May-Issue-3 2013

 

Archive »AJC Issue Archive Departments

Port captain testifies in Shell rig grounding

The Coast Guard captain for the port for western Alaska testified Wednesday that conversations with representatives of Royal Dutch Shell PLC and its contractors gave him confidence that the companies could successfully tow a circular drill rig through Gulf of Alaska waters to Seattle.

Alaska Railroad extension project gets under way

A rail line extension project from Point MacKenzie to Houston is under way.

Nearly 90 bears killed under predator control

A predator control program is under way in western Alaska.

Stocks rise as lackluster reports ease Fed concern

A pair of lackluster economic reports eased concern that the Federal Reserve would pull back on its economic stimulus, pushing stocks higher on Wall Street. The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose and an initial estimate of first-quarter economic growth was revised slightly lower. That suggests the U.S. economy may still need some time to recover from its funk and that the Fed will keep up its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases.

Yup'ik fishermen found guilty of illegal fishing

Two dozen Kuskokwim River fishermen have been found guilty of illegal fishing, despite their arguments that fishing restrictions infringe on their religious rights.

Oil falls on concerns for China demand, Fed policy

The price of oil fell Thursday as weak manufacturing data from China raised questions about the strength of oil demand in the world's No. 2 economy.

Ice jam breaks on Yukon River

A gap in an ice jam is slowly draining a massive backup of water upriver from the community of Fort Yukon. Part of the ice jam on the Yukon River broke early Wednesday morning, but that isn't alleviating fears in this community 150 miles northeast of Fairbanks.

US new home sales up 2.3 percent in April

U.S. sales of new homes rose in April and nearly matched the fastest pace in five years, driving the median price to a record high. The gains suggest the housing recovery is strengthening.

Between economy and trouble, Obama approval steady

The economy is recovering, the White House is dealing with multiple controversies, and President Barack Obama appears generally unaffected either way.

Kulluk hearing continues with testimony from rig manager

The hearing about the Noble drilling rig that ran aground in December while crossing the Gulf of Alaska continued today with testimony from the rig’s manager and a tug captain involved in trying to turn the situation around before the rig grounded.

Education Dept. gives Alaska, two more states NCLB waivers

Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced on Monday that three more states would join the ranks of those given permission to ignore parts of the federal No Child Left Behind law in favor of their own school improvement plans.

First day of Kulluk hearings details harrowing days of storm

A U.S. Coast Guard panel completed the first day of hearings planned for the agency’s inquiry into the grounding of the Shell drillship Kulluk last Dec. 31. Hearings that began May 20 are scheduled for two weeks.

Kenai couple wins Nenana Ice Classic

A retired peace officer and his paramedic-firefighter wife are the sole winners of Alaska's biggest guessing game.

Stock indexes flip between gains and losses

Stock indexes fluctuated in midday trading Tuesday as investors tried to predict the Fed's next move.

15 homes uninhabitable after Circle flooding

Flooding has left at least 15 homes uninhabitable in Circle. Circle Tribal Council First Chief Jessica Boyle tells The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (http://is.gd/96IpsN) residents took refuge at the post office, school and store when the Yukon River flooded Sunday.

Education Department gives 3 more states waivers

Alaska is one of three more states that have received permission to ignore parts of the federal No Child Left Behind education law.

High crop prices entice farms to expand planting

State announces plan to assess oil, gas at refuge

Alaska is proposing a plan aimed at determining the true oil and gas potential in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Buybacks are a big factor behind stock market boom

Sure, there are plenty of forces pushing stocks higher — record corporate earnings, small investors finally buying again, signs the U.S. economy may be strengthening, central banks flooding the financial system with money. But you may want to spare a thought, and a healthy dose of worry, for what is one of the biggest, and least appreciated, reasons for the rally: buybacks.

Fresh Copper River salmon lands in Seattle

The first planeload of Copper River salmon from Cordova, Alaska, landed Friday morning at Sea-Tac Airport and the Alaska Airlines pilots carried a 40-pound king to waiting chefs.

Unemployment falls in 40 US states, rises in 3

Solid hiring helped lower unemployment rates in 40 U.S. states last month, the most since November. The declines show the job market is improving throughout most of the country.

Alaska ferry system considers raising rates

The Alaska Marine Highway System is considering raising its rates for traveling aboard the state's ferries in order to deal with a pared down operating budget approved by lawmakers this spring.

Falling yen to make Japan's goods more affordable

Attention, bargain-hunters around the world: Japanese goods — from cars to televisions — are going on sale.

Ousted IRS chief regrets treatment of tea party

The ousted head of the Internal Revenue Service apologized to Congress on Friday for his agency's tougher treatment of tea party and other conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.

Ash plumes rise from remote volcano

Steam and ash clouds are occasionally rising to 20,000 feet from Pavlof Volcano.

Interior issues new drilling rule on public land

The Obama administration said Thursday it will require companies that drill for oil and natural gas on federal lands to publicly disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing operations. The new "fracking" rule replaces a draft proposed last year that was withdrawn amid industry complaints that federal regulation could hinder an ongoing boom in natural gas production.

Agency to consider listing for Alaska lake seals

The National Marine Fisheries Service announced Thursday it will consider listing a population of harbor seals that live in a freshwater Alaska lake as a threatened or endangered species, a decision that could affect the massive Pebble Mine development project.

Second court invalidates Obama recess appointment

A second federal appeals court has found that President Barack Obama exceeded his power when he bypassed the Senate to install a member to the National Labor Relations Board.

Gold futures fall for a sixth straight day

The price of gold fell for a sixth day after billionaire investor George Soros cut his holdings in the precious metal.

Archive »Real Estate

US new home sales up 2.3 percent in April

U.S. sales of new homes rose in April and nearly matched the fastest pace in five years, driving the median price to a record high. The gains suggest the housing recovery is strengthening.
Road work begins as snow finally recedes

Road work begins as snow finally recedes

As much as rousting bears are a rite of spring, so is the rousting of construction equipment.
CIRI adding shopping in Mat-Su, office space in Midtown

CIRI adding shopping in Mat-Su, office space in Midtown

Cook Inlet Regional Inc. has plans for at least two new projects to add to its real estate portfolio.

Archive »Transportation

Port captain testifies in Shell rig grounding

The Coast Guard captain for the port for western Alaska testified Wednesday that conversations with representatives of Royal Dutch Shell PLC and its contractors gave him confidence that the companies could successfully tow a circular drill rig through Gulf of Alaska waters to Seattle.

Alaska Railroad extension project gets under way

A rail line extension project from Point MacKenzie to Houston is under way.

Alaska ferry system considers raising rates

The Alaska Marine Highway System is considering raising its rates for traveling aboard the state's ferries in order to deal with a pared down operating budget approved by lawmakers this spring.
Service vital, but aging ships, costs challenge ferry system

Service vital, but aging ships, costs challenge ferry system

ABOARD THE M/V MALASPINA — The challenge facing Capt. John Falvey is this: combine an aging infrastructure with new technology and tightening budgets to provide an essential service — the Alaska Marine Highway System.

Archive »Tourism

Service vital, but aging ships, costs challenge ferry system

Service vital, but aging ships, costs challenge ferry system

ABOARD THE M/V MALASPINA — The challenge facing Capt. John Falvey is this: combine an aging infrastructure with new technology and tightening budgets to provide an essential service — the Alaska Marine Highway System.

Archive »Construction Articles

Road work begins as snow finally recedes

Road work begins as snow finally recedes

As much as rousting bears are a rite of spring, so is the rousting of construction equipment.

Qualified mortgage rule still worries lenders after revisions

Despite federal agencies taking steps to tweak and adopt the qualified mortgage and ability-to-repay rules set to go into effect in January 2014, private industry officials are nervous about the impact they will have.
CIRI adding shopping in Mat-Su, office space in Midtown

CIRI adding shopping in Mat-Su, office space in Midtown

Cook Inlet Regional Inc. has plans for at least two new projects to add to its real estate portfolio.
Proposed housing facility at ANMC will cut Medicaid costs

Proposed housing facility at ANMC will cut Medicaid costs

Anchorage could see another major construction project in the near future if the Gov. Sean Parnell approves a plan to add a residential housing facility at the Alaska Native Medical Center.

Archive »Oil & Gas

Port captain testifies in Shell rig grounding

The Coast Guard captain for the port for western Alaska testified Wednesday that conversations with representatives of Royal Dutch Shell PLC and its contractors gave him confidence that the companies could successfully tow a circular drill rig through Gulf of Alaska waters to Seattle.

Oil falls on concerns for China demand, Fed policy

The price of oil fell Thursday as weak manufacturing data from China raised questions about the strength of oil demand in the world's No. 2 economy.

Kulluk hearing continues with testimony from rig manager

The hearing about the Noble drilling rig that ran aground in December while crossing the Gulf of Alaska continued today with testimony from the rig’s manager and a tug captain involved in trying to turn the situation around before the rig grounded.

First day of Kulluk hearings details harrowing days of storm

A U.S. Coast Guard panel completed the first day of hearings planned for the agency’s inquiry into the grounding of the Shell drillship Kulluk last Dec. 31. Hearings that began May 20 are scheduled for two weeks.

Japanese group offers fast-track on LNG

A Japanese consortium working on an independent Alaska liquefied natural gas project has completed a feasibility study and given it to state officials.

BLM to tackle four high-risk abandoned wells this year

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management released a plan May 8 identifying 50 abandoned wells in the Alaska Arctic that it believes require clean-up by the agency.

Linc finishes Umiat test well, demobilizes rig

Linc Energy has completed its winter exploration program at Umiat, on the North Slope, and has demobilized its rig and equipment.

Uncertainty over pipeline could delay Umiat road project

A change in plans for a 100-mile road from the Dalton Highway to Umiat, in the National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska, could set back permitting and construction for that project.

Alliance launches campaign against oil tax repeal initiative

Alaska’s oil and gas service companies launched a campaign May 13 urging voters not to sign petitions being circulated for a ballot proposition repealing Senate Bill 21, a bill passed by the Legislature modifying the state’s production tax on oil and gas, at least without learning more about the issue.

Arctic states open council to China, India, South Korea

KIRUNA, Sweden (AP) — Arctic states agreed May 15 to let nations that are located nowhere near the Earth’s north to become observers to their diplomatic council, boosting rising superpowers China, India and South Korea that are seeking to mine the region for its untapped energy and other natural resources.

Archive »Telecom

ACS, GCI wait for regulatory approval on new network

Alaska Communications and General Communication, Inc. are working toward merging their infrastructure as the Alaska Wireless Network, a deal meant to better position both companies when Verizon Wireless enters the Alaska market.

Archive »Alaska Politics

Alaska ferry system considers raising rates

The Alaska Marine Highway System is considering raising its rates for traveling aboard the state's ferries in order to deal with a pared down operating budget approved by lawmakers this spring.

Alliance launches campaign against oil tax repeal initiative

Alaska’s oil and gas service companies launched a campaign May 13 urging voters not to sign petitions being circulated for a ballot proposition repealing Senate Bill 21, a bill passed by the Legislature modifying the state’s production tax on oil and gas, at least without learning more about the issue.
Proposed housing facility at ANMC will cut Medicaid costs

Proposed housing facility at ANMC will cut Medicaid costs

Anchorage could see another major construction project in the near future if the Gov. Sean Parnell approves a plan to add a residential housing facility at the Alaska Native Medical Center.

Archive »National Politics

Between economy and trouble, Obama approval steady

The economy is recovering, the White House is dealing with multiple controversies, and President Barack Obama appears generally unaffected either way.

Education Dept. gives Alaska, two more states NCLB waivers

Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced on Monday that three more states would join the ranks of those given permission to ignore parts of the federal No Child Left Behind law in favor of their own school improvement plans.

Ousted IRS chief regrets treatment of tea party

The ousted head of the Internal Revenue Service apologized to Congress on Friday for his agency's tougher treatment of tea party and other conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.

Archive »Money Talks

Stocks rise as lackluster reports ease Fed concern

A pair of lackluster economic reports eased concern that the Federal Reserve would pull back on its economic stimulus, pushing stocks higher on Wall Street. The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose and an initial estimate of first-quarter economic growth was revised slightly lower. That suggests the U.S. economy may still need some time to recover from its funk and that the Fed will keep up its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases.

Archive »Finance

Stock indexes flip between gains and losses

Stock indexes fluctuated in midday trading Tuesday as investors tried to predict the Fed's next move.

Falling yen to make Japan's goods more affordable

Attention, bargain-hunters around the world: Japanese goods — from cars to televisions — are going on sale.

Qualified mortgage rule still worries lenders after revisions

Despite federal agencies taking steps to tweak and adopt the qualified mortgage and ability-to-repay rules set to go into effect in January 2014, private industry officials are nervous about the impact they will have.

Archive »Editorials

AJOC EDITORIAL: Slumbering press finally wakes up to Obama’s lies

From this view, watching the mainstream media finally discover the depth of the dishonesty emanating from the Obama White House calls to mind the second-most famous line in the American classic “Die Hard.”

GUEST COMMENTARY: Eye on Wall Street: Will April flowers bring May showers?

U.S. equities continued on a roll with the S&P 500 gaining almost 2 percent in April. It is up 12.7 percent year to date.

Dems worry Obamacare rollout will be a ‘train wreck’

The Affordable Care Act is getting closer to implementation, less than half a year. But there are a great many questions still lingering and no clear road map from the Obama administration as the clock ticks.

FISH FACTOR: Exchange rates make 2013 a mixed year for seafood exports

Between 60 and 70 percent of Alaska’s seafood is exported to customers around the globe, and the strength of foreign currencies against the U.S. dollar plays a big role in annual sales.

Archive »Popular Politics

AJOC EDITORIAL: Slumbering press finally wakes up to Obama’s lies

From this view, watching the mainstream media finally discover the depth of the dishonesty emanating from the Obama White House calls to mind the second-most famous line in the American classic “Die Hard.”

Dems worry Obamacare rollout will be a ‘train wreck’

The Affordable Care Act is getting closer to implementation, less than half a year. But there are a great many questions still lingering and no clear road map from the Obama administration as the clock ticks.

Archive »Bulletin Board

BULLETINS 05/19/13

BULLETINS 05/19/13

Southcentral Power Plant step toward energy security, WestMountain resumes work on its Terra gold project, Fisheries lawsuits moving forward

Archive »Science

Group to sue to force polar bear recovery plan

An environmental group has given formal notice it will go to court to force the federal government to complete a recovery plan for threatened polar bears.

Archive »Fishery Stories

Yup'ik fishermen found guilty of illegal fishing

Two dozen Kuskokwim River fishermen have been found guilty of illegal fishing, despite their arguments that fishing restrictions infringe on their religious rights.

Fresh Copper River salmon lands in Seattle

The first planeload of Copper River salmon from Cordova, Alaska, landed Friday morning at Sea-Tac Airport and the Alaska Airlines pilots carried a 40-pound king to waiting chefs.

Agency seeks comment on Aleutian sea lion rules

The National Marine Fisheries Service announced May 14 it will consider dialing back commercial fishing restrictions in the western Aleutian Islands that were put in place to protect endangered Steller sea lions.
Closure fresh in memory, setnetters innovate for season

Closure fresh in memory, setnetters innovate for season

KENAI — Gary Hollier has a king salmon problem.

ADFG forecasts smallest ever early-run Kenai king return

You can still fish for early-run king salmon on the Kenai River this year, but unless it’s a trophy fish, or a very small one, you’ll probably have to let it swim free.
Chefs pair Alaska grown produce with famous state seafood

Chefs pair Alaska grown produce with famous state seafood

Officially, the Great Alaska Seafood Cook Off was a chance to showcase Alaskan seafood.

Archive »General News

Ice jam breaks on Yukon River

A gap in an ice jam is slowly draining a massive backup of water upriver from the community of Fort Yukon. Part of the ice jam on the Yukon River broke early Wednesday morning, but that isn't alleviating fears in this community 150 miles northeast of Fairbanks.

Kenai couple wins Nenana Ice Classic

A retired peace officer and his paramedic-firefighter wife are the sole winners of Alaska's biggest guessing game.

Fresh Copper River salmon lands in Seattle

The first planeload of Copper River salmon from Cordova, Alaska, landed Friday morning at Sea-Tac Airport and the Alaska Airlines pilots carried a 40-pound king to waiting chefs.

Unemployment falls in 40 US states, rises in 3

Solid hiring helped lower unemployment rates in 40 U.S. states last month, the most since November. The declines show the job market is improving throughout most of the country.

Huge drug cost disparities seen in health overhaul

WASHINGTON (AP) — Cancer patients could face high costs for medications under President Barack Obama’s health care law, industry analysts and advocates warn.
Is Walmart serious about transforming health care?

Is Walmart serious about transforming health care?

“Why is Walmart speaking at a health care summit?” the company’s vice president for health and wellness, Marcus Osborne, rhetorically offered up at a conference back in January.
Statewide Lemonade Day draws record participation

Statewide Lemonade Day draws record participation

If you were driving around in an Alaska town on May 11, chances were you passed at least one lemonade stand.