September 17, 2010

Happy Friday. We have another picture-perfect sunny day with fall colors glowing, leaves lazily fluttering to the ground, and birds flitting to and fro. In the past week I have seen a robin, a dark-eyed junco, and a yellow-rumped warbler, all birds that travel south before the snow flies. They seem to be staying later than usual this year. Meanwhile, the chickadees are caching seed for the winter, and the ravens and rock pigeons are enjoying the last days of summery weather before the cold settles in and they assume their roles as monarchs of the frozen air, outranked only by the occasional raptor.

Yokelly, I just read The Epic of Gilgamesh for about the tenth time, and also the Joseph story from Genesis 37-50, one of the great stories in the Hebrew scriptures and central to the Western tradition for upwards of 2000 years. Both from the first millennium BC. The Gilgamesh legend was already 1500 years old when the epic was written down in the 7th century BC. Genesis is difficult to date but probably dates back to 1,000 – 400 BC. Literature doesn’t get much better. Next week I dive back into Homer’s Odyssey.

Local news includes the following bizarre event—

Fairbanks woman accused of endangering children in drunken crash

by Chris Freiberg /

FAIRBANKS — A Fairbanks woman, with her three young children as passengers, is accused of drunkenly crashing her SUV into a car containing her two nephews, ages 3 and 4.

Samantha Marie Bergman, 25, has been charged with felony counts of third-degree assault and third-degree criminal mischief and five misdemeanor counts of fourth-degree assault, reckless endangerment, endangering the welfare of a child and driving under the influence.

Court documents allege Bergman — with her children, ages 2, 3 and 5 — drove drunk late Wednesday night to her sister’s Coachman Lane home. A verbal argument escalated to pushing and shoving, and Bergman reportedly struck her sister in the face several times.

Bergman’s brother-in-law attempted to stop fight, but after Bergman struck him in the arm, he took his two sons and placed them in his Pontiac sedan, intending to leave.

Bergman left the house a few moments later, put her children in her SUV, backed up the driveway about 50 feet, and then drove forward “at a high rate of speed” into her brother-in-law’s car, according to charging documents.

One of the children in the car was securely in a car seat at the time of the collision. The other child struck his head against the rear window of the car, and because of the impact, sustained a minor injury, according to charging documents. Bergman’s brother-in-law was next to the car at the time. Neither he nor Bergman’s children reported any injuries.

Damage to the car was estimated at $4,000.

Bergman was pulled over a short time later on Bradway Road.

Her breath-alcohol content was found to be 0.191, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08. She admitted drinking beer and whiskey earlier in the night and told troopers there was a scuffle with her sister, but she denied hitting her brother-in-law’s car, according to charging documents.

This is not the first time Bergman has been involved in an assault on her sister or a child.

She was convicted of misdemeanor assault twice last year, once for pulling her sister’s hair during an argument, and also for intentionally dropping her then-2-year-old daughter on the floor.

This woman is out of control.

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