May was split between Alaska and Minnesota, a schedule change required because of the upcoming wedding for Sarah and Ben. Final preparation for that event prevented a full month stay at the farm in June. Arriving earlier at the farm provided a look at more wildlife than normal, with reproduction in full swing upon arrival May 15th. Birds were the most obvious, raising a racket day and night in the numerous wetlands around the elk farm. Numbers of all birds were up, and the loudest were the sandhill cranes of course, followed by geese, pheasants, turkeys and ducks. Land animals were also abundant, mainly deer, new arrival of the spring.
Planting wildflowers has been a several year project at the elk farm. Most of the flowers bloom in June and July and are observed by only a few people who come and go from the farm. One early blooming plant is lupine which has taken over a portion of the yard at the cabin. Lupine are favored by deer, and they were regular visitors to this patch in the evenings.
Back in Bethel, John McDonald captured this His bird tours were sold out this year. See Kuskokwim Wilderness Adventures for more pictures from those trips.
LKSD Supt. Gary Baldwin had an important chore in May. He was asked to present the diplomas for the LKSD preschool, where granddaughter Mary attended.
ALO resolved a few cases in May, including a Bethel car accident with minor injuries and an unusual case in Manakotak which involved a six year old boy who fell asleep in a school bus where he then spent the day in temps between 10 and 30 degrees until discovered in the afternoon by the bus driver. ALO also settled the second portion of a serious Anchorage case where a Grayling woman lost a finger in a traffic accident. The first part of the settlement against the liability insurer was insufficient to cover the woman's damages, so she was able to collect from the underinsured motorist coverage which her family carried on their own vehicle.
The booze issue in Bethel was recently the subject of an editorial in the Anchorage Daily News. The writer suggested Bethel should return to local option status in order to help the neighboring villages combat drinking. Myron couldn't resist the chance to send this letter to the editor. The comments section of the paper erupted. Many thought the letter seriously advocated for Anchorage to go dry, and responses were mostly irate. The comments sections of online publications are one of the most notable changes in news reporting brought on by the Internet. Anonymous posters rant at almost every article, and juicy articles often generate hundreds of comments. The content is rarely worth reading, but the tone says a lot about the type of person who has the time to carry on such a dialogue.
Former ALO employee Jane Imholte practices law in Minneapolis. She paid a visit to the farm in June and sent along this article by email. That can't possibly be a crime.
The Kuskokwim 300 lost another one of its original racers when two time champion Jerry Austin died in June. The K300 webpage noted his passing with pictures from the past.
Manager Casie Stockdale has been assembling historical information for the race on the website. One of the best old shots features race marshal Carl Kawagley pointing out a for photographer Jim Barker.