November news comes to you from a jet returning to Alaska from the Elk Farm. In a switch, November on the farm was colder than Bethel. Snow came early, and stayed, meaning the golf cart was parked in favor of a snow machine. Bird and animal behavior changed overnight, and the fireplace was kept hot with the abundant oak and birch found on the farm.
While most legal work from the farm is done by email and phone, one case was done in person right in Minnesota. A deposition was held in Elk River, in a case arising out of Aspen, Colorado. Myron has become involved in the case as an expert witness on the subject matter of dog mushing. The case involves an accident at a dog tour operation that attracts customers from the many tourists at the Aspen Ski area. After submitting an opinion on the factors involved in the accident, the lawyer for the tour operator wanted to ask questions under oath to find out the basis for the opinions expressed. Depositions are nothing new at ALO, but that marks the second time in two months where instead of asking the questions, Myron was answering them.
This case had a special twist. The lady doing the questioning explained that she had read all of the ALO monthly news reports in preparation for the deposition. As an attorney paid by the hour for her work, that likely makes her the first person in history to get paid to read this stuff. She says she was entertained by the News, but one wonders how entertaining it would have been without being compensated for her time. Actually she was not the first person on the opposite side of a case to suggest some knowledge of information from this site, but she was certainly the first to suggest she sat down and read it all.
Former ALO employee Jane Imholte now lives and works In Minneapolis. An annual visit with her is always enlightening. Jane has a serious case load in the Minneapolis criminal courts, and one of her recent cases warrants a mention. She appeared in court one day for a hearing involving a man out on bail. Her client didn't appear for the hearing, which sometimes can be explained by circumstances that a judge will accept without penalty. This time was different. It was later learned that Jane's client was charged with a homicide which was alleged to have happened the day of the court hearing. That explanation is not likely to make any judge happy.
Casie Stockdale used to help with the dogs at the Dog Farm. Now she lives in a subdivision on the western outskirts of Bethel where she keeps her own team of dogs. She posted these wonderful photos of her area of town.
In the nice photo department, NASA gets credit for this shot of the northern lights that is spectacular.
In the animal department, this mandatory moose photo deserves a look.
Moose in Anchorage have a demeanor of total indifference to human activity. Many Anchorage residents barely notice the moose, but there are also many who enjoy sharing their city with these huge critters. There is a section of the Anchorage paper devoted to reader submitted moose photos, and there is never a shortage of material found there. This deer, videoed during the season in the daylight near the cabin, has to be one of the fattest wild deer ever.
As a long time fan of the Minnesota Gophers (over 60 years) it was fun to have a respectable football season after many years of less favorable results. One of the highlights of the stay in Minnesota was attending the indoor concert of the U of M Marching Band. At that event they rolled out two of the traveling trophies Minnesota won this year to a standing ovation, and they allowed an old fan a chance to have a photo taken with them.
Cheering for a team that wins every year is too easy. Proof of that is the number of so called fans who abandon their favorite team if they start losing. None of that is allowed at ALO.
Occasionally a story from the early history of ALO makes it on this page, always without names or other means of identification to protect the innocent and the guilty. This story is one of the classics from about 25 years ago. It seems the police were called to a home by neighbors who reported a party that had been going on all night with a concern that young children might be present. The police responded, and after talking with the neighbors went to the house. After long knocking and no response, they entered to find three people. The first, a man, was laying in the middle of the main room, and when they checked him it was apparent he was deceased. They next went to a nearby bed, where a man and woman lay entwined in deep slumber. The police managed to awaken the intoxicated woman after some effort, and asked her if she knew anything about the deceased man on the floor. She looked over her shoulder at the body and declared "that's my husband", whereupon she promptly fell back asleep.
Finally another visit to the alarming topic of climate change. Arriving back in Bethel today to a scene much like October of course does not prove anything, because what is seen out the window is weather. But Alaska has seem dramatic changes for many years that have already altered the terrain and threaten to do much more in the future. Scientists have discovered that the affects of climate change are more dramatic near the poles, for reasons they are well able to explain, which leads to the main point of this discussion. Climate deniers, a shrinking group of folks in the world, like to point to a scientific study that refutes global warming. Such studies do exist, but here are the objective numbers about scientific reports on the subject.
There will always be deniers. But a look at those numbers should convince all but the folks who don't trust science at all, the same kind of folks who refused to believe the earth was round, that it is billions of years old, and that evolution has shaped life on this planet. There are still folks that don't believe man has ever walked on the moon. Gradually conservatives are coming around however.
Here is a recent one, known to many in Minnesota. Who are the strong voices in denial? Right wing pundits, who have the task of keeping an audience and accomplish that by preaching to the choir. The likes of Rush Limbaugh and the Fox news commentators are not scientists, but are paid millions to say what their audience wants to hear. Even though none of them are scientists, people believe their take on global warming like they actually have science on their side. The stakes in this issue are high. There are too many people on earth to sustain even if things went well for the next hundred years. If the water, air, and temperatures change dramatically, most children born now will not have a pleasant life. The USA is a stronghold for deniers in a world increasingly concerned about this issue. And that is embarrassing. For those keeping track, 2014 has already been named, by scientists, as likely to be the hottest on record, based on figures through October.