State has boom coming Stevens says

Even without development of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, "We do have a boom coming," said Alaska Republican Sen. Ted Stevens at a May 30 press conference in Anchorage.

Stevens, citing recent oil and gas discoveries in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and the likelihood of a gas pipeline to the Lower 48, said gas will play a bigger role than oil in Alaska’s energy future.

 That’s because in an era concerned with pollution and global warming, Stevens predicts clean-burning natural gas will become more valuable than oil.

Business Profile: The Chariot Group Inc.

Name of the company: The Chariot Group Inc.

Established: 1999

Location: 2600 Denali St., Suite 102, Anchorage

Telephone: 907-222-5300

Web site: www.chariotgroup.com

Major focus of services: The Chariot Group Inc. sells, services and installs presentation equipment including video conferencing equipment, mulitmedia projectors and the latest high-tech plasma projector screens.

Lowe's ready to restart construction on South Anchorage store

construction.jpg Company officials from Lowe’s Home Improvement are finalizing plans to restart construction work on a new store in Anchorage. Lowe’s representatives still hope to resume construction later this year.

The Wilkesboro, N.C.-based chain halted the project earlier this spring. "We did not have a finalized site plan," said company spokeswoman Suzanne McCoy.

NC Machinery outfits Russians

Without a lot of fanfare, Alaska equipment dealers have carved out market niches in the last decade selling equipment, parts and services in the Russian Far East.

Despite Russia’s economic turmoil and political uncertainties, it’s a profitable business, say Alaskans who are involved.

Mining companies working in Magadan are a solid piece of business for NC Machinery Co., the distributor for Caterpillar machinery in Washington and Alaska.

"Mining accounts for 85 percent of our business in Russia," said Gene Sanderson, Alaska product support manager.

The 0.08 DWI limit won't curb alcoholism or accidents

Whether you know it or not, the Alaska Legislature passed a new blood-alcohol content law that takes effect Sept. 1, 2001. The amendment, added to a rural bootlegging and fingerprint bill, was inserted by the House Rules Committee. The actual decision was made in the speaker’s chambers in the Capitol.

And while a majority of the public was unaware of the insertion, on May 8 the House passed the legislation, which included a reduction in BAC for driving while intoxicated violation.

Overseas sales

Pacific Detroit Diesel-Allison has been selling electric generators and other equipment to the Russian Far East since the early 1990s. The Anchorage branch of the Portland, Ore.-based company is the Alaska distributorship for Detroit Diesel, Kohler Power Systems, Allison transmissions and other equipment lines.

Although sales and service for Russia is now split between Alaska and Washington offices, the business began in Alaska when Dave Heatwole, an Alaskan working as a trade consultant in the region, put Russian mining companies in touch with the company.

Tank farm may return to Seward

oilgas.jpg SEWARD -- The Yukon Fuel Co. wants to make Seward home to a bulk fuel tank farm again.

Seward’s waterfront tank farms were destroyed in the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake. The Anchorage-based fuel distributor is negotiating a long-term lease with the Alaska Railroad Corp. for 10 acres of industrial-zoned land on which to construct six fuel storage tanks, according to Yukon Fuel President Larry Shelver.

Government approves Steller sea lion studies

commercialfishing.jpg KODIAK -- Federal officials have approved 26 research projects to examine the decline of the Steller sea lion in the oceans off western Alaska.

Money for the studies comes from a $15 million federal appropriation set aside for studies outside the federal umbrella. Altogether, Congress allocated $43 million last year for research on the threatened animals.

Grants boost marketing to Lower 48

commercialfishing.jpg New federal grants are allowing the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute to expand its domestic marketing efforts for salmon.

"We’ve got a great story to tell about fish from Alaska," said Barbara Belknap, executive director of ASMI.

Eco-Challenge team to 'compete well and finish as friends'

FORT RICHARDSON -- Team U.S. Army Alaska is training hard as it prepares to take part in the first Armed Forces Eco-Challenge June 20. Their saga began over a year ago, when Sgt. 1st Class Marc Phipps read about the extreme competition open only to military racers. He immediately decided to get together a team to compete.

The Eco-Challenge, Phipps discovered, is sponsored by Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors Inc., a national peer-support, nonprofit group that helps those affected by a death in the armed forces.

June sockeye salmon fishery opens amid tension, uncertainty

Rumors of low sockeye prices, combined with this year’s startling management plan for the June Area M salmon fishery near False Pass, have left area fishermen unsure of the upcoming season and the future of fishing in the region.

In January, the Alaska Board of Fisheries made dramatic changes in the management of the fishery in an effort to let more chum salmon swim farther north to Western Alaska rivers.

Dodge dealer builds with suit pending

Construction is under way this spring on a new Dodge dealership in Anchorage. Lithia Motors dealership aims to join the Anchorage market for new Dodge vehicles previously held solely by Anchorage Chrysler Dodge Center.

However, Anchorage Chrysler has filed a suit against DaimlerChrysler that includes a dispute about the new dealership.

The new auto sales center is on the Old Seward Highway between Dimond Boulevard and O’Malley Road, adjacent to Lyberger’s Car & Truck Sales LLC, which sells used vehicles.

Judge suspends Tongass logging ban

JUNEAU -- A federal judge issued an order May 23 that will allow logging to resume in the Tongass National Forest, pending further review of a case that affects Southeast Alaska wilderness areas.

Phillips hopes NPR-A finds as hefty as 429-million-barrel Alpine

oilbarrel.jpg ANCHORAGE -- Phillips Alaska Inc. has struck oil on five of six wells drilled in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, and geologists believe the wells have hit three separate accumulations of oil and gas.

While Phillips Alaska Inc. President Kevin Meyers won’t say how much oil the company expects to find, Phillips is hoping the pools will contain as much oil as the nearby Alpine field, which holds an estimated 429 million barrels.

Around the World June 3, 2001

Nation

Consumer confidence rises in May

NEW YORK -- A string of interest rate cuts, stronger financial markets and the prospect of lower taxes all helped lift consumers’ confidence in May, analysts said.

The New York-based Conference Board said May 29 its Consumer Confidence Index rose to a greater-than-expected 115.5 in May, up from a revised 109.9 in April, despite continuing layoffs and surging energy prices.

"This is surprising," said Sherry Cooper, chief economist at Harris Bank. "I guess you just can’t keep the American consumer down."

Aleutian chain communities work to transform their economies

The fishing industry is the lifeblood of the Aleutian Islands, and some see the industry going into an economic tailspin due to increasing fishing restrictions.

"But the sky is not falling," said Paul Day, city administrator for Sand Point. He and others throughout the region point to many economic development projects under way to help transform the local economies.

For example, state and federal construction projects in the Aleutians East Borough for 2001-2003 amount to more than $41.6 million.

Here are some project highlights:

Akutan

Expensive unpaid, overtime wages are costs that can be avoided

colbokimberleeLR.jpg Claims for unpaid wages and overtime can be among the most costly employers will face. Yet, at the same time, these claims can be easily avoided. To avoid such claims, employers simply must educate themselves as to the requirements of Alaska law and then follow those requirements.

Among the easiest claims to avoid are claims for failing to pay terminated employees all compensation to which they are entitled within the time specified by law.

VECO is Exporter of Year

Gov. Tony Knowles has chosen VECO Corp. as Alaska’s Exporter of the Year. The award was presented May 24 during the annual Export Alaska banquet held in Anchorage.

The company was honored for services it handles around the world, including work in Russia, China, Kuwait, India, Central Africa and Egypt, according to the governor’s office.

"We feel like it’s a real honor," said VECO President Pete Leathard. "It’s important for an engineering construction company to win an award like this. We’re not an exporter of things. We’re really an exporter of knowledge."

April's jobless rate drops as summer jobs begin

JUNEAU -- Alaska’s unemployment rate dropped from 6.7 percent in March to 6.1 percent in April as employers geared up for the construction and tourism seasons. That’s an improvement over last year’s April jobless rate of 7.3 percent.

About 19,700 Alaskans were out of work last month, a drop of about 2,000 since March, according to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

This Week in Alaska Business History June 3, 2001

Editor’s note: "This Week in Alaska Business History" revisits events that shaped our past.

"Those who cannot

remember the past are

condemned to repeat it."

-- George Santayana, 1863-1952

20 years ago this week

Anchorage Times

June 3, 1981

Banking merger meets skepticism

By Dave Carpenter

Times Juneau Bureau

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