The 2017 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race is starting on Saturday on Anchorage’s 4th Avenue and scheduled to restart on Monday, March 6 in Fairbanks. For the third time in its 43-year history, the iconic sled dog race has to reroute its race course due to bad trail conditions. On this end, the mushers don’t have to worry about lack of snow thanks to a good snow year and the most recent dump that has all of us still shoveling out and setting out on the task to reestablish the trails that are now hidden under nearly a foot of windblown snow.
Nome and its residents embrace the Iditarod since 1973 and welcome the event. It is an honor to receive the mushers and their dog teams who braved a 1,000-mile long journey through Alaska.
However, when the Nome Common Council in late January divvied up the NSEDC Community Benefit Share, it was odd that the Council would hand $10,000 to the Iditarod Trail Committee. My argument is that the community benefit share should generously fund local entities like NEST, the Bering Sea Women’s Group and the Nome Community Center or other organizations that make Nome a better place to live through philanthropy, sports involvement and education. This the Council did, but before sending money out of the community, it should’ve fully funded the requests from local entities, such as the Food Bank which requested $15,000 and got $4,000; the Nome Boys and Girls Club requested $15,000 and got $10,000, the Nome Kennel Club requested $5,000 and got $3,000 and the Northstar Swim Team requested $18,250 and received $10,000.
The Council was too stingy to tap into the general account for Nome’s Iditarod sponsorship. NSEDC pretty much stays out of the allocation of its $150,000 CBS per community. It only asks “that the community apply its share to the highest and best use for its community subject to limits established by federal law, and that the community report to NSEDC how the funds will be utilized.”
I don’t argue that Nome should not be a sponsor of the Iditarod. I argue that the Council used the wrong money pot to fund its sponsorship and by doing so shortchanged local organizations. What about keeping the dollars in the community so that they can be spent locally? –D.H.—