Cooper Landing

Posted: Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Cooper Landing Volunteer Ambulance Service President Michelle Stewart said their first time handling concessions during the recent softball tournament was a successful fund-raiser and they look forward to doing it again next year.

The ambulance service volunteers worked in the community hall every day of the tournament. Kate Green was at the cash register every time I went into the community hall. I saw Heidi Thrasher, Jerry James, Phillip Miller, and Michelle at work cooking hamburgers and fixing pretzels. Rhonda Newman worked behind the scenes getting raffle donations and making gift certificates. Her husband, Jed, cleaned the wood stove chimney in the community hall and Bill Fort answered the call for help when there was a toilet problem.

Leah Smith and her 1-month-old baby, Samantha were guests of honor at a luncheon last week which also was a kind of Dall Homemakers reunion. Leah was the last elected president of Dall Homemakers.

The club retired in 2003 after 31 years of community service work. Sally Davis was applauded at the luncheon for receiving her four-year college degree after months of work via Internet and mail.

Alma Fowler, Jacque Greenman, Gene Craig, Brearley Wilson, Marge VanKooten, Mary Fort, Arlene Knock, Jan Mitchell, Jane McConnell, Rosie Banse, Nancy Motley, Ladonna Herbert and I admired baby Samantha who slept through the party in spite of hand holding and cheek stroking by attendees. Mike and Leah have two older children, Alejandra and Keleman.

Jean Romig, in absentia, was awarded the last gold nugget Dall Homemakers president's pin. Jean was the first club president elected when the club began in January 1971.

The Dall Extension Homemakers were formed through the Cooperative Extension Service and took part in programs ranging from women and the law in Alaska to tanning hides and tailoring jackets.

Colleen Sonnevil from the Cooperative Extension Service will instruct in harvesting area wild plants and filleting fish at the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank in Soldotna. For more information, call 262-3111.

Last week I started a bear story from a June 1939 Seward newspaper.

Guide Frank Towle and his client, Philip Rich from Michigan, were climbing above Juneau Lake after a big brownie when their quarry appeared. Rich describes the action. "The bear finally came out directly above us and much closer. It was an exciting moment and I couldn't seem to hit the side of a barn. Finally one shot hit the bear and he roared like a mad bull and charged down the hill. For about 20 feet he came right toward us, then angled into the draw behind some bushes and ran into cover, fortunately passing us on his way to the valley. We did some ineffective long-range shooting.

"The wounded bear ran about a mile and a half to the Juneau Lake outlet and disappeared." They waited. The bear came in a roaring charge.

"There he comes,' said Frank, whose keen eyes seem to be able to spot game at any distance. I had to slide down the hill to look over his gun sight to see the bear. We sent some more lead into the valley. Whether one of those long shots hit him or he was just mad from the other, we could not tell but he rushed at a dead spruce 40 feet high and 18 inches thick at the stump and smashed it like it was a match. I hated to think what he would have done to us. He then disappeared."

They watched for a long time, but didn't see that bear again. They found a sow and two yearling cubs. Rich shot the sow and one cub. "When I took a look at that yearling and saw claws as long as your finger and bigger than an average black bear it occurred to me that this was an unhealthy place to be." Towle tried to scare the other yearling away, but it kept charging and he finally shot it at 18 feet.

Rich was relieved when they made it to the lake since the wounded bear was unaccounted for. He also took a black bear during the hunt. Towle's horse, apparently scared by a bear, broke loose so they had to pack out 10 miles the four hides and all their gear.

Mona Painter can be reached by phone at 595-1248 or by email at

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