ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — There is another dramatic change for the Iditarod this year. Officials on Friday announced that the cfan-favorite ceremonial start for the world’s most famous sled dog race has been canceled over crowd-size concerns during the pandemic. The event usually draws large crowds to downtown Anchorage, where beer and food tents line city streets. Iditarod CEO Rob Urbach says they take the health and well-being of the racers, volunteers, staff and spectators very seriously. The race has been shortened this year, and it will start and finish north of Anchorage instead of having the finish line in Nome. There will be limited areas for spectators for the race’s start and end, and fans are encouraged to watch on television.
Look around this week and you may see many Georgians sporting some itchy mementoes from last weekend’s barbecue or softball game. Along with later sunsets and swimming pool temperatures, these early summer weeks have also brought mosquitoes back to Georgia in a big way. While entomologists don’t think the state will see a surge in West Nile Virus cases early this summer, they are projecting healthy populations of nuisance mosquitoes — those that are more annoying and disruptive than dangerous. Georgia is home to 63 mosquito species, most of which fall into the nuisance category. Eliminating larval habitats, where possible, is the key to reducing populations and defending your summer afternoons. Mosquitoes need standing water to reproduce, so eliminating sources of standing water in yards and landscapes will go a long way to knocking down populations locally, said Elmer Gray, an Athens-based UGA Extension mosquito specialist. “You need to be diligent about getting outside and dumping all of those containers out because that’s the biggest source of habitat around our homes,” Gray said. “Here in north Georgia our biggest mosquito problems are the ones we grow ourselves.” Be on the look out for abandoned planters and flowerpot saucers, mop buckets, toys, overturned Frisbees and anything else that can hold water. Larvicidal briquets are available to treat water gardens, rain gardens, clogged drainage ditches or any other permanent landscape feature that holds water for more than a week. Keeping grass trimmed and the vegetation around the borders of the yards cut back can also help reduce the areas where adult mosquitoes hide during the heat of the day, Gray said. In some areas, including many regions of south Georgia this year, flood water mosquitoes — those that develop in the puddles and seasonal wetlands left by heavy spring rains — are having a great year. There’s not much individuals can do about these mosquito populations, so some south Georgia residents might have to take other steps to limit their exposure. Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk, so people may want to stay inside during those times to avoid bites. Gray also recommends checking, repairing and replacing window screens at this time of year to keep mosquitoes from making their way inside. Wearing light-colored clothing will help keep mosquitoes at bay, but the most effective thing people can do to protect themselves is use insect repellent whenever they’re outside in a mosquito-prone area — like on a ball field, out in the yard or out in the woods, Gray said. There are several commercially available, EPA approved repellents, like picaridin, lemon eucalyptus oil and IR3535. Gray prefers products with DEET because they have been tested and proven safe for children as young as two months old. A product with a 10 percent to 30 percent concentration is good and protects for a several hours. Gray said. “Products containing DEET are still the best choice for young children,” Gray said. “When treating children, an adult should apply the repellent to his or her hands first and then rub the repellent onto the child’s exposed skin, but never to a child’s hands.” Small children have a habit of sticking their hands in their mouths, and if they apply themselves there’s a good chance they’ll ingest some of it, he added. Pet owners should also take time this spring to make sure their pets are up-to-date on heartworm preventative treatments.In addition to spreading West Nile Virus and other human ailments, mosquitoes transmit heartworms to dogs and cats. Veterinarians recommend keeping pets on heartworm preventative medication all year, but if pet owners have let this slip, not is the time to treat. For more information about mosquito control, search the UGA Extension publications website for stinging and biting pests at extension.uga.edu/publications.
Louka Bogiatzis,19, has just built. Picture: Nigel HallettQUEENSLAND is seeing a rise in teenagers getting a foot on the property ladder with first home buyers hitting their highest level in almost a decade.Latest ABS figures show over one in four new home loans went to first home buyers in Queensland (26.6 per cent), with 18 to 19-year-olds among newbies that have jumped at strong concessions in the market.Houseandland.com.au chief executive Dean Kyros said there was “an urgency” now, with first-timers as young as 18 to 19 using “creative finance” to get in the market.“First home buyers are coming in as early as 19, concerned over the ever-increasing price of real estate. There’s an urgency that wasn’t there before and a fear of the market outpricing them.”SMART BUYING: Young couple lands major bargainBUYING FRENZY: Young buyers bid millions for unseen propertyGET ALL THE REAL ESTATE NEWS DIRECT TO YOUR INBOXHe said the state’s youngest buyers were getting in the market via a combination of Queensland’s generous $20,000 first homebuyer grant, developers chipping in with $10,000-plus rebates on house and land packages, savings they’d built from after-school and holiday jobs, and parents contributing either a donation or loan guarantees.More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this homeless than 1 hour agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investorless than 1 hour agoAbout 47 per cent of 15 to 24-year-old Queenslanders studying full-time also had either a full-time or part-time job, while 76 per cent of those not studying were in employment, ABS labour data out yesterday said.Finder.com.au money expert Bessie Hassan said the rise “goes to show that the first homebuyer grants may be helping”.“While housing affordability is considered an issue around the nation, home loan rates are still historically low.” Queensland first home buyers have a much clearer path to ownership than other states. Picture: Jodie RichterTeenage mortgage holder Louka Bogiatzis saved for four years to buy his Coomera new build house.“I’ve been working after school and saved about $80,000 and my parents did help me through it,” he said.“I had the first home buyer grant of $20,000, paid $40,000 deposit for the contract for the land and home. I am now working full-time with better income so I’m saving up again. I plan to live in this one and I’m hoping to do another two more.”PRDnationwide’s Dr Diaswati Mardiasmo said Queensland had the second highest jump in first home buyer loans in the country over the past 12 months (up 8.5 per cent) with affordability levels above the Australian average.Mr Kyros said younger first home buyers were coming in all sorts of joint arrangements “from two friends coming together as well as couples and siblings”, with the key teenage homebuyer criteria being stable employment, a deposit and access to funds like parental guarantees.
The main reason behind the expansion is the increase in skilled hockey players in the North Peace region, and as a result more programs are also being offered for this year’s camp.The programs available include a hockey camp that will run from the 12th-16th for $300, a hitting clinic on the 14th and 15th for $60, a shooting clinic on the 12th and 13th for $60, a veterans camp designed for elite players from the 12th-16th, rookies school from the 12th-16th for $250, conditioning camp from the 11th-15th for $140 dollars. This camp is designed for players 15 and older. There will also be a goalie clinic from the 12th-16th. The cost for that clinic is $165, or $60 dollars if the player has signed up for the hockey camp.There is no deadline for registration for any of the classes, however the clinic always sells out every year. There are 35 spots available in the hockey school, and 30 in the veterans and rookie school.- Advertisement -The camp this year will again be led by Brad Fast and will also feature instructors such as Scott Ford of the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL, Mike Hofstrand, and 2011 Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick Dennis Robertson.