Business

Feds seek input on Arctic policy

A senior federal government group led by a top White House official was in Alaska on June 14 meeting with state and local officials on President Barack Obama’s new Arctic policy.

Over the next few months the group will flesh out the policy, which was announced recently, Nancy Sutley, chair of the White House Council in Environmental Quality, told those at a public meeting held in Anchorage.

State officials meeting with the group said they were not entirely satisfied and that the policy statement has a lot of generalities but no commitments.

And ... roll ’em

A crew with Top Gear America, a show on the History Channel cable TV network, prepares to film a scene on the Homer Spit by Land’s End Resort last Wednesday. A driver in the Jeep was to drive it onto the Transporter, a landing craft owned by Ray Bellamy. The crew had been filming in Homer, elsewhere on the Kenai Peninsula and in Anchorage last week. 

The shoot will be part of an episode on making convertible cars suitable for various tasks in Alaska. It will show in September or October this year.

Farmers’ Market: Quantity, quality of produce belie winter stories

It is officially summer. To grow produce for the Homer Farmers’ Market, however, you have to hit the ground running in the spring to take advantage of the short growing season.

This year most of the farmers at the market planted their gardens in May. Because of the cold winter, everyone seemed to agree that the ground was ready about two weeks later than normal. But the quantity and quality of produce at the market is not two weeks late. You can see that there are already vegetables available like carrots, broccoli and peas.

C&C Diving and Salvage takes business deep

Some businesses struggle to stay afloat. Not Zech Bennett. His focus is on staying beneath the surface.

As the owner and operator of C&C Diving and Salvage, Bennett and his crew — Jim Parker, Seth Sanford, and, occasionally Cecil Cheatwood, former owner of the business — offer everything from the simple retrieval of lost items to more complicated projects beneath the surface of Alaska waters. 

UAF sets up engineering school in Mongolia

FAIRBANKS (AP) — Seven professors from the University of Alaska Fairbanks are helping establish an engineering school at the new American University of Mongolia.

Professors are helping develop curriculum and designing classrooms at the new university, located in the Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator, radio station KUAC reported.

The university signed a contract with American University this spring.

Commerce official encourages Alaska export growth

ANCHORAGE — In a June 7 speech before the Export Council of Alaska, U.S. Department of Commerce Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sanchez outlined federal efforts to improve the national export economy.

U.S. exports grew by 4.5 percent in 2012 to a record $2.2 trillion, Sanchez told the council. In 2009, American companies exported $1.58 trillion worth of goods and services, according to the Commerce Department.

“Nationwide, exports support nearly 10 million American jobs,” he said.

Major spill response drill held at Valdez oil terminal

A two-day oil spill containment and cleanup drill at the Valdez Marine Terminal took place June 12-13.

Spill response crews practiced dealing with a simulated 90,000 barrel spill during crude oil loading at the Valdez terminal, Coast Guard Lt. Allie Ferko said.

This is considered a “worst case” for a loading accident at the terminal, Ferko said.

The U.S. Coast Guard and Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. led the exercise.

Parnell signs deal for Flint Hills refinery

Flint Hills Resources has a guaranteed supply of state royalty oil for its refinery at North Pole, east of Fairbanks in Alaska’s Interior.

Gov. Sean Parnell signed legislation June 11 approving a new contract to supply royalty oil to the refinery. The contract, which is for five years, allows Flint Hills to draw up to 30,000 barrels per day of state oil from the trans-Alaska pipeline system near the refinery.

Parnell signed the bill during a visit to the refinery.

SVT monitors air quality along Jakolof Bay Road

The strange equipment visible along Seldovia’s Jakolof Bay Road isn’t a birdhouse, a UFO or a Little Chief Smoker with strips of salmon hanging inside.

It’s a project by Seldovia Village Tribe’s Environmental Office to monitor summertime dust by using high-volume samplers on loan from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.

Treadwell announces U.S. Senate campaign

JUNEAU — Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell on Tuesday announced plans to seek the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democrat Mark Begich, saying Alaska would be better served with Republicans in charge.

As long as Democrats control the Senate, Treadwell said serious consideration will never be given to opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling, something Alaska political leaders — including Begich — support. 

Farmers’ Market survey will attempt to assess damage caused by harsh winter

You could say this has been an odd year for weather. You probably won’t hear much complaining right now, however, since everyone is so glad to see this much sun after two terribly dreary summers in a row.  

At last week’s Homer Farmers’ Market I talked to some producers who take note of the weather. Those who are depending on rain catchment to water their high tunnels are either starting to get nervous or already are buying water.

Fairbanks gas territory up for grabs

A competition has emerged between Fairbanks Natural Gas Co. and the Interior Alaska Natural Gas Utility over who will serve the Fairbanks North Star Borough with natural gas.

Fairbanks Natural Gas, or FNG, filed an application with the state Regulatory Commission on April 5 to expand its service area to include nearly all of the populated areas of the Fairbanks North Star Borough. The area runs south and east from Fairbanks to North Pole and the area surrounding Eielson Air Force Base.

Two business workshops offered this month

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.

Coast Guard offers free safety exams to fishermen

ANCHORAGE (AP) — The Coast Guard is offering free dockside safety exams to fishermen in Bristol Bay communities who request them.

The exams began Monday and will continue through June 20.

The Coast Guard is working with the state Department of Fish and Game and the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association for the effort in Dillingham, King Salmon, Naknek and Egegik.

The Coast Guard says the exams give fishermen a chance to find and address safety issues before they set out for sea.

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