Business

In-state gasline planners revise proposal

ANCHORAGE — A proposal for an in-state pipeline that could carry North Slope natural gas to communities from Fairbanks to southcentral Alaska has been revised to eliminate the transport of natural gas liquids, which will have the effect of lowering tariffs for customers in Fairbanks.

Carrying natural gas liquids such as ethane, propane and butane was previously considered desirable because they could be sold at a premium and used to lower the price of gas to Alaskans, said Frank Richards, the pipeline engineering manager for the Alaska Gasline Development Corp.

Nancy Lander retires from hospital’s Long Term Care Unit

After 14 years as the social worker at South Peninsula Hospital Long Term Care Unit, Nancy Lander has retired. Her last day at LTC was Dec. 20. On Friday morning, Lander flew south to join her husband, Mark Robinson, former Homer High School choral director, in Ventura, Calif., and begin a new chapter of her life, dividing her time between the couple’s home in Homer and the second base of operations they are establishing near family in California.

Homer marine pilot honored for his role in Nome fuel delivery

With Sen. Tom Wagoner, R-Kenai, on one side, and Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, on the other, marine pilot Peter Garay of Homer received a legislative citation, accompanied by loud applause, during a meeting of the Rotary Club of Homer-Kachemak Bay on Dec. 20. The honor recognized the role of Garay and the Alaska Marine Pilots in the safe delivery of fuel to Nome almost a year ago, “the first historical winter marine delivery of fuel to Northwestern Alaska,” according to the citation.

Garay noted it wasn’t a one-person operation.

Legislative offices relocate to more visible space

On Friday, signs went up announcing new digs for the Legislative Information Office and the offices of Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, and Senator-elect Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna. Formerly located along the Sterling Highway, the three are now at the corner of Pioneer Avenue and Bartlett Street, in what building owners Clay and Joan Ellington refer to as the “Pioneer Building.”

“Everyone else used to call it the Job Center building,” said Joan Ellington, referring to the building’s most recent tenant, Homer Job Service. 

Hydro project planners submit environmental plans

ANCHORAGE — Alaska energy planners have taken a step toward licensing for the country’s second tallest dam by submitting a two-year plan for environmental work to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The Alaska Energy Authority on Friday formally submitted its Revised Study Plan outlining 58 environmental studies over the next two years for the Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric Project, a proposed 750-foot dam and accompanying power-producing facility on the Susitna River, the nation’s 15th largest by discharge.

Southcentral gas supplies tight; producers to the rescue?

The weather has been cold and natural gas supplies in Southcentral Alaska are very tight. Enstar Natural Gas Co. distributed near-record amounts of gas in its system during recent cold weather and is drawing down supplies from a new gas storage facility on the Kenai Peninsula.

Meanwhile, utilities in the region are anxiously awaiting word on possible new supplies that producers might be able to make available this winter.

Working hearts, engaged minds

By Rashah McChesney

Morris News Service - Alaska

Vincent “Vin” Chavarrir likes to run a laundry-folding machine affectionately dubbed “Sparky” by employees at Central Peninsula Hospital.

To feed a towel into the machine he just lets it slide into the machine “like a dollar in a soda machine.”

It’s one of the simple pleasures of the job for Chavarrir, 20, but is made more meaningful because his internship in Environmental Services at Central Peninsula Hospital is the first time he has had a job.

Central peninsula lawmakers present united front on issues

Three area lawmakers told a crowd gathered Friday they were encouraged about the prospects of solving some of the state’s biggest questions — tweaking oil taxes, shrinking the state’s operating and capital budget and getting gas from the North Slope to Alaskans.

House Speaker Rep. Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, said what’s needed is hope. Coincidentally, Chenault recently acquired the small town of Hope in his district during the most recent round of redistricting.

Parnell rolls out $12.8 billion budget

ANCHORAGE — Gov. Sean Parnell on Friday announced a proposed state budget that would limit growth in operating costs to less than 1 percent.

At a news conference after unveiling the numbers in a speech to the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, Parnell said he is proposing an operating budget that spends $9 billion overall and a state general fund portion of $5.7 billion.

That’s 0.8 percent more than this year, he said.

“That is a level of increase that has not been seen in some years,” he said.

Assembly to mull capital projects

By Brian Smith

Morris News Service - Alaska

Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Mike Navarre last week released a draft packet of the borough’s top state capital project funding priorities it will send with local legislators to Juneau.

At the top of that wish list includes major funding for Seward flood mitigation, a Central Peninsula Landfill leachate thermal evaporation unit and artificial turf fields at Homer and Soldotna high schools.

Business Breifs

Three local entrepreneurs
receive business boost

Ideas for a baby caregiver network, unique home furnishings and a business that creates molding from scraps of sawmill cut logs are the winning entries in the BIZ-Idea 2012 Contest.  

A cooperative effort between the Friends of the Homer Library, the Homer Chamber of Commerce and the Alaska Small Business Development Center, the contest was created to encourage entrepreneurship and innovative business ideas in Homer and the surrounding area. The contest closed Nov. 1.

Seattle event gives good exposure to Homer's harbor, marine trades

For the second year in a row, thousands of people visiting the three-day Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle got to hear about Homer, thanks to a collaborative effort between the city of Homer and the Homer Marine Trades Association.
"It went really well, said Bryan Hawkins, Homer's harbormaster. "Homer did the expo years ago, but hadn't done it since I was here, and I've been here since 2000. It's something I've been wanting to do, take the show on the road."
Mike Stockburger, owner of the Homer Boat Yard and a founding member of Homer Marine Trades Association, agreed.

Loans available to assist with king fishing disaster

The U.S. Small Business Administration has announced the availability of long-term, low-interest loans for people affected by chinook salmon fishery disaster declaration. However, some local fishermen say they are uninterested in taking out loans to recover from last season.
Businesses in affected areas in the Kenai Peninsula Borough, Lower Kuskokwim and Lower Yukon Rural Education Attendance Areas, the Matanuska Susitna Borough, and some neighboring areas, can apply for the loans until Aug. 21, 2013.

Debbie Dauphinais is new shorebird coordinator

Debbie Dauphinais has been settling into her job as the new Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival coordinator, taking over from Christina Whiting. A former volunteer with the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, Dauphinais took over duties as the shorebird coordinator in August. Dauphinais said Whiting put together "a well-oiled machine" that's helped her learn how to run the May birding festival.

Chamber's car-ATV raffle drawing is today at 6 p.m.

The Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center has several events planned:
* The annual car raffle drawing is today at 6 p.m. Car raffle tickets are $100 each; ATV raffle tickets are $35 each; or both can be purchased for $130. The money collected from ticket sales goes to putting on the Fourth of July parade, Cleanup Day, the Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival, the Winter Carnival and Parade, the Jackpot Halibut Derby and the Winter King Salmon Tournament.

Parnell: Gas imports are ‘last resort’

Where Southcentral will get its energy in the near future was up for debate between the Anchorage mayor and the governor at the Resource Development Council’s annual conference.

“Everyone needs affordable energy,” said Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan during his opening remarks Nov. 14, and added it was almost a given that Southcentral would be importing natural gas in the near future to bridge supply shortages projected for the 2014-15 winter.

Speaking a few minutes later during the same opening session, Gov. Sean Parnell disagreed.

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