Gary Wilken

Former state Sen. Gary Wilken is the topic of a celebrity roast on Feb. 2 which serves as a fundraiser for the United Way of the Tanana Valley. Local comedians Jerry Evans and Glenner Anderson are headlining the roast, which also coincides with the Fairbanks Funny Festival. 

FAIRBANKS—Fairbanks city Mayor Jim Matherly has nominated former state Sen. Gary Wilken to replace Frank Abegg on the Interior Gas Utility board of directors' city-appointed seat.

Abegg resigned from the position Tuesday in protest of IGU's purchase of Pentex Natural Gas. Wilken will need to be confirmed by the Fairbanks City Council at its Aug. 20 meeting.

Wilken resigned from the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority board of directors in order to accept Matherly's nomination. He was first appointed to the board in 2010 and was serving his fourth term. AIDEA was the entity that sold Pentex to IGU and provided the loan.

City of Fairbanks Communications Director Teal Soden stated via email that Matherly chose Wilken "due to his extensive knowledge of the Interior Energy Project" and added that Wilken had accepted the nomination.

If confirmed, Wilken's term would expire Dec. 31, 2019.

The Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly created the IGU by ordinance in 2012 after the cities of Fairbanks North Pole granted the borough the authority to create a boroughwide natural gas utility.

The IGU is a public entity that is an independent subsidiary of the borough. It has, according to its website, the "primary objective to provide low cost, clean burning, natural gas to the largest number of customers in the FNSB as soon as possible. Its goal is to bring both economic and environmental well-being to the FNSB area, and provide an important and necessary benefit to the public."

Contact staff writer Robin Wood at 459-7510. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMcity.

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