Business

Scientists offer advice for state salmon study

ANCHORAGE — State researchers looking for answers to Alaska’s diminishing king salmon returns were urged Tuesday to take a look at the critical days after smolt leave fresh water and to closely examine how humans may affect salmon in marine waters.

“The two leading hypotheses for things that might cause declines of chinook salmon in the ocean are climate change and fishing,” said retired University of Washington fisheries biologist Kate Myers.

Contest deadline for new business ideas Nov. 1

The Friends of the Homer Library, with support from the Homer Chamber of Commerce and the Alaska Small Business Development Center, announces BIZ-Idea 2012, a contest to encourage new business ideas in Homer and the surrounding area.

Prize money will be awarded for the three winning entries, and also there will be the opportunity to learn more about small business plans and preparation.

HEA energy, conservation fairs slated for November

Homer Electric Association is offering its members an opportunity to learn about the latest innovations in energy saving appliances, home improvements, and alternative energy.  

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 3, HEA will host its fourth annual Energy and Conservation Fair at Kenai Middle School. The fair will be repeated the following Saturday, Nov. 10, at West Homer Elementary School.

Maura’s Cafe adds new ingredient: Melissa Josephs



It’s been just about 10 years since Maura Brenin opened Maura’s Café next to Bunnell Street Art Center in Homer’s Old Town. Now, after a decade of serving delicious sandwiches on fresh-baked baguettes, tasty soups to warm the chilliest of days, salads that draw upon locally grown produce, a selection of European cheeses and deli meat and a varied catering menu, Brenin is making some changes.

For starters, she’s joined forces with Melissa Josephs, former chef of Café Cups. 

Forecasters predict lots of ice, snow

Bering Sea crab fishermen need to prepare for another bad ice year, according to Kathleen Cole, ice forecaster for the National Weather Service.

“I hate to say this to them, but yeah, we’re going to have an ice year that is above normal again,” Cole said.

She said it is not expected to be quite as bad as last year, though.

“It would be hard to top that, it was such a record breaker,” she said.

Cole said the long-range outlook model at this point shows a push of cold air in January that will bring the ice down earlier than normal.

Alaska college savings plan earns high marks



BOSTON — College savings plans offered through the states of Alaska, Maryland, Nevada and Utah earned top marks from Morningstar Inc. in the company’s annual update to ratings of so-called 529 plans.

Another four plans received second-rung silver-medal ratings from Morningstar, which found that many of the state-sponsored plans reduced fees and improved investment options over the past 12 months.

UA Fairbanks unveils cold weather housing experiment



FAIRBANKS (AP) — The University of Alaska Fairbanks’ grand experiment in sustainable student housing has officially begun.

UAF unveiled its newest housing development, the Sustainable Village, on Oct. 3. Unlike the generic dorms scattered across most campuses, the units form a living research project that supporters say could reshape construction techniques in the north.

Streams ordinance in crosshairs

A familiar subject — the anadromous streams ordinance — overshadowed the Oct. 9 Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting, again.

Three residents, including Fred Braun, a local Realtor and head of the Citizens 4 Responsible Waterfront Land Use, testified against the measure to the assembly while scores of residents sat in the audience holding up private property rights signs.

Nikiski resident Jack Porter said he thought the borough had neglected to properly inform residents of the ordinance’s impacts and called for a repeal and re-notice.

Bering Sea crab season opens Oct. 15

The Bering Sea crab fleet hits the grounds this week with the Bristol Bay red king crab quota the only one not taking a significant hit, while the quota for the bread-and-butter opilio crab season is down 25 percent, and the St. Matthew Island blue king crab quota is down 31 percent.

As expected, the bairdi tanner season and Pribilof blue and red king crab seasons will remain closed again this year.

NPFMC recommends catch sharing plan

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council voted 10-1 to recommend a halibut catch sharing plan at its meeting in Anchorage Oct. 5.

The motion recommends a combined catch limit for the commercial and charter sectors, with each receiving a portion of the allowed harvest, beginning in 2014.

The exact charter-commercial split will be different in areas 2C and 3A.

Hallo Bay guide wins international award

Simyra Taback-Hlebechuk

A lot of miles separate London from the remote stretch of beach known as Hallo Bay in Katmai National Park. Brown bear guide Simyra Taback-Hlebechuk of Hallo Bay Bear Camp has bridged that gap and then some.

As proof, at an Oct. 4 awards ceremony of the Royal Geographic Society in London, Taback-Hlebechuk, who also serves on the Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council’s board of directors, received the silver 2012 Wanderlust World Guide award. 

Zak wins recognition for work with SBDC

Bryan Zak

Bryan Zak, southwest regional director of the Alaska Small Business Development Center, has been awarded the “State Star,” the highest honor for the state in America’s Small Business Development Centers. The Alaska SBDC is part of the nationwide association.

“I cannot tell you how proud we are, how grateful we are and how fortunate we feel that Bryan decided to work with the SBDC,” said Debi Fowler, director of the Alaska SBDC.

Alaska Airlines flights return to normal

SEATTLE — Alaska Airlines said flights were running close to normal late Monday after a fiber-optic outage shut down its ticketing system for more than four hours, causing the airline and its regional carrier to cancel 78 flights, affecting nearly 7,000 customers.

More than 130 other flights departed during the disruption, but some were delayed for as long as four hours, the airline said.

“Flights are running real close to schedule right now in all major cities. We expect tomorrow to be back on track completely,” airline spokeswoman Marianne Lindsey said Monday evening.

Business conference set for Oct. 15-16 at Land’s End


Land’s End will host its fourth annual Business, Marketing and Technology Conference Oct. 15-16 at Land’s End Resort. The conference is co-sponsored by the Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council and the Kenai Peninsula Borough Economic Development District.

Tickets are $99 for businesses and $79 for nonprofit organizations. Those bringing a second person from the same office will receive 50 percent off the second ticket.

Lunch is included for both days.

Farmers' Market

What a beautiful Saturday to have the Harvest Party. The crisp air filled with sun, the vendors’ booths overflowing with veggies, music from the stage, a line of people getting a taste of the Homer Farmers’ Market minestrone, stew, salads, breads and desserts.  And Westley Newcomb announced as the turkey raffle winner.

The market is now officially transitioning. Though the craft vendors, kids’ activities and music won’t be around anymore, harvest is still in full swing.  

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