Tim Ellis, KUAC - Fairbanks
Tim Ellis is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A local skier was killed in an avalanche in the Alaska Range over the weekend. The incident happened Saturday evening near Isabel Pass.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A Fairbanks Catholic priest accused of trying to produce child pornography underwent a two-stage screening process as part of his hiring and ordination.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.