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Big Lake can become a second-class city if the state Local Boundary Commission approves and locals vote for property taxes that turn out to be a sliver lower than the ones they pay now. Commission staff this week recommended incorporation. 
Zaz Hollander
The company agreed last week to plead guilty to eight felony criminal counts and to pay $12.2 million -- $8.2 million in penalties and $4 million for a community service payment -- for environmental and safety violations during Shell’s mishap-laden 2012 drilling season.
Yereth Rosen
The Anchorage Assembly on Tuesday authorized the city to spend as much as $500,000 fighting a lawsuit filed by the family of an Anchorage man who was shot and killed by a police officer in 2012.
Nathaniel Herz
A second credit ratings agency raised a warning flag Thursday about Alaska’s state budget. Standard & Poor’s said that “to avert credit quality deterioration, we believe the state must make material progress in reducing the deficit in its fiscal 2016 budget.”
Dermot Cole
Seneca Neal, 37, of Anchorage, and Lamon Washington, 40, of Fairbanks, were charged after a months-long investigation that stretched across the state and netted some $400,000 worth of heroin, Alaska State Troopers said.
Laurel Andrews
Getting ready for his midnight marathon on Christmas Eve, Santa takes a moment to evaluate one traveler's wish list.TravelScott McMurren
When this Meyer lemon Dutch baby pancake comes out of the oven, it’s a pillowy, golden marvel, with pockets of melted butter on top. Good grief, Charlie Brown!Food & DrinkMaya Evoy
Ted Nugent and a former Miss USA are among the features touted for season two of "Amazing America with Sarah Palin," coming to the Sportsman Channel in January.Film & TVMaia Nolan-Partnow
Two unrelated black bear cubs are getting acclimated to life in captivity and to each other at the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage before being shipped to a new home in Texas. Until their 2015 departure, the zoo will be allowing the public to view them. WildlifeMegan Edge

Arctic

Annual Arctic Report Card details continued warming on land and sea

While the Arctic in 2014 continued its long-term warming, much of the rest of the world was struck by wacky and extreme weather, and studies are underway to determine whether the trends are related, said scientists who released an annual report on the Arctic on Wednesday. Yereth Rosen

Adventure

Stormy weather wreaks havoc -- only 36% of McKinley climbers reach summit

Most years, slightly more than half of those who try reach the top of Mount McKinley, the tallest peak in North America. Not since 1998 has the success rate fallen so low. By contrast, 68 percent made it in 2013, when the weather gods smiled on Alaska.Craig Medred

Nation/World

We Alaskans

To get from farm to fork, pigs at the Van Wyhe Family Farm travel more than 200 miles from the grassy reaches of Copper Center in eastern Alaska along the Richardson Highway to the urbane confines of Torchon Bistro in South Anchorage.
Loren Holmes,Zaz Hollander