Business

A little bit of Italy opens in Homer

On a trip to the Spit one can find freshly cooked seafood, gift shops, fishing charters, tourists from a variety of places and, now, gelato.

Nestled in between AK Starfish Co. and Alpaca Connection, Carmen’s Gelato serves up authentic Italian gelato, made by 29-year-old Homer native Carmen Ricciardi. Previously, Carmen’s Gelato existed as a cart that sold gelato on the streets of Anchorage, starting out when he was 25.

Walker limits PFD payouts to $1,000

ANCHORAGE — Facing a multibillion-dollar deficit, the Alaska governor on Wednesday cut in half the annual checks that give all residents a share of the state’s oil wealth, but he kept enough money in place to award everyone a $1,000 payout.

Gov. Bill Walker had said recently that all budget-cutting options were on the table, raising the prospect that he might do away with the checks entirely. They have been distributed for more than three decades and last year climbed to a record $2,072.

Anchorage attorney Jahna Lindemuth named new AG

Gov. Bill Walker’s cabinet is finally whole again.

Walker introduced Anchorage attorney Jahna Lindemuth as Alaska’s new attorney general at a Tuesday afternoon press conference.

Lindemuth replaces former Attorney General Craig Richards who resigned abruptly June 23 citing personal reasons.

Walker said he was “struck” by her “passion for Alaska.” He referenced more than 950 hours of pro bono work she did in 2015 representing a victim of domestic violence and a wrongly convicted defendant in the very public “Fairbanks Four” case.

Red Chair reaches the end of the road

Many of us know well traveled people. Perhaps they spent a year studying abroad, or a month rambling across Asia, backpacking across Europe, or working in an orphanage in South America. Maybe — as is the case of one red chair — they are slowing checking off every state in the union. The Red Chair, a wandering dump swap salvage that started its journey in 2011, has come all the way to Homer.

Legislature adjourns; Walker calls fifth special session

It’s over, but not done.

At 11:46 a.m. Sunday, the Alaska Senate adjourned the fourth special session of the 29th Alaska Legislature.

Forty minutes later, Gov. Bill Walker issued a proclamation stating that the fifth special session will begin on July 11. On its agenda will be three items: Using the earnings of the Alaska Permanent Fund to pay for government operations, reforms to the state’s system of oil and gas drilling subsidies, and a suite of tax increases.

Borough sees increase in oil property values

The values of some oil and gas properties in the Kenai Peninsula Borough jumped in the most recent state assessment, producing about $1.1 million more for the borough in property taxes.

Much of that increase comes from the Nikiski area, where the tax values for the year increased by approximately $559,991, according to the borough’s fiscal year 2017 budget.

The increase allowed for a mill rate decrease for residents of Nikiski from 2.90 to 2.80 for the next year. The borough assembly approved the new mill rate at its June 7 meeting.

Group says fracking will harm Cook Inlet beluga whales

ANCHORAGE — A national environmental group is asking federal fisheries officials to block a drilling company’s plans for offshore hydraulic fracturing in Alaska’s Cook Inlet.

The Center for Biological Diversity says fracking by BlueCrest Energy will threaten endangered beluga whales.

The group says no hydraulic fracturing by the Fort Worth, Texas-based company should be allowed unless there’s additional environmental review.

Hydraulic fracturing is the extraction of oil and gas from rock through injection of high-pressure mixtures of water, sand and chemicals.

Bike Bucks? Ride for food to Homer Farmers Market

The Homer Farmers Market is in the perfect location.

Very few markets have the good fortune of a permanent location so that tents and infrastructure can stay up all summer.

That means that instead of just a pop-up tent village, our Market booths are more permanent, hand built, and full of personality.

I’ll just say it: we have a cute Farmers Market.

Permanent Fund exec: Dividend bill too optimistic

FAIRBANKS (AP) — The bill to restructure the Alaska Permanent Fund to help pay for government could be too optimistic about the market, the head of the corporation that manages the fund told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner editorial board Tuesday.

Angela Rodell, the CEO of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp., said an annual draw of 5.25 percent of the market value of the fund could be tough to meet every year. That money would come from the fund’s earnings reserve account, not the fund’s principal.

House has a moment of silence for Orland victims

JUNEAU (AP) — The Alaska House of Representatives stood for a moment of silence Monday to honor the shooting victims of the deadly attack at the gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

Rep. Matt Claman asked his colleagues to stand in unity for those injured and killed and their families.

The Anchorage Democrat says, “It’s a tremendous loss.”

Lawmakers are meeting in special session to address budget shortfalls because of the low price of oil.

VA ends contractor’s duty of making appointments

JUNEAU (AP) — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is returning to using its own employees to handle appointments for Alaska veterans who need medical services outside the VA system.

State lawmakers announced Monday that TriWest Healthcare Alliance will no longer make appointments for veterans. The company will still be responsible for billing and maintaining relationships with medical professionals, The Alaska Public Radio Network reported.

Report examines five-year outlook for peninsula economy

The Kenai Peninsula’s relatively diverse economy has some room to grow in the next few years, accommodating for lower oil prices and production as well as an aging population.

The most recent Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, compiled by the Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District, reviews some demographic and employment statistics while proposing broad goals for the next five years. The plan will be updated every year but provides a broad framework for the future of the economy, said Rick Roeske, the KPEDD’s executive director.

Producers and co-producers: a sympiotic relationship

Even on a rainy day like last Saturday, the Homer Farmers Market is packed. It is filled with what are known as “co-producers.”

To understand what a co-producer is, we need to think about producers. They are the dedicated individuals who show up every week and stand in their booth (smiling or grumbling, depending on personality) chatting with Market patrons. They have been planning all week for this day, scheduling out harvest times and sequential plantings, noting quantities and quality of the different varieties of veggies they will be bringing.

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