September & October 2019
Two months of ALO news for the price of one. What a bargain! The press of life prevented last month’s news and here’s the schedule that caused it. September started with moose hunting for the first two weeks, followed by a two week jury trial in Bethel. That left a short window of time to close the cabin and get the float plane out of the water before an overnite flight to Minnesota. A trip the Milwaukee for a wedding and a week-long visit from John and Bev filled up the first few days of October before hosting a field trial on the farm, and then a 10 day trip to Europe ate up some time and energy. At the end of October the final elk round-up took place. Finally a 72nd birthday, an epic football game and deer hunting wrapped up this hectic stretch. Andy, Liz and Ada were here for hunting and just left for Alaska.
The jury trial was a dandy, resulting in a whopping verdict where the jury actually awarded more than was requested. The case involved a claim against the local HUD housing agency, based on an explosion that took place in a HUD house. The defendant installed oil fired boilers in the housing about 27 years earlier and never attempted to maintain them. ALO’s clients had neither the know-how or the resources to maintain the boiler in a remote village with no competent service people. The defendant had trained people on staff but chose to not maintain the boilers to avoid liability. That backfired. Here is a media account of the trial.
Two other cases settled during this busy time. In Juneau, ALO resolved a claim for two surviving passengers in a plane that ran out of gas while airborne, and sank in the ocean. The other case involved a child in a day care in Anchorage. She lost part of her finger when it was pinched in a door. The day care had been cited shortly before the incident because of other such incidents and was advised to eliminate pinch points in their facility, which houses roughly 30 children per day. That case settled without suit being filed.
As mentioned above, the elk operation at the farm has reached its end. Regulatory issues have created a situation where the current pasture would likely need substantial investment to remain in compliance. Such investment is impractical for a farm with a small number of animals and a 72 year old owner. The processing facility nearby that has taken care of all harvested animals is also facing some regulatory issues and is likely to stop accepting farm raised elk in the future as well. 25 years of elk farming has been rewarding if not lucrative. Between sled dogs and elk, there have been lots of critters to tend to for the past 40 plus years. Now it's down to one live animal, and he deserves the added attention.
All was not smooth at the farm. A late model Toyota Highlander hybrid was stored in the garage over the summer, and the resident mice chewed all the wiring. The insurance company said the damage was covered by insurance, and after a few days in the shop they decided the vehicle was totaled. From outward appearances the car looked brand new, but electrical damage is expensive to repair. A solution to the mouse problem is not easy. Apparently modern car wiring is often coated with an edible substance that mice love. Seems like an engineering mistake.
Otherwise the farm is splendid. Controlled burns have enhanced the prairie grass which is up to 8 feet high in places.
John McDonald took the photo of Bev, Myron and Jack on a trail through the prairie grass.
Wildlife abounds. Here is one of the many large bucks that have shown up on trail cameras.
To replace the elk, game fish have been added to a couple of farm ponds and an aerator was mounted on a nearby windmill. Long Pond Fish Farm??
Long time readers will recall that a life time as a long suffering Minnesota Gopher fan has been mentioned at times in the ALO news. Well the Gophers are 9-0 after beating undefeated Penn State last week, with at least two long time Alaskan Gopher fans in attendance. The on field celebration at the end of the game was genuine and epic. A friend sent this photo for chuckles.
And these were a birthday present.
You might have to google that reference.
After 45 years of handling criminal cases, it was perhaps fitting that ALO's final change of plea hearing was conducted in the least favorite venue, Nome. Such hearings are routine, especially in misdemeanor cases with an agreed upon sentence. The final case was charged as three assaults, reduced to harassment by a DA who perhaps threw out a bone to a long time adversary who was on his last case. The case was scheduled for its final hearing on a day with all the other pending Nome cases set for the same time. That includes felonies and misdemeanors, arraignments, bail hearings and what have you. One judge would handle his cases and then the another judge would take over. Unlike other rural courts, the Nome court fails to organize its calendar in an efficient manner, and the result is often a long wait. This time it was one hour for a five minute hearing. Most courts call the cases for one attorney having a single case first, with public defenders having multiple cases last. Not so Nome. There is even a tradition in most rural courts that the senior member of the rural bar always goes first on the theory that anyone who has practiced law for that long in the bush perhaps can’t stay awake long enough to sit through a bunch of boring hearings. Younger lawyers joke about that tradition, but also understand the thought. They also note that the first guy called rarely wastes anyone’s time. Nome would rather put that same lawyer last if possible. Several judges have come and gone through the past 45 years, and Nome’s calendaring issues have never improved. Regardless, the days of other judges in Dillingham, Bethel and numerous other rural courts saying “I believe we will take Mr. Angstman’s case first” are over, and there will be no more hour long waits on the phone in Nome.
In two months several cartoons showed up that require posting. Lamont Albertson posted two of them.
And one from Glenda Bach.
Scott Angstman posted this baby turtle picture from the farm.
This video combines a panoramic shot of the cabin surroundings along with Ada waving goodbye to her Dad who was about to fly off.
There are two mandatory moose. One honors Halloween.
And the other shows fall colors in Anchorage.
Finally this remarkable collection of Trump clips. It is not fake news, no one was misquoted, and there was no lack of context. This is the President of the United States. He did miss one though. Who knows more about stealing money from a charitable foundation than Donald Trump?