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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
An atmosphere of peace and tranquility, a hint of pampering and an interior décor reflecting the skill of local crafters — from cabinetry to fabrics — await clients at Sea Glo Skin Care and Cosmetic Boutique.
Then there’s the warm welcome by owner-esthetician Karen Shealy, receptionist Antonina Martushev and masseuse Melissa Mika.
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.
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.
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.
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.
After serving for 23 years as the district conservationist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Office (formerly the Soil Conservation Service) in Homer, Mark Kinney is putting away his Xtratufs, and retiring.
His last day in the office was Nov. 30.
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.
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.
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.
ANCHORAGE (AP) — Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell says he will propose $30 million over five years to study king salmon abundance.
Parnell says the first installment will be $10 million in the fiscal year 2014 budget.
Low chinook salmon returns this year resulted in fishing closures or limits. State commerce officials estimate commercial fishermen lost $16.8 million in direct revenue. Subsistence fishermen and the sport fishing industry also saw losses.
Catherine Knott and Alan Boraas, Kachemak Bay Campus and Kenai River Campus professors of anthropology, will present a talk at 6:30 p.m. today on their recent research for the Environmental Protection Agency about the cultural importance of salmon to the people of Bristol Bay. The presentation will be given at Kachemak Bay Campus.
The Homer Chamber of Commerce has several events planned in the next few weeks:
nThe next chamber mixer will be from 5-7 p.m. today. It is hosted by North Wind Home Collections, 173 W. Pioneer Ave. For more information, contact Debbie Speakman at 235-7740. The public is invited.
Welcome to Drs. Carl and Hillary Seger, two recent additions to South Peninsula Hospital. The community is invited to meet the Segers and other new SPH providers at a Homer Chamber of Commerce mixer in January.
“Dr. Carl Seger is filling a much-needed position in the ER,” said Derotha Ferraro, hospital spokesperson. “The recent departure of both Matt Wise, M.D., and Patrick Brady, M.D., both who took ER call, has put an added scheduling burden on the remaining doctors over the last year.”
Substance abuse pervades communities throughout Alaska, and the Kenai Peninsula is no exception. The cost to the state’s economy was estimated at about $1.2 billion in 2010, according to a new report from the McDowell Group research and consulting firm.
The report identifies productivity losses as the most expensive category affecting the state. Lost productivity occurs when individuals do not contribute to the economy through employment earnings or household services like childcare, according to the report.