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  • Writer's pictureMyron

September 2023

The September news is brought to you from the Elk Farm in Minnesota where fall colors have just erupted. The top tree is in the front yard of the cabin, and the other shot is from a neighbor's yard across the pond looking directly at the place where the cabin is located in the woods.

Heavy rains in the past weeks have ended a long dry spell this summer, which left stunted crops and vegetation. The prairie grass, which sometimes exceeds 6 feet in height, is barely a foot in most places. However, because it is a hardy plant with deep roots, it appears to be healthy and ready to thrive in a damp year. The wildlife seems to be abundant. One big change has happened since the elk were sold and the fence taken down. The geese that used to hang out on a pond in the elk pen have moved elsewhere. As many as 300 geese used to call that pond their home, attracted by conditions that were ideal. The fence kept out most predators, and the elk usually destroyed any that managed to get in under the fence. The grass was kept short by the elk which is a defense mechanism for geese, as it allows them to see predators approaching. Now the grass is high around the edge of the pond and predators are abundant so the geese have moved elsewhere. Turkeys are now more abundant than ever, and swans appear to have taken over the pond where the geese used to be.

Princeton, Minnesota made news recently with a shooting where five police officers were wounded by a person living in a house where the cops were attempting to execute a search warrant. Apparently he shot his military style weapon through the door after learning the police were attempting to enter. That seems like a poorly devised plan because police departments usually don’t usually give up when five of them get shot by a suspect. One interesting side story from that event, the shooter’s next door neighbor happened to be a person who helps out at the Elk Farm and provides pictures for the ALO news once in a while. Skip Ackerson is quoted in this article - "Suspect in custody after 5 officers shot during gunfire exchange near Princeton, Minnesota" [StarTribune], and his unpaid attorney advised him his words may be defamatory if the guy turns out to be innocent (highly unlikely).

Tikchik Narrows Lodge is closed for the winter, occupied by a caretaker who prefers solitude. The current caretaker has been there for several winters and seems to thrive. He has a small cabin with a generator, internet, and a massive amount of food. He is provided with a boat and motor to get around the area before it freezes and a new snow machine when winter hits. Plenty of fuel is left over from the summer. It doesn’t sound bad on paper but damn it must be quiet. Here is a shot of sunset at the lodge near the end of the season.

ALO Update

ALO has managed to settle two significant injury cases in recent weeks. One involved two clients who were driving from Anchorage to Fairbanks in mid-winter late at night. They impacted something in the road and suffered serious injuries. It was later learned that some heavy chunks of steel had somehow fallen off a truck and landed in the roadway. The steel was low and dark colored and difficult to see at night. After losing part of his load, the driver continued on to his destination, left his trailer in a customer’s parking freight area, and went home without alerting anyone to the problem. His company later learned of the missing steel, which weighed well over a thousand pounds, and alerted the Alaska Troopers.

The other case involved a serious altercation which happened on the Kenai Peninsula, leaving one man seriously injured and needing surgery. It was clear that two other men had been the aggressors, and both had insurance coverage, which resulted in a substantial settlement for the victim.

Looking Back

Looking back in Bethel’s past from the perspective of 47 years of law practice, some events standout as classic. For example, there was the Bethel pilot who wrecked an uninsured airplane and was a little short of cash to rebuild it, so was forced to become creative. He devised a plan to fly to California and rent a similar airplane for a few days. After a couple of long days of flying, he called the rental company and advised that the airplane had been stolen. That statement was technically correct, but he failed to include that he was the person who stole it. He took the stolen plane to a remote location where the wrecked airplane was stored, and proceeded to rebuild his original plane using the parts from the stolen plane. He was never caught even though the folks from California looked pretty hard.

Then there was the guy who sold an unoccupied house in the Bethel subdivision. He showed the house to the prospective buyer, and at that time of showing it was equipped with a refrigerator and freezer. There was no mention of those items in the home drawn sale agreement, and when the buyers showed up to move in both appliances were long gone. Upon closer inspection it was determined the seller had also taken the toilet, leaving a gaping hole in the bathroom floor. That one worked out well for the buyers, who hired ALO to recover those items.

Another tale involved an Asian restaurant owner who needed legal help defending against a lawsuit for roughing up a customer outside the restaurant. He explained the facts and it seemed he had a viable defense, which he dutifully paid for. Civil suits take a long time, and it was several months before he was needed to answer some discovery questions. When he appeared at the office, it didn’t seem like it was the same guy, and he only had a vague knowledge of the lawsuit. He did however take the written questions with him and returned them a while later fully answered in a manner consistent with his original version of the facts. The case dragged on, and a few months later he returned to the office and once again his identity was unclear. Regardless, a settlement was reached, and the client was happy. It was only later that ALO discovered that the restaurant in question was operated by two brothers, and each spent several months managing the restaurant before swapping places with the other brother and returning to Asia. It was then learned that each went by a nickname, and it was believed by many that they used the same legal name and immigration papers while in Bethel, each spending half time in the US with those papers.

Mandatory Moose & Bears

Here is September’s mandatory moose, a large bull meeting the photographer on a trail shared by Lacee Johnson.

Fall colors in the Anchorage area are highlighted in this shot from Potter Marsh south of town.

Amy Bragg Photography

Here is what a grizzly bear looks like when sopping wet.

Kristoff Druva Photography

And here is the best buck on the farm trail cameras so far.

Attorney Josh Fitzgerald used to live in Bethel but now resides in Kodiak. Here is a video he took of two bears scrapping over a good fishing hole.

Things to Ponder

The situation in Israel is dominating the news for the moment and it has the potential to explode into a major conflict. America’s role is of course complicated but is worth comment. It’s not difficult to see why Gaza folks are prone to conflict with Israel. Gaza has been under strict blockade for a long time, and that blockade has made life miserable for most of its population. People in that area believe that Israel was created on land that historically was Palestinian territory, and displacement such as that always causes deeply entrenched hostility.Gaza has allies in many Arab countries, and that connection gives them the opportunity to resist, sometimes with force. It’s not unlike the situation in America with Indian reservations, except the residents of the reservations didn’t have the resources to fight back. Many Americans support Israel’s position but there is a steep price to pay for the obliteration of Gaza. Every event creating death and destruction creates more resolve for revenge in the future in the Arab world. Diplomats have sought an answer to this predicament for many years and no lasting solution has emerged. But today the prospect of a wider war in that zone is at a very high level. Meanwhile this thought might cause some Americans to ponder things a bit.

There is much frustration among the low income folks in America, and this might explain why that is happening.

The surprising thing is that many of those lower income people believe Trump is the person that can fix their problem when it is abundantly clear he is far more concerned with the people at the upper end of the income scale. He has done nothing to increase the wages of the working poor, but he has repeatedly expressed support for the ultra-rich, including signing a massive tax break for them during his term as President. This disparity is a national crisis because it means that every day a typical working person falls a bit further behind because of inflation Most are working paycheck to paycheck, and anything disrupting payday would put them in danger of financial ruin. With the House of Representatives on paid leave for the time being while they try to elect a Speaker of the House, nothing will change soon. And remember the man seeking the speaker position has not introduced one piece of legislation during his term in office that has been passed into law, so don’t expect much if he is named speaker. His primary function throughout his term has been to obstruct legislation from both parties. Amazing that Congress would embrace a man who has been accused of looking the other way when sexual misconduct was reported to him by members of his wrestling team. And those accusers have reappeared to resist his effort to become speaker. These are former Ohio State wrestlers who went to him with their concerns and were ignored. He is anything but leadership material.


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