February-Issue-2 2013

 

Archive »AJC Issue Archive Departments

Shell prepares Kulluk for move

Shell is readying its damaged drill vessel Kulluk to be towed from Kiliuda Bay on Kodiak Island, in southern Alaska, to Dutch Harbor in the Aleutians, as the first part of a move to a shipyard in Asia for repairs of damage suffered when the Kulluk grounded Dec. 31 in a storm.

Sunken barge causes problems

A sunken barge near the village of Kwethluk is causing problems.

Stocks fall midday on deepening European recession

Stocks are falling midday Thursday as reports showed Europe's recession deepened late last year.

Anchorage Assembly OKs landing of big jet

The Anchorage Assembly has given the go-ahead for a large jet to land at the city airfield.

Sharp fall in US jobless claims boosts outlook

The outlook for the U.S. job market is brightening after a government report showed a sharp drop in the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits.

US crude oil supplies rise by 600,000 barrels

The nation's crude oil supplies rose last week, the government said Wednesday.

Lew warns of dangers from automatic spending cuts

Jacob Lew, President Barack Obama's nominee for Treasury secretary, is urging Congress to avoid steep automatic spending cuts that are set to take effect on March 1, saying they threaten the broader economy.

Markets edge higher on US economic, corporate news

Global stocks mostly pushed higher on Wednesday on evidence that U.S. consumer spending is withstanding tax increases and on the back of upbeat corporate news.

Alaska Airlines starting Fairbanks-Portland flight

Alaska Airlines is adding daily, nonstop flights this summer between Fairbanks and Portland.

Company explores wave energy at Yakutat

The community of Yakutat is trying to turn ocean waves into a source of renewable energy.

Shell to move its Arctic drill rigs to Asia for repairs

Shell broke its weeks-long silence on the status of its two Arctic drill rigs Feb. 11. The Kulluk and Noble Discoverer, two drill vessels used by Shell for its 2012, Arctic drilling, will be moved from Alaska to Asia for repairs, the company said in a statement late Monday.

Democrats in Legislature introduce their version of oil tax reform

Democrats in the state House and Senate unveiled proposals to grant tax relief to North Slope oil producers in separate bills introduced in the state House and Senate Feb. 11.

Company explores wave energy power at Yakutat

The community of Yakutat is trying to turn ocean waves into a source of renewable energy.

China calls in North Korean ambassador over nuke test

China's foreign minister called North Korea's ambassador in for a dressing-down Tuesday and demanded his country's cease making further threats, in a show of Beijing's displeasure over its earstwhile ally's latest nuclear test.

Stocks edge higher; Avon, Michael Kors surge 


Stocks edged higher in midday trading Tuesday following mixed earnings reports from companies including Avon, Goodyear and Coca-Cola.

Senate Democrats craft bill to avert budget cuts

Top Senate Democrats have prepared a plan to slice the Pentagon's budget by $3 billion a year in an attempt to avoid far steeper cuts that defense hawks warn would cripple the military.

Study: 1 in 5 consumers had error in credit report

One in five consumers had an error in a credit report issued by a major agency, according to a government study released Monday.

Native corp.: Exploration shows promising reserves

A Fairbanks-based Alaska Native corporation is in the process of extending a road in the Nenana Basin to reach a planned drill site they hope taps into promising natural gas reserves.

SBA head Mills to leave Obama administration

Karen Mills is leaving her post as head of the Small Business Administration, opening yet another Cabinet-rank job for President Barack Obama to fill at the start of his second term. Obama says Mills played a leading role supporting start-up businesses and entrepreneurs.

Climbers' descendants mark Denali centennial

Though it was his dream to do so, archdeacon Hudson Stuck never got a chance to celebrate communion on top of Mount McKinley when he and two other men, Harry Karstens and Walter Harper, became the first men to stand on the south peak of North America's tallest mountain back in 1913.

Hundreds attend F-16s transfer meeting

Hundreds of people attended a hearing in North Pole to weigh in on the proposed transfer of Eielson Air Force Base's F-16 aircraft to Anchorage.

Oil up on China, US trade data; pump prices rise

Oil prices nudged above $96 a barrel on Friday after new reports showed better-than-expected trade data in China and the U.S. trade deficit shrank in December to the lowest point in three years.

Postal Service lost $1.3 billion over quarter

The U.S. Postal Service lost $1.3 billion in the final three months of last year despite a blizzard of campaign advertising for the fall political elections and a big holiday mail and shipping season.

US growth in Q4 likely stronger on export gains

The U.S. trade deficit narrowed sharply in December because exports rose while oil imports plummeted. The smaller trade gap means the economy almost surely grew in the October-December quarter — an improvement from the government's estimate last week that it shrank in the final months of 2012.

Stranded Shell drill vessel won't face state tax

A stranded Royal Dutch Shell PLC drilling barge will not be subject to an Alaska state property tax obligation, according to revenue officials.

Iran: Sanctions make nuclear talks with US futile

American proposals for direct talks with Iran are pointless while Washington is "holding a gun" to the country through sanctions, Iran's supreme leader said Thursday, quashing a possible breakthrough in contacts with the West over the nuclear standoff.

Dome grows in Alaska's Cleveland Volcano

Alaska's Cleveland Volcano is heating up and scientists are on alert in case it sends up an ash cloud that could threaten trans-Pacific flights.

Begich, Murkowski weigh in on mail announcement

Sen. Mark Begich says the U.S. Postal Service's decision to stop delivering all Saturday mail except for packages is "bad news for Alaskans."

US rate on 30-year mortgage steady at 3.53 pct.

The average U.S. rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage was unchanged this week near historic lows, while the average rate on the 15-year loan fell. Low mortgage rates could help strengthen the housing recovery.

Retailers report strong January sales

Sometimes, the devil is in the deals. Americans shopped the winter clearance racks in January, resulting in strong sales during the month for retailers. But spending is expected to slow as the deals dry up heading into the spring, and Americans digest rising gas prices and a 2 percent payroll tax hike that started in January.

Archive »Real Estate

US rate on 30-year mortgage steady at 3.53 pct.

The average U.S. rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage was unchanged this week near historic lows, while the average rate on the 15-year loan fell. Low mortgage rates could help strengthen the housing recovery.

Home sales, prices increase in 2012

On the whole, Alaska’s housing market remained stable in 2012, but energy costs and government regulations cloud the future, according to Alaska Association of Realtors President Michael Droege.

AHFC earns national awards for affordable housing aid

Recently released prisoners throughout Alaska had a little easier time finding housing in 2012, and that’s helping keep recidivism rates down.
Shrinking land a growing problem for Anchorage market

Shrinking land a growing problem for Anchorage market

The largest city in the largest state has almost devoured its compact tract of land.

Archive »Construction Articles

Home sales, prices increase in 2012

On the whole, Alaska’s housing market remained stable in 2012, but energy costs and government regulations cloud the future, according to Alaska Association of Realtors President Michael Droege.
Shrinking land a growing problem for Anchorage market

Shrinking land a growing problem for Anchorage market

The largest city in the largest state has almost devoured its compact tract of land.

Archive »Oil & Gas

Shell to move its Arctic drill rigs to Asia for repairs

Shell broke its weeks-long silence on the status of its two Arctic drill rigs Feb. 11. The Kulluk and Noble Discoverer, two drill vessels used by Shell for its 2012, Arctic drilling, will be moved from Alaska to Asia for repairs, the company said in a statement late Monday.

Democrats in Legislature introduce their version of oil tax reform

Democrats in the state House and Senate unveiled proposals to grant tax relief to North Slope oil producers in separate bills introduced in the state House and Senate Feb. 11.

Native corp.: Exploration shows promising reserves

A Fairbanks-based Alaska Native corporation is in the process of extending a road in the Nenana Basin to reach a planned drill site they hope taps into promising natural gas reserves.

Oil up on China, US trade data; pump prices rise

Oil prices nudged above $96 a barrel on Friday after new reports showed better-than-expected trade data in China and the U.S. trade deficit shrank in December to the lowest point in three years.

Stranded Shell drill vessel won't face state tax

A stranded Royal Dutch Shell PLC drilling barge will not be subject to an Alaska state property tax obligation, according to revenue officials.

Committees start work on Parnell’s oil tax reform bill

JUNEAU — Gov. Sean Parnell’s bill to adjust the state oil and gas production tax was due to move out of its first legislative committee Feb. 8, and meeting are set for further hearings in the House and Senate committee beginning the week of Feb. 11.

Gov’s North Slope LNG trucking plan takes shape

A plan to build a small liquefied natural gas, or LNG, plant at Prudhoe Bay and supply LNG by truck to Fairbanks is taking shape.

Alyeska looks at new ways to keep oil flowing in TAPS

Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. is looking at ways to keep oil flowing through the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System as the amount of oil continues to drop.

FERC approves 44 Susitna-Watana Hydro dam studies

The Alaska Energy Authority has received federal approval to move forward with 44 studies related to the Susitna-Watana Hydro dam project.

Archive »Technology

Review: Microsoft Office pricey, but good value

NEW YORK (AP) — As much as I like Google Docs for word processing and spreadsheets, I find the online software clunky at times.
New keyboard BlackBerry in US could take months

New keyboard BlackBerry in US could take months

TORONTO (AP) — A modern BlackBerry with a physical keyboard might not arrive in the U.S. until May or June, a month or two behind other parts of the world, the chief executive of the smartphone maker suggested in an interview.

Archive »Alaska Politics

Democrats in Legislature introduce their version of oil tax reform

Democrats in the state House and Senate unveiled proposals to grant tax relief to North Slope oil producers in separate bills introduced in the state House and Senate Feb. 11.
Sheffield’s success: Overcoming hardship, personal loss

Sheffield’s success: Overcoming hardship, personal loss

Bill Sheffield’s conservative streak on spending, and his business acumen, were honed in a tough depression-era upbringing.
Sheffield first, and last, governor to cut state budget

Sheffield first, and last, governor to cut state budget

Legislators and state officials are wrestling with some old issues in Juneau: How to control the growth of government, how to build strategic infrastructure, and how to plan, if it can be done, for a collapse of oil prices and state revenues.

Committees start work on Parnell’s oil tax reform bill

JUNEAU — Gov. Sean Parnell’s bill to adjust the state oil and gas production tax was due to move out of its first legislative committee Feb. 8, and meeting are set for further hearings in the House and Senate committee beginning the week of Feb. 11.

GUEST COMMENTARY: Alaskans should be rewarded for fighting gov’t waste

A recent Alaska Journal of Commerce editorial called for punishing the public interest groups who challenged the proposed railroad out to Port MacKenzie.

Feds reject Cold Bay road pitched to aid medical care

The federal government said Feb. 5 that it rejected a plan to build a road through a wildlife refuge that would have given a small Aleut village in Alaska better access to medical care.

Alaska looks to get a handle on rising health care costs 


JUNEAU (AP) — State officials are looking at ways to lower the growth of Alaska’s health care costs, including an alternate retiree plan and developing an employee wellness program.

Archive »National Politics

Senate Democrats craft bill to avert budget cuts

Top Senate Democrats have prepared a plan to slice the Pentagon's budget by $3 billion a year in an attempt to avoid far steeper cuts that defense hawks warn would cripple the military.

SBA head Mills to leave Obama administration

Karen Mills is leaving her post as head of the Small Business Administration, opening yet another Cabinet-rank job for President Barack Obama to fill at the start of his second term. Obama says Mills played a leading role supporting start-up businesses and entrepreneurs.

Postal Service lost $1.3 billion over quarter

The U.S. Postal Service lost $1.3 billion in the final three months of last year despite a blizzard of campaign advertising for the fall political elections and a big holiday mail and shipping season.

Iran: Sanctions make nuclear talks with US futile

American proposals for direct talks with Iran are pointless while Washington is "holding a gun" to the country through sanctions, Iran's supreme leader said Thursday, quashing a possible breakthrough in contacts with the West over the nuclear standoff.
Obama taps outdoor retail exec Jewell for Interior Dept.

Obama taps outdoor retail exec Jewell for Interior Dept.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Feb. 6 nominated outdoor business executive Sally Jewell to lead the Interior Department.

Archive »Money Talks

US growth in Q4 likely stronger on export gains

The U.S. trade deficit narrowed sharply in December because exports rose while oil imports plummeted. The smaller trade gap means the economy almost surely grew in the October-December quarter — an improvement from the government's estimate last week that it shrank in the final months of 2012.

Retailers report strong January sales

Sometimes, the devil is in the deals. Americans shopped the winter clearance racks in January, resulting in strong sales during the month for retailers. But spending is expected to slow as the deals dry up heading into the spring, and Americans digest rising gas prices and a 2 percent payroll tax hike that started in January.

Archive »Finance

Stocks edge higher; Avon, Michael Kors surge 


Stocks edged higher in midday trading Tuesday following mixed earnings reports from companies including Avon, Goodyear and Coca-Cola.

Study: 1 in 5 consumers had error in credit report

One in five consumers had an error in a credit report issued by a major agency, according to a government study released Monday.

Oil up on China, US trade data; pump prices rise

Oil prices nudged above $96 a barrel on Friday after new reports showed better-than-expected trade data in China and the U.S. trade deficit shrank in December to the lowest point in three years.

US rate on 30-year mortgage steady at 3.53 pct.

The average U.S. rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage was unchanged this week near historic lows, while the average rate on the 15-year loan fell. Low mortgage rates could help strengthen the housing recovery.

AEDC forecasts continued growth for Anchorage economy in 2013

Anchorage should see continued modest economic expansion in the coming year, according to Anchorage Economic Development Corp. CEO Bill Popp.

Archive »Editorials

GUEST COMMENTARY: Alaskans should be rewarded for fighting gov’t waste

A recent Alaska Journal of Commerce editorial called for punishing the public interest groups who challenged the proposed railroad out to Port MacKenzie.

FISH FACTOR: Volunteer fishing vessels sought for energy-saving project; bycatch shared

Volunteers are needed to test drive some new money-saving methods for “do it yourself” energy audits on fishing boats.

Archive »Features

Sheffield first, and last, governor to cut state budget

Sheffield first, and last, governor to cut state budget

Legislators and state officials are wrestling with some old issues in Juneau: How to control the growth of government, how to build strategic infrastructure, and how to plan, if it can be done, for a collapse of oil prices and state revenues.

Archive »Bulletin Board

BULLETINS 02/10/13

BULLETINS 02/10/13

Utilities take over new power plant, Northrim BanCorp announces 2012 earnings, Inspector General says council financial disclosures not effective...

Archive »Science

Company explores wave energy power at Yakutat

The community of Yakutat is trying to turn ocean waves into a source of renewable energy.

Archive »Fishery Stories

FISH FACTOR: Volunteer fishing vessels sought for energy-saving project; bycatch shared

Volunteers are needed to test drive some new money-saving methods for “do it yourself” energy audits on fishing boats.

Cook Inlet salmon task force considering new proposals

Public input on Upper Cook Inlet fisheries management has continued, with a proposal for the Kenai River late-run King Salmon Management Plan likely to come out of the Upper Cook Inlet Task Force this month.

Board passes changes to Interior sportfishing regulations

Interior Alaska sportfishing will look a little different this summer under changes passed by the Board of Fisheries at its Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim meeting last month.

Archive »General News

Company explores wave energy power at Yakutat

The community of Yakutat is trying to turn ocean waves into a source of renewable energy.

China calls in North Korean ambassador over nuke test

China's foreign minister called North Korea's ambassador in for a dressing-down Tuesday and demanded his country's cease making further threats, in a show of Beijing's displeasure over its earstwhile ally's latest nuclear test.

Climbers' descendants mark Denali centennial

Though it was his dream to do so, archdeacon Hudson Stuck never got a chance to celebrate communion on top of Mount McKinley when he and two other men, Harry Karstens and Walter Harper, became the first men to stand on the south peak of North America's tallest mountain back in 1913.

Hundreds attend F-16s transfer meeting

Hundreds of people attended a hearing in North Pole to weigh in on the proposed transfer of Eielson Air Force Base's F-16 aircraft to Anchorage.

Postal Service lost $1.3 billion over quarter

The U.S. Postal Service lost $1.3 billion in the final three months of last year despite a blizzard of campaign advertising for the fall political elections and a big holiday mail and shipping season.

Dome grows in Alaska's Cleveland Volcano

Alaska's Cleveland Volcano is heating up and scientists are on alert in case it sends up an ash cloud that could threaten trans-Pacific flights.

Begich, Murkowski weigh in on mail announcement

Sen. Mark Begich says the U.S. Postal Service's decision to stop delivering all Saturday mail except for packages is "bad news for Alaskans."