Business

No changes in hospital service area boundaries

The boundaries of the Kenai Peninsula’s hospital service areas will stay where they are for now.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly struck down a proposed ordinance at its July 26 meeting that would have moved the common boundary between the Central Kenai Peninsula Hospital Service Area and the South Kenai Peninsula Hospital Service Area about 12 miles to the south. The move would have shifted a number of residents into the Central Kenai Peninsula Hospital Service Area, which has a significantly lower mill rate.

Why wouldn't you grow your own berries?

This is the season for all kinds of Alaskan berries, but it is definitely the time for raspberries. Picking (and eating) in our garden the other day I realized that raspberries are the perfect food to showcase the state of our food system.

First of all, just like I wonder why everyone doesn’t grow as much of their own food as possible, I wonder why everyone doesn’t grow raspberries. I’m kind of an idealist in this area — I would love to see everyone’s food security handled at the local level so that no family is at the whim of economic fluctuations or market factors.

Lower Cook Inlet oil leases advance

Residents of Anchor Point, Homer and Seldovia could see drilling rigs off their coasts in the future if the federal Department of the Interior gives it the green light.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the federal agency that oversees offshore drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf, has issued a draft environmental impact statement for oil and gas exploratory leases in Lower Cook Inlet. The proposed leasing area stretches from approximately Ninilchik to just north of Augustine Island, not including Kachemak Bay.

Pumpkins already getting ripe on the vine

This season is moving fast. Summer always does, but never like this. There are already beans and peas and, yes, pumpkins down at the Homer Farmers Market.

Our early season caught Bob Durr by surprise. He planted hundreds of pumpkins this year figuring that they would be ready for decorating for Halloween, but they are already getting ripe on the vine. Between the pumpkins and butternut squash he planted in three greenhouses, he has more than 1,000 plants producing like they are growing in California.

The Dragon's Den: Sanctuary for gamers

In a small town like Homer, it’s important to have niche businesses, which both fill a need in the community and contribute to its economy. One of these niche businesses, which opened this month, is The Dragon’s Den, the go-to store in Homer for any and all involved in gaming.

Abe Alborn, owner of The Dragon’s Den and also of the local construction business Excalibur, says Homer has been without a gaming store for 14 years, and that it is something the community has needed.

EPA fines BP, Hilcorp for North Slope spills

EPA fines BP, Hilcorp
for North Slope spills

JUNEAU (AP) — BP Exploration Alaska and Hilcorp Alaska have agreed to pay fines imposed by the federal government for spilling oil and waste on the state’s North Slope.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the settlement with the companies Monday. Hilcorp will pay $100,000 in federal penalties, while BP Exploration Alaska has been fined $30,000 for federal penalties and $100,000 for state violations, KTOO-FM reported.

Pollution reduction settlement reached

Pollution reduction settlement reached

By PHUONG LE

The Associated Press

SEATTLE — The Justice Department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Monday announced a $425 million settlement with two companies to reduce air pollution at six petroleum refineries in the West.

The agreement with Tesoro Corp. and Par Hawaii Refining resolves alleged violations of the federal Clean Air Act and requires installment of new equipment to control emissions.

Walker creates new Cabinet position for oil-gas advisor

Walker creates new Cabinet position for oil-gas advisor

By Elwood Brehmer

Morris News Service - Alaska

Gov. Bill Walker’s Cabinet is changing again, this time by way of addition.

Walker announced Monday longtime oil industry professional John Hendrix has been appointed as his chief oil and gas advisor, which is a newly created Cabinet level position. He introduced Hendrix during a luncheon held by the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce.

Alaska LNG Project water testing to occur in August

The Alaska LNG Project is moving forward with an aquifer pump test on its land in Nikiski this summer.

The project, a collaborative effort between ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, BP and the state of Alaska to bring natural gas on the state’s North Slope to market, has conducted geophysical and geotechnical work on the proposed site of its plant in Nikiski since 2013. As part of this year’s approximately $230 million fieldwork season, the project engineers will drill test and observation wells on its property in Nikiski in preparation for water testing.

Let's talk about,be grateful forour food

What really matters? Is it your mortgage? Your kids? Your job? Your health?

They say it’s the little things that count. What are the little things that effect all of these big things in our lives? What matters most?

Food. I haven’t met a person yet who didn’t eat. Hopefully three times a day. Or more.

Do you consider food a habit, something you do unconsciously like rubbing your nose? Or do you partake in meals like they are an important conversation with a loved one? Or is it a daily burden like tax added onto the bill?

Dipnetting spurs entrepreneurs

Rattling along the deep ruts of the sand on the Kenai River’s south beach in a side-by-side, Jason Floyd took orders for mochas.

He wheeled the vehicle expertly among dipnets, dipnetters, coolers and tents on the beach Monday — this crowd, though still thick, was nothing compared to the crowd the weekend before, he said. A cooler full of ice rides in the back of the side-by-side beneath an Alaska flag and the signature yellow “Don’t Tread On Me” Gadsden flag.

New yurt hostel slated to open in August

Homer is known as a traveling community. It doesn’t take long to find someone who has spent considerable time abroad, bouncing from one hostel to the next, meeting others of a like mind.

Wes Fazio, who bought property here only two years ago, is one of those travelers who now calls Homer home.

He describes choosing Homer as his new home in a way that many can relate to.

“I love the culture here. There are a lot of really cool people in Homer. That’s one of my favorite things about it actually. It just feels right,” Fazio said.

Chamber's member relations coordinator taking job in Texas

Homer Chamber of Commerce Communications and Member Relations Coordinator Jorge Davilla is leaving his position at the chamber and the town of Homer.

Davilla, who has worked at the chamber for nearly two years, plans to leave Homer in late July or early August. His last day has not yet been determined as the chamber is still in the process of finding his replacement, he said.

Superyacht visits Homer

The A2 out of George Town, Cayman Islands, is moored at the Homer Harbor System 5 dock on Monday. The 154-foot superyacht sailed to Homer from Miami, Fla. The yacht is owned by billionaire George Lindemann of Palm Beach, Fla. The Feadship yacht was rebuilt in 2011 and 2012 by Pendennis shipyard, United Kingdom.

Health care jobs see spike

Health care employment continues rising in the state, though economists are still unsure precisely what drives that growth to the levels observed.

A state Bureau of Labor Statistics report released in May detailed that the Anchorage’s health care employee ranks rose by 1,000 year-over-year.

This high number could be a data flub, but it is consistent with the projections that Alaska’s health care industry will continue its status as the largest job growth sector in the state.

It's all about good food - and good people

I made a huge mistake at the Homer Farmers Market last week. I told a friend who was visiting from out of town that I would meet him there. And then I forgot to specify the time. I didn’t have his number so I couldn’t call and check in. I just had to see if he came and hope I saw him in the crowd.

It turned out to be a blessing. Instead of running through the Market with a mission, I stopped and chatted with tons of friends, the familiar vendors, and even got some work arranged around an upcoming board meeting.

Legislature starts fifth special session with no clear path forward

The 29th Alaska Legislature on Monday began its fifth special session since the gavel first sounded in January 2015, but lawmakers appear uncertain on their path forward and unsure even what the next few days will bring.

Gov. Bill Walker called the special session in an attempt to balance the state’s multibillion-dollar deficit. On the agenda is a measure passed by the Senate during the fourth special session to use some of the earnings of the Alaska Permanent Fund for state services. The measure died in the House Finance Committee without reaching a vote of the full House.

Beloved toy shop to close its doors

In a town that so highly values local business, anytime one closes its doors, it is an event of memory and mourning. Residents hold a certain fondness for each beloved small business, and Timeless Toys is no exception to this rule.

Opened by Becky Pfeil in 1997, Timeless Toys has become an icon to Homer’s younger generations. First at its Lake Street location, and later on at its Main Street store.

Homer agriculture still evolving

Agriculture in Homer has been evolving over the years. Before Alaska was a state, Alvin Mattox was running his cows down on the Beluga Flats (think Mattox Street), but when the dam was built to create Beluga Lake he moved to where Kachemak Selo is now so he could continue to run his cows on the mineral-rich grasses of the tidal flats.

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