Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of Jan. 3, 2017

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Small tykes ask for big things from Santa in their letters
“I want to be a billionaire. and my own telephone.” Such were the requests from kids mailing letters to Santa this year using his custom mailbox at the foot of Mine 2B. Other requests included everything from dogs, to servents to machine guns to yachts. “There are an increasing number of wish lists from the mainland,” Santa said in a prepared statement. “Some are even from abroad.” He said if kids didn’t get what they wanted, there’s always next year.

Svalbard Airport gets electric cars, public charging station
Svalbard Airport has obtained two new electric-powered cars and plans to install public charging stations this summer. The cars, replace two gas-powered vehicles used by the airport, are being purchased now due to the recent installation of solar panels at the facility. “Previously, we have not quite seen the point of electric cars because the power still came from coal-fired power plant,” said Operations Manager Carl Einar Ianssen. “When we got solar panels installed at the airport this summer it was more natural to go to the purchase of electric cars.” The panels should provide sufficient power for the vehicles and the charging station, he said. The airport received 230,000 kroner from the Svalbard Environmental Protection Fund to build the charging station. In addition, parent company Avinor provided 450,000 kroner for the project.

Arctic Race backs out of plan to include Svalbard this year
Plans to include Svalbard in this yeasr’s Arctic Race have been scraped due to scheduling and logics problems, according to a race’s founder. “We worked hard to look at the possibility, but there are some sports-related things that didn’t work out,” said Knut-Erik Dybdal. “In addition, we were behind in terms of booking of accommodation.” Race organizers visited last May and said there was strong enthusiasm for adding a Svalbard leg to the bike race. But one problem is the EM sports challenge is the week before the race and adding a Svalbard leg to the bike race would make it difficult for many to participate.