February news is a little late, because of too much time spent on the Iditarod trail. Not actually standing on the trail, or racing on the trail, but watching it on the screen of a computer. Many Alaskans now keep the Iditarod tracker on their screen full time in early March, and it drives some of them slightly crazy. The progress is slow but continuous, and watching is addictive. In addition, there has been a blog to write for TeamJohnBaker.com, some interviews for KaiserRacingRadio, and you get the idea.
Most who follow the Iditarod get overwhelmed by stories, photos and videos. A very few have stood out enough to make this report, as the leaders leave from White Mountain. Many who follow the race know of the hazards that await racers as they pass through the Alaska Range and endless forest and tundra beyond. But this pair of hazards almost ended the race for Aniak rookie Richie Diehl right after he left the starting line at Willow.
Richie survived this near miss and is currently nearing the end of his first race.
Old friend Rudy Demoski tried the trail again at age 67, after finishing 4th in 1974. This shot shows Rudy in the Alaska Range. Some elders wouldn't be able to do that. Unfortunately Rudy scratched from the race at Unalakleet, about 300 miles from the finish. The next photo is a time lapse of a racer passing through the broad valley on the approach to Rainy Pass at night, one of the more spectacular spots on the trail.
Sebastian Schnuelle is a dog racer who has been reporting from the trail the last couple of years instead of racing. His mug shot explains why, when looking for a comb recently, someone offered him a garden rake.
Here is a shot of his dogs, resting at home. His frequent reports are some of the best for following the Iditarod.
Visitors to the Angstman cabin each summer fish for lake trout. So far, this one has eluded them.
This month's mandatory moose was unhappy that a bunch of Fur Rondy dogs invaded his territory, so thought he would race them.
Here are the Minnesota wildlife shots from the trail cam for this month.
Sunset and Mary play outside no matter how cold it is in Bethel. Here is proof that some games never go out of style. This shot is Caleb Miller, a Bethel teen racing the Dog Farm team in the Junior Iditarod.
Campaign contributions are the worst part of American politics. Here is a tweet that addresses that topic well. Another kind of mess is found in the ocean. This video is short, and should be watched by everyone.
Joe Garnie, and old friend from dog racing, has had quite a go-round with Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation, a well funded non-profit which distributes fish money collected from off shore companies. Joe is a director there, and is a thorn in the side of management who doesn't like him raising a fuss about their financial dealings. One director made some nasty comments about him which made their way into the local newspaper, and also wrote an email accusing him of bad conduct. Joe sued the director, and the director fought the suit hard before finally allowing a judgment to be entered against him. Joe is a strong voice for Teller, and this case proves once again that he will stand up for what is right. This is a case that should have been settled years ago, but occasionally an insurance company chooses to blow tens of thousands of dollars just to be difficult. Then they raise premiums.
This legal cartoon is for the English majors who reads this page (there are some).
Finally, this picture features the Gannon clan and ALO's webmaster Rich Gannon (displaying finger), who was put up to his stunt by an older brother who convinced him it didn't count if he did it upside down.