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Ups and Downs - Dec. 3

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Posted: Monday, December 3, 2012 12:19 am | Updated: 4:15 pm, Fri Jan 25, 2013.

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Editorial

Alaska cross-country skiers Kikkan Randall and Holly Brooks have continued to put the United States on the podium at World Cup events this year.

In late November, Randall finished third and Brooks finished fifth in a World Cup 10-kilometer race in Sweden. The next day, they joined two other U.S. skiers to place third in a World Cup relay race. It was the first ever podium placement for a U.S. team in the relay.

Last season, Randall won the World Cup sprint championship. Brooks also did well on the U.S. team.

This past weekend, Randall continued to dominate, placing second in a 5-kilometer race in Finland. Brooks was 18th.

Randall grew up in Anchorage. She and Brooks train at Alaska Pacific University.

United Way of the Tanana Valley received another generous boost last week, with employees of Pogo Mine near Delta Junction contributing more than $40,000. The donations pushed the local nonprofit umbrella organization close to the halfway point in its $1.5 million campaign.

The campaign continues until March, but the bulk of contributions come in December.

Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. employees contributed more than $168,000 this year. Contributions from a few other large donor groups, such as employees at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, have yet to be completed.

 

The average cost of a home compared to the average wage in Fairbanks makes ownership relatively affordable here compared to the rest of the state.

According to the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development, it takes just 1.2 typical wage earners in Fairbanks to buy a typical home. That’s substantially lower than in Anchorage, where 1.45 earners are typically needed.

One wonders how much simple economics dictate the relatively lower prices in Fairbanks. Houses might be comparatively cheaper here because the market has adjusted for the sky high cost of utilities.

For whatever the reason, it helps Fairbanks residents make ends meet a little easier.

 

The Alaska Railroad acts as a barometer of economic activity in the Interior, and it looks like we’re headed for another low pressure trough. The railroad predicts that its jet fuel shipments to Anchorage from the Flint Hills refinery in North Pole will drop another 10 percent next year. Coal shipments from the Usibelli Mine in Healy will drop 30 percent, it expects.

Whooping cough continues to spread in Alaska, according to the state epidemiology section of the Department of Health and Social Services. As of Nov. 24, Alaska had seen 210 cases of pertussis this year, almost 10 times as many as last.

The bacterial disease is serious. Half of the infants who contract it must be hospitalized. It can cause pneumonia, seizures, brain damage and death.

Spread of the disease can be slowed by vaccinations. State health officials say the recent increase seems to be related to failure to finish the series of immunizations or obtain booster shots.

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