The March edition of ALO news comes to you from the Elk Farm in Minnesota. This is the first visit since the fall of 2019, and there are changes of course. Foremost among the changes is the lack of elk. They were sold at the end of 2019, and the entire elk enclosure was removed thereafter. The elk were here for about 25 years, and were visible every time driving in an out of the property. They were fun to watch, and even casual visitors miss seeing them. Now instead of elk, the newest project at the farm is establishing game fish in the pond system. One of the components of that system is a windmill that drives an aerator installed near the deepest of several connected ponds that are stocked with sunfish, perch and bass. Stay tuned for progress reports on that project.
The big news in Minnesota is of course police shootings. Having handled a fair number of excessive force cases involving police and jail personnel, it is good to remember that many such cases don’t turn out the way one might expect. One of the reasons for that is the historic tendency for police and jail officers to stick together when one of their own is accused of wrongdoing. The era of widespread video has changed that, and now many cases are not decided based on witness testimony but instead on video evidence. But of course there still are interpretations of the video which can vary widely. But based on extensive experience with these kind of cases, both Minnesota shootings in the news represent poor police conduct and should result in convictions.
From the ALO Case File Vault
Speaking of convictions, a case from the early ALO files that didn’t result in a guilty verdict is worthy of review. Southwest Alaska is home to a small herd of muskox, an animal that disappeared from America over a 100 years ago but has been reintroduced to Alaska from remnant populations in other Arctic areas. After some success in growing the herd, Alaska opened a hunting season in the 1980's for local subsistence users on Nunivak Island west of Bethel and for a very small group of permit sport hunters as well. One such permit hunter, a wealthy contractor from Anchorage, was unsuccessful harvesting a muskox during a guided hunt with a Nunivak local and returned to Anchorage. His guide felt bad about that hunt, and a while later the guide spotted a bull muskox on a chunk of ice a few miles off the coast of Nunivak Island, and decided to harvest the animal on the theory that the animal was doomed floating on a small piece of ice in the Bering Sea. Word got around the village about the harvest, and the game warden was notified. By the time the game warden arrived to investigate, the guide, a Yupik Eskimo with a permit issued by the State of Alaska, had distributed the meat around the village and sent the head, horns and hide to his friend who had failed to harvest an animal during the guided hunt.
The guide explained that his harvest was the only humane thing to do considering the likely fate of the animal on the ice, but the game warden was not persuaded and charged him with illegal harvest, which had the potential to be a significant charge because of the tightly regulated muskox permit system. That’s where ALO entered the picture.
The game warden learned that the valuable head and hide had been shipped via air freight from Nunivak through Bethel to Anchorage, in care of the contractor. A search was conducted but it was soon learned that the package had disappeared en route, sometime after it had arrived in Bethel, and shortly after the initial interview took place at Nunivak Island. It was the state’s position that the contractor, who often shipped large quantities of air freight, was able to convince his contacts in the air freight industry to help ensure that the freight became lost to avoid a forfeiture. That theory was never proven and the freight was never accounted for. Meanwhile, the guide was facing a trial in Bethel. Early on, the judge ruled that there was no such thing as a legal humanitarian harvest of a game animal, and therefore that defense was not available to the guide. Things looked a little grim, because he had admitted to all the facts needed to convict him. But wait, there has to be a way. During the trial, it became apparent that the evidence showed the harvest of the animal had happened several miles off the coast of Nunivak Island, and a bit of research established that the state’s jurisdiction did not extend that far. A motion was made to dismiss the case mid trial, and the judge bought the argument. Several angry state employees stomped out of the courtroom, and the guide returned to his island home very happy.
Mandatory Moose & Other Creatures
This month’s Mandatory Moose might worry the occupants below.
These bears prove that raising youngsters can be challenging at times.
Mark Schwantes posted this video of the Alaska state bird, the ptarmigan.
His brother David posted this shot from the mountain across the lake from the Angstman cabin which is noted with an arrow.
Greg Lincoln posted this video of driving during a recent Bethel storm.
And this video of baby goats being fed sort of wins the prize.
Cartoons are still better than the evening news. Charging cords are a pet peeve at ALO. Why can’t there be one universal cord link?
And LaMont Albertson always comes through with a good one.
This video is the front yard at the farm cabin
Also at the farm, a game camera snapped this photo of a welcome visitor.
Voting rights are in the news. Various states are passing laws to restrict voting rights in an effort to reverse a trend that shows increased participation by non-white groups. This blatantly undemocratic effort derives from the false premise that the recent presidential election was stolen from Trump. If anyone needs assurance that the voter fraud argument is false, look no further than Sidney Powell, a lawyer who engaged in several lawsuits after the election to set aside the results on behalf of Trump. She was a frequent visitor to the White House, and was considered by Trump as a potential independent prosecutor to investigate voter fraud. She has since been sued, along with others, for false statements made about voting machine companies. Her lawyer in that case filed a court document that should end the discussion about voter fraud immediately. Her lawyer states in court filed papers that “No reasonable person would conclude that the statements made were truly statements of fact.” In other words, her lawyer told the judge that she was obviously making stuff up, and shouldn’t be held responsible for the damage done by her comments. That is a novel argument to make for a client, but not likely to get far. Powell and others, including Fox News and some of its stars, will be owing money, and it might be a lot of money. The stolen election claim has already been tested in over 100 lawsuits, and all have failed. But even today people are harping about that subject, including Trump, who is likely to be brought into these suits eventually.
A Refreshing National Leader
Finally, read this article about Angela Merkel. Talk about a refreshing national leader.