Business

Oral arguments in PFD lawsuit slated for today

By STEPHANIE PROKOP
Morris News Service-Alaska

Oral arguments are scheduled for today in the Superior Court Third Judicial District in Anchorage for the lawsuit filed by Sen. Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage, and former state Sens. Rick Halford and Clem Tillion.

The plaintiffs are demanding a full dividend payout for 2016 and have asked the court to order the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. to transfer funds from the Permanent Fund earnings reserve account to the Dividend Fund. Proceeds would then be disbursed to eligible residents in the form of a supplemental PFD check.

Walker protests 'D' for business grade

By Elwood Brehmer

Morris News Service - Alaska

Gov. Bill Walker took umbrage with the conclusion drawn by Alaska business groups that his policies have almost failed the state’s private sector.

The governor wrote a six-page point-by-point rebuttal to the “D” grade he received on the Alaska Business Report Card put out jointly by the Alaska Chamber, the Alaska Support Industry Alliance, the Resource Development Council for Alaska and Prosperity Alaska.

Kodiak earn distinction as top halibut port this season

Alaska’s halibut season wrapped up Monday with continued strong prices and 97 percent of the statewide quota of 17.51 million pounds caught by the commercial fleet.

Surprisingly, more than a quarter of the 461,125 pounds left in the water was in Area 2C, Southeast Alaska, where ex-vessel prices ranged between $6 and $7 per pound and fishermen reported the best fishing in many years, with a larger size average.

Anchor Point area gets better insurance rating; residents may get lower rates for their insurance

The Insurance Services Office, or ISO, has reclassified the Anchor Point Fire and Emergency Medical Service Area to a better ISO rating. The service area’s rating has improved from a 7/9 to a 5/5Y rating, Fire Chief Al Terry said in a press release last week. The new rating affects insurance rates policyholders pay for fire insurance on commercial and residential buildings. Anchor Point area residents may see reduced fire premiums due to the better rating.

Assembly approves Soldotna hospital expansion

Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna is moving forward with plans to update its obstetrics wing and to install the Kenai Peninsula’s first catheterization lab.

The hospital has been looking to update the obstetrics department for years and has observed a growing need for a catheterization lab — cath lab for short — in which patients can receive cardiac services like angiograms and pacemaker implantation. Central Peninsula Hospital patients who need such procedures have to go to Anchorage to get them at present.

Borough's health-care task force finalizes recommendations.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough’s task force on health care reached a set of final recommendations last week.

The Healthcare Task Force, which has been meeting for more than a year, unanimously approved an 11-page report to the borough administration and assembly with recommendations for how to move forward into health care reform and make care more affordable for peninsula residents.

Budget cuts take bite out of herring harvest

Budget cuts take bite out of herring harvest

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is buckling under deep budget cuts, and now the state’s largest herring fishery is feeling the squeeze.

ADF&G has canceled vital abundance studies and surveys for several fisheries, meaning fishermen won’t get to prosecute the full amount of otherwise healthy stocks.

Occupational license fees on the rise

Juniper Lanmon-Freeman cried the first time she attended the birth of a child. A licensed midwife, Lanmon-Freeman now delivers two to three babies per month for mothers at their homes. But the job goes far beyond that — by the time she delivers the child, she’s spent weeks with the mother.

“(On) my last birth, I visited her 13 times before she had her baby,” she said. “When they’re in labor, you’ve built this relationship with them. It’s more like a sister relationship or a good female friend.”

Copper River drift gillnet fishery falls short of expectations

Adding to a long list of salmon fisheries that did not produce as expected in 2016, the Copper River drift gillnet fishery fell well short of expectations, in spite of above average time and effort.

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game preliminary report, the notoriously dangerous Copper River Flats sockeye/king salmon fishery, which opened, as usual, to much fanfare on May 16, was expected to produce 21,000 chinook, 1.62 million sockeye and 201,000 coho salmon through the end of the season.

Assembly reduces Planning Commission

The number of Kenai Peninsula Borough Planning Commission members will decrease to 11, but not until 2020.

After initially voting it down, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly resurrected and passed an ordinance that revised the apportionment for Planning Commission membership at its Tuesday meeting. The commission, which approves or denies plats and advises the assembly on land use issues, currently has 13 members. After July 31, 2020, it will have a maximum of 11.

HEA answers questions about its proposal to withdraw from RCA

Homer Electric Association officials, including board members, have been holding member outreach meetings on the Kenai Peninsula seeking support for what it calls “local control” — removing HEA from regulation by the Regulatory Commission of Alaska. But HEA also wants members to make an informed decision, said general manager Brad Janorschke.

“I think it’s more important we have dialogue and ask questions,” he said at a Homer meeting held Sept. 28.

Cook Inlet salmon seasonfalls short of expectations

Once again, the 2016 Upper Cook Inlet salmon season fell far short of expectations.

The 2016 commercial harvest of around 3 million salmon was 12 percent less than the most recent 10-year average harvest of 3.5 million salmon of all species, but even lower for sockeyes.

The dollar value was also lower, coming in at $22.3 million, 23 percent less than the 10-year average.

While all five species of salmon are caught and sold in Cook Inlet, sockeyes have made up almost 93 percent of the value for at least the past 20 years.

Alaska Federation of Natives celebrates 50 years

On the morning of Oct. 18, 1966, Emil Notti, an Athabascan born in Koyukuk, called the first gathering of the Alaska Federation of Natives to order. Almost exactly five decades later, he is slated to give the keynote speech today at the 50th annual convention in Fairbanks.

“No, it does not feel like 50 years has gone by,” said Notti, now in his 80s, reflecting on a whirlwind of change.

Board of Fisheries to hold work session in Soldotna

Later this month, Kenai Peninsula residents will get a chance to air their concerns to the state Board of Fisheries in Soldotna.

The Board of Fisheries will host a work session from Oct. 18-20 at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, with an informational session held on Oct. 17 at 3 p.m. The first day, Oct. 18, will be set aside completely for public testimony, and the second two days will be to discuss agenda change requests, which are proposals submitted outside the regular three-year cycle, petitions, officer elections and board business.

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