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Court order shuts down wood boilers by Woodriver

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Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2013 12:00 am

FAIRBANKS — By a court order issued last week, the fire must go out in two outdoor wood boilers in the University West neighborhood, at least pending further notice from the judge.

Because of neighborhood complaints about wood smoke, the state Department of Environmental Conservation sued property owners Andrew and Gloria Straugn last month to permanently shut down two boilers they installed in 2008.

As a first step, the state DEC asked the court for a preliminary injunction, which would block the use of the boilers during the litigation. Superior Court Judge Robert Downs responded with an order granting an injunction Feb. 4.

The boilers have been the source of a long-standing conflict between the Straugn and neighbors concerned about wood smoke, especially staff and parents of students at nearby school Woodriver Elementary School. In its request for an injunction, the DEC filed a 19-page memorandum containing statements from neighbors and Woodriver teachers taking issue with the wood smoke. It includes excerpts about the wood smoke from journals written by second- and third-grade students.

Fairbanks attorney Jason Gazewood is representing the Straugns. He filed a response to the state’s complaint last month denying most of the state’s allegations.

Contact staff writer Sam Friedman at 459-7545. Follow him on Twitter, @FDNMcrime.

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