September 29, 2011

Facts: Shots Fired

  • The 2010 Iditarod marked a historical milestone for the race as Lance Mackey became the first ever musher to win the race 4 years in a row. Mackey is also the only 4-time Iditarod winner to be a 4-time Yukon Quest race winner.

  • The Iditarod Trail started as a mail and supply route from coastal towns to interior mining camps. All supplies, mail, and gold were transported via dog sled.

  • The Iditarod is known as “The Last Great Race on Earth.” Each musher and their team of 12 to 16 dogs covers 1150 miles in 10 to 17 days.

  • The local option law of 1980 gave rural villages the power to vote on the allowance or prohibition of alcohol within their municipality. Dry villages prohibit the sale, importation, and possession of alcohol, damp villages allow for a limited amount of alcohol to be imported for personal use, and wet villages allow for the sale, distribution, and possession of alcohol. As of 1997, about 11 percent of Alaska’s total population and 52 percent of the Native population resided in areas with restricted alcohol access.

  • A first-time offender caught smuggling alcohol into a dry community faces a fine of $1,500 and 3 days in jail. Second-time offenders face 20 days in jail and a $3,000 fine. A third offense is met with 60 days in jail and a $4,000 fine. If an offender has three past convictions all within the past 15 years, the third offense is raised to felony status and carries a minimum fine of $10,000.

  • It is illegal to set up a bear bait station within one-quarter mile from publicly maintained roads, trails, or the Alaska Railroad. Bear bait stations are also illegal if set up within one mile from a house or other permanent dwelling, a developed campground, or other developed recreational area.

  • Alaska has an estimated brown bear population of 30,000 and an estimated black bear population of 100,000. The regulations and seasons for hunting each species of bear vary, with the regulations for hunting black bears being the least restrictive due to their larger population.

  • Snowmachine racers in the Nome to Golovin race follow a 200-mile loop in Western Alaska. Completion times average 2 ½ hours, with the fastest finish time in 2010 of 2 hours 21 minutes and 32 seconds achieved by Michael Morgan of Nome.

  • Nome, Alaska, begun as an Inupiaq Eskimo village, is Alaska’s oldest continuous first class city. It was incorporated in 1901 after its population boomed from only a handful to 28,000 with the discovery of gold in Anvil Creek. Today’s population is 3,500.

  • No road system connects Nome to any major city. During the winter months, Nome is only accessible by plane.

  • Brevig Mission is a small village just 8 miles north of Nome on the Bering Strait. As of July 2008, the population of Brevig Mission was 275. 92% of the population are Native Indian.

  • According to a state-federal study, the snowmobile death rate in Alaska in the 1990s was seven times higher than in Wisconsin and Minnesota, the states with the second- and third-highest rates. The study also found that, based on miles driven, traveling by snow machine in Alaska was 8 ½ times more deadly than traveling by car or truck. It was 2 ½ times more likely that a snowmobiler would be hospitalized because of injuries from an accident than people involved in accidents in on-road vehicles.

  • The Black Hawk, first deployed in 1978, was developed as a result of the US Army’s Utility Tactical Transport Aircraft System competition to develop a replacement for the UH-1 series of utility helicopters. Designed to carry 11 Troops, the Black Hawk can carry up to 20 Troops. It is the Army’s front-line utility helicopter used for air assault, air cavalry, and aeromedical evacuation units.

  • As of 2007, the Alaska State Troopers Canine Unit consisted of 6 canine teams. Teams are proficient in man tracking, suspect apprehension, building searches, area searches, and drug detection searches. In 2007, the Alaska State Troopers Canine Unit was directly involved in 124 felony arrests, 59 misdemeanor arrests, the seizure of 1,129.7 grams of heroine, 30,194 grams of cocaine, 2,032.2 grams of methamphetamine, 16,530 grams of marijuana, and $710,096 cash from drug proceeds.

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