Dermot Cole

The House Resources Committee slapped new restrictions on the Walker administration's plan to get natural gas to Fairbanks on Wednesday, while the governor said the changes would guarantee additional delay.

Among the restrictions was a requirement that the natural gas project be forced to get legislative approval before it could advance.

“I’m very, very disappointed that we’re putting, at a minimum, another year delay in bringing relief to Fairbanks,” Gov. Bill Walker said after the committee voted Wednesday afternoon...

Dermot Cole

Rejecting the advice of its legal staff, the Alaska House of Representatives approved a bill Monday ordering the federal government to hand over most federal land in Alaska to the state by Dec. 31, 2016.

House lawmakers said the federal government would be allowed to keep national parks, such as Denali, but not national monuments, preserves and areas such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge.

Democratic critics said the plan introduced by House Speaker Mike Chenault, a Nikiski Republican, was a waste of time and a guaranteed loser in court.

“We don’t have the money to litigate a bill that is 100 percent unconstitutional,” said Anchorage Democratic Rep. Les Gara...

Dermot Cole

With more than 800 people employed at Point Thomson on Alaska's North Slope, ExxonMobil and its partners are on track to begin producing petroleum by late 2016 -- with the state picking up about half the $4 billion development cost through tax credits and reduced oil taxes, according to recent estimates from the Walker administration...

Dermot Cole

Deep in the throes of a tumultuous legislative season, Gov. Bill Walker said Wednesday he may call a special session on Medicaid expansion and announced that his administration would soon organize a conference so Alaskans can consider all options -- including new taxes and using Permanent Fund earnings -- to balance the state’s massive budget deficit.

In a speech at Commonwealth North in Anchorage, Walker also said he will likely veto a legislative measure seeking to limit his options on a natural gas pipeline because it will harm Alaska’s chances to get natural gas to world markets with an economic plan...

Alex DeMarban,Dermot Cole

FAIRBANKS — I spent the better part of Saturday trying to catch up with Alan Delamere. The 79-year-old skier and engineer completed the 50-kilometer Sonot Kkaazoot ski race in less than five hours.

He skied from downtown Fairbanks on the Chena River to the top of Birch Hill and back in 4 hours, 48 minutes, 12 seconds. He has 18 years on me, which doesn't explain why I was 5 minutes behind him, except he is an athlete and I'm just somebody who likes to ski.

The 31-mile course begins in downtown Fairbanks and winds its way along the Chena to the top of Birch Hill and back. He crossed the finish line still moving like a lad of 40 or 50. A bit stiff, perhaps, but not out of breath or ready for a rocking chair...

Dermot Cole
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While more than a half-million Alaskans have already filed, thousands of procrastinators are expected to sign up for the 2015 Permanent Fund dividend to just beat the March 31 deadline...

Dermot Cole

FAIRBANKS -- While more than a half-million Alaskans have already filed, thousands of procrastinators are expected to sign up for the 2015 Permanent Fund dividend to just beat the March 31 deadline.

A year ago, the final day was the third busiest for applications, trailing only Jan. 1 and Jan. 2, when nearly 30,000 Alaskans filed online or by mail.

The annual exercise, more popular than that other spring chore with an April 15 deadline, is aimed at assembling a list of those who are to receive checks in the fall, but it also provides a demographic portrait of sorts for the state's residents...

Dermot Cole

FAIRBANKS -- Among the lingering questions about the political corruption scandal that shook Alaska over the past decade is why the federal government backed off on a potential sex exploitation case against Bill Allen, the 77-year-old former political power broker, newspaper publisher and construction executive...

Dermot Cole

FAIRBANKS -- A Black Hawk helicopter unit that returned from Afghanistan late last year is set to begin providing emergency search-and-rescue assistance in Interior Alaska next week.

Fort Wainwright crews from C Company, 1st Battalion, 52nd Aviation Regiment will assist with emergency medical evacuation and search-and-rescue missions under an agreement with the Rescue Coordination Center at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage...

Dermot Cole

FAIRBANKS -- The Fairbanks North Star Borough School Board cut 60.5 jobs and sliced $11 million Wednesday from its spending plan for the next fiscal year, though it opted to include a letter asking the borough Assembly to restore $7 million of the cuts with local property taxes.

"This is a starvation budget," said board member Mike O'Brien. "It cuts things back to where I question their feasibility. The silver lining of this budget, if there is one, is that class sizes were preserved. But we just stabbed the arts, library, music, nursing, behavioral aides. Those are vital parts of children's education."...

Dermot Cole

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