and practicing law.
Just to prove there was legal work done, this law suit was filed after a fall boating accident on Lake Aleknagik near Dillingham. ALO represents the family of one boat driver who was struck in the back of the head by a jet boat. The driver, a nearby lodge owner who lives in Hawaii, has decided not to open his lodge this year. ALO also settled a couple of civil suits involving car accidents. Two clients were injured when another car forced them off the road in Bethel. Their car struck a pole on the side of the road and was totaled. The other accident was an Anchorage intersection crash where the ALO client was struck by a car running a red light.
This article about House Bill 77 was printed in both Delta Discovery and Alaska Dispatch. It generated quite a bit of comment, mostly in opposition to the dam. The word making its way around is that the proponents of the dam have dropped their quest to spend the rest of the $10 million that was allocated for the study. If so maybe they could explain what they accomplished with the several million already spent which could have been used productively.
Now to the Iditarod. It has been quite a race. Tough trail conditions were the main feature, but lets start at the beginning. This year's pre-race banquet in Anchorage featured a number of political figures, including 4 Alaska governors. When introduced they received a smattering of applause. Who would have guessed a bunch of race fans would not want to hear political speeches? While they spoke, folks sat chatting at their tables and no one heard a word they said. Then the big sponsors got to speak and no one heard a word they said either. Finally one musher texted his buddy who was emcee and said to "cut the BS" and they finally started the real show featuring the mushers. One other Iditarod flub deserves mention. The race manages to pull of a tremendous logistics feat putting on their event, but they sure need a new PA announcer at the starting line. Every year they find some guy with a smooth voice and no clue who butchers names and places like he comes from some other state. A couple of examples, Kayser for Kaiser, and Coatsabue for Kotzebue.
Sarah Palin's appearance at the banquet gave folks a chance to see her new appearance. Somewhere along the line she decided she need to lose weight. An ALO investigator snapped this photo of the result.
Her appearance was a reminder that ALO readers have not been kept up to date on her activities. A while ago she appeared on the Today show to explain her position on health care. Her response, quoted verbatim here should clear up any confusion about that issue.
Palin's camo pants drew quite a bit of attention as well, but not as much as this camo outfit. Speaking of pants, these were made specially by Beth Rearden for her brother Don.
Alaska has a lack of snow this year, but not so the Elk Farm.
The tough Minnesota winter has resulted in a bunch of birds seeking food and open water near the power plant outflow on the Mississippi River at Monticello.
Alert ALO news reader Jane Hanson captured that video. Some wag described these two Bethel basketball announcers as "elders".
This video has been seen by many Alaskans but other readers may enjoy watching as a team descends the Dalziel Gorge in Rainy Pass on the Iditarod.
Later someone who went down this year said the video leaves out the scary parts. For contrast, here is a sprint team starting a race.
Trot is a near 13 year old lead dog who resides at the dog farm. She has raced the Iditarod, Kuskokwim 300 and a bunch of other races. Her most recent challenge was a bit different. A guy from out of state called to ask if he could use a dog to help him propose to his Bethel girlfriend. Apparently one of the local doctors is a big dog race fan, and her boyfriend who was coming to Bethel to propose thought he would have a better chance if he brought along a sled dog. Trot was selected for the job, and it worked.
Finally, a short story that was censored from the Baker Blog. In that blog, there was a brief discussion of the hospitality shown by the checkpoint at Takotna, a small mining village in the middle of nowhere. Today the population is about 35, and in early Iditarod years it topped at about 70. Lately the food spread for racers in that small village has been noteworthy. Back in the day, the checkpoint was at the local tavern, now closed. It was a classic gold rush era tavern with about 6 seats at the bar and a big back room for tables, dancing and card playing. In 1979 the bar offered a guitar player, bologna sandwiches made to order, and one free beer for each racer. At thirty below, it was hard to leave at about 2 am.
The censored part of the Takotna story involved another year when a special guest bartender showed up from Anchorage. Obviously a race fan, this lady tended bar for long hours, perhaps as a volunteer. It became quickly known that for a fee she would flash the patrons at the bar. The rate was $1 per side, or $2 for a double flash(racers got one free flash). ALO was represented at the tavern that year by a couple of its lawyers. Doug (not his real name of course) alerted his boss (also not his real name) that there was a special treat in the bar. The rules were explained and the boss plopped $2 on the bar along with the price of two beers. The show was immediate and brief. Later Doug, who was always careful with his money, bought another round of beers but paid only $1 for the show. He explained it was senseless to pay $2 because they looked pretty much the same.