Karl Kassel

Jeanne Olson

The Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly approved a resolution Thursday that supports and authorizes testing of a type of air-pollution control technology that local advocates say will clean smoke from woodstoves and help improve the area’s air quality. The advocates say they hope the data they’ll develop through their testing will convince federal environmental regulators to include electrostatic precipitators on its list of EPA-approved technologies that could enable homeowners and businesses to continue operating their wood- or pellet stoves during burn bans.

Tim Ellis/KUAC

Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Karl Kassel is again asking the public to help him figure out how to deal with the long backlog of deferred maintenance on borough facilities that are estimated to cost hundreds of millions of dollars. The mayor demonstrated the challenge he’s facing by asking residents to consider which of the top 10 facilities most in need of maintenance should the borough pay to fix – and which should be shut down and demolished.


The Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly approved an ordinance Thursday that’s intended to enable more area residents to qualify for a borough program that helps them pay to replace their older woodstove or other type of solid-fuel-burning heating appliance for a new cleaner-burning unit.

Tim Ellis/KUAC

A Fairbanks North Star Borough-hosted meeting on air quality drew more than a hundred people in North Pole last night. The sometimes-tense meeting was intended to promote cooperation in reducing pollution from wood and coal burning, but many used the opportunity to criticize the borough’s air-quality program and express their frustration with trying to comply with it.


North Pole Mayor Bryce Ward is running for mayor of the Fairbanks North Star Borough. The 31-year-old construction contractor is the first candidate to declare his interest in replacing Karl Kassel, who recently decided not to seek a second term.

Tim Ellis/KUAC

Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Karl Kassel says most of the borough’s 250 or so buildings are badly in need of maintenance. He says many are so old that they just need to be torn down and replaced. And he says it’ll cost nearly $400 million to catch up on that backlog. The mayor told a couple hundred area residents who showed up for two meetings Wednesday that they and their local elected leaders will have to solve the problem, because it’s unlikely the state will pay for much, if any, of that work.

Seattle University Spectator

Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Karl Kassel says state officials have cut funding to the borough for three straight years now, and it appears likely that’ll continue in the years ahead. The mayor says borough officials face some tough choices on how to deal with those cuts, so he’s scheduled two public meetings for Wednesday to talk about the problem – and ask borough residents what they think ought to be done about it.

Isaac Johnson/354th FW public affairs

Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Karl Kassel says the buildup associated with two squadrons of F-35 warplanes that’ll be coming to Eielson Air Force Base in a couple of years will offset decreases in population and state funding that are both being driven by Alaska’s recession-wracked economy.


The Week of the Arctic gets under way today here on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus. Dozens of Arctic science- and policy-related events will be held throughout the week, culminating in Thursday’s Arctic Council ministerial meetings, when U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will hand over the council chairmanship to his counterpart from Finland.

More than a thousand scientists and policymakers from around the world, along with organizations representing indigenous peoples, industry and other interest are converging here in Fairbanks for Arctic Science Summit Week. They’re coming to nation’s leading Arctic-research university to share the latest information on rapid changes under way in the circumpolar north.