December-Issue-4 2012

 

Archive »AJC Issue Archive Departments

EPA Administrator Jackson announces resignation

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, the Obama administration's chief environmental watchdog, is stepping down after a nearly four years marked by high-profile brawls over global warming pollution, the Keystone XL oil pipeline, new controls on coal-fired plants and several other hot-button issues that affect the nation's economy and people's health.

Ordinary folks losing faith in stocks

Ordinary Americans are losing their faith in stocks: For the fifth year in a row, they are selling their holdings.

Phone book handouts no longer required in 4 areas

Four urban Alaska areas could see an end to phone companies' automatic distribution of phone books with residential listings.

Regulators say 2 boats sink in Alaska bay

Alaska environmental regulators are responding to two fishing boats that sank south of Homer, possibly weighed down after heavy snow.

German FinMin says worst of euro debt crisis over

Germany's finance minister says the worst of euro area's debt crisis appears to be over after three years of worries over Greece and other members of the group of 17 European Union countries that use the single currency.

US economy could handle short fall over 'cliff'

The economic threat that's kept many Americans on edge for months is nearing reality — unless the White House and Republicans cut a budget deal by New Year's Day.

US home prices rise in October from previous year

US home prices rose in most major cities in October compared with a year ago, pushed up by rising sales and a decline in the supply of available homes. Higher prices show the housing market is improving even as it moves into the more dormant fall and winter sales period.

West Coast girds for more tsunami debris in winter

Volunteers who patrol California beaches for plastic, cigarette butts and other litter will be on the lookout this winter for flotsam from last year's monstrous tsunami off Japan's coast.

Turnagain Pass power lines to get upgrade

Extreme snowfall, avalanches and icing wiped out power lines across Turnagain Pass on the Kenai Peninsula again this winter, and a project is underway to replace them.

Maine man's body found on Alaska mountain

The body of a Coast Guardsman from Maine who went missing while hiking in Alaska has been recovered.

FDA says fast-growing fish would not harm nature

Federal health regulators say a genetically modified salmon that grows twice as fast as normal is unlikely to harm the environment, clearing the way for the first approval of a scientifically engineered animal for human consumption.

In-state gas pipeline planners revise project

A proposal for an in-state natural 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.

Fairbanks inversion again makes for unhealthy air

Fairbanks area residents are again being warned about breathing the air.

Stocks sink after Republicans cancel budget vote

Investors sent Washington a reminder Friday that Wall Street is a power player in talks to avoid the "fiscal cliff."

Archer Drilling files lawsuit against Buccaneer

Buccaneer Energy-Kenai Offshore Ventures and Archer Drilling last Thursday ended their relationship for Archer to operate the $100 million Endeavour-Spirit of Independence jack-up rig. The rig has been in the Homer Harbor since arriving last August, missing a late-summer and early fall drilling window and racking up a large bill in harbor fees. Buccaneer said it fired Archer. On Wednesday, officials with Archer visiting Homer said that’s not true — Archer terminated its contract with Buccaneer on Dec. 13.

15 indicted on mail theft at FedEx sorting hub

A federal grand jury in Tennessee has indicted 15 former FedEx workers, charging them with stealing from U.S. mail.

Salazar announces Alaska Petroleum Reserve plan

The Interior Department's plan for managing a vast petroleum reserve on Alaska's North Slope calls for a roughly 50-50 split between conservation and oil development plus accommodation for a pipeline that could carry offshore Arctic Ocean oil to the trans-Alaska pipeline.

UAF wins grant for linguistics programs

The University of Alaska Fairbanks has won a $1.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to support Alaska Native language programs.

Lawmakers, State officials tangle over Libya raid

The State Department on Thursday acknowledged weaknesses in security related to the deadly assault on the diplomatic mission in Libya as a scathing independent report faulted management failures at the department.

US economy grew at 3.1 percent in summer

The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 3.1 percent over the summer as exports increased, consumers spent more and state and local governments added to growth for the first time in three years. But the economy is likely slowing in the current quarter.

Archive »Real Estate

US home prices rise in October from previous year

US home prices rose in most major cities in October compared with a year ago, pushed up by rising sales and a decline in the supply of available homes. Higher prices show the housing market is improving even as it moves into the more dormant fall and winter sales period.

Archive »Transportation

Alaska Railroad Corp. funding saved in transportation bill

Alaska Railroad Corp. funding saved in transportation bill

Federal funding for the Alaska Railroad Corp. was spared in the surface transportation bill President Barack Obama signed into law July 6.

Archive »Construction Articles

Legislature approves $2.94B capital budget; bonds pass

In April, the Alaska Legislature approved a $2.94 billion capital budget that included $870 million for transportation, $370 million for education projects, $210 million for energy and $90 million for projects to improve health care.

Archive »Oil & Gas

In-state gas pipeline planners revise project

A proposal for an in-state natural 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.

Archer Drilling files lawsuit against Buccaneer

Buccaneer Energy-Kenai Offshore Ventures and Archer Drilling last Thursday ended their relationship for Archer to operate the $100 million Endeavour-Spirit of Independence jack-up rig. The rig has been in the Homer Harbor since arriving last August, missing a late-summer and early fall drilling window and racking up a large bill in harbor fees. Buccaneer said it fired Archer. On Wednesday, officials with Archer visiting Homer said that’s not true — Archer terminated its contract with Buccaneer on Dec. 13.

Salazar announces Alaska Petroleum Reserve plan

The Interior Department's plan for managing a vast petroleum reserve on Alaska's North Slope calls for a roughly 50-50 split between conservation and oil development plus accommodation for a pipeline that could carry offshore Arctic Ocean oil to the trans-Alaska pipeline.

Furie seeks permit for new platform

An independent oil and gas explorer has applied for an Army Corps of Engineers permit to build a new production platform in Cook Inlet’s Kitchen Lights Unit.
Endeavour operator fired for ‘non-performance’

Endeavour operator fired for ‘non-performance’

Buccaneer Energy fired the company charged with operating the $100 million Endeavour-Spirit of Independence jack-up rig after watching it sit in Homer delayed for months, miss the summer drilling window and rack up a large bill in harbor fees.
Shell’s progress in Arctic tops 2012 stories in oil and gas

Shell’s progress in Arctic tops 2012 stories in oil and gas

It has been a busy year in Alaska’s oil patch.

Archive »Telecom

GCI, Alaska Communications to combine infrastructure

GCI, Alaska Communications to combine infrastructure

Alaska Communications Systems Group Inc. and General Communications Inc. announced a planned infrastructure merger in June.

Archive »Alaska Politics

In-state gas pipeline planners revise project

A proposal for an in-state natural 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.

Gov proposes status quo budget, lower capital spending

Gov. Sean Parnell released his proposed Fiscal 2014 budget Dec. 14 as required by law.

Archive »National Politics

US economy could handle short fall over 'cliff'

The economic threat that's kept many Americans on edge for months is nearing reality — unless the White House and Republicans cut a budget deal by New Year's Day.

Lawmakers, State officials tangle over Libya raid

The State Department on Thursday acknowledged weaknesses in security related to the deadly assault on the diplomatic mission in Libya as a scathing independent report faulted management failures at the department.

Archive »Finance

Stocks sink after Republicans cancel budget vote

Investors sent Washington a reminder Friday that Wall Street is a power player in talks to avoid the "fiscal cliff."

US economy grew at 3.1 percent in summer

The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 3.1 percent over the summer as exports increased, consumers spent more and state and local governments added to growth for the first time in three years. But the economy is likely slowing in the current quarter.
Strutz retires after 42 years with National Bank of Alaska, Wells Fargo

Strutz retires after 42 years with National Bank of Alaska, Wells Fargo

Richard Strutz passed many a milestone in 42 years of banking before retiring as the Wells Fargo Alaska Regional President earlier this month at age 61.

Archive »Editorials

EDITORIAL: Nome fuel run highlights spirit, challenges of Alaska

As evidenced by the endless lineup of “reality” television shows filmed in our state, Alaska makes for good television.

GUEST COMMENTARY: Evaluating results a positive step for students and teachers

No one describes a teacher as great without talking about how well their students are learning. It just doesn’t happen, because you can’t have one without the other.

FISH FACTOR: Deck ergonomics studied; herring could have hidden value

Making some easy changes to a boat’s deck lay out, or simply modifying knives and scrapers can reduce the strains, sprains and pains of fishing.
The Bookworm Sez: Sell yourself with sincerity

The Bookworm Sez: Sell yourself with sincerity

Another possible client said “no” today and you don’t know what to do.

Archive »Science

Breathers beware: Particulate fouls icy Fairbanks

Stanford University Medical Center doctors gave Alex Lee a parting gift at the end of his heart operations earlier this year: surgeon’s masks.

Archive »Mining

EPA releases Bristol Bay risk assessment, peer review

EPA releases Bristol Bay risk assessment, peer review

The major news event for the state’s mining industry in 2012 was the release of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s unprecedented Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment as a possible forerunner of an action by the agency to preempt development of the large Pebble copper/gold project near Iliamna, southwest of Anchorage.

Archive »Fishery Stories

FDA says fast-growing fish would not harm nature

Federal health regulators say a genetically modified salmon that grows twice as fast as normal is unlikely to harm the environment, clearing the way for the first approval of a scientifically engineered animal for human consumption.

Salmon excluder test approved; NOAA head to step down

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council took action on an application for research in the pollock fishery, and had preliminary discussions on variety of issues including vessel monitoring and walrus protection, at its December meeting.

FISH FACTOR: Deck ergonomics studied; herring could have hidden value

Making some easy changes to a boat’s deck lay out, or simply modifying knives and scrapers can reduce the strains, sprains and pains of fishing.
Fast-growing fish may never wind up on your plate

Fast-growing fish may never wind up on your plate

WASHINGTON (AP) — Salmon that’s been genetically modified to grow twice as fast as normal could soon show up on your dinner plate.
King salmon disaster declared in Cook Inlet, Y-K areas

King salmon disaster declared in Cook Inlet, Y-K areas

Low chinook salmon runs led to a resource disaster declaration by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce in September, but funding to support affected communities is still up in the air as the year comes to a close.

Archive »General News

West Coast girds for more tsunami debris in winter

Volunteers who patrol California beaches for plastic, cigarette butts and other litter will be on the lookout this winter for flotsam from last year's monstrous tsunami off Japan's coast.

Turnagain Pass power lines to get upgrade

Extreme snowfall, avalanches and icing wiped out power lines across Turnagain Pass on the Kenai Peninsula again this winter, and a project is underway to replace them.

Maine man's body found on Alaska mountain

The body of a Coast Guardsman from Maine who went missing while hiking in Alaska has been recovered.

Fairbanks inversion again makes for unhealthy air

Fairbanks area residents are again being warned about breathing the air.

15 indicted on mail theft at FedEx sorting hub

A federal grand jury in Tennessee has indicted 15 former FedEx workers, charging them with stealing from U.S. mail.

UAF wins grant for linguistics programs

The University of Alaska Fairbanks has won a $1.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to support Alaska Native language programs.

Lawmakers, State officials tangle over Libya raid

The State Department on Thursday acknowledged weaknesses in security related to the deadly assault on the diplomatic mission in Libya as a scathing independent report faulted management failures at the department.
Toys for Tots

Toys for Tots

EDITORIAL: Nome fuel run highlights spirit, challenges of Alaska

As evidenced by the endless lineup of “reality” television shows filmed in our state, Alaska makes for good television.
Strutz retires after 42 years with National Bank of Alaska, Wells Fargo

Strutz retires after 42 years with National Bank of Alaska, Wells Fargo

Richard Strutz passed many a milestone in 42 years of banking before retiring as the Wells Fargo Alaska Regional President earlier this month at age 61.

In memory, 2012

Prominent Alaskans who passed on in 2012
Fast-growing fish may never wind up on your plate

Fast-growing fish may never wind up on your plate

WASHINGTON (AP) — Salmon that’s been genetically modified to grow twice as fast as normal could soon show up on your dinner plate.