By Molly Dischner
Morris News Service - Alaska
By many metrics, Alaska’s financial institutions are doing well.
All of the state’s banks posted an increase in total assets for the second quarter of 2012 compared to the second quarter of 2011.
First National Bank Alaska saw the largest second quarter increase: 6.8 percent.
That number crept up some more in the third quarter, said Director of Corporate Communications and External Affairs Cheri Gillian, reaching the bank’s highest-ever level.
Officials from regional governments and utilities estimated an across-the-board energy load reduction of 1.5 percent on Oct. 30, between 6-8 p.m., during the fourth Energy Watch conservation drill.
“Southcentral Alaska consumes approximately 70 BCF (Billion Cubic Feet) annually. The 1.5 percent consumed during the 2012 Energy Watch Test equates to approximately 1 BCF,” said Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan.
With 200 car raffle tickets still to be sold, Monte Davis, executive director of the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, has announced the drawing of the winning ticket has been postponed until
The drawing was scheduled for Nov. 8; however with 200 of the raffle’s 500 tickets left to sell, Davis said the decision was made to wait a month.
High gold prices have stimulated Alaska mining projects including several in remote areas.
The small Nixon Fork underground gold and copper mine near McGrath on the upper Kuskokwim River continued operations in 2012, according to its owner, Canada-based Fire River Gold Corp.
In late October, the mine was producing 3,800 tons of ore daily, twice the rate from earlier in the year, and had reached a stable production rate, according to Fire River spokeswoman Kimberly Ann.
The Anchorage economy showing promise can be used as an indicator for the rest of Alaska, Bill Popp, president and CEO of the Anchorage Economic Development Corp., told the Society for Marketing Professional Services at an Oct. 23 luncheon.
Job growth, or lack thereof, is one of the first indicators he looks at when determining the health of an economy, Popp said. Figures were flat in 2009 and 2010 because employers were wary of faltering economies elsewhere.
Store manager Anthony Havrilla carefully dipped a clear plastic Petco bag into an aquarium in the aquatic section of the new Soldotna store. After slowly filling the bag with water, Havrilla took the easy route and went for the snail first, leaving the fish chasing to one of his employees.
He gently scooped the snail up and dropped it into the bag.
“Here you go buddy, to your new home,” he said.
Alaska Air Group, Inc. announced record profits when its third quarter earnings were released Oct. 25.
The airline company reported $150.3 million in net earnings for the quarter, compared with $131.1 million in the third quarter of 2011. Total revenue for the quarter was $1.3 billion.
“This is the highest quarterly profit in our history and it’s the 14th consecutive quarterly profit that we’ve reported,” Brad Tilden, president and CEO, said.
Alaska Air Group manages Alaska Airlines and the smaller Horizon Air.
Two Kenai Peninsula College anthropology professors concluded that a degradation of the water in Bristol Bay could have devestating nutritional, cultural and religious impacts on the villages in the region.
Their study, part of a larger impact assessment carried out by the Environmental Protection Agency, was in response to a request by nine villages in the region who are concerned about the impacts of mining on one of the largest sockeye salmon fisheries in the world.
Homer Electric Association is offering its members an opportunity to learn about the latest innovations in energy-saving appliances, home improvements and alternative energy.
HEA will host its fourth annual Energy and Conservation Fair from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at West Homer Elementary School. A similar event was held Nov. 3 in Kenai.
While scientists, managers and stakeholders gathered in Anchorage to identify gaps in the state’s king salmon data at a symposium, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly members mulled their own perceived lack of data.
Gunnar Knapp, an economics professor with the University of Alaska Anchorage, talked to assembly members Oct. 23 about the lack of data supporting the economic role commercial and sport fisheries play in the borough and how the borough might gather that data.
As members of the baby-boom generation age into Medicare at 65, for those inspired to care for the elderly, Alaska’s health-care industry will blossom like no other with good-paying, long-lasting jobs, according to analysis of industry growth patterns by state Labor Department economists.
Salmon researchers, managers, and users gathered in Anchorage Oct. 22 and 23 to talk about what happened to chinook salmon around Alaska this summer.
The simplest answer is that chinooks didn’t show up. And no one knows exactly why.
“We’re not sure what is causing the downturn, and in many cases, we do not have the basic information needed to understand the causes,” said Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Bob Clark, summarizing some of the two-day symposium’s findings.
Like it or not, new gas supplies will have to be imported into Southcentral Alaska to deal with pending shortages. They won’t be cheap, either.
Utilities in the region have asked for proposals from suppliers of liquefied natural gas or compressed natural gas to help ensure local supplies, a utility group told the Regulatory Commission of Alaska Oct. 24.
Gas fields in the region, which date from the 1960s, are being depleted, and production will be inadequate to meet local demand for space heating and power generation by as soon as 2014.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District has earned two financial reporting awards: a Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting and the Meritorious Budget Award. One of 120 school districts nationwide, and one of only two school districts in Alaska, KPBSD received the Association of School Business Officials International’s Meritorious Budget Award for its 2011-2012 budget document.
The 11th annual Rock and Mineral Show put on by the Chugach Gem and Mineral Society and sponsored by the Alaska Miners Association will be Nov. 9-11 at the Sheraton Anchorage Hotel.
The show will include displays; talks; demonstrations; vendors with rocks, minerals, jewelry, books and more; and activities for the kids.
It’s all free.
The show will be from 5-9 p.m. Nov. 9; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 10 and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 11.
The Sheraton Anchorage Hotel is located at 401 E. Sixth Ave. The show will be on the second floor.
The last day to buy tickets for the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center car and Honda ATV raffle is Nov. 8.
Tickets can be purchased at the visitor center or from board members right up until the drawing happens at the ticket-drawing party beginning at 6 p.m. that day. Only 500 tickets are being sold and every 25th ticket drawn wins a prize.
The big prizes are $25,000 toward the purchase of a car at Stanley Ford of Kenai or $15,000 cash. The other big prize is a brand new Honda ATV Rancher.
Having known each other for at least a decade and after operating businesses practically next door to each other, Lynne Sergeant and Cindy Smith are joining forces. On Saturday, the two women are opening Halo Hair Design and Emporium.
The under-one-roof enterprise will showcase the hair-styling talent of Sergeant, who formerly owned Halo Hair Design, and vintage and antique items Smith became known for when she operated Winter Cache.
NEW YORK — U.S. oil output is surging so fast that the United States could soon overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s biggest producer.
Driven by high prices and new drilling methods, U.S. production of crude and other liquid hydrocarbons is on track to rise 7 percent this year to an average of 10.9 million barrels per day. This will be the fourth straight year of crude increases and the biggest single-year gain since 1951.
The boom has surprised even the experts.
A small mariculture industry for Alaska — oyster farming for the most part — has been developing in fits and starts for years, and a small group of dedicated seafood entrepreneurs are working away at it, convinced the business can succeed.
Consumer demand in Alaska and the Lower 48 is steadily increasing among people who see oysters as healthy food, and who are becoming more sophisticated in their tastes.
The University of Alaska Fairbanks Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center is planning a workshop for those who would like to learn how to smoke their own fish, or turn their favorite smoking recipe into a profitable enterprise.
“Smoking and Salting Fish for Fun and Profit” is a workshop for anyone interested in smoking and salting fish, including home fish-smoking enthusiasts, small smokehouse operators, fishermen interested in direct marketing their fish and commercial operators.