Bering Sea crab fleet buyback details still must be worked out

UNALASKA -- It’s called the Capacity Reduction Program for Bering Sea/ Aleutian Islands Crab Fisheries -- buyback for short. In late December Congress created the $100 million program to reduce the crab fleet. Fishermen say it’s necessary for their survival in a time of slashed crab quotas. It’s good policy, says its sponsor, Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska.

But classic free market purity it’s not, and in a visit to the Aleutian Islands last year, Stevens described a fellow senator’s objection.

Divers trace Cook Inlet oil leak to hole in undersea pipeline

ANCHORAGE -- The source of a Cook Inlet oil leak, and the resulting weeklong shutdown of Unocal’s Dolly Varden production platform, was traced Feb. 15 to a hole smaller than a quarter-inch in an undersea pipeline.

Divers were able to pinpoint the hole, but ice floating in the Inlet made it unsafe for them to conduct further testing that would help Unocal figure out how to fix it, company spokeswoman Roxanne Sinz said.

Bristol Bay faring well

Bristol Bay Native Corp. has not been afraid to tackle big, high-profile commercial ventures. Two of them, purchasing and later selling Peter Pan Seafoods and the Hilton Anchorage Hotel, turned out well.

Luck ran out on the third deal, though. If it’s any consolation, the recently failed Alaska Marketplace grocery venture, in which BBNC was a 34 percent minority partner with $2.3 million invested, was more modest compared with the earlier seafood company and hotel acquisitions.

Movers & Shakers February 25, 2001

Keith A. Laufer and Joseph N. Levesque have become members of the law firm Foster Pepper Rubini & Reeves. Laufer focuses his practice on corporate and real estate law. Laufer previously served as financial and legal affairs manager for the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority and as an assistant attorney general for the State of Alaska. Levesque focuses his practice on general municipal law and litigation. Levesque previously served as borough attorney for the North Slope Borough.

Wave Wholesale in Chapter 11, halts Bethel project, shutters other businesses

BETHEL -- Wave Wholesale Co. has halted construction of a retail center in Bethel, laid off workers and plans to sell off some businesses as part of its effort to reorganize under federal bankruptcy protection, company officials said.

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Jan. 12. It has 120 days from that date to come up with a reorganization plan.

How to avoid taxes on gifts to grandchildren

Most people are aware that any gift exceeding $10,000 per year constitutes a taxable gift and that once lifetime taxable gifts exceed $675,000, gift taxes are imposed on additional taxable gifts.

Taxable gifts made to grandchildren or others who are considered more than one generation removed from the donor, are subject to a second tax, the generation-skipping transfer, or GST, tax. This tax is imposed on taxable gifts exceeding the lifetime exemption amount of $1,030,000 (as of 2001, indexed annually for inflation).

Reeve's departure hampers Alaska's ties with Russian Far East

When Reeve Aleutian Airways ended its scheduled flights between Anchorage and the Russian Far East late last year, Alaskans lost a regular, convenient link to the region.

In the past three years, other airlines have dropped the route, which Alaska business people frequent to build their ventures in areas like Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, where oil development is under way.

However, Magadan-based Mavial recently announced plans to start serving the area this spring.

The sinking of the Titanic: An analogy of leadership that failed

smithgregoryLR.jpg "We have struck iceberg ... sinking fast ... come to our assistance." Burning the airwaves came those words late in the cold evening of 1912. Before they tapped the last bit of Morse code, those words became the epitaph of the 1,200 people lost on the Titanic. The ship was doomed as it slowly sank into its watery grave. Why did the largest, most advanced ship of the century sink?

Those of us who study history or remember the movie may know why.

Japan boosts estimated need for LNG

Japan’s largest natural gas utility now expects that the same forces fueling rapid increases in demand for gas in the United States will propel gas consumption in Asia much higher than forecast.

This means there could be more room for Alaska gas in Asia than is currently thought possible. North Slope producers have looked at the Asian market but have concluded that slow economic growth in the region, coupled with ample supply from other countries, make an Alaska project to export liquefied natural gas, or LNG, to Asia uneconomic.

City's no-smoking ordinance covers more than restaurants

Anchorage’s new nonsmoking ordinance has raised concerns for restaurant owners but also for some office and commercial building operators.

A health inspector from the city department dispatched to enforce the law helped outlined some answers for an industry group. Jason Froehle, one of five health inspectors, spoke Feb. 9 to the Building Owners and Managers Association of Anchorage at the Hilton Anchorage Hotel.

"The Department of Health and Human Services enforces public health laws," Froehle said. "Secondhand smoke is an important public health issue."

Around the World February 25, 2001


Joblessness jumps

JUNEAU -- Unemployment in Alaska increased 1.7 percent to 7.8 percent in January, following a typical midwinter pattern, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development reported.

The number of unemployed Alaskans increased to nearly 25,000, said Rachel Baker, a labor economist.

Pollock group gives $1 million to study Steller woes

welchlanieLR.jpg Alaska’s pollock industry is donating more than $1 million for research on sea lion declines and ecosystem changes in the Bering Sea. The Pollock Conservation Cooperative, a group of companies that operate catcher-processor vessels in the Bering Sea, gave the money to the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences.

Fifty-nine Alaska communities are partial owners of these companies. Research began last spring when the PCC provided $385,000 to UAF.

February-Issue-1 2001

UA, industry come together, develop course to train Alaskans for jobs in Alaska

Something like half the workers at the Tesoro Alaska Co. refinery in Nikiski are in their 40s and 50s, said plant manager Rod Cason. When they retire, Tesoro will need qualified replacements.

Building in the Valley

Problems at Port MacKenzie are causing the new managers of the state’s fastest growing borough to take a step back.

Four months ago the Matanuska-Susitna Borough experienced a clean sweep. It now has a new borough mayor, three new assembly members and a new borough manager who all say the honeymoon was a lot shorter than they had hoped.

Shellfish farmers complain they were locked out of hearing; panel to investigate

welchlanieLR.jpg State fish managers are taking heat from shellfish farmers and being investigated by the Legislature’s joint Administrative Regulation Review Committee.

Bush foresees 'a lot of selling' to open ANWR to oil drilling

WASHINGTON -- To win the centerpiece of his energy plan, President Bush will have to change some minds among seven Republican senators who staunchly oppose oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

That’s in addition to penetrating an almost solid wall of Democratic opposition, plus counteracting intense lobbying from environmentalists who have made protection of the refuge their top priority, people on both sides of the issue agree.

"We’ve got a lot of selling to do," the president acknowledged recently.

O'Malley's remodels its dining room

Alyeska Resort, owner of O’Malley’s on the Green, has completed renovations of the banquet facility at the Anchorage Golf Course.

Most of the work called for remodeling the 3,100-square-foot dining room, which will allow more flexibility for meetings, said Alyeska Resort spokeswoman Cella Baker. The remodeling removed multilevel areas and increased diners’ view of Mount McKinley, she said.

Other renovations included new carpeting and paint for other banquet rooms.

Calendar February 18, 2001


The Association of Information Technology Professionals is sponsoring a Basic Java Programming class from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 19-23 at the University of Alaska Anchorage Diplomacy Building, Room 420. The cost is $1,200. Registration is required. For more information, contact Debi Smith at 907-248-3580.


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