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The Bookworm Sez: Be the best at being your own boss

Another desk at the office is empty this week.

Another co-worker packed up, leaving the place short-handed. Another downsize, and another reason for worry. What will you do if you’re next? You can’t just start over but you can’t retire yet, either. So read the new book “Be Your Best Boss” by William R. Seagraves, and see if you have what it takes for a new beginning.

William Seagraves likes to drive.

Movers and Shakers 3/27/16

Thompson & Co. Public Relations President and CEO Jennifer Thompson was inducted into the Anchorage ATHENA Society on March 21, along with 10 other members in the class of 2016. Anchorage’s most influential female leaders are invited into the society each year, chosen for their support of Anchorage’s business community and their dedication to helping business women in Anchorage. A program of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, the society works to encourage the potential of all women as valued members and leaders of the business community.

Army officially delays JBER force cut

The U.S. Army has officially announced that it will delay the long-dreaded reduction of 2,600 soldiers from the 4-25 Infantry Brigade Combat Team stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

Alaska’s Congressional delegation hailed the delay as a win for both national security and for Alaska, which draws substantial economic benefit from troops and their families.

Cultivation licenses dominate marijuana applications

The first batch of marijuana business license applications is available to the public, and so far Alaskans have more interest in growing than selling.

The Marijuana Control Board began accepting license applications on Feb. 24, but only made them available to the public March 14. Public figures from various marijuana industry and political groups have filed, including members of the Marijuana Control Board itself and the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association.

Medicaid reform passes Senate

Medicaid has been a divisive topic in Alaska since Gov. Bill Walker announced his plan to expand the federal insurance program in the state early last year, but the Medicaid reform package that unanimously passed the Senate March 11 seems to be something lawmakers and health care leaders can agree upon.

Sen. Pete Kelly’s Senate Bill 74 that was sent to the House after a 19-0 vote combined parts of the administration’s Medicaid reform and expansion bill with an earlier version of Kelly’s bill, both of which were introduced last session.

Banks, CUs haven’t seen downturn yet

Alaska’s state budget and economy hang over dangerous cliff, but the state’s financial institutions haven’t been pushed to the edge yet.

Alaska’s banks and credit unions showed growth in 2015, driven by commercial lending growth statewide and optimism for housing markets in the Interior.

Cook Inlet seismic, exploration work underway

KENAI — Despite pessimistic oil and gas outlooks, two companies are conducting seismic data-gathering activities on the Kenai Peninsula this spring and another is planning more exploration work.

Hilcorp Alaska is planning to gather more seismic data on the oil and gas beneath the southern Kenai Peninsula, and SAExploration, a Houston, Texas-based oilfield services company, is gathering 2D and 3D seismic data on an area of the northern Kenai Peninsula near Nikiski. After April 1, Furie Operating Alaska plans to use a jack-up rig to drill new wells in its Kitchen Lights Unit.

Alaska trawlers furious about Walker’s council nominations

Editor's note: This article has been updated to include comment from Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotten.

Two months after a heated meeting, trawlers are again accusing Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotten of short-changing their industry. 

Gov. Bill Walker submitted nominations to fill two seats of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council on March 9, sending waves of dissatisfaction throughout an industry segment that claims Walker’s administration is forcing it out of the process at the worst time possible.

Victors in suit against NMFS want hired skipper rule scrapped

The victorious plaintiffs in a case challenging a federal rule over hired skippers in the sablefish and halibut fisheries filed a motion Feb. 24 to vacate the National Marine Fisheries Service action.

Fairweather Fish Inc. and Ray Welsh filed suit against the National Marine Fisheries Service, or NMFS, in 2014, following the finalization of a regulation that prohibited the use of hired skippers to harvest halibut and sablefish quota acquired after Feb. 12, 2010.

Operating budgets pass; Legislature turns eyes to revenue

The Alaska Senate voted 16-4 on March 14 to approve an $8.73 billion state operations budget that includes $571 million in cuts and sets up the full Legislature to focus on long-term revenue sources.

The Senate’s budget will be combined with an $8.66 billion version the House passed last week. A final, compromise version of the budget is not expected until the end of the legislative session, after lawmakers have figured out how to pay for it.

Movers and Shakers 3/20/16

The Alaska Air Carriers Association scholarship, underwritten for the last four years by Crowley Fuels in Alaska, was recently awarded to Brandon Smothers, a high school senior at Interior Distance Education Alaska in Fairbanks. Smothers, a Talkeetna native, will enter University of Alaska Fairbanks this fall to pursue a degree in aeronautical engineering. Don King, senior account executive, highway sales for Crowley, presented Smothers with the $3,000 scholarship at AACA’s 50th Annual Convention in Anchorage.

Alaskans note lack of input in pushback against Arctic plan

Alaska’s leaders in Juneau and Congress had harsh words for a joint March 10 statement from the White House and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announcing plans for new emissions caps on the oil and gas industry and preservation of significant chunks territory in each country’s Arctic.

The statement was released as Trudeau made the first official visit by a Canadian prime minister to the White House in nearly two decades.

AJOC EDITORIAL: Read their lips: No new taxes

With operating budgets passed in the House and Senate but not yet funded, at least one thing is now clear: Gov. Bill Walker’s proposals to raise taxes on individuals and businesses by nearly $460 million in the next fiscal year aren’t going anywhere.

Senate Finance Co-Chair Pete Kelly, R-Fairbanks, couldn’t have been more blunt — or, frankly, rude — in response to a question about how the Legislature plans to pay for the fiscal year 2017 spending that figures to outpace revenue by $3.7 billion.

FISH FACTOR: Salmon permit values sink; halibut quota prices spike

Firesale salmon prices last year and a dim outlook for the upcoming season have caused the value of Alaska fishing permits to plummet.

To another extreme, the prices for halibut catch shares have soared to “unheard of levels.”

Starting with salmon permits: “A lot of people had disastrous seasons last year, whether it was drift gillnet or seine permits, and the values have declined dramatically,” said Doug Bowen of Alaska Boats and Permits in Homer.

EYE ON WALL STREET: A volatile month for stocks; eying Fund earnings bills

After a rocky start to the year, the financial markets settled down mid-February with oil and U.S. equities rebounding in the latter half of the month. The foreign equity markets have rallied a bit, but are still in a funk.

Bond yields remain at historic lows. The 10-year Treasury yields 1.8 percent, which looks positively mouthwatering compared to Japanese and German government bonds that are flirting with negative yields.

Dipping into the Permanent Fund

Ahtna cites tax credits as it prepares to spud gas well

Ahtna Inc. is preparing a drill site near Glennallen to further its hunt for natural gas in the Copper River basin.

The Copper River-area Alaska Native regional corporation is building a gravel road and four-acre pad now, with first drilling of its exploration well Tolsona No. 1 scheduled for next month, according to a March 12 company release.

Tolsona No. 1 will be on state land about 10 miles west of Glennallen along the Glenn Highway.

Feds file to dismiss suit over Kenai River subsistence gillnet

The Ninilchik Traditional Council filed a response March 3 to a motion by the Federal Subsistence Board and U.S. Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture seeking to dismiss a lawsuit filed last October.

NTC filed the complaint after requests were denied by the board to remove federal fishing manager Jeff Anderson and to approve a subsistence gillnet on the Kenai River.

According to the motion seeking dismissal by the federal defendants filed Jan. 25, the court should not take up the lawsuit because the Kenai River approval is ongoing.

Federal Subsistence Board restores Saxman’s rural status

The Federal Subsistence Board has ended a decade-long struggle for the Southeast Alaska village of Saxman by restoring its rural designation.

As a formally recognized rural village, Saxman residents now regain subsistence hunting and fishing rights they lost in 2007 when the board declared the village “nonrural.”

Tribal leaders expressed relief, saying their practical survival and cultural survival depend on subsistence rights.

FDA: No significant impact from test of modified mosquitoes

MIAMI (AP) — A field trial releasing genetically modified mosquitoes in the Florida Keys would not harm humans or the environment, according to documents released March 11 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

First-ever dissolving heart stent gets FDA review

WASHINGTON (AP) — A disappearing medical implant got a closer look from the Food and Drug Administration this week.

The FDA met on March 15 to review Abbott Laboratories’ first-of-a-kind heart stent that dissolves into the body after helping to clear fat-clogged arteries.

Abbott has asked the agency to approve its Absorb stent as an alternative to permanent, metal implants that have long been used to treat narrowing arteries that can lead to heart attack and death.

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