Business

'Keen Kow' invites diners to 'eat Thai food'

Ninilchik may be small in size, but not flavor. The most recent offering attracting hungry residents, visitors and Sterling Highway travelers is Keen Kow Thai Food.

No puzzle about the restaurant’s name. Translated, it means, “Eat Thai food.” That encouragement is underscored by the tantalizing aroma welcoming diners and hinting at chef Nina Oliver’s skill when it comes to combining herbs. Oliver and her husband, Rick, are owners of Keen Kow.

Answers to your questions about the Permanent Fund bill

The Alaska Legislature is moving quickly to address a bill that would divert a portion of the Alaska Permanent Fund to pay for the state’s annual expenses, but judging by the emails and calls reaching legislative offices this week, Alaskans still have a lot of questions.

Here’s some answers to some of the most common questions we’ve heard in the Bill Ray Center this week about Senate Bill 128:

 

Why do we need this bill?

More rats seen on Kodiak

KODIAK (AP) — A pest control technician in Kodiak says this year’s warm winter has caused a spike in the number of rats on the island.

BJ Johnson with American Pest Management said rat populations have surged throughout Kodiak Island this year following a third straight winter of warmer-than-normal temperatures.

“It is definitely a rat season,” Johnson told KMXT-FM. “We haven’t had a real cold winter in at least three years now, and hence that gives them plenty of comfortable climate to propagate, and that’s what they’re doing.”

Senate votes to spend permanent fund earnings on state operations

The Alaska Senate voted late Monday to spend almost $1.8 billion per year from the Alaska Permanent Fund earnings reserve on the operations of state government.

If approved by the House, the action would erase about half of Alaska’s multibillion-dollar deficit but roughly halve the annual Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend.

Senate Bill 128, created by Sen. Lesil McGuire, R-Anchorage, is a key element in Gov. Bill Walker’s comprehensive plan to erase Alaska’s state deficit through spending cuts and new revenue.

LEGISLATURE IN BRIEF

JUNEAU (AP) — The Alaska Senate has passed legislation aimed at helping stabilize an individual health insurance market that’s been plagued by rising rates and, starting next year, will be down to one insurer.

Under the bill, claims for high-cost conditions would be ceded to a high-risk pool funded by a premium tax paid to the state by insurance companies. The bill anticipates $55 million being available.

The director of Alaska’s Division of Insurance, Lori Wing-Heier, said that money currently goes to the state’s general fund.

Local growers keep it fresh and affordable

I used to work in a small South American country for Peace Corps. I worked with a group of rural farmers who worked together to raise tomatoes commercially. 

Their carefully picked tomatoes were loaded onto a big market truck that they waved down as it went by on the road. The driver would pay them 2,000 guaranies and sell the tomatoes for 3,000 in the capital. Customers in the city would pay 4,000. Some entrepreneurs would then load up leftover tomatoes and drive them out to little stores in the countryside.

Lawmakers keep oil tax loophole

The Alaska Legislature has approved a cut to oil and gas drilling subsidies that promises millions in savings but fails to close a loophole that led to an explosion in the amount the state owes oil companies.

House Bill 247 preserves a “net operating loss” tax credit intended for smaller oil producers who are developing a new oil field and losing money in the process. At low oil prices, however, the credit can be used by the North Slope giants that produce the bulk of Alaska’s oil, reducing their production tax rate to zero.

Pratt Museum director resigns for family reasons

The Pratt Museum announced on Tuesday that executive director Diane Converse has resigned to focus on family obligations.

“It has been an honor to serve as the Pratt Museum’s director/CEO since the fall of 2009,” Converse said in a statement in the museum’s newsletter. “Balancing life and work can be a challenge. I have decided that for me the balance must tip to life and family.”

Haven House hires new director

The South Peninsula Haven House Board of Directors announced last Monday that it has named Melissa (Missi) White as its new executive director effective June 1.

White brings a wealth of collaborative experiences to Haven House reflecting two decades of military service, academic excellence and volunteer out-reach, said board president Terry Thompson.

New doctor specializes in women’s health

South Peninsula Hospital and Homer Medical Center announce the full-time obstetrics and gynecology practice of Katie Ostrom, M.D. 

Dr. Ostrom attended Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and completed her residency at the University of New Mexico. She practiced for the last 10 years in Anchorage, most recently at Alaska Women’s Health, and has offered regularly scheduled clinics in Homer for the last several years. Ostrom’s husband and two children join her in the move to Homer. 

Murkowski holds field hearing to discuss conflicts on Kenai Peninsula

KENAI — Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, visited Kenai Tuesday to hold a field hearing for the Senate Resources Committee on how federal management conflicts with local management on the Kenai Peninsula. 

Wildfire management drove much of the conversation, but federal land management that limits access to fishing and hunting were also major points.

Farmers Market 80 different plants, veggies on opening day

By KYRA WAGNER

FOR THE HOMER NEWS

The Homer Farmers Market was bustling on opening day. The sun was shining, marimbas were playing and the booths were all full. The Homer Farmers Market is such an icon of this town that it may seem like it has been here forever. (For photos of opening day, see page 2.)

But how it has grown. I’m not necessarily talking about how it has a good 40 full booths practically every weekend through the summer or how full the parking lot is.

Panama Reds store expands gardening options in Homer

Panama Reds Indoor Gardening Supply opened in Homer in the last weeks of May, bringing soils, plant fertilizers and other gardening equipment for both indoor and outdoor gardening. 

The shop is located next to Cycle Logical in the East Village shopping center, Mile 3.6 East End Road.

The store will hold its grand opening this weekend, said Panama Reds owner Carl Sanche. All items in the store are 10 percent off during the month of June, except for a few items already marked down, Sanche said.

Alaska Ultimate Safaris hosts Business After Hours

This month’s Homer Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours event will be hosted by Alaska Ultimate Safaris. The mixer will be from 5:30-7 p.m. Friday, May 27, at Alaska Ultimate Safaris headquarters, 3589 Brown Bear Loop on Beluga Lake, next to McDonald’s.

This is the perfect stop to enjoy some refreshments and networking after work. Door prizes will be 12 ten-minute helicopter rides over Homer. 

For more information, call the chamber at 235-7740.

Deedie McKenzie to head Morris Alaska newspapers

AUGUSTA, GA — Deedie McKenzie, vice president of operations for Morris Publishing Group, or MPG, has been named publisher of the Peninsula Clarion in Kenai and group publisher of Alaska Media Partners, overseeing the MPG properties in Anchorage and Juneau.

 The announcement was made Tuesday by William S. Morris IV, president and CEO of Morris Communications Co.

First National Bank warns of scam

JUNEAU — MasterCard customers across the state Tuesday reported receiving text messages in a fraudulent attempt to gain private banking information, according to a press release by First National Bank Alaska.

Valerie Bale, First National’s vice president of electronic banking, said there hasn’t been a breach in customer security yet, but officials want to get the word out to prevent a breach from occurring.

“We do not use text message alerts to notify cardholders of possible fraud,” Bale said.

Borough eliminates funding for CARTS program

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly cut its support for the Central Area Rural Transit System out of its Fiscal Year 2017 budget.

The borough has given funding to the nonprofit since 2001 in support of its operations. The organization, abbreviated to CARTS, provides door-to-door public transportation for a fee to riders who have registered accounts with it. Riders have to notify CARTS 24 hours ahead of time and be ready to go within 15 minutes on either side of the scheduled pickup time.

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