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  • Writer's pictureMyron

March 2022

The finish of the Iditarod was discussed in last month’s ALO news, but the aftermath of the race was especially interesting this year, requiring more comment. Several racers took to social media to recount their experiences in the race, focusing mainly on the wild winds that hit the coast in the last part of the race. Many followers of this page are race fans, and not all of these stories were widely circulated. Of course champion Brent Sass had a good story, and a great video, of his trip along the coast - "Wind almost derailed Brent Sass’s first Iditarod victory. Here’s what happened."

A rookie musher named KattiJo Deeter had a rough time in the same area later in the race and wrote a “chilling” account of it. She is from northwestern Wisconsin and has a college degree in therapeutic recreation. You can decide if her experience on the trail was therapeutic - "Iditarod 2022: Trapped in the Topkok Hills."

Here is an interesting story about Native mushers in the Iditarod - "A sled dog, without him, we would not have survived." In the 50th Iditarod, Alaska Native mushers confront the past - and a cultural divide. Note the picture of the Ivan brothers from the Bethel area.

Robert and Owen Ivan, two Yup'ik brothers from Akiak, Alaska departing Anchorage at the start of the first Iditarod in 1973 when they ran together as a team. Anchorage Daily News

In the first Iditarod, it was possible to take two racers with one team, and they made it all the way to Nome sharing a sled. Wonder if they had any arguments? A memory from a Bethel kids race in the ‘80s might be telling. The rules for that thirty mile race allowed two kids per sled. During the middle of the race several race followers on snowmachines came upon cousins Gundo Hoffman and Chris Dahl fighting alongside their parked sled. Apparently there was a dispute about which cousin should be riding in the sled basket and which one should be driving the sled. A final look at this year's Iditarod is shared in this photo from Iditarod photographer Jeff Schultz, taken along the coast near Unalakleet.

ALO Update

As the Iditarod wrapped up, legal work continued. ALO filed an interesting case in Bethel against the local police. A cryptic call came into the station and their equipment identified the location where the call originated. Officers were dispatched. Upon arrival at the house, contact was made with a man who was inside. The police dispatcher notified the officers that the man was not supposed to be residing in the home based on a court order from a pending misdemeanor case. That information was incorrect and the correct information was not located until after the police made their arrest. During the discussion that followed, the ALO client advised the police that he had paperwork inside that would prove to the officers that the court order had been changed. He was placed under arrest and not allowed to retrieve the papers, and put in handcuffs. He was barefoot at the time and was told to put his shoes on, but instead he continued to inform the police that he should not be arrested because of the new order that was stored across the room. The police ignored that information and took the handcuffed man outside in below zero temps to the police car. Unfortunately the rear police car doors were frozen shut, and a second car was summoned to take the suspect to the jail. One officer remained outside with the suspect, while the other stayed in the warm house. The suspect shifted from one foot to the other for 15-20 minutes and froze his feet. Much of the event is videotaped or recorded. It is worth noting that the police took the shoes with them to the jail, where they were told the suspect would not be accepted into custody until his obviously frozen feet were treated at the hospital. The officers were told at that time to put the shoes on the suspect before taking him back out to the car, which they did. The attached story from the local radio station is worth reading - "A Bethel man says police made him stand outside barefoot during an arrest last winter. Now he's suing the city" (KYUK)

This photo describes an interesting legal matter from 1905.

Apparently the gold rush town of Flat, Alaska was the closest courthouse for major crime back then, and there weren’t many ways to get there. In the winter it was by dog team, and the summer by steam boat up the Yukon, Innoko, and Iditarod rivers. It must have been a several week ordeal for these witnesses. Note that these folks dressed better than some of the lawyers who later appeared in Bethel court. The caption suggests that judges did not always allow Native people to testify in court. That’s because they were not considered citizens until 1924. That fact should be repeated. Native Americans were not considered American citizens, and because of that, they were not usually allowed to even testify in court. The idea that Natives could actually obtain justice for themselves in court was out of the question. With mostly Native clients since 1974, perhaps ALO has played a small part in reversing that sad situation.

A final legal note. The Senate hearing on new Justice Jackson was disgusting. US Senators who should know better attacked her for advocating as an appointed attorney for undesirable folks who are guaranteed counsel by decisions of the very court where she will serve. The partisan nature of Supreme Court picks reached its current level when Senator McConnell refused to conduct hearings on Obama's pick in the last year of his term. At the time, folks said that would cement partisanship in all future Supreme Court appointments, and they were right. The system is broken, and no fix appears possible.

Mandatory Moose

This month’s Mandatory Moose casually watched a number of dog walkers pass on this trail in Conner’s Bog, the Anchorage dog park.

The moose in the park tend to ignore dogs and people but have occasionally given a little chase to a dog or two. Jack had one chase him for about 10 feet and now keeps his distance. He also keeps his distance from Fred, this odd looking creature that resides in the yard at Tailwind Kennels, where Sam Brewer and Jessica Klejka run a bit of a zoo.

The only other critter this month is this Boreal owl photographed right at dinner time by Dave Cannon, a superb photographer in Aniak.

Rookie Snow Birds & Hot Tips

The Angstmans spent a few days pretending to be Snow Birds in Arizona at the home of Jeff and Meilan Haehn of Princeton. Lonn and Jane Hanson were there also, making six players for a Haehn card game known locally as Oh Hell. Other more refined players call it Oh Well. Rookies of course had a hard time learning the Haehn rules which seemed to mysteriously change depending on the circumstance, but in the end, imagine the sheer joy of winning this award as champion of the several day event.

Speaking of Meilan, she sent this ancient manuscript that clearly demonstrates what is meant when folks say Make America Great Again. This is from a Home Economics textbook in the 1950s.

Granddaughter Mary doesn’t seem to have taken that class yet. She was named Student of the Month at Mt. Edgecumbe High School and was featured in several publications. She is getting all A’s in class. On the right below she is netting salmon at a hatchery where she is a weekend intern.

Meanwhile her mom posted this old photo of an Easter egg hunt, Bethel style.

This month's cartoon should not need any explanation.

Let’s Get the Hell Out of Here!

This article is from the Princeton paper in 1963. It was quite a night. When the pair were found early Sunday morning, it was assumed there was another full day of hunting for the rest of the crew. But no, in true Angstman brother form, their first thought upon returning to camp was “Let’s get to hell out of here.”

Kuskokwim 300 racers are given free hats when they come to Bethel to race. They are encouraged to wear them at other races to promote what for many is their favorite race. Lev Schvarts followed that advice in this year's Iditarod, crossing the finish line in Nome wearing his K300 hat, and proudly sending it for publication.

And finally this month, 3-year-old Ada painted these wildflowers with watercolors.


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