With the fall visit to the Elk Farm complete, actual winter awaited in Bethel. That prospect was short lived though as rain fell across the state at the end of November turning the white to brown in time for the Angstman arrival at Thanksgiving. The rain eventually turned to snow and winter activities are now underway. The Dog Farm racing team is training two hours across the tundra, and Victoria Hardwick has entered the team in the Kuskokwim 300. The pressing issue now is mushing gear. The current cold weather outfit is about 10 years old, and fairly ragged. The previous one also lasted about 10 years. Can a 68 year old justify the expense of a new set of gear? Actually the current gear looks to be in better shape than the guy wearing it. Maybe a couple more patches are in order.
One civil case was settled in November, a serious car accident in Kotzebue. A drunk driver backed over ALO's client on the beach in front of Kotzebue during a party as she sat by a bonfire. The insurance company agreed to pay policy limits for the injuries suffered, and later paid a second policy limit after being persuaded that there were actually two incidents, because after the driver backed over the victim, he actually pulled forward and ran over her a second time.
ALO clients are scattered all over the state of Alaska, but this photo shows one of the most remote.
Mark Schwantes has a claim against a barge company for running over his net while he was fishing in Nushagak Bay near Dillingham. Mark is winter caretaker for a lodge in the wilderness near the Angstman cabin, about 75 miles north of Dillingham. He testified for an hour at his trial by satellite phone from the lodge. He had to stand outside to get reception, and it was snowing. He lives there alone and sometimes travels by snow machine to the Angstman cabin for an outing.
This video made the news in Alaska during November. It shows a new ALO client being tasered in the Sitka jail. The video has inspired a lot of comment around the state and beyond. Noteworthy is the fact that the young man under arrest for underage drinking was already in a cell, and all the officers had to do was walk out and lock the cell if they felt threatened. ALO is pursuing a civil claim against the officers for their conduct. Videotaped police conduct has become commonplace in recent years, and it acts as both a defensive tool for police to reveal that they did the correct thing, or an embarrassment to the police when they do the wrong thing. One thing is for sure, all officers should expect to be on video tape at all times, because even if their camera is not on, someone else's probably is.
The Princeton High School class of 1965 reunion held recently inspired memories of a major legal event from that era. Classmate Jensine Peterson Turner was kind enough to provide her recollections from the great Santiago bank robbery. Santiago at the time was a small farming community west of Princeton with a few stores and a bank, where Jensine worked. The Tolmie brothers, including Jerry, who was also a classmate, decided to rob the bank.
They came in with stockings over their faces and stole a few thousand dollars. During the robbery, Jensine hid under her desk. No one recognized the robbers, but the bank employees saw them escape in a pink and black Plymouth, headed toward Princeton which is 15 miles away. The robbers pulled into Princeton where lawmen awaited, including long time Chief of Police Tex McDonald. Legend has it that Tex flagged down the getaway car at the main corner in Princeton, but a news account that ran with this photo suggests one of the other officers did the honors, and Tex grabbed the money from the back of the car.
The legend also was that Jensine recognized the robbers from school but she says that didn't happen. After the heist, Jensine posed under her desk for a news photo.
She reports that Jerry has turned his life around after a stint in jail, but he didn't make it to the reunion. This Minnesota Supreme Court opinion regarding the case is worth reading if you want the straight story. The named defendant in the article was the third member of the unsuccessful crew.
Greg Lincoln continues to astound folks with his nighttime photos around Bethel.
Here is a drone video from Victor Bee that captures Bethel at its best.
Here is a link to a Facebook posting about the school fire that happened recently in Bethel. Kilbuck school played a major role in the Bethel community for a long time. Nightly walks past the remnants of the school are haunting.
This month's mandatory moose was posted by Summit Lake Lodge. No word on whether the moose or the wolf won this contest.
Political pundits are out in full force a year before the Presidential election. They sound like they are well versed, and speak with a certainty that almost suggests they should be believed. But just in case you are tempted to believe them, check these quotes from pundits in the past, both conservative and liberal. And remember many of those folks are paid millions for their brilliant comments.