Group delivers petition with 50,000 signatures to put oil tax change referendum on ’14 ballot

A citizen group dissatisfied with the Legislature’s action to reduce oil taxes earlier this year handed petitions with 50,000 signatures to state election officials July 13 calling for a voter referendum to repeal the law.

The signatures are more than enough needed to put a referendum on the August 2014 state primary election ballot, supporters said.

NOAA hosting open house of research institute

JUNEAU — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is hosting an open house of its Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute.

NOAA says the July 26 event is being held to recognize Stevens’ contributions to Alaska’s fisheries and to celebrate Ted Stevens Day.

Stevens served in the U.S. Senate for 40 years and was revered for his ability to bring home projects and money. He died in a plane crash in Alaska in 2010.

Ohlson Mountain Mineral Springs H2O celebrates first year of serving water

For most of his life, William Strutz has enjoyed the fresh taste of spring water found on the 80 acres of land his parents, Louie Strutz and Jean Yenney, homesteaded on Ohlson Mountain.

For the past year, Strutz and his wife, Mary Lou, have been sharing that water with a growing number of people. Since opening Ohlson Mountain Mineral Springs H2O on Aug. 1, 2012, that spring water has wet thousands of whistles with 9,000 five-gallon bottles of water sold to businesses and individuals across the Kenai Peninsula. 

Farmers’ Market

We have passed a milestone at the Homer Farmers’ Market. We have cauliflower. 

That may not seem like a big deal to many, but every Saturday I keep track of the seasonality of the veggies at the Market and cauliflower is a landmark.

Alaska: Still expensive place to live

Recent figures dissected by economists with the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development show increases in the cost of living in Alaska slowed last year compared to 2011, but the state remains one of the most expensive places in the nation to live and work.

Writing in the department’s monthly magazine, “Alaska Economic Trends,” economist Neal Fried said the state’s only measure of inflation is the Anchorage Consumer Price Index, but, in most cases, price fluctuations in Anchorage “don’t differ radically from other communities in the state.” 

Buccaneer bets big on Cook Inlet strategy

Alaska wasn’t on Curtis Burton’s radar screen when he helped start Buccaneer Energy in 2007, but it quickly became the centerpiece for the company’s growth strategy.

Buccaneer, based in Houston but listed on the Australian stock exchange, is essentially a U.S. company. Its assets and people are all in the U.S., and the company is arguably now the most aggressive explorer in Cook Inlet.

Wells Fargo names new Homer store manager; chamber mixer planned for Thursday at store

Wells Fargo will host the next Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center mixer. It will be from 5-7 p.m. today at the Wells Fargo store, 88 Sterling Highway. The public is invited. 

The mixer will be an opportunity to meet Chris Shockley, who has been named  manager of the Wells Fargo Homer store. Shockley replaces Tyler Davis who now serves as a business relationship manager based in Kenai.

Farmers’ Market

I just spent a week in a class where the food was provided. Three square meals a day. Just imagine. No planning, no prep, no shopping. Just sitting down to an immaculately prepared meal.

Yes, it was divine. But it also brought home for me one of the most important aspects of food: the sharing. Each day more than 20 of us sat down together and ate our meals. We talked. We shared. We got serious. We laughed.

UK travel magazine co-founder visits Hallo Bay, Homer

In 2012, Simyra Taback of Homer and Hallo Bay Bear Camp found herself in an elite group of tour guides from around the world: one of more than 1,000 nominated for the Wanderlust World Guide Awards, a global effort by Wanderlust, a travel magazine based in the United Kingdom, to honor the efforts of tour leaders and guides. The circle got even smaller Oct. 4, when it was announced at an awards ceremony of the Royal Geographic Society in London that Taback had taken second place in the competition.

Business Briefs

State seeks to advance
ANWR plan dismissed
by Interior Secretary

JUNEAU — The state of Alaska is taking the next step in trying to advance a multiyear plan aimed at determining the oil and gas potential in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

It’s a proposal that Interior Secretary Sally Jewell recently dismissed as prohibited under federal law and something that would require congressional authorization.

TOTE’s conversion to LNG on track

Almost a year after announcing it would convert two of its vessels to liquefied natural gas, officials with Totem Ocean Trailer Express Inc., or TOTE, said the modifications are on schedule.

The 840-foot M/V Midnight Sun and M/V North Star, TOTE’s Orca Class containerships that operate between Anchorage and Tacoma, Wash., are expected to be running on LNG by the September 2016 deadline.

CEA president: ‘Road to energy security runs through Alaska’

The Consumer Energy Alliance is working with private industry and state officials to raise awareness about the need for increased oil and gas development in Alaska, CEA President David Holt told the Resource Development Council June 26.

Holt said his message to the rest of the country is the same as it was when he spoke to RDC three years ago.

“The road to U.S. energy security runs through Alaska,” he said.

Murkowski: Pebble should provide more specifics

JUNEAU — U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski called on the companies seeking to develop a massive copper and gold prospect near the headwaters of a premier salmon fishery to release a mine plan soon, saying they are contributing to uncertainty surrounding the proposed Pebble mine.

Murkowski, in a letter to officials from Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd., Anglo American plc and the Pebble Limited Partnership, said clarity over how the parties plan to proceed is in the best interest of everyone involved.

Buccaneer board splits over Cook Inlet

Three new directors were named to the board of Australian independent Buccaneer Energy in a special July 2 shareholder meeting, a development that puts the company’s current focus on Cook Inlet offshore exploration in question.

The board is now split three-to-three, with the three new directors — Nicholas Davies, Shaun Scott and Clinton Adams — critical of Buccaneer’s current exploration with the Endeavour jack-up rig, which is also partly owned by the state of Alaska.

Farmers’ Market

“Look at those beets! This is so exciting!”

I can’t help but smile when I hear someone getting all worked up about vegetables at the Homer Farmers’ Market. It lets me know that I’m not the only one who is divinely happy just because Bob Durr brought strawberries to the Market this week or because Jen and Paul’s green garlic smells so unbelievably vibrant.

Does that make me a Market nerd? So be it.  

Seldovia marks ‘turning point’ with new venture

The Fourth of July wasn’t the only crowd-drawing attraction in Seldovia on Thursday. An impressive line-up of dignitaries turned shovels of dirt, marking the beginning of construction at an old cannery site of a 100-by-60-foot steel frame structure planned to house Seldovia Wild Seafood. 

The construction and future business venture raise hope for economic growth in the once-thriving city on the south side of Kachemak Bay.


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