This month’s update comes from Minnesota, where elk are being born in heavy rains and cool temperatures. May was graduation month for many, and ALO took part in a few. First was Sarah, who received her PHD from University of Montana. Several past and present Bethelites made their way to the party, including Bob and Mary Rearden, Rich and Jen Gannon, Mike and Jill Hoffman (in Missoula for Jamie’s graduation), and Mike and Christy Nerby. The graduation was big news, but Sarah and Ben saved the even bigger news for a bit, announcing a plan to get married a few days later. This comes after years of denial that such an event was even possible. Date, location and dowry amount have not been determined. 10 adult elk is the suggested amount.
Bethel high school graduation was next, with too many parties to count. One group of graduates celebrated with a trip to Hawaii. Another, dog racer Jessica Klejka, didn’t make Hawaii but instead started a job toting tourists by dog sled on the glacier above Juneau. The dog tour industry generates big money, and Jessica will be making a bundle while living free on the mountain. Meanwhile, the OFDF dogs are on lease to a Skagway tour outfit where they will pull carts 5 times a day for one mile.
One final graduation note, a second Andy Angstman graduated from Princeton High School in Minnesota. Bethel’s Andy Angstman was in Minnesota for a college reunion and attended with his parents as cousin Andy celebrated. Angstmans have been graduating from PHS for over 100 years now.
In legal news, Matt settled two claims before trial. One was a Bethel car accident case which settled for $27,500 for a man driving a cab which was struck by another car. Matt also settled a medical malpractice case for $50,000, which involved a delayed diagnosis of appendicitis for a Teller man.
Matt had a tough civil trial in Bethel. He represented the City of Chevak in a case brought by a child who injured himself on a city playground which had been donated by the local school. Chevak had no insurance, and attempted to defend itself without an attorney at the outset, answering the lawsuit by admitting responsibility for the accident, but pointing out that the city was without funds to pay anything. The case went forward anyway, our office became involved and the jury awarded $40,000 to the child. In its answer, Chevak mentioned bankruptcy was an option, and that still is the case. Many communities in rural Alaska cannot afford insurance, attorneys, or civil judgements. For some, the option of simply going out of business is becoming more appealing right along.
ALO also was involved in a settlement of a slip and fall case from a Bethel area village. Regular readers of this report know that this office has complained about some settlements made by clients in cases ALO was prepared to defend. This was another such case. The claimant fell on a step that contained, at most, a half inch of snow. She complains now of a sore back, a complaint she had for years before the recent fall. Her medical records reveal substantial suspected abuse of pain medication before and after the fall. No one observed the fall. The insurance company paid $30,000 to settle.
The biggest news in criminal law grows out of the Kuskokwim 300. Earlier it was noted that Myron was the acting K300 race manager after the previous manager was fired. In May the former manager Staci Gillilan was charged with felony theft. (Listen to the APRN Story here) That case is now pending in Bethel. She is represented by the law firm of Power Brown. Some readers of this page will note a certain irony in that.
Finally, at the elk farm.