River lotteries for nine great white water rafting destinations close today

Calling all river rats! It might be freezing cold outside today but that doesn’t mean it isn’t time to start planning your summer adventures.

In fact, today is the last day to enter lotteries for nine in-demand white water rafting rivers including the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, Salmon River, Hells Canyon- Snake River, Selway River, Rogue River, Desolation Gray- Green River, Salt River, Dinosaur Green and Yampa River, and San Juan River.

Permits allow a visitor to use floating watercraft to navigate the river. To enter the permit lottery for any of the rivers listed above, click here.

Runners complete 135-mile ultramarathon during polar vortex

The arrowhead 135 ultramarathon is purposely held in January or February to line up with the coldest temperatures of the year. But no one was expecting what the racers faced this year, temperatures of -30 degrees F. The race course runs from International Falls, Minnesota to Lake Vermillion on the Arrowhead State Trail.

One hundred forty six racers toed the line this year in four disciplines: running, cycling, skiing, and kick-sledding. With seven hours left, only 39 bikers and nine runners had finished the race. Four more runners were still out on the course, 43 hours after the start of the race.

Those runners ultimately completed the race, the last one coming in after 56 hours and 58 minutes of running. Jovica Spajic of Serbia and Scott Hoberg of Minnesota crossed the line together and snagged the men’s fastest times, clocking in at 36 hours and nine minutes. The fastest women’s time came from Faye Norby of Minnesota who finished the race in 48 hours, 34 minutes.

Study shows 11 of Georgia’s 12 coal-powered plants are leaking chemicals into the groundwater

A study released in mid-December by conservation groups that looked at information on Georgia’s 12 coal-powered plants found that 11 of the 12 plants are leaking chemicals into the groundwater.

Coal ash contains toxins such as arsenic, cadmium, and lead, which are known to cause cancer and heart disease. Environmentalists hope the study will encourage lawmakers to strengthen Georgia’s coal ash regulations by requiring utilities to remove waste from leaking, unlined coal ash ponds.

According to the study, Georgia Power, the state’s largest energy provider, owns 10 of the 11 leaking plants. Georgia Power officials said that tests over the past several years show that any leaking chemicals have not had an impact on the state’s groundwater.