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Movers & Shakers 10/18/15

Crowley Maritime Corp. has awarded Crowley Scholarships to four University of Alaska Fairbanks students: Allyson Wukovich, Isaac Peacock, Ashley Johnson and Gabriel Smith. Chosen for their academic achievements and meeting other scholarship criteria, each received $2,500 toward tuition from Crowley. Preferences for Crowley-funded UAF scholarships are given to students from rural Alaska from Crowley-served communities throughout the state. Wukovich, who is from Nome, is working toward a biology major with a concentration in cell and molecular biology. After graduation, she’s interested in working at a hospital lab to identify risk and prevention of certain disorders. In addition to her studies, Wukovich is an intern at the Norton Sound Regional Hospital laboratory. Peacock, from Kotzebue, is a criminal justice major going into his sophomore year at UAF. Upon graduation, he is interested in staying in the Kotzebue area and serving his community as a police officer. Johnson is a junior from Bethel, and is a rural development major. She attended the Rural Alaskans Honor Institute in 2012 and is interested in working in a job that benefits Alaska and its rural communities. Smith, from Nome, is a freshman working towards a degree in wildlife biology and conservation. In addition to his studies, he works for the Norton Sound Economic Development Corp. as a fisheries technician. After his time at UAF, Smith plans to stay in Alaska and become a wildlife biologist for Alaska Department of Fish and Game. John Frison, an airfield maintenance mechanic at Fairbanks International Airport, was awarded the National Association of State Aviation Officials Most Innovative State Award for his design of “Yeti,” a snow and ice crusher. As airports across the nation adapt to changing climates, the team at FAI came up with a unique idea to improve the removal of ice and compacted snow. Frison took the idea behind commercial icebreakers and designed an icebreaking machine named the Yeti. The Yeti fractures ice on runways and taxiways by creating pockets in the ice allowing deicing chemicals to access the underlying asphalt faster. Not only does the Yeti crush ice and snow more efficiently, but it costs the state nearly 50 percent less to manufacture than it would cost to purchase a similar commercial product. Delta Fettes has joined AECOM’s Anchorage office as a project management specialist to support financial and contractual project requirements. Fettes has 16 years of experience in project accounting and coordination. She is a versatile professional with diverse skills in maintaining vendor, client and executive relationships, as well as in collaboration, analysis and management. Most recently, she performed project accounting and coordination for an Alaska Native corporation in Alaska. In this role, she will be responsible for supporting environmental, engineering, planning and permitting projects in Alaska. Hattenburg Dilley & Linnell Geotechnical Department continues to broaden its geotechnical and geological expertise with several recent additions. Doug P. Simon, PE is a professional civil engineer and leads the Geotechnical Department. Simon holds a master’s degree in geological engineering and has 14 years of geotechnical engineering and hydrogeology experience. David S. Crotsley, a professional geologist with a background in engineering geology, recently joined HDL. Crotsley holds a bachelor’s degree in geology. He brings eight years of experience conducting investigations for bridges, roadways, tunnels, buildings, reclaimed mine sites, and other civil works projects. John Fritz has 40 years of geological experience specializing in material source studies, and holds a bachelor’s degree in geological sciences. Fritz has extensive experience in permit acquisition for materials sites, and in the investigation and resolution of slope stability failures in rock cuts, soil slopes, and streambank erosion and stabilization. Prior to joining HDL, Fritz served as regional geologist for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, Central Region. Vernon D. Pate, EIT, performs geotechnical analysis and recommendations on projects throughout Alaska since joining HDL in 2011. Pate holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering.  Pate designs piles and helical piers, as well as conducts slope stability analysis for various projects. He also performs inspection and construction materials testing, and trains inspectors to perform material testing. Jeremy Dvorak, EIT, recently joined HDL as an engineering assistant, and holds a bachelor’s degree in geological engineering. Dvorak brings a background in geotechnical engineering and geology conducting geotechnical investigations for buildings, communication towers, and roadways. Lorie M. Dilley, PhD, PE, CPG, earned her doctorate in geology with her thesis on “Fluid Inclusion Strategraphy, A New Method of Geothermal Reservoir Assessment.” Dilley is currently focused on services as a principal investigator on federal geothermal projects. She continues to provide quality control reviews, and serves as a geotechnical specialist for the department. Last week the Alaska Support Industry Alliance held its annual meeting and board elections at the Hotel Captain Cook. Pete Stokes with Petrotechnical Resources of Alaska became the Alliance board president for 2015-16 and the membership elected six directors to the board. Nick Karnos with Lynden International and Brad Osborne with NANA Oilfield Services ran as incumbents and were reelected to the board. The membership elected four new board members, including Kelly Droop with CH2M, Cathy Duxbury with Udelhoven Oilfield Systems Service, Dale Kissee with CONAM Construction Company, and Tom Walsh with Petrotechnical Resources of Alaska. Earlier in the week, the Fairbanks Chapter of the Alliance also elected Genevieve Schok with Flowline as their representative to the statewide board. All directors elected will serve a three-year term.

EDITORIAL: Feds should turn over forest lands to Alaska

Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, made an interesting point about the U.S. Forest Service on Sept. 29 during a congressional hearing on federal timber policy. It came while Young was highlighting the differences between the timber programs managed on State of Alaska lands versus those on federal land controlled by the Forest Service, saying that the Forest Service takes five years on average to put up a timber sale while the state only takes two years — and the state puts up a much higher percentage of its available timber than does the Forest Service. “I look at this and the Forest Service is no longer the Forest Service, it’s the Park Service,” Young said. “They’re not trying to manage the timber.” The concept of national forests as being mostly off-limits to timber harvesting was noted also by Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Chelsea Goucher, who told the House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Federal Lands in Washington, D.C., that the 17 million-acre Tongass National Forest encompassed 90 percent of the land in Southeast Alaska, “91 percent of which is categorized as roadless and therefore functionally unavailable for any type of development.” This includes further development of hydropower generation, according to Goucher, who, in response to a question from Young, added that the Forest Service’s program for issuing special use permits for local businesses to provide services for cruise ship passengers in the Tongass is inadequate to meet the demand. The picture emerges of an agency that cannot or will not provide for timber harvesting as part of the multiple-use mandate for national forest lands, nor does it accommodate demand for recreational use of the national forest. Has it, as Young suggests, simply become a manager of off-limits parks? Not yet. But it might have few choices for anything but hands-off management soon. Later in the hearing, Rep. Niki Tsongas, D-Massachusetts, remarked about how $700 million had been transferred out of this year’s Forest Service budget for non-fire items and into efforts to fight wildfires. That’s $700 million moved out of things like timber sales programs and recreation nationwide, just this year. Now, it doesn’t sound like the wildfire situations in the Lower 48 are likely to improve anytime soon, although Young did assert that the current wildfires are the result of decades of inadequate forest management. Nor are there indications that future federal budgets will boost Forest Service funding in the near or long terms. What becomes of the Forest Service then? Some trends have begun to surface. Nationally, the agency’s ranks have thinned during the past decade. Young railed about the number of boats and kayaks visible in Forest Service lots, but even the agency’s frontline facilities appear to be operating with fewer staff. Local trail maintenance appears to be falling off. Some recreational cabins have been closed, and some Forest Service roads in southern Southeast Alaska have being taken out of service. On the timber side, constantly having to sort through legal actions over every sale involving old-growth forest must be a serious drain on Forest Service coffers. The agency also is torn between competing viewpoints on harvesting timber. At what point does the Forest Service become unable to actively manage national forests for multiple-uses — or any use? When will it be reduced to just patrolling the fence around a de-facto Tongass National Monument? This dim view of the agency’s present and future capabilities to provide for multiple-use development is a likely factor in Young’s legislation that would allow states to select and acquire federal national forest land for timber harvesting and other uses. Introduced Sept. 29, Young’s “State National Forest Management Act of 2015” would allow states to acquire up to 2 million acres of national forest service land. Goucher spoke in support of the concept Sept. 29, saying that it could result in 2,500 jobs in Alaska. “State managed lands are accountable to clear mandates and generate significant revenues for stakeholders, while federally managed lands often lose taxpayer money and frustrate local development and community growth,” she said. There’s logic to the proposal. If the feds can’t or won’t actively manage the land, why not give some of that land to the states? We look forward to seeing what Congress does with this concept. Meanwhile, Alaska should ensure that it’s capable of administering any lands received from the federal government. Gutting the state timber offices — something that the Alaska Legislature was poised to do earlier this year — isn’t the way to go.

Movers & Shakers 10/11/15

Penny Gage has joined The Institute of the North as Deputy Director. She was formerly at The Alaska Community Foundation. Gage is originally from Sitka and is a member of Sitka Tribe of Alaska and a Sealaska shareholder. Her prior experience includes work with U.S. Peace Corps in Nicaragua, the Alaska State Legislature, Rasmuson Foundation, a U.S congressional committee, and two international petroleum companies’ Washington, DC offices. She holds a dual bachelor’s degree in Spanish and communication from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and a master of science in foreign service degree with a certificate in international business from Georgetown University. Matt Stone, PE, has advanced to become a principal of PDC Inc. Engineers. He is the youngest person to achieve this status. Stone joined PDC in 2002 and has 17 years of civil engineering and management experience. He has managed the civil department since 2012 and in 2015 he took responsibility for PDC’s business development endeavors. Stone was recognized in 2013 as one of the top 15 professionals, 40-years-old or younger, working in the civil engineering industry in the United States. Craig Knight, PLS, was selected as an associate and is the newest addition to PDC’s leadership team. He is based out of the firm’s Fairbanks office but provides services statewide. Knight has more than 23 years of experience in surveying, engineering, GIS, and he possesses a high degree of technical competence with AutoCad, ArcGIS, and RTK GPS. Prior to joining PDC, Knight owned and operated a 30-person multi-office firm that provided GIS, CAD, and professional surveying services. YWCA Alaska announced Nancy Martinez as a new dedicated staff member for the Alaska Veterans Organization for Women program. Martinez is an Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran who served in the United States Army. Martinez is a Master’s Level Clinical Counselor committed to serving the community and honoring and empowering fellow women veterans. As a new member of YWCA Alaska’s staff, she will be working diligently to connect women veterans to local services, help them navigate government resources, and provide opportunities for Alaska women veterans to meet and support one another. STEELFAB, Alaska’s largest locally owned steel fabricator, announced that Ron Doshier has accepted the position of strategic business development manager to further develop the company’s expanding client services and focus on fostering new relationships within the Alaska oil and gas, mining, construction and contracting communities. Doshier brings almost 40 years of experience in the oil and gas sector, specializing in field-intervention operations for BP Alaska and Orbis Engineering. Prior to that, Doshier served in Field, District and U.S. Operations and Business Development positions with Baker Hughes divisions. Chief Warrant Officer 4 Pamela Vitt was appointed as the command chief warrant officer for the Alaska Army National Guard effective Sept. 1, bringing with her vast experience and 25 years of military service. Vitt was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in 1990 after graduating from Colorado State University with her bachelor’s degree in natural resource management. During her six years of active-duty service she served as a platoon leader and executive officer for U.S. Army Alaska’s 23rd Aviation Intermediate Maintenance at Ft. Wainwright. Vitt transferred to the Alaska Army National Guard, converting to a chief warrant officer 2 in 1997. She began her National Guard career by flying the UH-1 Huey helicopter as a maintenance pilot, switching to the UH-60 Black Hawk in 1998. Notably, Vitt served as both company and battalion aviation safety officer for the past seven years and deployed to Kosovo in 2003 and 2008 supporting peacekeeping and peace enforcement missions. The Alaska Heart & Vascular Institute, a leading provider of cardiovascular care in Alaska, recently announced the addition of Dr. Jonathan R. McDonagh, M.D., to its team of cardiovascular physicians. McDonagh comes to the Alaska Heart & Vascular Institute after completing two fellowships with the University of Michigan’s Medical Center. McDonagh received his undergraduate degree in chemistry and biochemistry from Middlebury College in 1995. In 2001, he earned his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Vermont College of Medicine. He then completed his residency at the University of Washington in 2005. Afterward, he relocated to Alaska, where he practiced in Soldotna for five years before heading to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor to complete fellowships in cardiovascular medicine and interventional cardiology. With the addition of McDonagh, who will be based in the clinic’s main office in Anchorage, the Alaska Heart & Vascular Institute grows to a team of 25 specialty cardiologists at six locations across the state.

GUEST COMMENTARY: Got an extra $2 grand? Tips on the best way to use your PFD

Come Oct. 1, most Alaskans will have an extra $2,072 in their pockets when they receive their Permanent Fund dividend checks from the state. When faced with that sum of money, it’s decision-making time. While a trip to Hawaii is tempting as winter approaches, there are other places to use this money that will have longer term benefits for your family’s budget — and happiness. De-stressing somewhere tropical sounds appealing, and, if you have the money budgeted for it, don’t have any debt, and have a good amount of savings for emergencies and retirement, go for it. But most people aren’t in that enviable position. So consider de-stressing at home instead. Studies show that one of the biggest causes of stress is money. The less control of your financial situation, the more stress you have. So, taking control of your finances is the best way to de-stress. Deal with your debt First, look at what kind of debt you have. Some debt is good debt — a mortgage, for instance — because the interest is tax deductible and the house is an investment. However, if you have any credit card debt, you need to tackle that first. It may not be as satisfying to put all (or most) of your dividend toward credit card debt, but there is no investment that will make more money than paying down your credit card debt to save that interest. If you don’t have credit card debt, but you do have college loans or car loans, look at paying those down. Can’t handle the thought of using your entire dividend towards debt? Make a plan to use 80 percent towards debt, put 10 percent into emergency savings and then use 10 percent on something fun. While you may not be able to go to the Hawaii with $200, you could enjoy a mini-vacation overnight in a luxury hotel. A penny saved is a penny earned Is your debt under control? Good for you! In that case, the dividend is an excellent opportunity to bump up your retirement savings. You could put your dividend into a Roth IRA, which would allow your money to grow tax-free — and you would be able to withdraw it when you’re ready and not pay any taxes on it when you withdraw. It’s an excellent complement to a regular IRA or 401(k) where you invest money pre-tax but then pay taxes when you take them out. If your retirement is well-funded and you have children, think about putting your tax dividend into a college savings plan. Financial planning can put a vacation within reach If you want help with your savings plan, it’s a great idea to meet with a financial planner. Most banks have them, including KeyBank. Financial planners help customers look at the entire financial picture — loans and mortgages, savings and investments — and create plans to make the most of family income. Maybe even save for that Hawaiian vacation — without incurring debt and the stress of paying it off. Brian Nerland is Market President of KeyBank in Alaska. He can be reached at [email protected] Need some inspiration? Here is how some Key bankers are using their checks: “I will make a gift to a charitable organization and put the remainder into savings.” — Brian Nerland, market president “I am splitting it between an emergency savings account and a surprise four wheeling trip for my son’s birthday.” — Tracey Thomas, business banker “I am setting some aside for my emergency savings account and then splurging on a weekend vacation.” — Ryan Wagner, area retail leader “My sons’ PFDs will go into their 529s for college, and then my husband and I will use ours for something fun for our family!” — Tracy Morris, commercial banker “I am saving for college and then enjoying a winter vacation.” — Joe Murry, commercial banker “It’s all going into the college fund!” — Lori McCaffrey, commercial banking team leader

2015 Elders & Youth Conference and AFN Conference Schedules

2015 Elders & Youth Conference: ‘Not in our Smokehouse!’ This year marks the 32nd annual convening and First Alaskans continues to be honored to steward this gathering of our most precious community members. The conference will be held on Monday through Wednesday, October 12-14, 2015, at the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center in downtown Anchorage. Our conference theme “Not in Our Smokehouse!” was created by village youth, and represents the protection and love we feel for our peoples and our Alaska Native Ways of Life. Our “smokehouse” is the place where we thrive and feel most strong in our identities, reclaiming what is good for us while rejecting what isn’t.  Through opportunities to learn, share, and strengthen our cultural knowledge, be solution focused and action-oriented, the Elders & Youth Conference theme embraces our Ancestor’s strength to be real about our challenges and enact good ways to live, lead, and support healthy, vibrant Native communities. Our keynote speakers exemplify this spirit of “community doing” and we thank them so much for accepting our invitation to be part of this years conference: Elder Keynote: Mr. Gregory Fratis (Unângax), Elder from St. Paul Island, has worked for years teaching his peoples’ language, Unangam Tunuu, and working with younger generations to instill healthy ways of being through cultural values and traditions. His dedication to youth and the perpetuation of his culture is an incredible testament to the importance of our Elders. We are honored he has accepted our invitation to inspire our attendees and look forward to learning from his story. Youth Keynote: Ms. Lacayah Engebretson (Ahtna Athabascan/Tlingit/Yup’ik) from Chistochina, Tazlina, and Kake, is a college freshman working towards an education degree with the intention, “to give Alaska Native students a teacher that looks like them, learns like them, and understands what they’re going through, not just from an education perspective, but from a personal one as well.” She is an active young leader dedicated to lifting up our Native peoples in all she does. We are excited to hear her reflect about how protecting our ways of life is a responsibility she cherishes and promotes.   AGENDA (Subject to change) Sunday Afternoon October 11 Registration – Foyer on the 3rd Floor by Escalators. Avoid the line Monday morning!   Monday Morning October 12 7:30 Onsite Registration Opens – Foyer on the 3rd Floor by Escalators 8:00 Arts & Opps Showcase opens in the Idlughet Exhibit Hall 1st floor A unique showcase of education, training, career and business opportunities combined with arts & crafts booths 8:30 Conference Blessing & Prayer Statewide Broadcast begins on GCI Channel 1 and online at www.firstalaskans.org 8:35 Opening Message by Eklutna Chief Lee Stephan (Dena’ina Athabascan) 8:45 Posting of the Colors – Alaska Native Veterans Society 8:50 Welcome from First Alaskans Institute 9:05 Conference Overview & Call for Young MC’s & Ambassadors 9:25 Not in Our Smokehouse! Tribute slide show 9:30 Youth Keynote Address – Lacayah Engebretson (Ahtna Athabascan, Tlingit, Yup’ik) 9:50 Plenary Dialogue Session **MOVE MOMENT Youth and Elder Friendly** 10:30 Community Doers Unite! The Power of Being a ‘Doer’ 10:40 Your Voice: Action, Advocacy, and the 2015 Elders & Youth Resolutions 11:00 Regional Dialogue Sessions - Discuss cultural and regional issues; elect Statewide Elder & Youth Council Representatives & Alternates 12:00 Lunch - On your own – The television broadcast and webcast during the lunch hour will feature special guest interviews and/or activities   Monday Afternoon, October 12 1:00 Reconvene & Door Prize Drawing 1:05 Announcement of New Statewide Elders & Youth Council 1:15 DANCE GROUP #1 1:45 How We Live in a Changing Arctic – 2015 Arctic Youth Ambassadors 1:50 A Calling to Serve & the Forget Me Not Movement - Samuel Johns (Ahtna Athabascan) 2:00 Workshop Session 1: Alaska Native Arts, Cultural Practices and Languages - See detailed description on Page for room assignments *Select a workshop that stretches your comfort zone, allows you to learn something new, strengthen your skills, learn about another Native cultural practice, or make new friends *If you want to go to a language session, and your language is not being offered, please feel free to attend another Alaska Native language session and make the most of this wonderful learning opportunity 3:45 Break 4:00 Workshop Session 2: Interactive Topical Learning Sessions - See detailed description on Page for room assignments *Select a workshop from the following thematic tracks: Leadership & Education, Land, Law & Policy, Health & Wellness, and Cultural Values & Language 5:30 Recess   Monday Evening, October 12 7:00 – 10:00 Chin’an: A Night of Cultural Celebration featuring the Beautiful Talents of our Native Peoples from Throughout the State! Tikahtnu Ballroom Broadcast available on GCI Channel 1, 360 North and online at www.firstalaskans.org   Tuesday Morning, October 12 8:00 Onsite Registration Open – Foyer on the 3rd Floor by Escalators 8:00 Arts & Opps Showcase opens in the Idlughet Exhibit hall until 5pm LAST DAY OF EXPO: A unique showcase of education, training, career and business opportunities combined with arts & crafts booths 8:30 Opening Prayer, Announcements, & Door Prize Drawing Statewide Broadcast begins on GCI Channel 1 and online at www.firstalaskans.org 8:40 DANCE GROUP #2 9:10 ELDER KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Gregory Fratis, Sr. (Unangax) 9:30 Plenary Dialogue Session 9:55 Plenary Activity 10:00 Living Alaska Native Values - Sierra Shangin (Unangax/Sugpiaq) 10:05 Plenary Activity: Using your Cell Phone to Tell a Story - Mark Trahant (Shoshone- Bannock) 10:50 Hello Elders & Youth Fairbanks! (Via Skype) 11:00 Hello from AFN to the 2015 FAI Elders & Youth Conference! 11:10 **MOVE MOMENT Youth and Elder Friendly** 11:20 GenerationIndigenous! 11:30 Plenary Dialogue Session 11:50 2015 Elders and Youth Conference Resolutions 12:00 Lunch - On your own   Tuesday Afternoon, October 13 1:00 Door Prizes & Announcements 1:15 DANCE GROUP #3 1:45 Bringing our Languages Back into the Smokehouse and Beyond - Alaska Native Language Preservation & Advisory Council 1:55 Plenary Activity 2:15 Workshop Session 3: Alaska Native Arts, Cultural Practices, and Languages 3:45 Break/Transition 4:00 Workshop Session 4: Interactive Topical Learning Sessions 5:30 Recess   Tuesday Evening, October 13 6:30 – 9:30 Teen Dance at Dena’ina Center (chaperones must accompany youth who attend this event. Tickets at Registration table.) 6:30 – 9:30 Assimilation, a play & healing dialogue led by Jack Dalton & Friends   Wednesday Morning, October 14 8:30 Dance Group #4 9:00 Men’s House & Women’s House Dialogues (Please go to the house you feel most comfortable in) 11:00 Closing Ceremony: Retire the Colors Grand Door Prize Drawing Dance Group #5 11:30 Adjourn SEE YOU AT THE 2016 ELDERS & YOUTH IN FAIRBANKS!!   2015 AFN Convention: ‘Heroes in our Homeland’ AFN Keynote Speakers The Alaska Federation of Natives is pleased to announce that world-renowned Haida weaver Delores Churchill and her grandson, the Haida master carver Donald Varnell, have accepted our invitation to deliver the 2015 AFN Convention keynote address. The Convention will be held October 15-17 at the Dena’ina Convention Center in Anchorage, with the theme: “Heroes In Our Homeland.” The keynote address is scheduled for the morning of Thursday, October 15. The AFN Convention and the Alaska Native Customary Art Show are open to the public. “AFN is pleased that Delores and Donald have accepted our invitation. Having two keynoters is a way for AFN to showcase the actual sharing of our cultural traditions between generations and they are an inspiration to the entire Native community,” AFN President Julie Kitka said. “This year’s theme was chosen as a way to recognize and celebrate the many heroes living among us, the people working humbly to strengthen our communities.” The convention theme is a reflection of Alaska Native values and guides the structure and focus of the convention gathering. Delores Churchill is a Chilkat weaver from Ketchikan. Her artistic influence and knowledge of the art stretches around the globe. She has also worked as a researcher and consultant, helping curators identify works in museum collections. Churchill has been honored for her role as an artist and culture bearer, including a Rasmuson Foundation Distinguished Artist Award, an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Alaska Southeast, a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Artist residency, an award by the Alaska State Council On The Arts travel grant to study Haida basketry in London and Canada, and a Sealaska Heritage Foundation study grant. Also from Ketchikan, Donald Varnell is a folk/traditional artist who blends tradition with social, cultural and political ideas in his multi-disciplinary works of art. He has worked and apprenticed under Tlingit master-carvers Nathan Jackson and Will Burkhart, as well as Haida master-carver Reggie Davidson. Varnell has carved works that now stand in public, museum and private collections worldwide and throughout Alaska. He has been awarded numerous Percent for Art commissions at schools and youth facilities throughout Alaska as well as a Rasmuson Foundation Artist Fellowship.   Thursday, October 15 morning session 8:00 Ida’ina K’eljeshna Dancers 8:30 Call to Order: AFN Co-Chairs Ana Hoffman and Jerry Isaac Moment of Silence Recognition of Major Sponsors Introduction of Parliamentarian: Patrick Anderson Introduction of Sergeant at Arms 8:40 Posting of Colors Honor Guard Entrance March of Alaska Native Veterans & Service Members 9:00 Welcome from the Dena’ina Community – Lee Stephan and Mike Curry Welcome Remarks 9:05 The Honorable Ethan Berkowitz, Mayor of Anchorage 9:10 The Honorable John Eberhart, Mayor of Fairbanks 9:15 Governor’s Address – The Honorable Bill Walker, State of Alaska Lt. Governor Byron Mallott, State of Alaska 10:00 Keynote Address – Delores Churchill and Donald Varnell 10:40 U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan 11:00 John H. Thompson – Director, U.S. Census Bureau 11:15 AFN/NCAI Tribal Leadership Conference Report – Jerry Isaac and Ana Hoffman 11:30 National Congress of American Indians Report – Brian Cladoosby, President 11:45 Elders and Youth Conference Report – First Alaskans Institute 12:00 Recess for lunch   Thursday, October 15, 2015 afternoon session 1:00 Acilquq Drummers and Dancers, Anchorage 1:30 Call to Order, Announcements 1:35 Preliminary Credentials Report –AFN Credentials Committee Chairman 1:40 AFN President’s Report – Julie Kitka 1:55 Special Guest – Raina Thiele, White House Associate Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement 2:10 Introduction of Bush Caucus Members and Report from the Bush Caucus – Representative Bryce Edgmon, Chairman 2:20 2015-2017 AFN Co-Chair Nominations – Delegates will elect one co-chair to a two-year term 2:25 Presentation of Citizen of the Year and Denali Awards 2:35 Congressman Don Young 2:55 Announcements, Instructions - AFN Co-Chairs   Major Convention Wide Work Sessions 1. Addressing Drug Abuse and Empowering Wellness 2. Business Innovations for Alaskans 3. Justice for Alaska Natives 4. Building Capacity in Co-Management 5:00 Recess for the day 7:00 PM Quyana I Performances   Friday, October 16 morning session 8:30 Kodiak Alutiiq Dancers 9:00 Call to Order, Announcements 9:05 Candidate speeches for AFN Co-Chair 9:15 Panel: Economic Crisis in Alaska There is a crisis in Alaska. Extended low oil prices, federal and state regulatory barriers, uncertainty and change, divergent interests all combine to put Alaska’s economy at risk. What are the issues? What conditions need to be in place to solve this crisis? Who will provide leadership and solve this crisis? Can our elected political leadership solve this or does this require the Alaskan people to get more involved? What happens if there is no solution in sight? Is this “downturn” in oil prices expected to last a decade or even longer before it rises again? What structural changes to our state economy need to happen? Will there be a federal govern¬ment shut-down in December? How will this affect Alaska and the current crisis? Crawford Patkotak, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation Board Chairman Tom Barrett, Alyeska Pipeline Service Company President Wayne Westlake, NANA Regional Corporation President Sophie Minich, Cook Inlet Region, Incorporated President and CEO 9:45 U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski 10:05 Steve Butt, Senior Project Manager, Alaska LNG Project 10:20 State of Alaska Perspective on LNG: Marcia Davis, Deputy Chief of Staff for the Governor 10:35 Panel: Low Oil Prices Mean Inadequate Revenues to Fund the State of Alaska’s Budget: What Options does Alaska Have? Ed Rasmuson, Rasmuson Foundation Chairman Aaron Schutt, Doyon Ltd. CEO and Rasmuson Foundation Director Diane Kaplan, Rasmuson Foundation President Liz Medicine Crow, First Alaskans Institute President/CEO Larry Persily, Kenai Peninsula Borough Representative Bryce Edgmon, Alaska Bush Caucus Representative Steve Thompson, House Finance Committee Co-Chairman Senator Peter Micciche, Senate Finance Committee Vice Chairman Questions and answers 12:00 PM Recess for lunch   Friday, October 16 afternoon session 1:00 Call to Order, Announcements 1:05 Final Credentials Report 1:10 Special Guest – Commissioner Valerie Davidson, State Department of Health & Social Services 1:20 Council for the Advancement of Alaska Natives – Yes We CAAN! Melanie Bahnke, Kawerak, Inc. Richard Peterson, Central Council of Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska Myron Naneng, Association of Village Council Presidents Victor Joseph, Tanana Chiefs Conference Tim Schuerch, Maniilaq Association Ralph Andersen, Bristol Bay Native Association Gloria O’Neill, Cook Inlet Tribal Council Marie Carroll, Arctic Slope Native Association Lorraine Jackson, Copper River Native Association 3:00 Heroes in Our Homeland Segment 3:05 Rick Harrison and Sam Thomas, Tribal Interior Budget Council; Bruce Loudermilk, BIA Alaska Region Director 3:15 Roald Helgesen, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium CEO 3:25 Panel: Legal Protection and Practices to Support Voting Rights Jacqueline Johnson Pata, National Congress of American Indians Josie Bahnke, State of Alaska Division of Elections Kim Reitmeier, ANCSA Regional Association 3:45 Subsistence Committee Report – Dr. Rosita Worl and Myron Naneng 4:00 USFWS Alaska Native Policy – Scott Aiken, National Native American Programs Coordinator Recognition of Katie John 4:10 Samuel Johns, Forget-Me-Not Project 4:15 Honoring Etok Edwardsen – AFN Co-Chairs Ana Hoffman and Jerry Isaac, Julie Kitka, Victoria Hykes Steere, Mary Ann Mills, Gail Schubert, Harry Lord, Tom Abel, Helium Edwardsen 4:30 Arctic Slope Native Association 50th Anniversary – Board Chairman Thomas Olemaun and President/CEO Marie Carroll 4:35 Recess for the day 7:00 PM Quyana II Performances   Saturday, October 17 morning session 8:30 Kluti-Kaah Dancers 9:00 Call to Order, Announcements 9:05 Special Guest – Tom Barrett, Alyeska Pipeline Service Company President 9:10 Troth Yeddha’ Legacy Project Update – Miranda Wright and Aaron Schutt, Doyon Limited 9:20 AFN Co-Chair Election 9:30 Consideration of the 2015 Convention Resolutions – Greg Razo, Chairman Members of the Resolutions Committee Debate and Voting on Resolutions 12:30 Recess for lunch   Saturday, October 17 afternoon session 1:30 Qerrullirmiut Unaret Aaturtet 2:00 Call to Order, Announcements 2:05 Message from U.S. Secretary Robert McDonald, Veterans Administration 2:10 Mario Fulmer, American Indian & Alaska Native Tourism Association 2:15 Special Guest – Former Governor Bill Sheffield 2:20 AFN President’s Awards Ceremony – AFN Convention Committee Members 3:10 Annette Evans-Smith, Alaska Native Language Preservation and Advisory Council 3:15 Announcement of Village Board Representatives 3:20 Marvin Roberts, Alaska Innocence Project 3:25 Closing Remarks: Sarah Scanlan, RurAL CAP; Ricardo Worl, Association of Alaska Housing Authorities 3:30 Benediction: TBD 3:35 Convention Adjournment Yees Ku Oo and Ldakat Naax Sati Yatx’i of Juneau 7:00 Banquet, Dena’ina Center    

By the numbers: Updating Alaska LNG Project construction

Editor’s note: This update, provided by the Kenai Peninsula Borough mayor’s office, is part of an ongoing effort to help keep the public informed about the Alaska LNG project. Persily is a special assistant for oil and gas issues to borough Mayor Mike Navarre. Alaska LNG project teams played it by the numbers — really big numbers — in a presentation on construction plans to federal, state and municipal officials. Site preparations for the proposed liquefied natural gas plant and massive LNG storage tanks in Nikiski would require stripping up to 4 million cubic yards of loose soil, soft peat moss and other vegetation. That’s more than enough to cover a rough trail 10 feet wide, a foot deep from New York City to Houston. Crews would then need to excavate as much as 6 million cubic yards of frost-susceptible material — up to 6 feet deep in some areas — to prepare the site for construction. Some of the material could be reused as fill, while other material would need to be trucked in to complete the base. The two domed LNG storage tanks would each measure 305 feet in diameter, more than large enough for a Boeing 747 to spin around inside without scraping its wings. All of the numbers are approximate and subject to change as the project teams refine the design, they reminded participants at workshops held Sept. 2 and 3 in Anchorage. More than 20 Alaska LNG project team members were at the workshops to brief government agency officials and answer questions. Add in the jetty, the twin loading berths for LNG carriers and other components of the Nikiski project, and the preliminary numbers continue adding up: The project would use 800,000 cubic yards of gravel, 300,000 cubic yards of concrete, 300,000 cubic yards of armor rock, 100,000 tons of structural steel, 6,500 pilings, 7 miles of electrical wiring, almost 200 miles of aboveground piping, and 20 miles of buried pipe. The trestle to reach the loading berths could be as much as 3,200 feet long — more than half a mile — to reach water deep enough for the LNG carriers to safely maneuver. Though no substantial dredging would be needed for the jetty and loading berths, an estimated 1 million to 2 million cubic yards of dredging would be required at the temporary dock that would be built for offloading materials from barges and heavy-lift vessels during construction. The 250-megawatt, gas-fired power plant at the LNG plant site would generate enough electricity to run a city of several tens of thousands of homes. Peak construction workforce at the Nikiski site would be 4,000 to 6,000 workers. Planning work continues The LNG team reported that ongoing engineering and construction planning includes several goals: Limit truck traffic in the area as much as possible, limit dredging as much as possible, and maintain public access throughout the area as much as possible. The informational workshops were part of a series provided by Alaska LNG for regulatory agencies. The project partners — ExxonMobil, BP, ConocoPhillips, TransCanada and the State of Alaska — plan to submit their second draft of environmental and engineering reports to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in first-quarter 2016. The final reports and complete project application could come third-quarter 2016 as the partners work through regulatory and permit issues for the $45 billion to $65 billion project to move Alaska North Slope gas to market. In addition to the LNG plant at Nikiski, the project includes 806 miles of pipeline to reach the plant site from North Slope gas fields and a gas treatment plant to remove carbon dioxide and other impurities before the gas enters the pipeline. Alaska LNG has been buying up property around the proposed plant site in Nikiski, accumulating ownership or options on about 600 acres of the 800 to 900 acres needed for the operation. Team members reported that demolition could start later this month on some structures. They also are doubling their security patrols in the area in response to community concerns. The actual footprint for the LNG plant, storage tanks, power plant and other support buildings would total approximately 200 to 300 acres. The teams explained that the rest of the land is to provide a safety, noise and light buffer for neighboring property owners, plus work space to support the construction effort. Offloading facility comes first There is a lot of work to get to that first cargo. Before significant construction could begin, the material offloading facility would need to be built. The current plan, subject to change, has it just north of the LNG carrier jetty. With a 1,500-foot-wide frontage for offloading from heavy-lift vessels (called lift-on, lift-off) and a side facility with a 500-foot face for roll-on, roll-off deliveries, the freight dock could see 250 LNG plant modules delivered by 60 ships over a three-year period. Riprap — heavy rocks stacked atop each other — would be installed on either side of the facility to protect the shoreline. Each prebuilt module could weigh as much as 6,000 tons. Self-propelled modular trailers would haul the huge pieces to the plant site. The freight dock would be dismantled at the end of the project. Water depth at the proposed site for the offloading facility is only about 15 feet and would need to be dredged to 30 feet, the teams said. Estimates are that would require moving 1 million to 2 million cubic yards from the seabed. “We are continuing to study how we can minimize that,” a team leader said. The dredged area would measure about 3,200 feet by 1,500 feet, depending on the final design and seabed slope. The project continues to collect data on currents, waves, sediment, sea floor bathymetry and other conditions in the area. There are plans to excavate a sample pit in the seabed in the second quarter 2016 to measure how much and how quickly it fills in. Disposal sites for any dredging material are still being considered, including upland and at sea. Upland disposal could be used to protect the shoreline from erosion or for fill at the project site. Any decisions on disposal sites will be based on the composition of the dredged spoils and in close consultation with government agencies. In an effort to limit truck traffic on heavily traveled Kenai Peninsula highways, the teams reported that as much as possible construction materials arriving in Anchorage or Seward would be barged to Nikiski. Construction site services Even before the material offloading facility is under full construction, Alaska LNG would build “pioneer camps” at the plant site, the first housing for the first work crews. During construction, until the project builds its own power generating plant, Alaska LNG may buy electricity from a local provider — that’s one of the issues still undecided. Currently, Alaska LNG plans to drill its own water wells, estimating its maximum needs during peak construction at almost 400,000 gallons a day, or enough for 4,000 to 5,000 people, according to U.S. government water-use estimates. Current plans indicate no water would be withdrawn from Cook Inlet for plant operations, the teams said. The liquefaction equipment would be air-cooled, not water-cooled. Alaska LNG plans to build a secondary-level treatment plant on site for domestic sewage, and is still looking at options for proper disposal of industrial waste. The mission statement for handling construction waste is “reduce, reuse and recycle,” with the teams reporting there could be an estimated 7,500 tons of wood waste in addition to the 4 million cubic yards of vegetation from site clearing. The teams are working to determine “what can be handled locally, what can be handled on site, what has to be hauled away.”

State seeks options to fund village water service projects

Flush toilets and running water are elusive dreams for Paul Dock and other residents of impoverished Alaska villages where indoor plumbing has historically cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to install in just one home. Residents in at least 30 isolated communities far from the state’s meager road system are mired in Third World conditions despite more than $2 billion in federal and state money over the past 50 years to provide basics like running water that most Americans take for granted. But with the state facing increasingly tight budgets, the days of springing for traditional piped water and sewer systems are gone, leaving residents in unserved communities to continue to rely on outhouses or the honey bucket system — large buckets that serve as toilets. The state, meanwhile, hopes to find more affordable options through a contest that’s similar to a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation competition to reinvent the toilet for the 2.5 billion people around the world who don’t have access to modern sanitation. The Alaska project involves six test communities, including Kipnuk, where Dock lives, and Kivalina, a badly eroding northwest Alaska community whose plight captured President Barack Obama’s attention during his recent visit to the state. Dock, the tribal council administrator in the Yup’ik Eskimo village of Kipnuk, remembers when Alaska was flush with oil and had big plans to eliminate the honey bucket. “But it didn’t become a reality for some of the villages, including Kipnuk,” Dock said. Instead, the nearly 650 Kipnuk residents get their drinking water from rain, rivers, snow and ice or from the village’s treated-water collection point commonly known as a washeteria. Human waste is dumped into bins outside homes, then collected by locals on four-wheelers and trailers and hauled to the sewage lagoon of the community, located nearly 500 miles west of Anchorage. Dock said sometimes the bins overflow, spilling along the village boardwalks. “Very, very unsanitary,” he said. “Eventually, some of the people walk on it.” The lack of water and sewer service in Native villages has been linked, in fact, to disproportionately higher rates of skin infections and respiratory illnesses. But funding traditional piped systems historically has cost between $200,000 and $400,000 per home in rural Alaska Native communities, according to Bill Griffith with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation’s water division. “It’s incredibly expensive,” he said. There are no roads linking the far-flung villages to urban areas, so everything has to be flown or barged in, and some communities don’t have a way to barge things there, he said. Also, difficult soils, including permafrost, sometimes are part of the task, adding to the expense. Other complications could include having to mine or transport gravel used for filling pipe trenches, building foundations and other construction necessities, Griffith said. Today, the challenge for the state is finding the money to build water and sewer systems in communities that still lack them, with federal and state funding plummeting and construction costs skyrocketing. Many other rural communities have aging systems that are becoming obsolete or inoperable. Altogether, more than 3,300 homes in rural Alaska still lack running water and flushing toilets, although schools in even the most remote village tend to have indoor plumbing. The DEC estimates there is a gap of more than $660 million between the estimated cost of $724 million needed to bring all communities up to date and the $63.6 million available. As a result, the agency has launched a state-funded private sector competition that it hopes will lead to research and development of new water and sewer delivery services, including systems featuring small-scale treatments at individual homes. Of 18 entities that applied to participate in the Alaska Water and Sewer Challenge, the state selected three companies or organizations and their partners to work with two villages each on proposals submitted this summer for prototype development and testing expected to begin later this year. The goal is to take existing technology and combine it in new, affordable ways, Griffith said. One telling rule for participating teams: Projected costs can’t exceed $160,000 per home. The proposals being finalized with the participating teams are all expected to come in far below that figure, Griffith said. The target figure is set by the federal Indian Health Service as the maximum feasible amount for serving a home in rural Alaska, he said. “I’d love to have something much less than that,” Griffith said. The state is finalizing project contracts with the teams for testing that’s expected to begin this year. A total of $4 million has been made available by the state and federal governments for contracting and project administrative costs, Griffith said. The ideas include one headed by the University of Alaska Anchorage, which is working with Kipnuk and the village of Koyukuk to develop a home-based system to treat water from a variety of sources with membrane filters and ultraviolet light for reuse. That proposal — submitted after team members visited each village this year — calls for homeowners to choose individual components, such as a shower and toilet, to fit their needs. Aaron Dotson, a UAA civil engineering professor, envisions sending the systems to communities as kits. “The community then constructs it themselves,” Dotson said. In Koyukuk, only the school and teacher housing have indoor plumbing, and so does just one resident who paid to have a system installed in the home. Cindy Pilot, a City Council member, said everyone else uses outhouses — in the middle of winter when it can get as cold as 50 below zero. Some residents in the Athabascan community of about 90 use honey buckets in their homes overnight. Pilot looks forward to the day when that will be a thing of the past. “It would be just one less thing to have to take care of,” she said.

Movers & Shakers 10/04/15

Jon Zufelt, Ph.D., P.E., a senior hydraulic engineer in HDR’s Anchorage office, has received the American Society of Civil Engineers 2015 Harold R. Peyton Award for Cold Regions Engineering. Zufelt received the award during the 16th International Conference on Cold Regions Engineering recently held in Salt Lake City, Utah. ASCE presented the award to Zufelt for his 32 years of contributions to cold regions engineering through research, publications and design on hydrology, hydraulics, ice engineering and climate change in cold regions and his participation through ASCE and numerous other organizations. Zufelt spent 30 years with the U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory at Hanover, N.H., and Fort Richardson, Alaska. He served as research hydraulic engineer, civil engineer, branch chief and technical director in charge of business development in the business areas of environmental quality and infrastructure. He also served for two years as the U.S. Army Alaska Science advisor. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage and serves as the editor of the ASCE Journal of Cold Regions Engineering. Christina Magill, M.D. is now serving patients of all ages in the Kenai/Soldotna area at the new Alyeska Center for Facial Plastic Surgery and ENT office located in the Katmai Oncology Clinic at 247 North Fireweed St., Suite B in Soldotna. Magill will be available to see patients monthly, and appointments are now being accepted for the first clinic, which will be held Oct. 9. A limited number of appointments are available, and interested patients are encouraged to schedule early by calling 907.561.1421. Dr. Magill provides specialist care for all areas of the head, neck and face, utilizing the most advanced, state-of-the-art treatments. She offers comprehensive ear, nose and throat evaluation and treatment in addition to head and neck surgery. She also performs nose, ear, eyelid and sinus procedures. Magill is a double board-certified surgeon in otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat), head and neck surgery, and facial plastic, cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. She attained her medical degree from the University of Washington, and completed her surgical subspecialty residency at Washington University in St. Louis. She has completed fellowships in regenerative medicine and microsurgery, as well as facial plastic and reconstructive surgery. Wells Fargo has named Elaine Kroll as senior treasury specialist for its Alaska Commercial Banking Group. Kroll will provide Alaska’s largest business customers with treasury management solutions and guidance to meet their short-term and long-term financial needs. Kroll is a 20-year Wells Fargo veteran, most recently serving as Anchorage community banking district manager. She is a recent graduate of the Pacific Coast Banking School where she was honored with a citation for her dissertation on employee retention. Kroll holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from State University of New York Fredonia College. Nate Stogsdill has been named senior commercial real estate industry specialist for Wells Fargo. He will focus on meeting the specialized financial needs of Alaska developers and contractors. Stogsdill has 14 years of financial services industry experience, including seven years with Wells Fargo in Alaska. The Anchorage Chamber of Commerce announced the winners of the 58th annual Gold Pan Awards gala on Sept. 18. The winners are: Ryan Cropper (Able Body Shop), Distinguished Community Service by an Individual, Organization or Small Business; CRW Engineering, Distinguished Community Service by a Large Business or Organization; DOWL, Business Excellence; Katie Inman (Anchorage Yoga), Entrepreneurial Excellence; Lennel White, Volunteer of the Year Award. Linda Winters of Alaska USA Mortgage Company has been promoted to assistant vice president of the Eagle River office. Winters has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry in Alaska, including seven years as a senior mortgage loan originator at Alaska USA Mortgage Company in Anchorage. Winters holds a degree in business administration from the University of Puget Sound. Fairweather LLC and Edison Chouest Offshore announced the appointment of Linda Leary as the new president of Fairweather LLC and the Deadhorse Aviation Center LLC. A long-time Alaskan, Leary brings more than 30 years of logistics and sales experience, formerly serving as the president of Carlile Transportation Systems and senior vice president of Alaska Communications. Leary is active in several leadership roles throughout Alaska. She currently chairs the Alaska Railroad board of directors and serves on the Rasmuson Foundation board of directors. Leary holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine and a master’s degree in global supply chain management from the University of Alaska Anchorage. First National Bank Alaska announced vice presidents Luke Fanning and Stacy Tomuro as two of the most-recent graduates of the Pacific Coast Banking School. Part of a graduating class of 229 banking professionals from 31 states, Fanning and Tomuro first started the rigorous program at “the Premier National Graduate School of Banking” in August 2013. PCBS has partnered with the University of Washington for 77 years. In the three-year program, graduates attended a two-week resident session each August on campus, completed seven inter-session written assignments and authored an original management thesis. Fanning is based in Juneau as First National’s Southeast Regional Manager. Tomuro works at Anchorage’s Dimond Branch. He’s a team leader in the bank’s Corporate Lending Division. Last month, First National bankers Karl Heinz and Jenny Mahlen started the PCBS program. The MTA board of directors announced the hiring of Michael C. Burke as MTA’s new CEO at their board meeting on Sept. 23. Burke had been serving as MTA’s interim CEO since the retirement departure of Greg Berberich in July of this year. Burke, a local Alaskan, brings to the company more than 31 years of professional consulting and senior management experience with telecommunications and other utility companies. Burke served on the Alaska Exchange Carriers Association Board of Directors, Alaska Exchange Carrier Association Tariff and Rate Development Committee, and was the Alaska Broadband Task Force Peer Reviewer. Burke attended Seattle University where he received his bachelor’s degree in business administration specializing in accounting and is an Alaskan CPA.

New dinosaur found in northern Alaska

Researchers have uncovered a new species of plant-eating dinosaur in Alaska, according to a report published Sept. 22. The animal was a variety of hadrosaur, a duck-billed dinosaur that roamed in herds, said Pat Druckenmiller, earth sciences curator at the University of Alaska Museum in Fairbanks. Northern Alaska likely was once covered by forest in a warmer climate. The dinosaur lived in darkness for months and probably experienced snow, researchers said. The fossils were found in rock deposited 69 million years ago. For at least 25 years, the fossils were lumped in with another hadrosaur, Edmontosaurus, a species well-known in Canada and the U.S., including Montana and South Dakota. The formal study of the Alaska dinosaur revealed differences in skull and mouth features that made it a different species, Druckenmiller said. The differences were not immediately apparent because the Alaska dinosaurs were juveniles. Researchers teased out differences in the Alaska fossils, Druckenmiller said, by plotting growth trajectories and by comparing them with juvenile Edmontosourus bones. Researchers have dubbed the creature Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis (oo-GROO’-nah-luk KOOK’-pik-en-sis). The name means “ancient grazer” and was chosen by scientists with assistance from speakers of Inupiaq, the language of Alaska Inupiat Eskimos. The dinosaurs grew up to 30 feet long. Hundreds of teeth helped them chew coarse vegetation, researchers said. They probably walked primarily on their hind legs but could walk on four-legs, Druckenmiller said. Most of the fossils were found in the Prince Creek Formation of the Liscomb Bone Bed along the Colville River more than 300 miles northwest of Fairbanks. The bed is named for geologist Robert Liscomb, who found the first dinosaur bones in Alaska in 1961 while mapping for Shell Oil Co. Museum scientists have excavated and catalogued more than 6,000 bones from the species, more than any other Alaska dinosaur. Most were small juveniles estimated to have been about 9 feet long and 3-feet tall at the hips. “It appears that a herd of young animals was killed suddenly, wiping out mostly one similar-aged population to create this deposit,” Druckenmiller said. UA Fairbanks graduate student Hirotsugu Mori completed his doctoral work on the species. Florida State University researcher Gregory Erickson, who specializes in using bone and tooth histology to interpret the paleobiology of dinosaurs, also was part of the study. They published their findings in the “Acta Palaeontologica Polonica,” an international paleontology quarterly journal. Researchers are working to name other Alaska dinosaurs. “We know that there’s at least 12 to 13 distinct species of dinosaurs on the North Slope in northern Alaska,” he said. “But not all of the material we find is adequate enough to actually name a new species.”

The Bookworm Sez: Best advice is try, try again

If at first you don’t succeed … Was there ever a more irritating thing to say to a kid who cried, “I can’t”? Try, try again. Give it another whirl. Quitters never win and anything worth doing is worth doing well: all advice you hated hearing as a child but that you took with you to adulthood. And, as you’ll see in the new book “Gold Standard,” so did Kym Gold. As the third in a set of triplets born to parents who were expecting just one baby, Kym Gold fought for everything she got from the moment she entered the world. When her parents split, moved on and started new families, she felt lost. She hated creating a scene, but she longed to be seen as an individual, rather than a triplet or one of what seemed like too many kids. Though she was close to her sisters as teenagers, Gold said the girls were often at odds as they tried to find their own niches. Each of them had strengths that the others didn’t have; Gold, the organizer of the trio, realized that she had a flair for design and fashion, and she hated hearing “no.”  Those personality assets served her well when, as a teen, she discovered that certain clothing designers near her Malibu home would sell to her their damaged-and-defective t-shirts for a pittance. Gold mended and personalized the shirts, then sold them for a tidy profit at a small booth on the beach. She named her new business and set about learning how to run it, then entered design school, and tasted other careers.  During this time, Gold also got married, but she’d lost sight of a rule she’d learned from male family members in her childhood: never rely on a man. Gold’s husband cheated on her so she divorced him and she married someone else not long afterward. From there, Gold’s road to fame and True Religion jeans was a rocky one: she started and lost several clothing labels over the years, but she learned from each experience. She raised a family, and capital for more endeavors. And in the aftermath of losing her second husband and her business in the same day, Gold found her resolve… So what? Those were two words that came to my mind over and over. So author Kym Gold started a series of businesses. So she flitted from idea to idea. So she made and lost scads of money. Stand in line. So what? And then it hit me: try, try again. “Gold Standard” is the epitomical story of that old saying and Gold has the tenacity of a terrier. Her life, as depicted in this book, is like one of those bop-bags from childhood: she just kept bouncing back up. So what? So motivational. Keep in mind that this book is rough. It’s choppy, rambling, filled with childhood pity-partying and name-dropping, and it begs for a bit more formality — but overlook it, and you’ll find inspiration. For that alone, “Gold Standard” is worth a try. Terri Schlichenmeyer is the author of The Bookworm Sez, which is published in more than 200 newspapers and 50 magazines throughout the U.S. and Canada. Schlichenmeyer may be reached at [email protected]

Movers & Shakers 9/27/15

A.J. “Joey” Merrick II of Eagle River was appointed to the Alaska Gasline Development Corp. board of directors. Merrick has a long history with Laborers’ Local 341, beginning as a laborer apprentice in 1989. Since then, he has served as a general foreman, business agent and president, and now the union organization’s secretary-treasurer. He has more than 15 years of experience as a foreman in construction specific to Alaska’s pipeline industry. Dave Cruz of Palmer was re-appointed to the AGDC board. Cruz is the President of Cruz Companies, which specializes in oil field services, heavy civil construction, remote camp construction, tug and barge operations, and a variety of other construction support activities. The University of Alaska Fairbanks and the UAF Alumni Association honored author Sherry Simpson with the 2015 Distinguished Alumnus Award Sept. 25 during an awards luncheon. Simpson’s most recent book, “Dominion of Bears: Living with Wildlife in Alaska,” won the 2015 John Burroughs Medal, putting her in the company of John McPhee, Peter Matthiessen, Aldo Leopold, Barry Lopez, Richard Nelson and many other internationally known natural history writers. Simpson grew up in Juneau. At UAF, she earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1986 and a master’s degree in creative writing in 1995. Her career has included many years as a staff reporter and freelance writer for newspapers and other media outlets in the state. She was a contributing editor to Alaska Magazine. She has also authored several travel books and two essay collections. Her writing has appeared in numerous journals, magazines and anthologies. Simpson is a professor of creative writing in the master’s program at UAA and a faculty mentor in the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma. The University of Alaska Fairbanks Alumni Association honored seven other alumni during its Sept. 25 awards luncheon. The Alumni Achievement Awards, given in three categories, recognize outstanding work by graduates and former students of UAF. The 2014 Alumni Achievement Awards for Business and Professional Excellence will go to Vicki McConnell, ’95, executive director of the Geological Society of America, and Rockne Wilson, ‘69 and Sandra Wilson, ‘72, partners in Wilson & Wilson CPAs in Fairbanks. The Alumni Achievement Awards for University Support will go to Libby Eddy, ’92, who retired from her position as registrar and director of admissions after 28 years with UAF, and longtime university advocate Ann Ringstad, ‘06, who has held several different positions at UAF and UA. The Alumni Achievement Award for Community Support will be go to educator and volunteer Toni Mallott, ’72. Mallott is a former Alaska Federation of Natives Citizen of the year and is married to Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott. The William R. Cashen Service Award, which recognizes outstanding service to UAF, its alumni and students, will be presented to DeShana York, ‘95, a lifetime member of the UAF Alumni Association. York has served on the boards of the association and of its Southcentral chapter. She is the director of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service’s Anchorage district office and regularly advocates for UAF in her community and with lawmakers in Juneau. The Anchorage Chamber of Commerce recently welcomed Brix Hahn to its team as its event coordinator. Hahn comes to the Anchorage Chamber from Alaska Dispatch News where she worked as their social media coordinator. This fourth generation Alaskan studied journalism, justice and German at the University of Oregon and University of Alaska Fairbanks, and has worked for several other news outlets around the state including the Nome Nugget and KSUA TV Productions. She is a former intern of Sen. Lisa Murkowski. In her current role, Hahn is responsible for providing networking and education opportunities to membership through the coordination and implementation of events. She will work directly with business owners and corporate partners, securing sponsorships for and evaluating all events and programs for relevancy to the mission and for proposing new events and programs to meet member demands. Sitnasuak Native Corp., the Nome- based Native corporation promoted shareholder employee Rebecca Neagle to Shareholder Relations manager, effective Sept. 14. Her role within the corporation will include the facilitation of communication among shareholders, the Shareholder Relations Department and various agencies, providing assistance in person, by phone and through written correspondence. She will also represent Sitnasuak to the general public during conferences, events, and corporate functions. Debra J. Austin, Senior Registered Client Associate, joined The Legacy Group with more than 29 years of financial industry experience providing quality client service. Austin has a degree in business administration management from Alaska Pacific University. She has worked in the financial services area in Anchorage since 1993. Matanuska Electric Association Inc. has promoted Michael Mann to the position of plant manager of the Eklutna Generation Station. Prior to this promotion, Mann served as EGS Operations supervisor and was an integral part of the successful startup and operations of the plant. Prior to joining MEA in 2013, Mann held management positions in several large power plants across the U.S., including a large nuclear power plant. As plant manager he will oversee all aspects of the EGS power plant, including maintenance and operations of the 171mW facility. Giovanna Gambardella, AIA, NCARB, has joined Stantec Inc. as a senior architect in its Anchorage office. She has more than 14 years of in-state industry experience serving both public and private clients. Gambardella’s experience will expand the firm’s regional capabilities. At Stantec, Gambardella will provide senior design leadership for a variety of building projects. She has project experience from Southeast Alaska to the Bering Sea and the North Slope. Originally from Italy, Gambardella has a unique background in multiple building types, including higher education, libraries, schools, medical office buildings, senior housing and multi-family residences. In addition to her Alaska experience, Gambardella has worked on projects in Maine, Guam, Italy and the Netherlands. Gambardella, an award-winning designer, graduated magna cum laude at the University of Architecture in Genova, Italy, and attended the Escola Tecnica Superior de Arquitectura in Barcelona, Spain, with a European scholarship program.

BOEM releases Hilcorp's Liberty development plan for public

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management released the Hilcorp Alaska development plan for the Liberty offshore oil field on Friday. A 60-day public comment period began with the release as one of the initial steps in a multi-year permitting process. According to Hilcorp’s filing, Liberty is the largest delineated but undeveloped light oil reservoir on the North Slope. It is located about 5 miles offshore in Foggy Bay where the water is about 19 feet deep. Hilcorp proposes to construct a gravel island and transport oil to shore via an underwater pipeline that will connect to the existing Badami pipeline and from there to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. At peak production, Hilcorp estimates 60,000 to 70,000 barrels per day and that the reservoir holds between 80 million and 150 million barrels of oil. The company estimates it will take two years to reach peak production. According to Hilcorp’s proposed development plan, a record of decision in September 2017 would allow for the project to begin that winter, with first oil coming in the first quarter of 2020. Hilcorp acquired 50 percent of Liberty from BP last November, along with three other North Slope properties. BP previously submitted a development plan for Liberty that would have used extended reach drilling from onshore to reach the field, but withdrew that plan in November 2012.  

UA system faces $43M budget gap in next fiscal year

JUNEAU — The University of Alaska expects to need $27 million more next year from the Alaska Legislature to fund operations. The state’s Office of Management and Budget says it should expect $15.8 million less. The $43 million difference between those figures sets up a collision expected to result in job losses, program cuts and possibly even campus closures, the University of Alaska Board of Regents was told Thursday, the first day of its two-day Juneau meeting. “I think the university will see cuts this year, and I think the OMB cut will be the minimum that we see,” said Michelle Rizk, the University of Alaska’s chief strategy, planning and budget officer. The Board of Regents, the appointed governing body of the state’s public universities, used Thursday’s meeting to discuss the university’s budget state as UA begins planning in earnest for the 2017 fiscal year, which starts July 1. UA budget documents list revenue in two categories: state and non-state. The non-state funding category includes federal money and formula-funded cash that comes in regardless of the Alaska Legislature’s annual budget-setting process. The state category is affected by that annual process. In the 2016 fiscal year, which began July 1 this year, the Alaska Legislature cut its appropriation to the university system by $26.3 million. With the state facing a multi-billion-dollar gap between revenue and expenses due to plunging oil prices, more cuts are expected for FY2017. Before planning for those cuts, UA president Jim Johnsen said, the university needs to conclude how much is needed to keep existing programs going. For FY2017, according to budget documents, UA administrators say they need $45.1 million more — $27 million more from the Legislature and $18.1 million from the “non-state” category. “This is what we believe the state really needs to fund the university at, and I think it’s important that we make that statement,” said regent John Davies of Fairbanks. Much of that increase, $25.8 million, is caused by scheduled increases in pay and benefits to union employees. Another $15.6 million is attributed to the rising cost of utilities, maintenance and other consumables, including the rising price of academic journals. In November, Rizk said, the UA system will have firmer estimates for FY2017 and be in a better position to start developing a “contingency” budget to address what happens if the Legislature cuts different amounts. “People are aware that times are tough, ... exactly (how tough) they are is part of this contingency budget planning. That cannot happen in 24 hours or even by November,” Board of Regents chairwoman Jo Heckman said. Johnsen said he’s inclined to take a “vertical” rather than “horizontal” approach to budget cuts. Rather than cut a set percentage from each program (the horizontal method), the vertical approach involves eliminating some programs while leaving others untouched. A decision on those cuts would take place in June 2016, after the Legislature finalizes its budget, Johnsen and Rizk said. To offset at least a portion of the Legislature’s expected cuts, the regents have begun discussions on proposals that would raise tuition across the UA system. Johnsen said UA is considering two main proposals. One would raise tuition for all types of classes by a set percentage. The second would raise tuition for upper-level and graduate classes and keep lower-level classes cheaper. University of Alaska Southeast student government president Callie Conorton told regents that students at UAS are worried about rate hikes but believe that if any come, they should be shared equally. “When you consider tuition, please consider raising across the board because students want to take on the burden together,” she said. Matt Ostrander, vice president of student government at UAA, asked the regents to keep any increase to 5 percent. According to UA figures, the average tuition for a full-time student at a UA system school has risen 23.4 percent in the past five years, and Ostrander asked that future increases be moderate. “We wouldn’t want it to be too burdensome, but at the same time we recognize there’s an additional need,” he said. Several regents spoke of the need to equalize tuition and fees across the UA system. Some UA campuses charge less for the same courses, creating competition among those campuses for students who take online classes. No final decision on tuition increases is expected before November, and if the regents are inclined to vary the increase between upper-level and lower-level classes, that will require even more time to plan, Rizk said. For students and parents concerned about cost increases, Johnsen said it’s important to keep one thing in mind: “We’re not talking about raising tuition simply because. We’re doing it because it’s important,” he said. “Tuition needs to be talked about in the context of the budget.”   The Cost of Higher Learning Note: Figures are for full-time resident tuition, which requires a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester for undergraduates, and nine credit hours per semester for graduate students. Undergraduate tuition/fees (100-200 level courses) UAA: $5,545 UAF: $6,814 UAS: $6,132 Undergraduate (300-400 level courses) UAA: $6,493 UAF: $7,899 UAS: N/A Graduate tuition/fees (600+ level courses) UAA: $9,007 UAF: $8,873 UAS: $8,880  

UA to make $2M loan to Fairbanks campus for HAARP restart

JUNEAU — University of Alaska regents reacted with disappointment Thursday as president Jim Johnsen announced that the UA system will loan $2 million to the University of Alaska Fairbanks‚ Geophysical Institute to restart a defunct Air Force research installation. “It’s a huge amount of money,” said regent Mary Hughes of Anchorage. “I’m concerned that we didn’t get a heads-up on this when it was happening.” The High-frequency Active Auroral Research Project has since 1990 used high-energy radio waves to probe the ionosphere, a layer of the atmosphere between 37 and 620 miles above the surface of the Earth. The ionosphere is critical to radio reception, and the military has long expressed an interest in understanding how this atmospheric region — which also hosts aurorae — affects radio signals. The federal government has spent about $290 million to build the HAARP center near Gakona, but in 2013 the Air Force shut it down as part of cost-cutting efforts. It was to be demolished in summer 2014, but Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, intervened and garnered a promise from the Air Force to delay demolition for one year. That delay bought the university enough time to make a move, and the Air Force transferred all HAARP equipment with a small ceremony Aug. 11. The university has two years to obtain the HAARP site’s land, which would take an act of Congress. The problem for members of the UA Board of Regents, the appointed governing body of the university system, was that the conveyance never came to them for consideration. The deal was signed by then-president Pat Gamble without consulting the regents. Gamble retired this summer. “Basically, Regent Hughes, I was presented with this essentially as a done deal,” said Johnsen, who has been in office since July 28. “Given that, the importance of this and also the fact that we have leaders back in Washington, D.C., who have been helping us with this, I felt it was important to move forward with that.” UA general counsel Mike Hostina said it was legal for the president to move forward without regents‚ approval because the arrangement yet doesn’t include the research center’s land. “If there would be a permanent transfer of the land ... that would be the point at which there would be board acceptance of the land.” Kenneth Fisher, a regent from Juneau, asked where the $2 million to restart HAARP will come from. Ashok Roy, UA’s vice president for financial matters, explained that the money will come from various fund balances within the UA budget, and the Geophysical Institute will pay 4 percent annual interest on the sum. Roy and Johnsen said the university expects researchers will pay for the privilege of using HAARP, one of only three such installations in the world. UA has similar arrangements with the Poker Flat rocket range north of Fairbanks and the research vessel Sikuliaq. If HAARP doesn’t pan out, the equipment at the multimillion-dollar facility will be sold to recoup the cost of the loan. Nevertheless, Fisher said it was disquieting to have regents presented with a fait accompli when the university is under significant budget pressure. The Alaska Legislature reduced the UA system budget by $26.3 million this year, which included staff cuts and furloughs. “(That) we weren’t notified was my primary concern,” he said. “The Board of Regents needs to have better knowledge of its finances.”

Caelus aims to unlock vast Torok oil resource

Exploring for oil is never a business for the faint-hearted, particularly when oil prices are at $50 per barrel combined with the risk of ever changing tax policies. It takes a stout heart and plenty of nerve. Jim Musselman and his team aren’t new, by any means, to exploration and development, and they’re making moves in Alaska. Caelus Energy, a Dallas-based small independent where Musselman is CEO, has big plans on the North Slope, and Musselman has a big track record. He led the discovery and development of the giant Jubilee field offshore of Ghana when he headed Kosmos Energy, and he believes big discoveries, similar to Jubilee, can still be made on the Slope. “My exploration people — and they’ve been with me for 20 years — say the North Slope is the ‘oilest’ place on Earth,” Musselman said. That’s due to the Slope’s geologic history that has made it a prolific hydrocarbon-bearing region. “It’s surprising how many opportunities are here with this much acreage available without a lot of work having been done, and also very close to Prudhoe,” and its infrastructure, Musselman said. Caelus came to the North Slope in spring 2014 when it purchased Pioneer Natural Resources’ Oooguruk field and its leases, which also held the undeveloped Nuna discovery. Caelus has remained on an aggressive track since then. In the fall 2014 state “areawide” North Slope lease sale, the company bid on and acquired 323,000 acres in an area southeast of Prudhoe, toward Point Thomson. There had been little work done in this area in recent years. Caelus commissioned new seismic work after acquiring the leases and launched a large winter program. A few months later, in early 2015, Caelus acquired a 75 percent working interest in Smith Bay state offshore oil and gas leases that were formerly 100 percent owned by NordAq Energy, a small Anchorage-based independent. Musselman believes this could be the crown jewel of Caelus’ Alaska holdings. “We’ve been studying this prospect for two years. We believe it is similar to Jubilee, but with tighter rock that will require fracturing. The areal extent is massive, though. It could be a billion-barrel field,” said Caelus Senior Vice President of Business Development Matt Musselman, who is Jim’s son. As a part of the NordAq deal, Caelus also obtained an option on federal onshore National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska leases to the south of Smith Bay that were explored several years ago by FEX Alaska, the U.S. exploration subsidiary of Talisman Energy. FEX drilled several wells and found oil and gas but the company shifted its focus away from Alaska and the finds were never delineated. Unlocking difficult oil Caelus had a banner season last winter at Oooguruk and on the planned Nuna project. Last year the company carried out one of the North Slope’s largest winter exploration and development programs just as oil prices were hitting the skids. As many as 800 people were at work on Caelus’ two seismic programs (one in the newly-acquired eastern Slope lease and near Oooguruk and Nuna), as well as installing the gravel pad and road at the company’s new $1.2 billion Nuna project. On top of all that, the company executed on its annual Oooguruk fracturing program, which required another couple of hundred workers. Caelus has become a leader on the Slope in the employment of leading edge hydraulic fracture technology and its use to produce prolific wells. The “frac” stimulations on wells at Oooguruk involve large, multi-stage fracturing jobs similar to those done in shale oil production in the Lower 48 but at a smaller scale. This is part art and part science, and the drilling and completions team at Caelus seem to have found a “sweet spot” for cracking the hard-to-produce reservoirs of the Torok and Nuiqsut formations through large-scale fracturing and other new techniques. This year the Oooguruk Island hit a record production of 23,531 barrels of oil per day. Due to space constraints at Oooguruk the “fracs” are done in winter, Jim Musselman said, with four or five jobs done at a time in “batches” on finished wells. That’s necessary because there is no room in summer for the needed equipment on Oooguruk’s gravel production island. In winter, equipment can be parked on frozen sea ice next to the island, so there is enough room. At Nuna, fracturing will also be done but it can be done year round, making the process much more efficient, Musselman said. “The drilling and completion lessons learned at Oooguruk have been extremely valuable,” said Musselman. The company hopes to apply them on new exploration and developments across the Slope. Oil price impacts and oil tax credit vetoes Caelus has not been shy in the past in its support of the oil tax reform law, Senate Bill 21, approved by the Legislature in 2013 and upheld by voters in August 2014. “We’re the poster child of SB 21,” Musselman said, having brought Caelus to Alaska shortly after the passage of the law. However, “We weren’t particularly pleased with the (Gov. Bill Walker’s) decision to veto the $200 million in tax credits, as it caused a negative ripple across the financial lending circuit that has set a lot of companies back,” he said. “Moreover, with the administration considering significant changes to the tax law (on the credit program) there’s a lot of investment capital waiting on the sidelines to see what happens.“ That uncertainty, combined with the decline in oil prices, has caused Caelus to bear down sharply on the pace of development and costs, both at Nuna and Oooguruk, Musselman said. “Since last January we’ve been relooking at everything we do, scrubbing things down and sharpening our pencils. Because of this we’ve been able to shave a great deal off the facility costs for Nuna,” he said. Despite those uncertainties, Caelus is preparing for another extremely busy winter season with a focus on its mainstay works at Oooguruk and the Nuna project but now adding a large scale exploration project at the new offshore Smith Bay acreage, which is in shallow waters on state oil and gas leases north of the federal National Petroleum Reserve–Alaska. Multiple wells are planned there, Musselman said. “Smith Bay is a long way from just about everywhere,” he said. Caelus has already barged a great deal of the equipment, including a drill rig, to Point Lonely for its winter program. The company proposes to construct two separate ice pads and drill two exploration wells this winter. Musselman sees the Smith Bay prospect as having huge potential. Caelus’ work on Nuna continues, meanwhile. The field, an onshore oil development that is near the offshore Oooguruk field, has an estimated 105 million barrels of reserves proven to date (it may ultimately be greater). While on track to meet its milestones with the state under its royalty modification agreement, the company has had to slow the pace on some items due to the significant drop in oil prices. If the project at Nuna is successful there could be a second phase, “Nuna II,” built further to the west. Last winter Nuna’s gravel access roads and a 20-acre production pad were built. This was a major civil project with 600,000 cubic yards of fill that took more than 27,000 individual trips by gravel trucks. The steel VSMs, or vertical support members, will be installed next for pipelines. Fabrication of production modules will also begin and those will be moved to the Slope in mid-to-late 2016 from where they will be built in the NANA module fabrication plant near Willow. Certain pre-ordered equipment for the modules, such as turbines, is already stored at the NANA plant. There is already a camp built near the Nuna project location. Matt Musselman said $100 million has been spent on Nuna in the last year alone. Startup at Nuna is planned in the fourth quarter of 2017 with six producing wells and an initial rate estimated at 10,000 barrels per day. “We will ramp up from there,” Matt Musselman said. Two test wells at Nuna can be converted to producing wells with some “workovers,” Musselman said, and four more wells are yet to be drilled. The peak rate is estimated at 20,000 barrels per day to 25,000 barrels per day at full production. Under its royalty agreement with the state Caelus must have “sustained production” at Nuna by Oct. 17, 2017. An unusual and costly aspect of Nuna is that while its production wells will be hydraulically fractured to stimulate production from tight reservoir rock, fracturing will also be done on its injection wells to allow for effective waterflood to the reservoir to enhance oil recovery. This is an unusual technique and under its agreement with the state Caelus will make information to the public, which means other companies will be able to use it. The formation Caelus has targeted for production at Nuna is the Torok, a tight, complex type of reservoir rock that contains a lot of oil but which will be technically challenging to produce. The Torok is found widely across the North Slope and if Caelus can successfully produce it other companies will be able to learn from the experience under the information-sharing agreement. Musselman said the Torok is also believed to be present at Smith Bay, and other potential producing formations appear to lie below it. Caelus is confident there are hydrocarbons present, however. “The seismic is really bright. It lights up,” he said, an indicator of hydrocarbons. Just what kind of hydrocarbons is uncertain, however. Musselman hopes for oil but it could be natural gas, although in this case liquid condensates, a natural gas liquid, could also be present. If there is a discovery in the Torok, however, it would be an important development for the North Slope. “If we can make it work there (a commercial project) it might be ‘repeatable’ in other places,” in many other places on the slope where the Torok formation exists. Tim Bradner can be reached at [email protected]

AIDEA releases five finalists for Interior Energy Project

The five leading Interior Energy Project proposals are out and most of them make aggressive claims about the proposers’ abilities to get low cost liquefied natural gas to the Fairbanks market. Of the final five, three are familiar names to the Interior Energy Project: Hilcorp Alaska and its LNG subsidiary Harvest Alaska; WesPac Midstream LLC, which proposed a Cook Inlet LNG delivery system to the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority board roughly a year ago; and Spectrum LNG, which competed to be an AIDEA partner on the first iteration of the project. The two new players are Salix Inc., a subsidiary of Avista Corp., an energy company based in Spokane, Wash., and Phoenix Clean Fuels, a consortium of seven companies including General Electric Oil and Gas, fuel supplier Crowley LNG, TDX Power and Alaska Industrial, a North Pole-based trucking company. AIDEA requested the finalists prepare a five-page summary of their proposal to be made available to the public. Each of the proposals is for at least enough LNG to meet the projected demand in the Fairbanks area of 6 billion cubic feet per year of natural gas after full build out of the initial distribution system. Each proposer, other than Hilcorp, also uses the $45 million AIDEA has left from a $57.5 million state appropriation, part of the $332.5 million Interior Energy Project financing package. AIDEA received 16 proposals from 13 respondents for the Interior Energy Project. AIDEA spokesman Karsten Rodvik said the authority will make a call for best final offers in October and review them based on a range of factors including experience in the industry, price and ability to meet the goals of the Interior Energy Project. A recommendation to the authority board is expected in December. He also said AIDEA will not go forward with the project if the $15 per mcf final gas cost is not met. “If the price comes in higher than that, proceeding with the project would require the utilities to purchase gas before we would consider financing,” Rodvik said. The authority has issued more than $50 million in loans over the last two years to the Interior utilities for gas distribution infrastructure dependent upon bringing more natural gas to the region. Spectrum LNG Spectrum’s proposal boasts the ability to get North Slope LNG to Fairbanks for less than $8 per thousand cubic feet, or mcf, of natural gas — by far cheapest plan. It would leave room in the cost model to add several dollars per mcf of gas for regasification and distribution to customers to the overall cost and still come in at or less than the IEP goal of $15 per mcf. However, Spectrum’s five-page plan overview does not detail transportation costs or logistics. Ray Latchem, founder of the Tulsa, Okla.-based LNG company, said in an interview that most of the bidders focused on the price of liquefying natural gas, when the getting it to Fairbanks could be just as expensive. Detail about Spectrum’s transportation cost projection is not available in the report and Latchem declined to comment on specifics. “When you’re out at this stage of the game basically everybody views you as a tire-kicker until you actually go into the market and say, ‘We’re going to do this; give us a hard dollar bid because we’re going to award,’” Latchem said. “Then you can probably get better pricing. “We think the trucking market will become fairly competitive.” AIDEA and former Interior Energy Project partner MWH Global Inc. modeled trucking costs from the North Slope to Fairbanks adding about $4 per mcf to the final cost of gas. However, that cost could be brought down with larger LNG trailers, which AIDEA and Fairbanks Natural Gas plan to test this fall. In its proposal overview, Spectrum speculates about $1 per mcf wholesale natural gas being available on the North Slope. Specifically, the proposal states that Spectrum has been told that Hilcorp has agreed to sell North Slope gas for $1 per mcf. Hilcorp declined to comment when asked about the Spectrum claim. That is likely significantly cheaper than a long-term gas supply contract Golden Valley Electric Association has with BP for Slope gas. Latchem said the $8 per mcf delivered price is based on wholesale gas between $1 to $2.50 per mcf. Beyond cheap gas, he said Spectrum’s experience in the Alaska market gives his company the ability to make accurate projections based on history and not modeling. Of the five proposers, “there’s only one of them that’s developed a gas project in Alaska,” Latchem said. “We’ve done every piece of this project already.” Spectrum was involved in building the Southcentral Titan LNG plant and supply chain used by Fairbanks Natural Gas. The company also operates a 50,000-gallon per day LNG facility in Ehrenberg, Ariz. Spectrum’s $80 million plant would be completely financed by AIDEA through the grant and loan package approved by the Legislature for the Interior Energy Project. That includes $45 million in direct grant funding and $35 million in Sustainable Energy Transmission and Supply Fund loans, which AIDEA has the ability to give at up to 3 percent interest for the IEP. The debt service would be added to the annual revenue requirement and the loans were assumed to require no interest, “as this would be most consistent with the stated goal of the IEP, serving the most for the least cost,” the proposal states. Latchem said Spectrum would take an annual management fee for operating the plant that was included in its full confidential proposal. The two-train plant would be produce an average of 121,000 gallons of LNG per day, totaling about 7 billion cubic feet, or bcf, of natural gas per year, based on Spectrum’s modeling. Because natural gas must be cooled to -260 degrees Fahrenheit to liquefy, the plant is also designed to use the ambient air temperature to produce more LNG in winter, when demand would be the greatest, Latchem said. It is the same design used in Spectrum’s Arizona plant. Spectrum would utilize the gravel pad AIDEA built for the project last summer on a parcel it originally purchased from Spectrum. Without delays in the current project timeline, Spectrum’s North Slope LNG plant would be up and running by January 2017. Hilcorp On the other end of the spectrum, Hilcorp offered three conservatively priced, privately financed proposals originating from Cook Inlet: one for liquefaction at $4.95 per mcf; another for gas supply and liquefaction costing $12.25 per mcf, and delivered LNG to Fairbanks cost of $15 per mcf equivalent on a 10-year contract. That does not include the cost of regasification and distribution throughout the Fairbanks area market. The last, complete supply chain mirrors the agreement Hilcorp’s subsidiary Harvest had with Fairbanks Natural Gas for a smaller amount of LNG — a deal ultimately denied by Attorney General Craig Richards. The “all-in” plan would also include an annual 2 percent price escalator. Because Hilcorp’s costs are modeled on private financing, a deal to use AIDEA’s grant pool and low-interest loans and bonds could lower the ultimate cost of gas, the company states. Hilcorp did not provide capital estimates. Fairbanks Natural Gas leadership has estimated that expanding the 1 bcf Southcentral Titan plant to meet the need of the IEP would cost about $60 million. According to Hilcorp, “an aggressive but achievable project” execution timeline would get first gas to market 14 months to 18 months after definitive agreements are reached. On AIDEA’s timeline to have a plan in place by the end of the year, that would mean Hilcorp could have a plant up and running by early to middle 2017. Each of the options laid out by Hilcorp could be for either 100,000 or 200,000 gallons of LNG per day with no price difference, according to the summary. Larger quantities of LNG could eventually be in demand if LNG is a viable alternative for Interior road system communities outside of the Fairbanks-North Pole distribution network or coastal and river communities currently relying on fuel oil. WesPac Midstream WesPac also came up with three options that made the cut. Its primary option is a standalone LNG plant at Port MacKenzie that would add a $3.46 liquefaction tolling fee to gas purchased and hauled away by another party. The plant would produce up to 200,000 gallons of LNG per day. WesPac has an agreement with the Matanuska-Susitna Borough to build an LNG facility on 44 acres at the port. Its first all-in proposal would get LNG from Southcentral to the Fairbanks city gate, without regasification and distribution costs, for $12.25 per mcf. WesPac has a 100 percent working interest agreement with BlueCrest Energy in the shallow gas zones of the Cosmopolitan oil and gas field offshore from Anchor Point in Cook Inlet. Feedstock gas from Cosmopolitan is pegged at $6.79 per mcf in 2018 and the field has an anticipated life of more than 20 years at up to 70 million cubic feet of production per day, according to WesPac. First gas from the field is expected in October 2017 and LNG could be delivered to Fairbanks by January 2018 with the first two options, the summary states. In May, AIDEA financed $30 million of BlueCrest’s $40 million project to develop the Cosmopolitan field. A Port MacKenzie LNG plant would be accompanied by 2.5 million gallons of LNG storage, according to WesPac’s summary. WesPac’s second alternative is the only plan to make the first cut with LNG imported from British Columbia. It would use $2.70 per mcf natural gas liquefied near Vancouver and efficient barge and rail transport through Seward to get LNG to Fairbanks for $11.08 per mcf equivalent. Alaska Railroad Corp. leaders have said they are open to shipping LNG to Fairbanks. However, the railroad would need to secure proper permits from the Federal Railroad Administration before it could begin an LNG transport operation. LNG is not currently being shipped by rail anywhere in the country. The WesPac import logistics plan would start with ISO containers that can easily be transferred between barges, rail cars and flatbed semi trailers. First gas from British Columbia could be available in January 2017, a year earlier than WesPac’s other options. The price of the options ranges from $171.2 million for imported LNG to $211.3 million for LNG delivered to Fairbanks. The plant-only option would cost $184.9 million, WesPac estimates. All three of the options would use $45 million of AIDEA’s grant equity, $72.2 million of SETS loans; and $54 million to $67.7 million of private financing from WesPac. The all-in plan using Cook Inlet gas would also require $30.7 million in bonds from AIDEA through the Interior Energy Project financing package. Salix Inc. For $2.87 per mcf, Salix claims it could liquefy Cook Inlet natural gas ready to be shipped to the Interior by early 2018. The company is proposing to build a $115 million, 200,000-gallon per day liquefaction facility in Southcentral with the ability to expand to 400,000 gallons. Financing would include $20 million in equity from Salix directly, the $45 million in equity from AIDEA and a $50 million SETS loan. Operating expenses are estimated at $8.6 million per year for the 200,000-gallon capacity plant. Key to the Salix proposal is the expectation that the utilities would enter into 20-year tolling agreements. “The agreements would be designed to compensate Salix for its fixed costs, variable costs and a negotiated rate of return,” the summary states. “The agreements would be structured like a utility cost-of-service model.” Phoenix Clean Fuels A consortium of seven companies makes up Phoenix Clean Fuels, which claims it can get North Slope-sourced LNG to Fairbanks for $10 per mcf equivalent in late 2017. The delivered price of LNG would increase 2 percent annually until 2021, when an $11 per mcf price would be locked in until 2036. Phoenix would initially build a 6 bcf per annum plant, with the ability to expand to 9 bcf later, similar in that regard to the proposal put forth by MWH. The plant would be built on a recently constructed gravel pad near Flow Station 3 near Prudhoe Bay. At 6 bcf, the plant and requisite LNG trailers, which Phoenix would purchase, are estimated to cost $114.7 million. Expanded to 9 bcf, the operation would total $166.6 million. Along with the $45 million equity grant from AIDEA, the Phoenix team’s financing structure includes $72.2 million in SETS loans paid back at 3 percent interest over 20 years and for full capacity, nearly $50 million in bonds at 3.5 percent interest over 15 years. The Phoenix plan is also based on 20-year take-or-pay contracts with the utilities.

AHFC uses new financing tools in Anchorage developments

Anchorage will soon have 72 new affordable housing units when the first developments done under the Alaska Corporation for Affordable Housing are complete. Residents began moving in to the 18-unit Susitna Square townhome cluster East Anchorage’s Russian Jack neighborhood earlier this month and the 70-unit Ridgeline Terrace development in nearby Mountain View should be done by the end of the year. The Susitna Square townhomes replaced 16 units of “old, worn down” public housing built in the 1970s through the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, Alaska Housing Finance Corp. CEO Bryan Butcher said during a tour of the homes. Combined, the projects took $29.5 million to construct, and that money came from many different places, Butcher said. “To be able to put something together where the rent is at an affordable housing level takes a lot of levels of financing,” he said. It also would not have happened without the Alaska Corporation for Affordable Housing, an AHFC subsidiary. “(The Alaska Corporation for Affordable Housing) allows AHFC to have the powers to work more broadly with partners to put together projects for affordable housing,” Butcher said. On Susitna Square and Ridgeline Terrace, those partners included HUD, through its Neighborhood Stabilization Program, the Rasmuson Foundation, the mortgage arm of AHFC and KeyBank. A state appropriation through AHFC also contributed to the financing structure. About $2.6 million in grant funding from HUD, the state and the Rasmuson Foundation went into the $5.4 million needed for Susitna Square, according to AHFC. While not directly involved in the financing, Cook Inlet Housing Authority is managing the completed properties for AHFC. Formed after the passage of its enabling legislation in 2011, the Alaska Corp. for Affordable Housing gives AHFC an arm to meld private financing in its projects, which in the past had to be completely publicly financed. AHFC sold a tax-exempt bond to finance construction. A limited partnership was then formed with KeyBank, which purchased $10.5 million in federal energy and affordable housing tax credits from AHFC to become a direct equity investor in Susitna Square and Ridgeline Terrace. The bond is being paid off using federal and state assistance, according to AHFC. The credits fulfill KeyBank’s federal requirements under the Community Reinvestment Act for investment in low- and moderate-income housing, Key Community Development Corp. Vice President Jennifer Seamons said in an interview. “We get those tax credits to help offset our federal tax liability for the corporation, as opposed to receiving interest on a construction loan, but at the end of the day we are investing in real estate so there’s the investment component,” Seamons said. “So we need to make sure our limited capital we have to invest every year is invested in good projects with good sponsors in areas that we have a need to make sure that we are satisfying our investment requirements.” AHFC Planner Dan Delfino said KeyBank purchased the credits for 99 cents on the dollar. The 30 percent energy tax credits were available because of solar panels for hot water and electricity at Susitna Square, as well as the fact that all the units are at least 5 Star energy rated be the Department of Energy, Butcher said. Nationwide, KeyBank has more than $1 billion in similar investments. Annually, the bank invests about $200 million through its community development arm, according to Seamons. She called the partnership KeyBank’s “flagship project” with AHFC and Cook Inlet Housing and something that shows the bank’s commitment to the Alaska market. With such high construction costs in the state, she said there is really a need for these types of programs and partnerships to make developing affordable and senior housing feasible. “We continue to look for good opportunities in the Alaska market — and certainly building on the partnerships we have with Alaska Housing and Cook Inlet (Housing) and some of the other developers” in the state, Seamons said. The one-bedroom Susitna Square townhomes are being rented for $934 per month, while the two-bedroom units go for $1,182 per month plus electricity. They are restricted to tenants earning 60 percent or less of the median Anchorage income — $37,600 for one person or $43,000 for a two-person household. According to HUD, housing should account for 30 percent of a household’s income. “We routinely see people paying 50-60 percent of their income on housing,” Butcher said. The tight Anchorage housing market, with rental vacancy at less than 4 percent, was the primary reason AHFC went to work on its inaugural Alaska Corp. for Affordable Housing project there, he said. “This is something that as we work through the end of this cycle we’re going to be looking at potentially doing statewide,” Butcher said. “Of course, it all depends on funding.” AHFC’s Delfino said quality low-income developments are extremely difficult to pull off without direct grant assistance, but the public housing agency will not stop trying to pull together money from all sources, even if the state doesn’t contribute in the future. Elwood Brehmer can be reached at [email protected]

GUEST COMMENTARY: Medicaid expansion disagreements should be based on facts

Ever since the Affordable Care Act passed without bipartisan support, it has been one of the most dividing political issues of our time. Republicans generally oppose it and Democrats almost universally embrace it. When an issue inspires such political passion, it’s a challenge to step back and think rationally. It’s far easier to construct, grasp at and, yes, even make up facts to support our positions. It is in this context that we continue to debate Medicaid expansion in Alaska. Unfortunately, it’s hard to have a debate based on facts in such a politically charged environment. However, both health care and our fiscal situation are too important to do otherwise. To support the furtherance of reasoned discussions on health care and Medicaid expansion, I want to present some often overlooked facts about three key issues: provider taxes, Medicare “crowd out” and the assertion that “Medicaid is broken.” As CEO of the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association, I’ve followed the provider tax discussion closely. My members have more financial interest in this issue than any other provider group in Alaska. Provider taxes are a mechanism for states to leverage additional federal Medicaid reimbursement, increasing provider rates and generating state revenue. If designed thoughtfully, the tax would not be passed on to consumers. Provider taxes are much more complex than portrayed, so complex in fact that they require specialized consulting help to design and implement. It is not clear if this mechanism will work in a small state like Alaska, but it is reasonable to explore. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has identified 19 different classes of providers that can be taxed under this complex system. However, with very few exceptions, provider taxes are almost always levied on hospitals and nursing homes, not on physicians or other provider groups. Tribal providers would likely be exempt from the tax, but other not-for-profit providers would pay. Some have argued that Medicaid expansion will “crowd out” Medicare recipients, because Medicaid reimburses physicians better than Medicare. Medicare recipients, they say, would be unable to find physicians, because those physicians would stop taking Medicare patients to increase their panel of Medicaid patients. There is no clear evidence to support this speculation, but should the worst come to pass, hospitals would likely step in to fill a provider shortage. Several years ago, Anchorage Medicare patients had difficulty finding primary care physicians that accepted Medicare. Providence Alaska Medical Center opened a senior care clinic to help fill this need. A state-financed private clinic also opened. With state funds running out, Alaska Regional Hospital has stepped in to provide the service, so hospitals now run both clinics. The final argument is that “Medicaid is broken” and must be fixed before expansion can occur. Proponents of this argument are either referring to the new payment system or to the general escalation in Medicaid costs. First, it is undeniable that there were significant problems with the new payment system when it launched in October 2013. Those issues, however, were related to design and implementation, not the volume of claims flowing through the system. Current claims are paying timely and accurately, so adding new Medicaid beneficiaries should have no impact. Medicaid itself is not a “broken” system. The cost escalation it has experienced is not unique, but is reflective of overall cost increases in health care. In fact, with the exception of the last few years, cost increases in Medicaid over time were lower than cost increases in the state employee and retiree health plan. The escalation of health care costs is one of the more difficult and complex challenges of our time. We must have reasonable, meaningful and productive conversations about health care. But to do that we need to put aside the soundbites and focus on real solutions to our very real challenges. Reasonable people can disagree. In a public policy context, disagreement can be healthy and can improve the process, forcing people to think differently and to compromise. Our public policy debates, however, must be informed by good information, not speculation. Health care presents a tremendous fiscal challenge to our nation and our state. It’s a complex issue that does not lend itself to sound bites, but it nevertheless demands our attention. It’s time to move forward, which we can do if we set aside speculation and rhetoric and focus on working together to find solutions. Becky Hultberg is CEO of the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association, and previously worked at Providence Alaska Medical Center and in the administrations of Gov. Frank Murkowski and Gov. Sean Parnell.

Parties reach settlement in Alaska Native voting-rights case

A settlement has been reached between the state and Alaska Native plaintiffs who sued in federal court over the translation of voting materials for voters with limited English proficiency. The proposed settlement filed Sept. 8 calls for the Alaska lieutenant governor’s office to hire a full-time employee to administer language assistance. Another significant provision in the agreement calls for the official state election pamphlet to include translations, plaintiffs’ attorney Natalie Landreth with the Native American Rights Funds said Sept. 10. It took the two sides about nine months to work out a settlement, she said. Landreth read a brief letter from one of the plaintiffs, Mike Toyukak of the village of Manokotak, thanking officials for working on resolving the case. “This is really a big deal for us, and we’re very happy that those who did not understand before will now be able to understand the voting ballots,” Landreth quoted Toyukak as writing. Landreth gave particular praise to Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott, who took office Dec. 1, saying he was key to resolving the matter. “The lieutenant governor, in particular, inherited a very difficult issue as soon as he walked into office,” she said at a media briefing. Mallott, who oversees elections, said implementing the changes will be difficult, but his office is fully committed to doing so. Under the agreement, increased language assistance will be provided for three census areas. Also, the official election pamphlet will include information in Gwich’in and up to six Yup’ik dialects. Mallott said the agreement will lead to stronger election procedures. He said it will allow the state to be responsive to the language needs of any Alaskan needing help and will “allow every voter the opportunity to have their voting information completely understood and allow them to make the most informed decisions as they vote possible.” U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason is expected to enter a final agreement and order within the next two weeks, assistant Attorney General Libby Bakalar said. The proposed settlement calls for the agreement to be effective through Dec. 31, 2020. The lawsuit brought by village tribal organizations and elders in 2013 alleged the state failed to provide accurate, complete translations of voting materials in Native languages. The state argued it had taken reasonable steps to implement standards for voting materials for non-English speakers. In a September ruling that did not resolve the case, Gleason ordered the state to take additional steps to provide voting materials to Native voters with limited English skills for the general election last November. Later last year, Gleason asked the two sides to see if they could reach a settlement. Also on Sept. 10, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, announced she is co-sponsoring a senate bill to improve provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that were found to be unconstitutional in 2013 by the U.S. Supreme Court. The proposed Voting Rights Advancement Act, among other things, would require that voting materials be translated into written Native languages. “The question of whether Alaska Natives have fair access to the voting booth has been litigated multiple times over the past several years,” Murkowski said in a statement. “Impediments to voting in many of our rural communities because of distance and language need to be addressed, and my hope is that this legislation will resolve these issues. Every Alaskan deserves a meaningful chance to vote.”

Golden Valley has fuel options beyond natural gas

A lynchpin to the economic success of the Interior Energy Project because of the amount of gas the utility could buy, Golden Valley Electric Association has more options for cheaper fuels than just LNG as the price of oil keeps falling. Golden Valley President and CEO Cory Borgeson said that the Interior electric utility has been approached by Petro Star Inc., which has a small North Pole refinery, about a generating fuel that could beat the price of $10 per thousand cubic feet, or mcf, natural gas. Gov. Bill Walker said at an August fuel symposium put on by Golden Valley that Interior utilities could expect natural gas delivered to the region for $10 per mcf or less from the Interior Energy Project, without the expectation to sign “take-or-pay” contracts. Borgeson said he has been contacted by AIDEA and some of the project proposers about the Golden Valley’s potential gas demand, which remains in the 2 billion cubic feet, or bcf, per year range. Additionally, Golden Valley has been investigating propane as an option to lessen its fuel oil burn. Propane imported from British Columbia would likely cost $1.10 to $1.27 per gallon delivered to Fairbanks, Borgeson said, a price range very competitive with $10 per mcf LNG. Last year, Golden Valley produced 25 percent of its power with fuel oil. However, Borgeson said the new Healy Clean Coal Plant No. 2 is currently generating in excess of 40 megawatts of power. Golden Valley is also prepping to take on Clear Air Force Station as a customer, which will increase demand. Borgeson said the electric utility’s board has given management direction to try to balance low-cost fuel options with the success of the Interior Energy Project. Golden Valley’s electric customers are the same residents and businesses that would benefit from an IEP that gets natural gas to customers at its final “burner tip” cost goal of $15 per mcf. “It’s very possible with this low-cost fuel that’s available that we can have off ramps and on ramps to that fuel and help balance out the (seasonal demand) loads,” Borgeson said in an interview. “I’m thinking that there might be an optimal solution here.” Once a proposer of a North Slope LNG trucking plan with Golden Valley, Borgeson said he believes the low cost of North Slope gas and the length of contract available on the Slope is critical to a successful project, despite the transportation challenges presented by the Dalton Highway. “From what I know, I think you’re going to be hard-pressed to get a 15-year gas supply from Cook Inlet, and I think that’s really going to be necessary to finance a plant,” he said. Golden Valley has a 15-year gas supply contract with BP — the price of which is tied to oil. It has made its contract available for any IEP participant to use, but the exact price has remained confidential. AIDEA modeled its wholesale gas cost in the $3 per mcf range when it planned to use Golden Valley’s contract in the initial round of the project last year.

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