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Originally from Wisconsin, Earl Finkler came to Alaska in the late 1960s to work in community development and planning. He has a Bachelors Degree in Journalism from Marquette University and a Masters Degree in Urban Affairs from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. He first worked in Anchorage for the State Housing Authority assisting rural communities with HUD 701 plans (comprehensive plans for community development). The first community he was involved with was Barrow (now Utqiaġvik). There he met Eben Hopson, who understood the importance of having local govenrment after the discovery of oil on the North Slope in 1968. The North Slope Borough was formed in 1972 and in 1974, when the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) was completed and management and maintenance of the adjacent Haul Road was transferred from Alyeska to the State of Alaska, Borough Mayor Eben Hopson contacted Earl to ask if he would serve as a planning consultant for the North Slope Borough and surrounding villages with research, reports, and recommendations for policy and zoning of the Haul Road. From the Brooks Range to Prudhoe Bay, the Haul Road passes through the North Slope Borough. Earl went on to become head of the North Slope Borough's Department of Planning and Community Development where he oversaw review and permitting of many other development projects around the North Slope, and dealt with subsistence and public access issues along the Haul Road corridor. After retiring from the Borough, Earl became a news reporter and host of a morning show for Barrow's radio station, KBRW. He also was a freelance writer for various news and planning magazines. He now lives in Medford, Wisconsin.