Bear Creek Winery shifts to USA-made products

Bear Creek Winery recently announced it now uses only American-made products for its bottling operations. The winery now buys all of its green glass bottles through Bennu Glass in Kalama, Wash. Corks for the winery come from South Carolina and all wine labels are printed in Homer at Superior Labels. 

Alaska-grown fruits and berries are used for most of the winemaking.

Contractor chosen for Homer’s natural gas distribution system

Enstar Natural Gas has selected Utility Technologies Inc. to install the natural gas distribution mains and service lines within the Natural Gas Homer Special Assessment District, according to John Sims, Enstar’s manager of corporate communications and customer service.

“They have installed hundreds of miles of utilities throughout Alaska,” said Sims, of the company, who has offices in Anchorage, Wasilla and Washington state. “They are in the process of planning, training and mobilizing for the Homer project.”

KPC dorm registration opens

Applications are slow, but promising, for the new residence halls at Kenai Peninsula College’s Kenai River Campus in Soldotna.

By mid-afternoon Monday, three people had completed applications and more than 25 people were on the waiting list, said Suzie Kendrick, advancement program manager for the college.

“The very first student who registered, registered at 12:45 this morning,” Kendrick said. “That person was excited and up and wanting to complete it.”

Republicans call session a success

JUNEAU — Republican leaders hailed the just-ended legislative session as a success in which they accomplished some of their top priorities: addressing oil taxes and energy concerns and exercising fiscal restraint.

Minority Democrats, meanwhile, were much more somber in their assessment Monday. Senate Minority Leader Johnny Ellis called it the worst session in recent history for its long-term effect on Alaskans and the treasury.

State, feds agree to study unconventional energy

ANCHORAGE  — The U.S. Department of Energy and the state of Alaska will collaborate on future research of unconventional energy resources in the arctic, including abundant reservoirs of methane hydrate.

The DOE’s acting assistant secretary for fossil energy, Christopher Smith, and Alaska Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan announced the agreement Tuesday and spoke to reporters from Houston, Texas, where they are attending LNG 17, a natural gas conference.

KP borough, union announce tentative contract agreement

The Kenai Borough Employees Association announced last week it had reached a tentative agreement with the Kenai Peninsula Borough administration on terms of a three-year collective bargaining agreement.

Terry Bookey, Central Emergency Services captain and union negotiating team chair, said the two sides met about 20 times in the process of reaching the agreement that he said both sides will likely find beneficial to run from fiscal years 2013 to 2016.

Legislature passes oil tax overhaul

JUNEAU — The Alaska Legislature, on the last scheduled day of session Sunday, passed a multibillion-dollar oil tax cut in the hopes it will lead to more production.

The 12-8 Senate vote came in spite of fears that the impacts of Senate Bill 21 aren’t well understood and will devastate Alaska’s budget.

“It just doesn’t add up, plain and simple,” Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, said.

NOMAR adds opportunities with cutting system

Anyone who works with patterns knows it’s an exact science. Metal, wood, fabric, it’s all the same. A slip of a cutting tool here, an incorrect measurement there and headaches begin mounting, projects back up, scrap piles grow and costs go through the ceiling.

Since she began cutting patterns in a remodeled school bus in 1978, Kate Mitchell has continued to face those challenges with her business. NOMAR has grown beyond the bus and work now requires a staff of 16, but those same challenges remain.

The Bagel Shop brings big-city bagels to town

Like juggling, playing the piano and tap dancing, the art of making bagels appears simple when done, but takes years of practice to perfect. At The Bagel Shop, Homer’s newest bakery and café at the corner of East End Road and Kachemak Drive, bagel baker and co-owner Gabe Chapin worked 10 years to perfect a recipe and process that has its heart and soul in the classic New York City bagel, but with a local twist.

“We pay homage to that art,” said co-owner Mikela Aramburu of their bagels. “This is an Alaskan bagel. This is from us and we are Alaskans.”

Taking a stand for Kenai kings

For 24 years, Greg Brush has been cementing the foundation of his life — faith, family and fish.

When he was a 27-year-old, he abandoned his union job, moving away from Northern California’s salmon and steelhead fishing in search of the famous, giant king salmon. He built his life around that decision — he met his wife, had kids, bought a house and built his business as a full time Kenai River guide.

Lower revenues, oil production forecast

JUNEAU — The state Department of Revenue issued its spring oil revenue and production forecast Friday and is projecting lower North Slope oil petroleum revenues and production than were estimated in the fall forecast issued last December.

A decline of almost $300 million in revenues is now projected for the 2014 fiscal year that begins July 1. Legislators in Juneau are just finishing work on the state budget for the year and will have to take the reduced revenues into account.

Legislature gears up for final push of session

JUNEAU — With the first session of the 28th Alaska Legislature scheduled to wrap up its business April 14, some big issues remain on the table.

Still to be decided are oil taxes and two big energy projects — a plan for the state to finance trucking of liquefied natural gas from the North Slope and more work on a state-sponsored in-state pipeline — as well as the state budget.

Producers say Senate tax bill a big step, but tweaks needed to make Alaska competitive

JUNEAU — Major North Slope producers say legislators are making big strides so far in making Alaska more competitive for new oil investment, but Senate Bill 21, which passed the Senate narrowly March 20, still needs some changes to make the state really attractive.

The tax rate is too high, at 35 percent of net profits, and a “Gross Revenue Exclusion” feature that is a proposed incentive for new oil to be developed in producing fields is too vague and needs more precise wording, the companies told the House Resources Committee in hearings March 26.

Painter honored for 30 years of service as an EMT

Homer Volunteer Fire Department Chief Bob Painter has been recognized for 30 years of service as an EMT by the board of directors of the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. 

To maintain his status as a nationally registered EMT, Painter had to complete biennially a comprehensive recertification program to refresh his skills and attend a minimum of two hours a month of continuing education.

100th boat ... and counting

Bay Welding will host an open house from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, celebrating the completion of its 100th boat, 39 years of being in business and 19 years of building boats. The open house will be at Bay Weld’s shops, 3301 East End Road. There will be refreshments and a tour of the facilities. The 100th boat is the P/V Churchill, a 42-foot patrol boat built for the Alaska Department of Public Safety, shown above. Allen Engebretsen, president of Bay Welding, started the business out of a truck in 1974, at the age of 24.


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