The documents made available for public review by the state Air Quality Division show several measures that state and local air-quality regulators are considering including in the State Implementation Plan that will help reduce air pollution in the Fairbanks-North Pole area, which can become especially hazardous during cold winter days. (Patrick Cotter/PDC Engineers)State air-quality regulators are inviting people who live in and around the borough’s air-pollution-plagued Non-attainment Area to take a look at a series of draft documents that outline the problem and proposed solutions. A local air-quality advocate says it’s important residents read the documents, to understand more about what’s being proposed to help clean up the area’s air — and to participate in finding solutions to the problem.Listen nowState Air Quality Division Director Denise Koch says the documents made public by her agency Thursday are drafts that when completed later this year will form the basis of the so-called State Implementation Plan, or SIP, that will lay out how the Fairbanks area can reduce its PM2.5 emissions.“These are the building blocks, if you will, of the SIP,” Koch said.Koch says agency officials posted the documents to promote a two-way of exchange of information between them and the public. She says some portions of the documents are incomplete and require information they hope area residents will help them fill in.“There are data gaps,” Koch said. “And we’re asking the public for additional information.”The documents dozens of references to those gaps, such as how much Number 1 and Number 2 fuel oil is used locally, broken down in to residential and non-residential use. Koch says the agency also wanted to make the documents available to inform people about how it will oversee local efforts to reduce PM2.5 emissions to attain federal air-quality standards in what’s now called the Serious Nonattainment Area.“We want complete transparency,” Koch said. “We know that this is a very important issue to the community, and we want people to be able to look at our early thinking.”Longtime local air-quality advocate Jimmy Fox says he’s already reading through the documents, and he urges all other area residents to give them a look, so they can appreciate the complexity of the problem and understand the measures the Air Quality Division is planning and considering.“This is the chance to kind of kick the tires on these draft documents and help the state come up with an implementation plan that we can live with,” Fox said.Fox says it would behoove residents to get to know the many different strategies that’ll be employed under the SIP to clean up the air in the nonattainment area – and that are sure to raise eyebrows. They include such measures as requiring installation of emissions-control technology on so-called stationary sources such as powerplants, which would boost the cost of electricity for ratepayers. Also, possible requirements on the use of ultralow-sulfur heating oil, a costlier but cleaner-burning fuel.“What I’m reading here is that preliminary estimates is that switching to that (fuel) to help address the problem would cost the average household and extra three to four hundred bucks a year in heating oil costs,” Fox said.Fox says the locals can help the state understand more about the situation here in Fairbanks, and could provide information to regulators that would help them develop a better plan that would work for this area.“What makes this plan successful is our ownership of that,” Fox said, “And I hope that all the citizens in the borough don’t shy away from this opportunity.”Fox says some portions of the documents are fairly technical and can make for dense reading. But he says overall, they should be pretty understandable to most folks.Koch says the Air Quality Division wants comments on the documents before May 23. They can be found on the division’s website, which is accessible off the state Department of Environmental Conservation homepage.
Gault Millau Switzerland and sponsor Carl F. Bucherer have named the Kulm Hotel St. Moritz “Hotel of the Year 2018”. In an official ceremony held on Monday 28 August, the hotel was awarded the prestigious title by Sascha Moeri, CEO of Carl F. Bucherer, and Urs Heller, chief editor of Gault Millau Switzerland.The Kulm was praised by the judges for its exceptional culinary offerings, outstanding service standards, stunning location with breathtaking views of the Engadine Valley, striking new rooms by Pierre-Yves Rochon and its wide-ranging health and fitness offering, including its modern spa.Gault Millau, founded in 1969 by two French restaurant critics, is among the most influential restaurant guides on the international gourmet scene and places great emphasis, therefore, on the cuisine offered by hotels when making its annual award selection. The Kulm Hotel stood out in 2017 for a variety of reasons including the opening in January of the Kulm Country Club, which had an innovative launch concept that saw different Michelin starred chefs from around the world, such as Daniel Humm, Nenad Mlinarevic and Mauro Colagreco, “pop up” to cook in the restaurant.Planning is already in place for more guest chefs to visit the Kulm in the upcoming winter season, including Germany’s two-starred Michelin chef Tim Raue with his Asian-inspired cuisine who will be at the K – the Kulm’s fine dining restaurant.The last year also saw the F&B operations at the Kulm Hotel taken over by a new head chef, Mauro Taufer, who came to the property with excellent experience gained at the Hotel Gritti Palace and Hotel Danieli, both in Venice, as well as a warm and welcoming professional style, and an aptitude for hiring the right talent for the right job.Taufer oversees the Kulm’s varied culinary concept, which includes five restaurants (the half-board Grand Restaurant, the Gourmet Restaurant the K, the Italian Pizzeria, Chesa al Parc serving local Engadine specialities and the Sunny Bar, which plays host to Peruvian chef Claudia Canessa in the evenings), in addition to the newly-opened Kulm Country Club. Furthermore, the Kulm’s “Dine Around” programme operated in conjunction with sister property Grand Hotel Kronenhof means that guests have access to another three restaurants. Two of these restaurants, the Grand at the Kulm and the Grand at the Kronenhof, provide half-board meals of an exceptional standard for guests.The ongoing investment in the Kulm Hotel was also an important factor in choosing the property as “Hotel of the Year”. Some of the major innovations of the last decade are the 2000-square-metre Kulm Spa St. Moritz, which was unveiled in 2012 following a CHF12 million investment; the refurbishment of the NeuKulm building with interiors by internationally renowned designer Pierre-Yves Rochon and, of course, the opening of the Kulm Country Club, created from an historic Ice Pavilion that had lain unused since the 1980s.And last but by no means least, Gault Millau recognised the enormous input, energy and friendly nature of the Kulm team, led by Heinz E. and Jenny Hunkeler, who are the only General Managers ever to pick up the coveted Hotel of the Year award twice. The Hunkelers have been at the helm of the Kulm Hotel since March 2013 and were previously at sister property Grand Hotel Kronenhof, when it was named GaultMillau Hotel of the Year in 2009.On accepting the award, Heinz E. Hunkeler said, “We are delighted to receive this outstanding award on behalf of the entire team at the Kulm Hotel St. Moritz, who work tirelessly alongside us to ensure that our guests have an outstanding stay with us. From the moment they arrive to the moment they depart, the concierge desk, the house-keeping team, the kitchen and restaurant staff, and the spa team, do their utmost to look after the guests, a fact that is reflected by the hotel winning the highly respected Gault Millau “Hotel of the Year” title.”