North Pole

City of North Pole

The North Pole City Council tonight will consider awarding a contract to an engineering company to develop a plan intended to protect the community’s groundwater from contamination. The mayor says the plan is needed to ensure the city will be able to expand its municipal water system to areas where the groundwater already is contaminated.

Santa Claus House

A North Pole landmark is being relocated this morning. The owners of the Santa Claus House are moving the 50-foot statue of ol’ Saint Nick as part of a project to expand the gift shop and build new facilities on the site.

Flint Hills continues to push for a less stringent standard for removal of a spilled chemical from groundwater at the company’s shuttered North Pole refinery. As KUAC’s Dan Bross reports, removal of the industrial solvent sulfolane (SULL-fo-lane) is costing the refinery a lot of money, and opinions differ on how clean groundwater should be.

Dan Bross / KUAC

A Wasilla man has been charged with kidnapping 2 North Pole girls. As KUAC’s Dan Bross reports, the girls were not physically harmed, but the suspect faces decades in prison on federal kidnapping charges.

Department of Defense file photo

Local leaders are welcoming news that the Air Force plans to keep 21 F-16 jets and more than 1,500 military and civilian jobs at Eielson Air Force Base. The Air Force had considered moving them to accommodate the proposed stationing of 2 F-35 squadrons at the base.

The North Pole City Council voted Tuesday to restrict the consumption of marijuana in public. The council members debated whether, and how much, the ordinance should limit marijuana use at businesses and on private property. But they decided against adding specific restrictions against use on private property.

Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities

The State Department of Transportation is considering raising the speed limit on a stretch of the Richardson Highway through North Pole from 55 to 65 miles per hour. But the agency first wants to make some changes to the highway to ensure safety.

Dan Bross / KUAC

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 as KUAC’s Dan Bross reports, the EPA plans to begin using monitoring data from North Pole, where pollution is typically much worse 

The North Pole City Council tonight will consider final approval the city’s $5.7 million operating budget for the coming year.

The budget will not include an increase in sales taxes, except on alcohol and tobacco.

The North Pole City Council is looking at increased sales taxes. Mayor Bryce Ward has proposed the hikes to cover an anticipated $180,000-plus 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 a revamped version of the mayor’s proposal next week.