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Tim Ellis, KUAC - Fairbanks

Tim Ellis is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.

DEC Commissioner to Rule in 2015 on Groundwater Sulfolane-Cleanup Level

DEC Commissioner to Rule in 2015 on Groundwater Sulfolane-Cleanup Level

It appears the dispute over how much to clean up contaminated groundwater in the North Pole area will continue into the new year. Officials with the state’s environmental regulatory agency are still reviewing studies to help them decide on a safe cleanup level for the chemical that leaked from a North Pole refinery into the area’s groundwater.

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December 30, 2014
Avalanche Survivor Returns to Rainbow Ridge, Recovers Bodies of Companions

Avalanche Survivor Returns to Rainbow Ridge, Recovers Bodies of Companions

The survivor of the Dec. 6 avalanche at Rainbow Ridge returned to the site in the Eastern Alaska Range last week to recover the bodies of his friend and dog. Michael Hopper says he had to go, because Alaska State Troopers had ruled out a recovery mission until the danger of avalanche in the area subsided. That could’ve taken months.

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December 29, 2014

Generators Going Again; Lights Back on In Ft. Yukon

The lights are back on in Fort Yukon, including the Christmas trees, now that three of the village’s four electrical generators are functioning again. A couple of weeks ago, the holidays didn’t look so happy for the remote Yukon River community, when all but one of its generators broke down.

December 24, 2014

DEC Reaches Diesel Spill Site Along Dalton Highway

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has been able to get back in to a remote spot along the Dalton Highway where a fuel tanker wrecked and overturned Sunday night, spilling 1,200 gallons of diesel. The spill and a fire that burned the wrecked rig occurred near the Trans-Alaska Pipeline.

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December 18, 2014
The Missile Defense Agency will be placing 14 more interceptors like this at the Fort Greely missile base by 2017. The will bring the total number of interceptors at the base to 40. Photo from the Missile Defense Agency.

Federal Spending Bill Appropriates $100 Million for Missile Defense in Alaska

The federal omnibus spending bill that awaits President Obama’s signature contains $100 million for missile defense in Alaska. It’s the only major funding for military construction work in Alaska this fiscal year.

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December 17, 2014
North Slope-Bound Tanker Wrecks, Spills 1,200 Gallons of Diesel, Catches Fire

North Slope-Bound Tanker Wrecks, Spills 1,200 Gallons of Diesel, Catches Fire

A fuel tanker headed to the North Slope wrecked at a remote spot along the Dalton Highway Sunday and overturned, spilling 1,200 gallons of diesel. The wrecked rig later caught fire and burned up.

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December 16, 2014

Friends, Family Mourn Avalanche Victim; Expert Advises Recovery Operation Delay

Memorial services were held over the weekend for the Delta Junction man killed in a avalanche in the Alaska Range. Friends and family gathered to remember 35-year-old Erik Petersen, who was skiing with friend Michael Hopper when the slide came down Dec. 6th.

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December 15, 2014
Avalanche Survivor Says He’s Shaken, Humbled After Ordeal Near Rainbow Ridge

Avalanche Survivor Says He’s Shaken, Humbled After Ordeal Near Rainbow Ridge

The Fairbanks man who was buried in an avalanche near Isabel Pass Saturday and lived to tell about it says he’s learned that even an experienced backcountry skier can get into trouble in a rugged area like the Eastern Alaska Range. He says unusual winter weather is making it more unpredictable.

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December 10, 2014

Skier Dies In Alaska Range Avalanche

A local skier was killed in an avalanche in the Alaska Range over the weekend. The incident happened Saturday evening near Isabel Pass.

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December 8, 2014
Fairbanks Municipal Leaders Hold Joint Meeting to Consider Pot-Legalization Law

Fairbanks Municipal Leaders Hold Joint Meeting to Consider Pot-Legalization Law

Municipal leaders from all three local governments gathered for a joint meeting Tuesday night with about 120 citizens to talk about the state’s new marijuana-legalization law. The first-of-its-kind meeting was held so the leaders could talk amongst themselves, and with the audience, about how they’re going to put the law into practice.

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December 3, 2014

Native Municipal Leaders: Pot-Legalization Law Could Harm Youths, Communities

Alaska Native municipal leaders say a new state law that will legalize the use and sale of marijuana could damage people in communities. Last week they told an Anchorage attorney who’s researched the law that the tax it authorizes won’t raise enough money to repair that damage.

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December 1, 2014

North Pole Looking at Increasing Sales Taxes

The North Pole City Council is looking at increased sales taxes. Mayor Bryce Ward has proposed the hikes to cover an anticipated $180,000 revenue shortfall. The public turned out in opposition to the tax increases at a City Council meeting Monday night. But the council plans to reconsider the mayor’s proposal next week.

November 28, 2014

Military Training Becoming More Difficult in Alaska

The Army’s highest-ranking soldier in Alaska says the military trains here so it can operate in the Arctic, which he calls one of the world’s most difficult environments.

November 17, 2014

Alaska Ranks Among Nation’s Least Energy-Efficient States

Alaska rates near the bottom in a nationwide survey on how states are improving energy-efficiency programs. A state energy official says the survey may not be giving Alaska enough credit for the programs it has put in place in recent years.

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October 29, 2014

Diocese: Fairbanks Priest Held on Federal Child-Pornography Charges was Screened

A Fairbanks Catholic priest accused of trying to produce child pornography underwent a two-stage screening process as part of his hiring and ordination.

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October 28, 2014
The cleanup plan announced Monday requires Flint Hills Resources-Alaska, and potential future owners of its North Pole refinery, to continue remediating and removing contaminants from the facility. (Credit KUAC file photo)

State OKs Flint Hills’ Refinery Cleanup Plan

State officials have approved a plan proposed by Flint Hills Resources-Alaska to continue an ongoing cleanup of sulfolane and other contaminants that have leaked from its North Pole refinery since the 1970s. The agreement may help improve the chances of Flint Hills eventually selling the refinery, which it closed in May.

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October 24, 2014
UAF Professor Tom Marsik, who now teaches at the Bristol Bay Campus, at his home in Dillingham. The 600-square-foot, extremely energy-efficient house has been certified as the world's most airtight house. (Credit KDLG)

High Energy Prices Driving Builders, Homebuyers to More Efficient Housing

As energy prices continue to rise, Alaskan engineers and builders are pushing the envelope in the quest to build ever-more energy-efficient housing. Some of those innovations are making their way into residential construction, as builders look to meet homebuyers’ demand.

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October 22, 2014
Environmental Activists Forming Fairbanks Chapter of Climate Change Organization

Environmental Activists Forming Fairbanks Chapter of Climate Change Organization

Fairbanks-area environmental activists say they’re building on the momentum they generated two weeks ago during the local observance of the global People’s Climate March. They’re forming a local chapter of the national organization to help reduce the impact of climate change.

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October 9, 2014
Tonight's total lunar eclipse is expected to peak just before 3 a.m. Wednesday.
Credit earthsky.org

‘Blood Moon’ Forecast Strong in Alaska Tonight

People here in Alaska and in much of this part of the Northern Hemisphere will get a chance tonight to see a total lunar eclipse, weather permitting. It’ll be another appearance of the so-called “Blood Moon.”

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October 7, 2014
Warm Spell Helps Growers Salvage Harvest After Cool, Soggy Summer

Warm Spell Helps Growers Salvage Harvest After Cool, Soggy Summer

Gardeners and farmers around the Interior have pretty much shut down for the winter after a cool, rainy, and for many, disappointing growing season. Some growers salvaged a decent yield by diversifying their crops – and taking advantage of a late-season warm spell to do some last-minute harvesting.

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September 29, 2014