Dan Bross, KUAC - Fairbanks
Dan Bross is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.
The University of Alaska Fairbanks anticipates cutting between 200 and 250 jobs this year. That from UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers, who in an address to the Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce yesterday focused on the affect of slumping oil prices on state funding for the university.
The Environmental Protection Agency recently issued the first ever federal standards for the disposal of coal ash by electric utilities. The toxin containing ash has gotten national attention in recent years due to spills in the Lower 48, but the situation is different in Alaska.
Alaska skiers continue to post top results at the U.S. cross country ski championships in Michigan.
Areas of Fairbanks and North Pole suffered poor air quality this a week as cold stagnant air allowed smoke from wood burning and other combustion to accumulate. The situation is nothing new and the focus of state and local plan to clean up the air. Fine particulate pollution is a known health hazard, and that’s confirmed in a locally produced report.
University of Alaska President Pat Gamble is anticipating budget cuts that will force the institution to downsize, and focus on its core missions. Gamble plans to retire at the end of the 2015 school year, but he’s looking beyond his tenure to help the university prepare for the future.
Governor Bill Walker is striking an optimistic tone despite tanking oil prices that are reducing state revenue. Speaking to the Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce Tuesday, Walker pointed to opportunity.
The Fairbanks area continues to struggle with fine particulate pollution from wood smoke and other sources. Wintertime air inversions trap emissions at ground level, dropping air quality below federal Clean Air Act standards. Much of the North Star Borough is classified a federal non-attainment area by the Environmental Protection Agency, based on air quality monitoring in Fairbanks, but the EPA plans to begin using monitoring data from North Pole, where pollution is typically much worse.
Restoration of a World War II bomber salvaged from a Tanana River sandbar will benefit from a similar relic in Nome. Some of the parts needed to restore the plane known as “Sandbar Mitchell” will be come from another B-25 that crashed in Nome over 70 years ago.
Warmer than normal temperatures this fall are allowing expanded use salt to combat icy roads in Fairbanks. Salt is more effective in some conditions and less expensive.
An orphaned bear cub from the Eagle area is at the Alaska Zoo. The young black bear will be kept at the facility in Anchorage, while a search is conducted for a permanent home.
Another orphaned Alaska bear cub needs a home. The young black bear found near Eagle is the 8th the state has dealt with this year. The other seven cubs, all but one black, including a trio rescued in Galena in September, have been placed in lower 48 wildlife care facilities. The fate of the latest orphaned cub is uncertain.