Ben Matheson, APRN Contributor

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Ben Matheson is a contributor with the Alaska Public Radio Network.

Iditarod mushers react to rules reducing max dog team size from 16 to 14

Iditarod mushers racing their dogs to Nome this year are doing it with a smaller team on the gangline. The race reduced the maximum team size from 16 to 14. This means quite a bit for race strategies, speeds and the trade-offs that mushers face as they travel across Alaska.

This year, about one in five Iditarod mushers is new to the race

In addition to the field’s hyper-competitive slate of five past champions, nearly one in five Iditarod mushers this year is new to the race.

‘Incredibly competitive’ as mushers begin 47th running of the Iditarod

The 47th running of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is underway. 52 dog teams sped out of Willow Sunday afternoon for the 1000-mile race to Nome. 

Pete Kaiser wins fourth consecutive Kuskokwim 300

Pete Kaiser won his fourth consecutive Kuskokwim 300 title Sunday morning, arriving in Bethel shortly after 9:00 a.m. Listen now

Mitch Seavey leads Iditarod to Nome – and says he’s not done yet

Iditarod musher Mitch Seavey won the 2017 race in record time Tuesday afternoon. The Seward musher’s team ran a blistering pace from Fairbanks along winding rivers, tundra and sea ice to Nome. But the veteran musher is looking forward to achieving new levels of dog team performance in the peak of his career. Listen now

Late Iditarod Volunteer in Kaltag receives Nayokpuk Award

The Iditarod is honoring a late longtime race volunteer in Kaltag with the Herbie Nayokpuk Spirit of the Iditarod Award. Listen now

The rich mushing legacy of Huslia

Huslia is hosting the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race for the second time ever. The Interior village is rich in mushing history as it is the home of the late sprint champion musher George Attla Junior and other top names in Alaska dog racing. And as elite teams pass through the home of mushing royalty, local dog drivers are looking ahead to the next generation of mushers. Listen now

Mitch Seavey is first to Huslia

Iditarod racer Mitch Seavey is the first musher to reach the halfway checkpoint of Huslia. The two-time champion was the first to leave Galena early Thursday and arrived in Huslia more than 80 miles up the trail at 8:18 p.m. A big crowd lined the main street to welcome in Seavey.

Push or pause? Near Iditarod’s mid-point, mushers decide when to rest

It’s break time on the Iditarod trail, as teams hunker down for 24 hours of uninterrupted rest along the Yukon River or consider pushing down the trail to a later checkpoint. As the race approaches the halfway point mushers try to plan how to get the most from their tactical breaks. Listen now

Wade Marrs leads Iditarod 2017 into Ruby

Wade Marrs led two past champions into the Ruby checkpoint last night in the 2017 Iditarod. 350 miles into the trail, the racing is underway as teams plot their next moves along hundreds of winding miles on the Yukon River.

Mushers hit Tanana, weighing rests; as first to the Yukon, Petit feasts

Iditarod mushers reached the Yukon River last night at Tanana. Teams are ready to launch their race plans as the 8-hour and 24-hour rest periods come into view. But first, they must run the longest stretch of the race between checkpoints and make it through the early race with their teams intact.

Mushers adjust to deep cold near Manley Hot Springs

During the first night of this year’s Iditarod, teams endured frigid temperatures on the Tanana River to reach the second checkpoint of Manley Hot Springs. Teams are adjusting to the deep cold and preparing to push to the Yukon River, where the race will unfold. Listen now

Ryan Redington will be first musher on 2017 Iditarod Trail

Ryan Redington will be the first musher to hit the trail Monday morning in this year’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. The grandson of Iditarod race founder Joe Redington, Sr., the younger Redington pulled bib #2 from a mukluk at the Iditarod Mushers’ Drawing Banquet Thursday night. Listen now

Bethel preschool re-opens after monumental cleanup effort

The Bethel M.E. preschool is 95 percent back to normal after a week of cleaning up after vandals ransacked the school, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages. Download Audio

Gov. Walker continues to fight land into trust for Alaska tribes

Governor Walker is continuing the state’s appeal of a case that clears a path for Alaska tribes to put land into trust. Lawyers for the state filed an opening brief late Monday to appeal a ruling that overturns the so-called “Alaska exemption.” Download Audio

As national media hone in on Alaska, ICC plots its course

Alaska and the future of Arctic policy are seeing increased international attention as the U.S. holds the chairmanship for the Arctic Council and foreign ministers prepare to meet in Anchorage later this month. Bethel has seen international leaders on hand last week as the Inuit Circumpolar Council executive council met to plan their next few years of work. Download Audio

Yupiit Nation Presses for Tribal Governance Progress

Yupiit Nation tribal members at an event Friday made a last second push for advancing sovereignty in Alaska. A few dozen people at a Yupiit Nation event in Bethel sent a late Friday afternoon letter to Governor Walker asking him to stop the state’s fight against putting lands into trust.

5 youths, ages 10 to 13, suspected in Bethel school vandalism spree

Bethel police have identified five juveniles age 10 and 13, suspected of vandalizing preschool classrooms and smashing windows in more than a dozen cars owned by the Lower Kuskokwim School District. Charges are being sent to the division of juvenile justice.

Bethel Preschool Trashed by Vandals

Vandals trashed preschool classrooms and smashed windows in 13 of the Lower Kuskokwim School District’s vehicles over the weekend. Download Audio

Child Porn Suspect Arrested in South Carolina

Authorities have arrested the former computer network manager at the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation who is accused of possessing and distributing child pornography. Download Audio