AGDC awards contract for design of North Slope gas plant

The state-owned Alaska Gasline Development Corp. has signed a $6.7 million contract with a Fluor/WorleyParsons joint venture to do preliminary engineering on a $1.7 billion gas conditioning plant at Prudhoe Bay.

AGDC is an independent state corporation working on a 36-inch, in-state natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to southern Alaska.

Fluor/WorleyParsons are working under their Arctic Solutions joint-venture.

School board reps lobby for tablet computers for all Alaska students, teachers

JUNEAU — Top officials from the Alaska Association of School Boards testified Monday afternoon in front of two senators on a subcommittee delegated by the Senate Finance Committee to work on the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development's budget, describing the goals of a four-year initiative to provide all of Alaska's students and teachers with tablet computers.

Alaska Senate passes permitting proposal

JUNEAU — The state could move toward taking responsibility for dredge-and-fill permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under a bill passed by the Alaska Senate on Monday.

SB27, one of several bills related to permitting that have been proposed by Gov. Sean Parnell, passed 15-2. It now goes to the House.

Parnell has billed SB27 as a way to limit "federal overreach" in Alaska.

Eagle Furniture lands in new location

Although still located on Ocean Drive, Eagle Furniture and Accessories, owned by Alan Howell, has moved a few blocks to the east. On March 4, it opened its doors at 1355 Ocean Drive.

"It's bigger and it's one story," said Howell of the 3,400 square-foot space now filled with Eagle Furniture's inventory of furniture, lamps, rugs, beds, bedding and artwork. It also includes a small loft area Howell intends to use for bedding and children's furniture.

ConocoPhillips will not apply for new LNG export license; plant to stay in stand-by mode

ConocoPhillips Alaska Inc. says it will not extend the federal export license for its Kenai natural gas liquefaction plant when the license expires March 31.

However, the plant will be maintained in a stand-by mode to be available if opportunities develop, company spokeswoman Amy Burnett said in a statement issued March 4.

Business Briefs

'Through the Sausage Grinder' topic for next Homer chamber luncheon

Ralph Samuels, a businessman and candidate for governor in 2010, will be the guest speaker at next week's Homer Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Samuels, who also served several terms in the Alaska House of Representatives beginning in 2002, will do a presentation on what it takes for a bill to pass (or not) through the Alaska Legislature.

Lawmakers consider options for derelict vessels

JUNEAU -- Alaska's derelict and abandoned boats and ships may appear to be little more than an eyesore, but insufficient mechanisms to monitor and clean them up could lead to an environmental disaster, costing the state millions of dollars in the long run.

A state lawmaker has proposed a measure to address the problem affecting much of Alaska's massive coastline, especially the far-flung harbors.

Symphony of Seafood winners announced

A sockeye salmon product won the grand prize at the Alaska Symphony of Seafood Gala in Anchorage Feb. 23.

Copper River Seafood's Zesty Grill Sockeye Salmon won the grand prize and two others — the Anchorage people's choice award and first place in the retail category. The top prize in the food service category went to Alaskan Sablefish Unagi Style, made by Triad Fisheries Ltd. That also took home the people's choice award at the Seattle event Feb. 15.

Holland America's Amsterdam to visit Homer in 2014

Although Holland America has no scheduled visits to Homer this summer, the cruise ship company announced last week that the S/V Amsterdam will return for four visits in 2014.

The 1,380-passenger Amsterdam visits May 26, June 30, Aug. 4 and Sept. 1 next year.

The Homer stop is part of a 14-day cruise starting in Seattle that includes Southeast Alaska and visits to Anchorage, Homer and Kodiak in Southcentral Alaska.

"We are very excited that they are coming back to Homer," said Monte Davis, executive director of the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center.

Parnell bill to streamline permitting moves through Legislature

JUNEAU -- Gov. Sean Parnell's bill to streamline state permitting procedures is moving rapidly through legislative committees in Juneau.
This is the second year Parnell has sought changes. Last year the governor proposed, and lawmakers approved, House Bill 361, which made some of the most important changes the governor had wanted.
This year's changes, in House Bill 77 and Senate Bill 26, involve additional streamlining steps proposed by the state Division of Land and Water Management. HB 77 is now in the House Rules Committee, while SB 26 is in the Senate Finance Committee.

UAA students work on Tidal Energy Incubator

An idea to use the Homer Deep Water Dock as a test bed to measure and evaluate tidal energy got a boost with a city-university collaboration. Instead of the city hiring a private firm, a group of seven University of Alaska Anchorage engineering students and their professors are doing the 35-percent design for the Tidal Energy Incubator Project.
The cost?
"We've been able to take advantage of some free labor by feeding them cookies to get to that first 35 percent," said Katie Koester, city of Homer economic development coordinator, joking.

Homer fisherman one of 13 candidates for 2 IPHC seats

The National Marine Fisheries Service has announced nominees for two seats on the International Pacific Halibut Commision, and a Homer man and a consultant for the Kenai River Sportfishing Association are among the candidates.
Kevin Delaney, a sportfishing representative for the recently concluded Upper Cook Inlet Task Force, and Donald Lane, a Homer-based halibut fishermen and owner-operator of the fishing vessel Predator, are two of 13 nominees for the U.S. seats on the commission.

Business Briefs

Land’s End presents wedding, event expo
Land’s End presents the Kenai Peninsula Wedding and Special Event Expo from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
There will be giveaways, including one of Land’s End’s get-away packages, cake tasting, wedding attire, bakers, entertainers, photographers, florists, event planners, organizers, caterers and more.
Vendor booths are still available. For an application or more information, call 235-0422 or email
The event is free.

'Anchor Point booming, and we're excited,' says chamber board member

What is it about Anchor Point that has five new businesses opening up in the Kenai Peninsula's westernmost community?
Lower utility costs because of the availability of natural gas was the first explanation given by Bryan Zak, regional director for the South West Alaska Small Business Development Center and also a member of the Homer City Council.
To prove his point, Zak referenced a conversation he had with one Anchor Point building owner.

Small businesses create niche for themselves in Anchor Point community

Winter might be a slow time for business in some places, but in Anchor Point, business owners are putting the slow-down to their advantage.
Some are developing new approaches to boost business at long-time establishments. Others have identified a market not met and are hoping to meet the need. At least one is taking advantage of space available at Homer's neighbor to the north. Another has found the timing -- and location -- right for launching a new career.

HEA seeks opinions on commonly owned energy project

Homer Electric Association seeks opinions on the interest of members who might want to participate in a commonly owned renewable energy project.
While preliminary, the idea is that a group of members would share in the cost and construction of a project, such as a wind turbine or solar panel array, that would generate power to be sold back to HEA. Revenue from the sale of energy would be shared among the owners based on the amount of their investments.

New postmaster settles into Homer

Carolyn Sapp, Homer's new postmaster, is picking up where the community's former postmaster, Robert Fimon, left off.
With a 10-year postal career that began in the community where she was born and reared -- Tallahassee, Fla. -- Sapp originally had her eyes on Alaska's beautiful landscapes -- Fairbanks' landscapes, to be specific. When an opening became available, she pursued it.
Sight-unseen, her husband, Albert Seabrooks, offered Sapp encouragement.
"He said, 'If you want to move, I'll go with you,'" she said.

Kenai wildlife refuge to get new visitor center

The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge will break ground on the construction of a new $6 million visitor center in Soldotna this spring, refuge officials announced Feb. 14.
The refuge visitor center sees the most visitors of the 15 other U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service refuge visitor centers in the state annually, refuge Manager Andy Loranger said. He said about 1 million visitors in a year is common.
"The primary reason for a new visitor center now, at this refuge, is in recognition of that," Loranger said.


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