Home Travel Fermenting skills, exodus debunked, nurse strike: News from around our 50 states

Fermenting skills, exodus debunked, nurse strike: News from around our 50 states



Montgomery: The state’s mask mandate expires April 9 but not the recommendation to wear masks, the state health officer emphasized Friday. “There is nothing magical about the date of April 9. We don’t want the public to think that’s the day we all stop taking precautions,” State Health Officer Scott Harris told reporters. Gov. Kay Ivey has extended Alabama’s mask order through the evening of April 9 but said after that she will let it expire. She said then it will be a matter of personal responsibility. State health officials urged people to maintain precautions – particularly during spring break and Easter gatherings – as the state tries to ramp up COVID-19 vaccinations. Dr. Sarah Nafziger, vice president of clinic support services at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said she hopes people continue to wear masks when the mandate goes away. “I hope people do continue to make the right choice now because we are not out of the woods yet. We have a lot of vulnerable people in our population, and the last thing we want to do is for them to be sick and for them to die,” Nafziger said. So far about 14% of the state’s 4.9 million people have received at least one shot of vaccine. The Alabama National Guard will travel to the Black Belt this month to deliver vaccinations in communities with few medical providers.


Linwood Fiedler mushes across Submarine Lake near Nikolai, Alaska, on March 10, 2020, during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Anchorage: Traveling across the rugged, unforgiving Alaska terrain is already hard enough, but whatever comforts mushers previously had in the world’s most famous sled dog race have been cast aside this year due to the pandemic. In years past, mushers would stop in any number of 24 villages that serve as checkpoints, where they could get a hot meal, maybe a shower and sleep – albeit “cheek to jowl” – in a warm building before getting back to the nearly 1,000-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, which kicked off Sunday north of Anchorage. Participants will instead spend the next week or so mostly camping in tents outside towns, and the only source of warmth – for comfort or to heat up frozen food and water – will come from their camp cookers. “It’s a little bit old school,” said Iditarod CEO Rob Urbach. This year’s race will be marked by pandemic precautions, a route change, no spectators, vigorous coronavirus testing and the smallest field of competitors in decades. The route has also been shortened to 860 miles. For the first time in the race’s 49-year history, the finish line will not be in Nome. Instead, mushers will go from Willow to the mining ghost towns of Iditarod and Flat, and then back to Willow for the finish. This, Urbach notes, was the original vision of the race co-founder, the late Joe Redington.


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