Business

Board advances in-store pot use

JUNEAU — The Alaska Marijuana Control Board has voted unanimously to ask the public to comment on draft regulations allowing recreational marijuana users to enjoy pot products inside retail stores.

The regulations are the first of their kind in the United States and are a rough equivalent to the nation’s first legal pot cafes.

Once formalized, public comment will open in the coming weeks. After the public comment period expires, the board will consider the regulations again before approving or disavowing them for good.

Homer chamber announces events

Ptarmigan Arts will host this month’s Homer Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours. The event will be from 5:30-7 tonight at the gallery, 471 E.  Pioneer Ave.

This is an opportunity to enjoy some refreshments and networking after work. There will be plenty of door prizes. 

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

Salaries spotlighted as session continues

Most state employees will give up some, but not all, pay increases in the latest round of union contracts before the Legislature for approval.

Nearly 75 percent of executive branch employees will forgo cost of living allowance, or COLA, raises under the three-year agreements negotiated with the Labor, Trades and Crafts, Alaska State Employee, Confidential Employee and Mount Edgecumbe Teachers bargaining units.

Bay Weld branches into sign business

Founded in 1974, Bay Welding Services and Bay Weld Boats has developed a reputation for building sturdy, seaworthy aluminum boats. While aluminum has its merits as marine material, it also presents a design challenge. How does a boat builder add some color and flair to shiny metal?

The solution? Add vinyl fabric. 

Consumer confidence falls in Alaska

ANCHORAGE (AP) — Consumer confidence has fallen to a five-year low as Alaksa continues to struggle with a weak oil sector, budget cuts and a contentious legislative session.

The first quarter of 2016 is a low point for consumer optimism, which has fallen every quarter since the second half of 2014, The Alaska Dispatch News reported.

Oil prices began dropping in June 2014 and have not recovered.

Business in Brief

UFA announces 

committee changes

United Fishermen of Alaska announced changes to its Executive Committee, effective April 15.  UFA’s officers remain unchanged as Jerry McCune will continue to serve as UFA president, joined by Matt Alward as vice president and Chad See as secretary.

Alaska Airlines poised to become fifth largest carrier in United States

Alaska Airlines keeps making news, seemingly for all the right reasons.

The company announced a $4 billion deal to purchase Virgin America April 4, a deal that when finalized will make Alaska the fifth-largest domestic carrier.

Spokesman Tim Thompson said to Anchorage Chamber of Commerce members April 11 that Alaska will “leapfrog” JetBlue — the airline Alaska reportedly outbid to buy Virgin — to take over the spot as the fifth-largest U.S. airline.

Marijuana social clubs dwindle as legal confusion reigns

Anchorage’s Pot Luck Events is the only marijuana social club still operating without a legal challenge, as statewide puzzlement to their legality produces a patchwork of local controls.

Fairbanks’ The Higher Calling and Homer’s Kachemak Cannabis Club have both closed, and the City of Kenai is seeking an injunction against Green Rush Events.

Homer Eyecare hosts Designer Frame Trunk Show with red carpet theme

Homer Eyecare is hosting a Designer Frame Trunk Show on Wednesday, April 27,  from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. The show follows Dr. Andrew Peter’s visit in mid April to the International Vision Expo and Conference in New York. 

This year, for the first time, Homer Eyecare will go with a red carpet theme for the show. Visitors are encouraged to try frames, pose, possibly dress up and walk the red carpet. Homer Eyecare carries a great variety of high quality eyewear for the “everyday person,” according to a press release.

Bank officials on economy:

Northrim Bank leaders say Alaska’s state fiscal outlook may be grim, but the economy has some positives to focus on as well.

The bank has launched a new speaking series geared specifically towards helping businesses navigate the state’s new fiscal environment. The key point is psychology, the bank’s leaders say. They don’t deny the importance of the state’s $4.1 billion budget deficit and they don’t deny that an economic downturn is in the works, but they say handwringing is the wrong response.

Still here

The Furie Alaska jack-up rig Randolph Yost is at the Deep Water Dock in Homer last Friday as fishing boats conduct spill-response exercises in Kachemak Bay.  According to City Manager Katie Koester’s report to the Homer City Council at its Monday meeting, the rig will leave the Deep Water Dock no later than May 15 to make room for the first cruise ship of the season on May 18.

Cruise lines sue Juneau over passenger fee spending

JUNEAU — A life-sized whale statue has landed Juneau in hot water as a cruise ship association alleges it’s a symbol of the Alaska city’s misuse of millions in fees paid by visitors.

The Cruise Lines International Association and its Alaska affiliate filed a lawsuit against the city and borough of Juneau on Tuesday in federal court in Anchorage. They’re challenging the legality of so-called head tax fees paid by cruise passengers who visit Alaska’s picturesque capital.

Job wanted? Friday’s fair helps connect workers with openings

The Homer College, Career and Job Fair will be a one-stop shop for job seekers and employers to meet and greet each other. 

The fair is for those people just entering the job market as well as experienced workers considering a career change.

It will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at the Kachemak Bay Campus, 533 E. Pioneer Ave. There is no charge.

In addition to information about potential jobs, the fair will feature education and training opportunities, highlight high-growth jobs and provide career information.

More tourists slated to see Alaska in ’16

Alaska’s tourism industry should be a bright spot in 2016 as other sectors of the state’s economy face uphill battles.

 The final tally of cruise passengers, which often make up more than half of all visitors to the state, is expected to be up about 2 percent over what was a strong 2015, according to Cruise Lines International Association Alaska President John Binkley.

Homer couple taps trees, turning sap into flavorful syrup

The end of winter in Homer marked the beginning of a short but sweet season for Homer residents Anna Meredith and Jake Beaudoin. 

In the small window of time between the spring thaw and budding leaves, usually between 15-24 days, Meredith and Beaudoin collect sap from approximately 600 Kenai birch trees on the Homer bench along East End Road. By working with willing landowners, they are able to tap the trees and collect thousands of gallons of the sap. 

Smaller salmon harvests predicted statewide

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has released statewide forecasts for salmon, and 2016 promises fewer fish than last year’s price-deadening sockeye glut. 

Statewide, ADFG said 2016 will see a drop in the total salmon harvest, led by an especially sharp decline in pink salmon. Projections are for 161 million total salmon: 99,000 chinook in areas outside Southeast Alaska, 47.7 million sockeye, 4.4 million coho, 90.1 million pink, and 18.7 million chum.

Lawmakers rewrite fisheries tax bill

JUNEAU — A House fisheries committee advanced a rewrite of Gov. Bill Walker’s fisheries tax bill on Tuesday, diverting half of the potential revenue into a seafood marketing fund.

The bill, one of six proposed taxes on industries from Walker, could raise an additional $18 million in revenue by adding a 1-percent tax increase to portions of the commercial fishing industry.

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