Business

Pebble Partnership official shares progress on project

Business leaders from the central Kenai Peninsula heard from the Pebble Ltd. Partnership during a joint Kenai and Soldotna Chamber of Commerce luncheon June 5.

Matthew Fagnani, Pebble’s vice president of business development, spoke for about an hour about the proposed mining project, its benefits and what detractors say on the potential harm of natural resource extraction.

Farmers’ Market

This weekend’s Homer Farmers’ Market will be the fourth one this season. That’s one month of markets already. It’s hard to believe, unless you are looking at the offerings. There are already turnips available, as well as kale, onions and a variety of greens.

Did I say greens? 

Buccaneer prefers subsea system to develop its Cosmopolitan site

Independent oil and gas explorer Buccaneer Energy says it would prefer a subsea production system for the development of Cosmopolitan, an oil and gas deposit the company is now testing in Cook Inlet.

It would be the first subsea development in the inlet, where conventional platforms have operated since the 1960s. Buccaneer is one of several independent companies now active in southern Alaska.

Subsea production systems are common in the North Sea, Gulf of Mexico and other offshore regions producing oil and gas.

Manager sought for port project

The Municipality of Anchorage is in the market for a project management team to oversee the stalled Port of Anchorage expansion project.

At a joint meeting between the Anchorage Assembly’s Enterprise Oversight Committee and the Port of Anchorage Commission on May 23, Municipal Manager George Vakalis announced that the municipality is drafting a request for proposal, or RFP, to receive bids for the work.

The four-member Enterprise Committee monitors the actions of the city-owned utilities, Merrill Field and the Port of Anchorage.

Alaska timber communities worried about repayment demand

JUNEAU — A federal demand for repayment of funds has Alaska timber communities worried that a program that relies on the money for schools and other projects could be doomed.

U.S. Forest Service Chief Thomas Tidwell has asked 41 states to return a total of $17.9 million in timber payments as a result of automatic federal budget cuts known as sequestration.

Those timber payments are used for schools, roads, and search and rescue operations in rural communities and for conservation projects.

Juneau carpenters union closes

JUNEAU — A local Juneau carpenters union has closed after more than 70 years, part of a nationwide trend aimed at cost savings and efficiencies.

Juneau’s Carpenter Union Local 2247, which represented about 150 carpenters and was in existence since 1939, has been absorbed by Anchorage’s local 1281 after recently shutting down, KTOO reported. About 35 carpenter union locals in the Pacific Northwest have closed in the past three years to join larger local unions.

Moose salvage program shrinks operations

A well-utilized dead moose retrieval program is in jeopardy after the organization that runs the program was denied its $2.2 million funding request to the Alaska Legislature.

The Alaska Moose Federation is soliciting private donations for its moose salvage program — which was used to pick up more than 150 moose on the Kenai Peninsula last year— as well as two other programs which focus on moose conservation after their request was denied.

BP announces new investment plans

JUNEAU — BP Alaska plans to bring two new drill rigs to the North Slope by 2016, part of an additional $1 billion investment the company envisions over the next five years following the state’s rollback of oil production taxes.

BP is the second of the North Slope’s three major players, after ConocoPhillips, to announce plans following passage of the tax overhaul that was signed into law by Gov. Sean Parnell last month. Exxon Mobil Corp. hasn’t made its intentions public.

Business in Brief

Zak to speak at Tuesday’s chamber luncheon

Bryan Zak will be the featured speaker at this month’s Homer Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center’s luncheon. 

The luncheon will be from noon-1 p.m. Tuesday at the Homer Elks Lodge on Jenny Way.

Business workshops offered in June

The Alaska Small Business Development Center will host two workshops this month at the Homer Chamber of Commerce.

There will be a free “Starting a Business” workshop from 1-3 p.m. June 17. Bryan Zak, regional director will answer basic questions and offer helpful resources to give participants the tools they need to start their own business on the Kenai Peninsula.

Farmers’ Market

I have to admit my bias towards the Homer Farmers’ Market. Sure, I have been writing weekly for ages extolling the virtues of our local market, but now I am seriously entrenched.  It won’t be secret for long that my husband now has a booth there, too.  

I don’t want to show too much favoritism, so let me tell you about some of the other booths that are well kept secrets first.  

NPFMC set to take final action on trawl fleet’s king salmon bycatch limit at its June meeting

As fisheries managers throughout Alaska prepare for low king salmon returns, federal regulators are considering new limits on king bycatch in the Gulf of Alaska.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s June agenda includes final action on a king salmon bycatch cap in the Gulf of Alaska non-pollock trawl fisheries, review of a plan to collect more information on Gulf trawl bycatch, and a discussion paper on bycatch management for the Gulf trawl fleet.
The council began meeting in Juneau Wednesday. The meeting runs until June 11.

State unemployment at pre-recession levels

Alaska’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell two-tenths of a point in April to 6 percent. The adjusted national rate for the month was 7.5 percent.

From March to April the national rate fell 0.1 percent.

The last time the state’s adjusted unemployment was as low as 6 percent was in the summer of 2007, prior to the national recession, according to the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Alaska ferry system considers raising rates

The Alaska Marine Highway System is considering raising its rates for traveling aboard the state’s ferries in order to deal with a pared down operating budget approved by lawmakers this spring.

Officials informed the state’s public advisory board this week that the ferry system will end its discount program, according to a story in the May 23 Kodiak Daily Mirror.

“We are actively looking at our tariff system; we feel it is not a fair and equitable system in a lot of areas,” said Richard Leary, the ferry system’s business manager.

UA plans strategy for federal budget cuts

FAIRBANKS (AP) — When Carla Beam prepared a report on the so-called “fiscal cliff” for the University of Alaska Board of Regents in December, she found unexpected inspiration in a Looney Tunes clip. Wile E. Coyote’s legs would keep churning in the old cartoons, whether he was running off a ledge or still had the ground beneath him.

Today it looks like a good metaphor for UA, which will need to work harder to claim its share from a shrinking pool of federal dollars.

ACS, GCI offer expansion proposal

If the Alaska Wireless Network transaction is approved, and funding is available, rural Alaska consumers could see expanded data service for cell phones and mobile devices by the end of 2014.

Alaska Communications and General Communications Inc. made a voluntary commitment to the federal government regarding service expansions if the infrastructure merger, or AWN, is approved.

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