Dan Bross, KUAC - Fairbanks
Dan Bross is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.
A University of Alaska Fairbanks committee is recommending cuts to close an expected 12 to 14 million dollar FY 15 budget deficit. The Planning and Budget Committee was charged with developing options to address rising costs and decreased state funding.
Alaska’s marijuana ballot initiative has some Fairbanks entrepreneurs organizing in hopes of being able to grow and sell the drug. Proposition 2 would have the state regulate marijuana like alcohol.
An analysis by the state finds no health impacts from coal ash and dust from the downtown Fairbanks Aurora Energy Plant. Particulates from the facility drift onto properties in the surrounding neighborhood, but the state report dispels health concerns.
The state has filed a response to petitions for post conviction relief for the Fairbanks four. The four men, George Frese, Kevin Pease, Marvin Roberts and Eugene Vent were convicted of the 1997 beating death of John Hartman, but continue to profess their innocence. Last fall the Alaska Innocence Project filed new information in the case that points to others being responsible for the killing. The state response indicates it so far is not convinced, but it has requested an evidentiary hearing.
A commercial airliner delivered the United States Honor Flag to Fairbanks yesterday. The flag, which flew at Ground Zero in New York following the 9-11 terrorist attacks, and has since traveled around the country to honor fallen law enforcement officers and fire fighters, was brought to Fairbanks to pay tribute to Alaska State Trooper Sergeant Patrick “Scott” Johnson and Trooper Gabe Rich, who were killed in Tanana last week.
The State Legislature has boosted money for education, but it’s not enough to stem cuts by the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District. The district is getting 6 million new dollars from the state, $3.3 million more than the expected increase, but acting Superintendent Karen Gaborik says it’s not sufficient to avert teacher and staff reductions.
The package, which includes state income tax credits and other provisions, was forwarded by Governor Sean Parnell as a means to ensure Alaska retains its refining industry as cheaper Lower 48 oil makes shipping fuel into the state an option.
The Ruth Burnett Sport Fish Hatchery in Fairbanks will open its doors to the public during this weekend’s Outdoors Show. Public outreach and education are part of the $46 million state hatchery’s mission, and a visitor’s center is required by its borough land lease. The hatchery has been operating for more than 2 years but the visitor’s center hasn’t opened.
Lab testing of a synthetic saline solution wrongly used in a University of Alaska Fairbanks medical class shows bacteria. A Houston based laboratory was hired by the university to analyze samples of “Demo Dose.” The solution, which is not intended for humans, was used by UAF Community and Technical College Clinical Procedures Class students to practice injections on themselves and one another.
Evidence used to get a conviction for a 1987 Fairbanks murder trial is in question. The Alaska Innocence Project is pursuing post conviction relief for Michael Alexander, who was imprisoned for the March 23, 1987 kidnapping and killing of Fairbanks teenager Kathy Stockholm. The Innocence Project request challenges biological evidence that helped convict Alexander, and the group’s Director Bill Oberly says the FBI has concurred it could be suspect.
The Army has a new protocol for live ordnance training during times of high wildfire danger. Army artillery practice sparked the Stewart Creek 2 wildfire that burned east of Fairbanks though much of last summer. The 87,000 acre blaze forced evacuations and cost more than $20 million to fight.
The City of Fairbanks will help fund a new mental health drop in center. Earlier this week, the city council approved $58,000 for the Northern Door Clubhouse.
The state will take another look at its cleanup standard for sulfolane contaminated water in North Pole. Last November, the Department of Environmental Conservation set a 14 parts per billion clean up threshold for groundwater tainted by historic spills at the Flint Hills North Pole Refinery.