Virus strands Norway racer in Alaska after Iditarod win
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Thomas Waerner won this year’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in March, but he is still waiting to return to his home in Norway.
Waerner and his 16 dogs have been stranded in Alaska by travel restrictions and flight cancellations caused by the coronavirus pandemic, The Anchorage Daily News reported Saturday.
“I like Alaska a lot,” Waerner said. “It’s kind of my dream place. But I have a family.”
Waerner has five children and 35 other sled dogs in Torpa, Norway. He missed the 10th birthday of one of his children and misses morning coffee with his wife, Guro, who left Alaska in March shortly before health restrictions stopped travel.
The 47-year-old plans to fly home in early June on a DC-6 aircraft bound for the Air History Museum in Sola, Norway.
Everts Air Cargo of Fairbanks is selling the historic plane, and Waerner said the museum is expected to finalize the deal this week.
“We are hitchhiking,” Waerner said. “The plane is going to Norway, and we are going with them. We are so lucky.”
Prior to the trip Waerner is expected to undergo a COVID-19 test and collect his dogs from a kennel in Salcha owned by fellow musher Arleigh Reynolds.
Waerner said he has friends in the Alaska towns of Ester and Salcha and often spends a few days around Fairbanks after the Iditarod. This year, a few days turned into more than a few weeks and Waerner is ready to resume his normal life.
“My wife has been taking care of 35 dogs, the kids, and working as a veterinarian,” he said. Once he returns home, “ ‘yes, dear,’ will be the answer for everything,” he said.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The vast majority of people recover.
Car wash worker returns stimulus check discovered in trash
GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A car wash worker in North Carolina found treasure amid the business’s trash when he discovered a $1,200 IRS stimulus check mixed in with the garbage.
Antonio Hernandez was taking out the trash at the Greenville car wash when he spotted the payment in the can, WITN-TV quoted his daughter, Michelle Alvarado, as saying.
Hernandez and Alvarado were able to track down recipient Charles Thompson, who said he was not even expecting to get a check after recently moving to a new address.
“I was behind on rent, I work construction so I work by the day, and I just try to keep going and going as best I can,” Thompson told the news station. “That money helped put me ahead and put me on the right track a little bit, to get back on my feet.”
Hernandez and Alvarado added that they were happy to help connect Thompson with the lost funds, even though they and Thompson had no idea how the check ended up at the car wash in the first place.
“It was very important for him to receive that check, especially in these uncertain times,” Alvarado said.
The IRS has been sending the economic impact payments to millions of Americans around the country as part of a rescue package aimed at combating the economic effects of shutdowns amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Mississippi gov is pranked in shout-out to high school grads
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — This one slipped through the cracks.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves asked people to submit names of high school seniors so he could read them aloud on a webcast — a recognition for teenagers who are missing traditional graduation ceremonies because of the coronavirus pandemic.
On a Facebook live session Saturday, Reeves started reading the names of graduates from Florence High School, his alma mater, when he came to one his staff now assumes someone submitted as a prank — “Harry Azcrac.” The 45-year-old Republican governor read it, paused briefly and kept going.
A video clip became the butt of jokes on Twitter, and the governor handled it with good humor.
“Harry’s submitter has a bright future as a Simpson’s writer!” Reeves tweeted, also noting that he would be back online reading more graduates’ names: “Maybe even Ben — the pride of the Dover family.”
Reeves spokeswoman Renae Eze said Wednesday that the governor’s staff spent hours grouping almost 10,000 individually submitted names by school. As for Harry Azcrac, she said: “We can probably say it’s not a real person.”
Moose family reunion: Trooper brings calves, mom together
HEBER CITY, Utah (AP) — A Utah state trooper has helped a pair of newborn moose calves reunite safely with their mother after spotting them on a mountain road.
The trooper noticed the hours-old calves without their mother on the road as he drove home from work, about 45 miles east of Salt Lake City on Monday, said Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Nick Street. It’s not clear how they became separated.
Worried they could be hit by a car, trooper Alexander Agin stopped and put up a traffic barrier. Once he was out of his car and walking, the baby moose began to follow him. So Agin decided to guide them away from the traffic danger.
Just as he led them off the road, the calves’ mother arrived — and began to charge him.
“He knew not to be getting between those calves and their mother,” Street said. Agin quickly retreated to his patrol car and recorded a quick video of the moose family reuniting and walking into the trees. See the video at https://youtu.be/TJoYKWL9BkI