The long delayed result of a major trial held in Bethel Superior Court highlights the September news. The Hooper Bay taser case has been discussed here before, after an earlier ruling ending the case was appealed to the Supreme Court. The case was returned to the lower court with specific instructions on how the court must decide the issue of police immunity. After the jury found against the police, the court once again ruled the officers were immune from liability, and overturned the verdict. Additionally, the court ruled that because of significant errors made during the trial, the damage award was overturned as well. Basically the court ruled that the officers involved were justified in using a taser multiple times because of the conduct of the person tased. Evidence at trial showed that the plaintiff resisted and fought throughout the incident until the final tasing when he complied with the officers. Hooper Bay police officers are not armed, and tasers can be used to gain compliance whenever officers are met with force. Avid legal readers can study the court's ruling here.
Another Hooper Bay case also resulted in a positive ruling for ALO. The school fire case went to trial last winter, and resulted in a zero verdict for the families who lost their homes in the fire, started by children playing under the school. The families asked for a new trial, but filed their request many months too late, and their request was tossed out by another Superior Court Judge. This decision was short, but worth reading.
ALO settled a claim against the City of Bethel for a boat accident in the small boat harbor. Shortly after break up a boat hit a large metal object lurking right below the surface of the water, damaging the boat and a passenger's face. The city charges for the use of the harbor, and therefore must keep the waterways safe for boat traffic.
While its not technically a legal matter, the best advocacy story for September involved Sunset, the ten year old niece living with David and Dolly who spends most of her after school time at ALO. Sunset was concerned that some kids were ordered off the school bus because of passenger limits. She knew that school Supt. Gary Baldwin lived right down the street from her, so she walked over and knocked on his door one evening. When he opened the door Sunset announced that she had a complaint, whereupon she was invited in to deliver it. Gary hears lots of complaints in a day's work, but said this was the cutest he'd seen in a while. He promised to take action.
Speaking of Sunset, she designed this after school one day.
Bears top the wildlife news for September. This big guy wandered up to the Angstman cabin while Steve Olive and Myron were filling the brown gas can.
Tanner barked, and when the humans looked he was located between the four wheeler and the bear. He came when called and everyone retreated to the cabin to take pictures. After nibbling on the aluminum boat, the bear departed up the beach. Old time bear watchers claim he is a large specimen.
Polar bears are having a hard time finding food in northern Alaska, so this whale carcass near Kaktovic attracted a crowd.
Meanwhile, on the elk farm, these four black bear cubs all made it into one shot, bearly.
The mandatory moose shot for September is a moose of a different color.
September rains have raised water levels over much of Alaska. This picture shows a spawning salmon who is in the wrong lane in the Matsu Valley. Luke and Amy Vanasse have twins, and they sometimes visit Ben and Sarah and their wonderful dog Charley.
Instead of intervening, a proud parent snapped this photo of one of the twins so that it could make the ALO news.
Speaking of proud parents, do you suppose this guy's mother likes this photo of her son?
The picture was snapped in Anchorage court recently, and he might have a hard time getting a fair trial. Some have suggested ALO should find a place for him on the staff after he sorts out his legal problems.
Politics will conclude this month's news. Mitt Romney's famous 47% video brings back a memory from five years ago when Mitt was in the early stages of his previous try at President. He was at the Goodnews River Lodge when Andy and Myron arrived to fish silvers. The host, Mike Gorton, mentioned that Mitt was giving a talk about taxes in the dining room, and we were welcome to listen in. That kind offer was declined, after a quick glance at the crowd revealed a bunch of fishermen who would have preferred a talk about anything other than taxation. Another missed chance. A well placed video camera would have likely produced some interesting comments in that remote location where potential donors were assembled. Later, ALO was asked to provide a float plane trip for Mitt, but that plan was nixed at the last minute. One observation lingers: Mitt Romney did not seem very comfortable in a fish camp setting where people were relaxing and having fun. When approached for introductions, a handshake, and small talk, he was stiff as a board. Readers of this page have noted that conservative leaders get scant attention in the monthly news. To remain a fair and balanced site, it seems only appropriate to present a short summary of thoughts from some of America's best known conservatives. It's only a couple of minutes, and it tells an important story.
Don't miss John McDonald's photos from his visit to the cabin in September. (Click through the slideshow below).