Stephanie Prokop

Fresh in the frozen Arctic

Back in 2011, Dan Perpich was somewhat shocked to find rows of wilted lettuce in the local grocery store, retailing for $18 a head. He was visiting Resolute Bay, a town of 130 individuals in northern Canada.

Yet he really wasn’t that shocked, because he knew many rural communities in Alaska had exactly the same situation, due to the challenges of local production, a severe lack of skilled labor and support industries, and highly seasonal weather patterns. 

Governor has power over PFD, judge says

Gov. Bill Walker had every right to cut Alaskans’ Permanent Fund Dividend in half, according to a state court judge.

The court has ruled in favor of the state in the PFD case filed by Sen. Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage, and former state Sens. Rick Halford and Clem Tillion.

Oral arguments were heard in Superior Court Third Judicial District in Anchorage on Thursday, Nov. 17. Judge William Morse ruled immediately following the arguments.

PFD lawsuit on the docket

Oral arguments are scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 17 in the Superior Court Third Judicial District in Anchorage for the lawsuit filed by Sen. Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage, and former state Sens. Rick Halford and Clem Tillion.

The plaintiffs are demanding a full dividend payout for 2016 and have asked the court to order the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. to transfer funds from the Permanent Fund earnings reserve account to the Dividend Fund. Proceeds would then be disbursed to eligible residents in the form of a supplemental PFD check.

Live Election Results

While the nation elects a president, Alaska will decide whether it votes for familiar faces or throw out the incumbents in the Legislature.

Although there is a total of 50 races, the competititve races are far fewer.

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski is running against the Libertarian candidate Joe Miller, Democrat Ray Metcalfe and independent Margaret Stock.

Follow the money: how indirect expenditures amount to billions in lost revenue

Thomas Hobbes called government a leviathan, a sea monster, and that was centuries ago. History has repeatedly proven that governments will grow unless stopped by revolution or war.

That is because government, centered on public policy to manage society and its economy, is designed to regulate for the greater good, a frequently changing ideal based on the will of the people.

Social media is the new weapon

Classical war involved nations fighting nations, with two clearly demarcated sides. Contemporary war, in contrast, may pit one against the many, or a nebulous network of alliances fighting for a cause rather than a geo-political territory or economic interest.

When the internet is under attack

Cyber terrorism, cyber warfare, cyber vandalism, cyber crime, are all now part of the lexicon. In an age where everything is connected to everything else, cyber security is as equally multi-layered but businesses are not staying cyber safe.

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month, and to end in a celebratory fashion, Dyn, a DNS service provider, was attacked on Friday, Oct. 21. It was an example of the dark side of the Internet of Things, where smart appliances, including webcams and DVRs, were infected with malware to distribute a massive denial of service attack.

Cranky and cantankerous debate comes to a close

With less than three weeks until Election Day, presidential hopefuls Sec. Hillary Clinton and businessman Donald Trump met in the swing state of Nevada for the third and final presidential debate.

Held on Wednesday, Oct. 19 at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the debate featured just six topics: the Supreme Court, immigration, economy, foreign hot spots, the national debt and fitness to be president. Fox News anchor Chris Wallace served as moderator.

IT professionals to be recognized at inaugural gala

The first ever Alaska IT Awards Gala will take place at the Anchorage Marriott on Nov. 4. About 200 tech executives and business leaders are expected to be in attendance to recognize professionals who drive technology in the state.

The event is organized by ConnX Event Solutions President J.R. Cantrell, who is working in conjunction with the Alaska Chief Information Officers Council.

Cantrell, who previously managed the Interface Conference, the biggest and longest running IT event in Alaska, was often asked, “Wouldn’t it be great to do an awards banquet?”

Alaska Federation of Natives celebrates 50 years

On the morning of Oct. 18, 1966, Emil Notti, an Athabascan born in Koyukuk, called the first gathering of the Alaska Federation of Natives to order. Almost exactly five decades later, he is slated to give the keynote speech Oct. 20 at the 50th annual convention in Fairbanks.

“No, it does not feel like 50 years has gone by,” said Notti, now in his 80s, reflecting on a whirlwind of change.

Kickstarter for functional and fun fashion

FisheWear has a vision to change women’s outdoor wear forever. Founder Linda Leary, who has a long career in logistics, sales and executive leadership in the state, turned her attention to her lifelong passion — fly fishing — when she started the business last year.

Supreme Court hears House District 40 case

The case to decide who will represent House District 40 has gone to the Alaska Supreme Court. Oral arguments were presented Oct. 12 on behalf of Rep. Benjamin Nageak, D-Barrow, and the state Division of Elections.

What is in question is who will ultimately take the seat. Nageak’s opponent, Dean Westlake, originally won the August Democrat primary by eight votes: 825-817.

Arctic investment firm makes play for Iceland telecom

“Our investment is potentially the largest in Iceland since the 2009 crash,” said Pt Capital Advisors founder and CEO Hugh Short in an interview with the Journal. The Anchorage-based private equity firm has just announced it will acquire the leading mobile provider in Iceland: Nova.

Subject to notice, the final sale price is not being disclosed. Local press in Iceland values the sale at 15 billion krona, which equates to about $130 million U.S. dollars. A finalized deal is expected within the next few months.

Second presidential debate is tough and tense

Normally a debate starts with two contenders shaking hands. Even boxing matches have opponents acknowledge each other before a fight begins. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump did not, indicating how the next 90 minutes of the second presidential debate in St. Louis would play out.

Protests planned as Alaskans digest effects of smaller PFD

While a lawsuit contesting the amount of this year’s dividend continues in the courts, Permanent Fund distributions will be sent out to eligible residents on Oct. 6. What was going to be a $2,052 check is now $1,022, after Gov. Bill Walker partially vetoed this year’s appropriations bill and authorized $695 million to be transferred from the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation instead of $1.3 billion.

Nageak’s lawsuit against state election officials to proceed

The case of Rep. Ben Nageak, D-Barrow, vs. Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott and Director of Elections Josie Bahnke will start on Tuesday, Sept. 27. Superior Court Judge Andrew Guidi has ruled that the trial must begin next week and end no later than Oct. 3 so that the Division of Elections will have proper time to mail ballots ahead of the general election.

Better Business Bureau Recognizes Whitfield Benefit Solutions of Anchorage

Whitfield Benefit Solutions of Anchorage is the Alaska winner of the 2016 Better Business Bureau  Torch Awards for Ethics. The five companies named from the Pacific Northwest region were chosen for “meeting BBB’s Standards of Trust and for their dedication to honoring their employees, clients and the community.”

Coulter talks campaign, crisis and Comedy Central at Anchorage event

Ann Coulter, a best-selling author and potential powder keg, depending on which side of the political aisle one sits on, had an entire audience on their feet when she spoke Sept. 17 at the Egan Center in Downtown Anchorage.

PFD Lawsuit to proceed

A Superior Court Judge has agreed to expedite the trial on the request of plantiffs and the state.

Anchorage Democrat Sen. Bill Wielechowski, along with former Republican Sens. Rick Halford and Clem Tillion, are suing the State of Alaska and the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation to comply with legal obligations, mainly, to pay what is owed to the Dividend Fund and subsequently, to Alaskans.

The civil lawsuit was filed before the Superior Court in Anchorage closed at noon, Friday, Sept. 16.

Pogo keeps production steady in 2016, embraces tech

Production at Pogo Mine near Delta Junction remains steady, with 280,000 ounces projected for 2016, down just 1,000 ounces from 2015.

One reason for decreased production figures is an unscheduled interruption during the summer. (Daily production is roughly 850 ounces, and the mine operates year-round.) Lasting 18 days, the delay was caused when a GVEA power bump caused an under-voltage issue in the mill’s exciter controller.

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