ASMI, politicians, UA offer help to Alaska's ailing salmon industry

KODIAK -- Efforts to revitalize Alaska’s salmon industry are coming from all directions, and organizers are wasting no time in getting several plans up and running.The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute has selected a Quality Symposium committee of four harvesters and four processors. The group is tasked with preparing recommendations that deal specifically with ways to improve salmon quality.ASMI has come out strongly in support of both mandatory and voluntary quality standards for Alaska salmon, as well as fishery management requirements that lead to improved quality. The ASMI Quality Committee will begin meeting sometime next month.A proposal for a Joint Legislative Salmon Industry Task Force launched by Sen. Alan Austerman, R-Kodiak, reportedly has bipartisan support as well as the expectation of $500,000 in funding. The task force would be made up of six harvesters (one each from Bristol Bay, Southwest, Kodiak, Cook Inlet, Prince William Sound and Southeast), along with a large and small processor, a sports fisherman, a hatchery operator and a member of the public.The group’s focus would include ways to improve seafood transportation, how to better coordinate harvesting and marketing of wild salmon, and to make sure that Alaska salmon is distinguished from farmed fish. The 13-member task force would submit recommendations to the Alaska Legislature by the end of next January.A proposed $950,000 federal effort is also under way, stemming from the Salmon Summit that Alaska Republican Sen. Ted Stevens proposed in his address to the Alaska Legislature a few months ago. The summit would identify specific problems and develop action items, according to Bob King, spokesman for Gov. Tony Knowles.At a more grass-roots level, the University of Alaska has earmarked funding to "bring together a coordinated university effort to respond to the impacts of Alaska’s salmon crisis on coastal communities." One of the planned outcomes is development of a series of workshops this year to "provide technical tools to leadership in the salmon industry."Herring infoA new book, "Herring: Expectations for a New Millennium," is now available from the Alaska Sea Grant program. The book discusses herring biology and ecology worldwide, social and economic aspects of herring fisheries and herring fisheries management.To help solve the unknowns in herring fisheries and to optimize harvest, researchers presented their work at the 18th Lowell Wakefield Fisheries Symposium in February 2000 in Anchorage."The high levels of enthusiasm shared during the symposium are sustained in this prolific and thorough proceedings book," according to a press release. Alaska’s roe herring fisheries traditionally kick off at Sitka Sound in early March followed by openings all along the coast as far west as Norton Sound.Farmed salmon, Alaska styleMarket analyst John Sackton provided this report of the recent seafood forum, sponsored by the World Trade Center Alaska: "Chris Ostrander, seafood and meat manager, explained that Costco buys about 600,000 pounds per week of fresh Chilean salmon, but buys only about 750,000 pounds per year of Alaskan salmon."(Ostrander) described how over a period of years, Costco has developed close relationships with Chilean fish farmers to get fish year-round and to offer boneless and skinless fillets. Since 1995, Costco’s salmon sales have been growing by about 30 percent a year. Prices have fallen from around $5.99 to under $3.99 in most markets."As a result, said Ostrander, Costco customers were now buying salmon twice a week and using it as a substitute for meat or poultry. It no longer is considered a special meal, but part of an everyday purchase. When Costco does sell Alaskan salmon, it is on a special basis, where whole fish is sold out of iced bins in West Coast and Alaska stores."Kodiak-based free-lance writer Laine Welch can be reached via e-mail at ([email protected]).

AIDEA boosts lending to $55 million this year

The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority expects to do a record level of new long-term business financing this year through its loan participation program. Estimates are now that the state development agency will do $50 million to $55 million in participation deals with commercial banks by June 30, the end of the current fiscal year, according to Jim McMillan, AIDEA’s deputy director for lending. The authority has funded $43.2 million since last July 1, the start of the financial year. Last year, by comparison, the agency funded $10 million in business financing, but a more typical year involves $30 million in lending, he said. The sharp rise in loan activity this year is driven partly by two big financing deals, but the overall level of activity also reflects steady growth and the basic health of the state’s economy, McMillan said. The diversity of loan deals reflects healthy activity across a broad range of business activity. The authority participates both in new construction and acquisition, and with businesses that will occupy and use their facilities as well as investors. A wide variety of businesses benefit from the program, from retail grocery stores to hotels, recreation and health clubs, health care facilities, office buildings and small to medium-sized industrial plants.

First Interstate to change its name, its look

First Interstate Bank of Alaska is celebrating its fifth year under local ownership in a big way: by renovating its facilities and changing its name.The new name will be Alaska First Bank and Trust.Bank President Ron Kukes says he knew since the day he and 25 Alaska investors bought the bank in December 1996 that the First Interstate part of the name would pose a problem."It caused some confusion," he said. "A lot of people thought we had some ties Outside. We don’t."But getting the bank running smoothly under new ownership was a higher priority at the time, Kukes said. For the last few years, however, he’s been thinking about what the new name should be.Kukes had each word of the new name printed out on big cards, which he spreads out on a couch in his Anchorage office and flips over one at a time for visitors. He said "Alaska" and "First" emphasize the local ownership of the bank, to distinguish itself from his larger competitors. "Bank" describes one of its functions, while "Trust" describes another.Kukes said that under the trust department, his bank is unique in having two certified financial planners."It’s easy to take money in and put money out," he said. "But people also need an investment plan to meet their goals. Our planners have the knowledge and experience to help them do that."

GCI shows profit in 2001; lost $13 million in 2000

General Communication Inc. reported 2001 net income totaling $4.6 million, compared with a loss of $13.2 million in 2000.The company tallied fourth quarter 2001 net income of $500,000, a gain from the $1.9 million net loss recorded for fourth quarter 2000.Revenue for the year climbed to $357.3 million from $292.6 million recorded in 2000.Fourth quarter revenue last year rose to $86.8 million from $77 million in fourth quarter 2000.GCI reported revenue gains in product lines, led by long-distance revenue totaling $224 million, up from $196.1 million in 2001. Cable television revenue increased to $76.6 million from $67.9 million in 2001. Local service revenue totaled $25.2 million last year, up from $20.2 million for 2000. Internet revenue totaled $12 million in 2001 compared to $8.4 million for the previous year.In local phone service, GCI added more than 17,000 access lines in 2001 and listed more than 79,000 total access lines at year’s end, representing a 17 percent share of the total market in Alaska.The company’s Internet division tallied 70,000 subscribers, up from 63,000 subscribers reported at year-end 2000. GCI listed more than 26,500 cable modem customers at the end of 2001.

Broadcasters work for HDTV next year

The arrival of over-the-air digital television has been delayed by one year, but it is definitely on the way. News of the delay came from Al Bramstedt Jr., general manager of station KTUU Channel 2 in Anchorage and president of the Anchorage Broadcast Television Consortium, which is organizing the upgrade.One option of digital TV is high-definition television, which features a wide screen and very high quality, more than twice as good as what people see when they play a DVD on a regular TV set. Broadcasters can also use the bandwidth to transmit more than one program at a time.The Federal Communications Commission has mandated that the United States gradually phase in transmission of digital TV, with the country’s biggest markets going first and the smallest ones last. Anchorage falls into the latter category, and the original deadline to start transmitting was May 1.But all the Anchorage stations have asked for another year to complete the task, and Bramstedt said he fully expects the FCC to approve those requests."We told the FCC we’re working hard to make this happen and need the additional time," he said.Under the FCC plan, stations will transmit digital and analog signals side by side for years, until 85 percent of all TV sets can receive the digital signals. Then, the analog channels will be turned off and the bandwidth returned to the government for other uses.Facing a requirement to increase their operating expenses with no additional revenues, and with multimillion-dollar installation costs for each station, the Anchorage broadcasters decided to cut costs by pooling their efforts and building one facility for digital TV.That facility will be on KTVA Channel 11’s property in Midtown Anchorage. Before it can be built, the station’s existing transmitter must be moved to the Goose Bay tower across Knik Arm from Anchorage, where KTUU, KAKM Channel 7 and KIMO Channel 13 are located.The members of the consortium met March 5 to get an update on the process. Bramstedt said final approval for the KTVA move is expected very soon. He said the original KTVA tower, built in 1966, is nearing the end of its useful life and needs to be replaced.That can’t happen without approval from the Municipality of Anchorage. Bramstedt said talks with city officials will begin soon on the matter. He said he expected approval, given that the option is "a half-dozen new antennas all over town."Bramstedt said the current plan is to have the foundation for the new tower poured by fall. Construction of a new building to house the digital transmitters will also be required on the site, he said.Bramstedt cautioned that no final agreement among the stations had been signed. He said it appeared that KTUU, KTBY Channel 4, KAKM, KTVA and KIMO will eventually join in, once some final details are ironed out. He said KYES Channel 5’s plans are uncertain, since they are considering transmitting a digital signal from their current Eagle River location. A smaller station, KDMD Channel 33, will probably not participate, Bramstedt said."We’re looking for as many stations as possible who feel it makes good business sense to be co-located," Bramstedt said. "The more people sharing, the better it is for each station. We’re working together to control every incremental cost."

Cathay Pacific flights again stop in Anchorage

Cathay Pacific Airways on March 16 resumed two flights a day between Hong Kong and Toronto with a stop in Anchorage.Long delays caused by tighter security measures since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 forced the Hong Kong-based carrier to refuel and change crews in Vancouver, British Columbia. The new regulations, written in an 81-page document, forced an air carrier to unload and have its baggage cargo inspected in Anchorage, causing several hours of new layovers.With the help of Gov. Tony Knowles and Alaska’s all-Republican congressional delegation, those rules were eased for Cathay Pacific Airways, or any other airline operating from an international origin to an international destination, said Mort Plumb, director of the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.International carriers China Airlines, Korean Air and Asiana, which fly between the United States and Asia, still face tighter security measures. Airport officials and politicians are working with U.S. Customs and the Immigration and Naturalization Service to allow similar breaks for those flights, Plumb said."We’re still working on it, and I’m very optimistic," Plumb said.The new regulations forced China Airlines to drop some flights in Anchorage, and Korean Air did not add additional flights leading up to last Christmas, as it traditionally does, Plumb said.China Airlines and Asiana each fly directly from Asia to New York a dozen times weekly, but the carriers only land in Anchorage on the return leg, Plumb said.Korean Air continues to land in Anchorage six times weekly.Korean Air and Cathay Pacific, airlines that cater largely to Russians, Indians and Chinese, generate $5.2 million in direct revenue each year to the Anchorage airport, according to an analysis by the University of Alaska’s Institute for Social and Economic Research.During the six months Cathay stopped coming to Anchorage, the airport lost landing fees, fuel-flowage fees and duty-free sales. Other businesses also got hit economically, such as those which clean and cater food to the airline, Plumb said.William Adamo, director of sales and marketing for the Sheraton Anchorage Hotel, agreed."It didn’t just have a negative economic impact on the airport, but here, too."The Sheraton has resumed its contract with Cathay, setting aside an average of 40 of the hotel’s 375 rooms for the Hong Kong-based airline’s crews, Adamo said."We’re back up to speed now," Adamo said.

This Week in Alaska Business History March 24, 2002

Editor’s note: "This Week in Alaska Business History" revisits events that shaped our past."Those who cannotremember the past arecondemned to repeat it."-- George Santayana, 1863-195220 years ago this weekAnchorage TimesMarch 26, 1982Study supports Bradley Lake hydro projectBy Ronnie ChappellFor the TimesHomer -- The proposed Bradley Lake hydroelectric project is "the most feasible of the medium-sized hydroelectric projects available on the Kenai Peninsula or the Alaska Railbelt power market," concludes a draft environmental impact statement released by the Army Corps of Engineers.Electricity from the proposed $400 million facility would "be less expensive than gas- or coal-fired thermal units or any other hydropower project of comparable size that could be developed on the peninsula," the 150-page report states.Even if the massive, $5 billion Susitna hydro project is built, the study continues, Bradley Lake "would continue to be a major power producer on the Kenai Peninsula."Anchorage TimesMarch 26, 1982Resource panel opposes Doyon dealBy Karin DavisThe Associated PressJuneau -- Doyon Ltd. should not be awarded a contract for a share of the state’s royalty oil this year unless the corporation makes quick arrangements to finance the construction of a new refinery at North Pole, the Alaska Royalty Oil and Gas Advisory Board told lawmakers Thursday night.Board chairman Dick Lyon recommended approval of a second preliminary contract, an agreement to sell 46,000 barrels per day of North Slope royalty crude to Tesoro Alaska Petroleum Co.The royalty sales must be approved by the Legislature and are now being reviewed during joint meetings of the House Oil and Gas Committee and the Senate Resources Committee.Department of Natural Resources Commissioner John Katz acknowledged to lawmakers that if they approve both 12-year contracts endorsing in-state production of the oil the state may lose $10 million from what it would earn by allowing North Slope producers to market the crude for the state.10 years ago this weekAlaska Journal of CommerceMarch 30, 1992Fort Knox raises Fairbanks’ hopesBy Mark LinsalataFor the Journal of CommerceSourdough prospectors would have viewed Fort Knox as a foolhardy venture at best, but Amax Gold Inc. is looking at annual production exceeding all the gold mined in Alaska in 1991, company officials say.What Amax has on its side are new developments in leaching gold from relatively low-grade, crushed ore in a series of vats filled with a cyanide solution."I think what we are doing is we’re taking a risk on development of a bulk grade ore in Alaska in a way that has never been done before," said Timothy J. Hadden, Amax president and chief executive."If we are successful it will obviously attract others, and they will have a lesser risk," Hadden said, in a recent telephone interview from Amax headquarters in Golden, Colo.Alaska Journal of CommerceMarch 31, 1992There’s still plenty of money on the SlopeBy Margaret BaumanAlaska Journal of CommerceNorth Slope oil field producers will spend up to $4 billion through the end of the decade on new wells and other efforts to increase production in declining Prudhoe Bay, a top industry manager says.The investments include enhancement of productivity of existing wells, new development wells, expansion of facilities to handle increasing amounts of produced water and gas, and improvement of technologies to enhance oil recovery, said Jerry R. Pollock, Prudhoe Bay engineering manager for ARCO Alaska Inc.At the same time, production at Prudhoe Bay will continue to drop, Pollock told the Resource Development Council on March 19."Our calculations show the field decline rate will average 8 percent to 10 percent per year between now and the year 2000," he said."1993 and 1994 will be among the most active years we have had at Prudhoe Bay," he said.-- Compiled by Ed Bennett.

Business Profile: NCP Design/Build Ltd.

Name of the company: NCP Design/Build Ltd.Established: 1978Location: 118 E. International Airport Road, AnchorageTelephone: 907-562-2283Major focus of services: NCP Design/Build Ltd. provides architectural and construction services for residential and commercial properties. The company specializes in home renovation and custom home construction.History of the company: After working for a single- and multifamily construction firm, Clai Porter and three others started a firm in 1975. In 1978 the partners pursued other interests, and Porter operated the company as NCP Construction Ltd. Two years ago the company gained a new moniker, NCP Design/Build Ltd., describing services it has offered from the start.Although most projects have been located in Anchorage, NCP Design/Build has completed projects across the state including work in Homer, St. George and Selawik. The firm also designed a hangar in Nome and a fishing lodge in Kenai."We design 95 percent of what we build," Porter said. NCP Design/Build’s trademark is designing a home addition or renovation that seamlessly blends with the current design.NCP Design/Build employs 11 full-time workers and hires subcontractors as needed.Company officials note market trends including home modifications to meet the needs of an older population, more high-end products for the home and owners of newly built homes seeking renovations.Top accomplishment of the company: NCP Design/Build President Porter and his wife, Marilyn Porter, the company’s financial officer, cited the firm’s longevity as one achievement. Persistence, good employees, subcontractors, suppliers, people and fiscally conservative choices have contributed to that success, they said. NCP Design/Build also tallies several repeat customers for home additions or renovations.Major players: Clai Porter, president, and Marilyn Porter, financial officer, NCP Design/Build Ltd.Clai Porter earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Auburn University in Alabama and a master’s degree in architecture and urban design from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Marilyn Porter earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Washington State University in Pullman and a master’s of business administration from Alaska Pacific University. She is a licensed real estate broker. Their skills complement one another in business, she said. The Porters came to Alaska in 1972.-- Nancy Pounds

AHFC finances nearly half of home buys

Alaska Housing Finance Corp. has regained about 50 percent of the private home mortgage market in Alaska after losing market share to competing federal programs early in the 1990s.In 1996 and 1997, the state housing corporation’s mortgage lending dropped to as low as 20 percent of loans issued. Since then, the state-owned housing corporation has made an aggressive comeback with the help of innovative low-interest programs.By 1998, AHFC’s market share reached 30 percent. Two years later, in 1990, the state corporation issued 48 percent of home mortgages. Last year AHFC’s share climbed to 48.6 percent, according to a report earlier this year to the House Finance Committee in Juneau."Market share is important to us, particularly with our taxable First Time Homebuyers program, because we now have a mandate to make money for the state general fund in addition to bringing low-interest-rate home financing to Alaskans," said John Bitney, AHFC’s legislative director.The state housing corporation has been transferring $100 million per year of its earnings to the state of Alaska since 1995. The income from the corporation’s loan programs, particularly more conventional programs like the taxable First Time Homebuyers, is important in helping the corporation pay the annual dividend.Healthy earnings also help sustain AHFC’s other programs, such as the tax-exempt First Time Homebuyer program that helps Alaskans with low incomes buy homes, programs for rural Alaska and programs to help finance affordable multifamily rental units.During the many years of high interest rates in the 1970s and the regional economic recession of the mid-1980s, the state housing corporation backed up to 90 percent of home mortgages in Alaska.In the 1970s, AHFC’s subsidized rates allowed middle-income Alaskans to purchase homes at a time when conventional loans had sky-high interest rates. In the mid-1980s, there was a string of bank failures in Alaska, and the ability of AHFC to back home mortgages added confidence in the market, speeding an economic recovery.In the early 1990s AHFC focused its attention on programs to help rural and low-income home buyers and its share of conventional home mortgages for middle-income borrowers began to slip. The agency lost ground to federal home mortgage programs like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.However, as the Legislature began to depend on AHFC’s annual $100 million payment, those conventional mortgages held by middle-income Alaskans became more important, because they are more profitable than many of the corporation’s other programs."Because of their sheer size and national scope, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will usually be able to access lower-cost funds for conventional financing. In a competition they can always beat us by an eighth or a quarter of a point," in interest rates, Bitney said.To compete against Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, for several years AHFC was able to offer a conventional First Time Homebuyer loan with a 1 percent break in interest, drawing on a surplus fund the agency had developed from earnings on bonds sold in the early 1990s.Last year that fund was exhausted, however, and the conventional program was suspended for several months while an alternative method of funding the interest-rate break was developed.That process was done last fall through an innovative package of refinancing of existing bonds, including some tax-exempt bonds, the proceeds of which allowed AHFC to resume offering the conventional home mortgage program.

September conference to focus on Russian Far East issues

State officials are coordinating the details needed to host for the first time the annual West Coast-Russian Far East Ad Hoc Working Group this fall.The conference will address issues related to Russian Far East trade, regional activities and relations with Russia.The event is set for Sept. 17-19 in Anchorage, said Jeff Berliner, Russian Far East trade specialist with the state Division of International Trade and Market Development.Staff from Gov. Tony Knowles’ office are developing a steering committee to work on the event. An initial meeting is tentatively set for early April, Berliner said.Annual meetings of the group alternate between West Coast states and Russian Far East regions. In 1996 Anchorage hosted an early formative meeting of the West Coast-Russian Far East Ad Hoc Working Group.Participants are expected to include officials from California, Oregon and Washington plus Russian Far East provinces Chukotka, Koryak, Kamchatka, Sakhalin, Magadan, Khabarovsk, Primorsky (Vladivostok), Sakha (Yakutia), Amur, Chita, Buryatia and the Jewish Autonomous Region. Other delegates may include representatives from U.S. and Russian embassies, consulates and agencies.The meeting is open to the public, and organizers encourage Alaskans with business or other connections in the Russian Far East to attend.Past meetings have drawn 200 to 400 participants, he said. However, Alaskans’ activities in the Russian region may boost attendance, Berliner said."I would expect Anchorage to attract higher than average numbers," he said.One factor in attendance numbers could be the difficulty of travel between the countries, he noted.When Reeve Aleutian Airways ended its scheduled flights between Anchorage and the Russian Far East in late 2000, Alaskans lost a regular, convenient link to the region. In late 1998 Alaska Airlines ended its service from Anchorage to Magadan, Khabarovsk, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and Vladivostok. In December 1999 Aeroflot, too, discontinued routes between those cities.Now Magadan-based Mavial operates one scheduled weekly flight between Anchorage, Kamchatka and Magadan, Berliner said. Another option is Bering Air charter flights between Nome and Kamchatka. There are no flights between Anchorage and Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk or Vladivostok, he said.Berliner hopes a route will be in service before the annual conference. State trade officials have been working with air carriers, government agencies and private companies to promote development of an Alaska-Russia flight.Transportation will probably be a leading topic at the conference, Berliner said. Other discussions could cover Russian Far East business, finance, energy, natural resources and economic development; tourism and infrastructure; educational and cultural exchanges; developing government and business partnerships; and enhancing regional Alaska/West Coast-Russian Far East relations.

DEC to rule by April 1 on low-sulfur diesel

State Department of Environmental Conservation officials will decide by April 1 how they will implement a new ultra-low sulfur rule for diesel fuel being put into effect nationally by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.The national rule goes into effect in 2006, but Alaska can opt for a phase-in plan, according to David Rogers, deputy director of DEC’s Division of Air and Water Quality.No matter what the state does, the new EPA rule will raise the cost of diesel used by trucks and buses, Rogers and others told a state legislative committee in Juneau March 5.In the future, off-road construction equipment, stationary diesel generators used by power utilities and even marine vessels could be required to use the new ultra low-sulfur fuel, according to Ron King, head of DEC’s mobile air pollution control program.Rogers and King briefed the House Resources Committee on the program. King and other DEC officials have been meeting with industry and community leaders over the last year to discuss possible phase-in options."Now we’ve got to make the initial cut," of the options, Rogers said. "It’s decision time," he said.The options for a gradual Alaska phase-in are limited. Larger Alaska cities and communities along the state’s highway network will probably have to deal with the low-sulfur requirement about the same time as the rest of the nation, mainly because trucks and buses with new engines requiring the fuel will be coming into Alaska.EPA might allow special treatment for rural communities, Rogers said, but even there the new fuel will be required no later than 2010.In December 2000 the EPA published a new rule requiring sharply reduced particulate and nitrogen oxide emissions, which have been identified as creating health problems in large urban cities.New diesel engines fitted with advanced emissions-control systems will require a diesel fuel with no greater than 15 parts per million of sulfur.Most air pollution in major U.S. cities these days comes from diesel trucks and buses, and once the new engines using 15 ppm diesel are operating, EPA expects a 90 percent reduction in air pollution caused by diesel vehicles, King said.EPA now mandates that diesel for road vehicles have no more than 500 parts per million. Alaska has an exemption from that rule, so diesel made by Alaska refiners with sulfur content up to 1,000 ppm can be used in vehicles, King said.Cost of the new fuel and the special handling it will require will be a major consideration. Where to get the fuel is another problem.Alaska refineries will be unable to produce it because the demand for small quantities of special diesel for highway use will be too small to justify the estimated $100 million-plus in refinery modifications needed to produce 15 ppm diesel, according to Bill Boycott, refining director for Williams Companies, which owns a refinery at North Pole.Lower 48 refineries will gear up to produce the new fuel, and King said he has heard estimates that the added cost will be about 5 cents per gallon.When transportation costs to Alaska are added the cost will be higher, particularly in rural Alaska, King said.Frank Dillon, executive director of the Alaska Trucking Association, said he believes the cost could be 25 cents or even 40 cents per gallon greater by the time it is brought to Alaska.An additional problem is the energy loss factor, Dillon said. The 15 ppm diesel will have less energy content per gallon than conventional diesel, so more of it will be required to do the same work.Dillon told the legislative committee that Alaska does not have air pollution problems caused by diesel exhaust, unlike Lower 48 cities, but the new EPA rule will saddle Alaskans with extra costs. Trucking companies will have to pass the extra costs on to consumers, he said.Yet another problem for Interior and northern Alaska will be finding a source of Arctic grade diesel at the 15 ppm specifications, King said.By the time the new rule goes into effect nationally refiners in the Lower 48 will have geared up to produce ultra-low sulfur diesel.But Interior and northern regions of the state require special Arctic diesel that will pour in very cold temperatures. Canadian refineries in Alberta make Arctic grade diesel and may be making it at 15 ppm if Canada follows the U.S. lead in requiring the fuel.Alaska fuel distributors may be able to buy the fuel there and pay the costs of trucking it to Alaska, King said. The alternative will be paying a Lower 48 refinery to make a special run of 15 ppm Arctic grade diesel, which will also cost more.The greatest challenge will be in rural Alaska, however. Mark Smith of Yukon Fuels, a rural distributor, told the legislators that the special handling the new fuel will require will complicate delivery operations, adding possibly 20 percent to costs.Although the present EPA rule applies to fuel used for on-road vehicles, EPA is working on plans to extend it to off-road mobile equipment like construction equipment, King said.A proposed rule for off-road equipment may be ready by the end of the year. Eventually, stationary diesel generators, such as those used by utilities, could be covered.The long-range implications are of great concern to rural utility managers. Meera Kohler, president of Alaska Village Electric Cooperative, said that if the small community generators operated by her utility are required to use the new fuel, the 25 cents per gallon extra cost would amount to a $1.25 million per year higher fuel bill.When the lower energy content of the 15 ppm fuel is factored in, meaning that generators will have to burn more gallons to produce the same electricity, the added costs could double, she said.John Handeland, manager of Nome’s city-owned utility, said the if the new fuel is required it could easily increase electricity costs in Nome by 33 percent.Patricia Jones is a free-lance writer living in Fairbanks. She can be reached via e-mail at ([email protected]).

Cook Inlet launches low-income housing in Anchorage

Cook Inlet Housing Authority has kicked off construction of a new 60-unit low-income housing project in Anchorage. The $10 million Strawberry Village Cottages project features rent-to-own single-family homes at Minnesota Drive and Strawberry Road.Initial units should be ready for occupancy by September, and the entire project is due for completion in late 2002.The project, which broke ground March 5, is part of the group’s effort promoting a different concept in affordable housing unlike a typical high-density multifamily model, CIHA officials said.The housing authority believes Strawberry Village will meet a community need. A CIHA study before the project showed demand for low-income and accessible rental housing exceeds the supply. The group cited Alaska Housing Finance Corp. reports showing more than 2,000 families are on a waiting list for AHFC low-income housing programs.CIHA estimates about 7,500 to 9,000 renter households in Anchorage could meet the income criteria for Strawberry Village, but fewer than 4,500 rent-restricted or subsidized units are currently available in the market.Landscaping and other details are an important part of the project, said Amy Jennings, CIHA communications officer. Several homes will be nestled together and mini parks are included in plans, she said. Designs also call for tree-lined streets, sidewalks and ample parking."We want to bring a sense of the old-fashioned neighborhood environment to our clients and to the community as a whole," said Carol Gore, CIHA president and chief executive."The idea is we really want to encourage people to feel like they live in a community," Jennings said. "Part of our idea about housing is that where you live affects how you feel about yourself. We want to give people a nice place to live."To qualify as a Strawberry Village resident, families must earn less than 60 percent of Anchorage’s median income, CIHA officials said. For example, a family of four must earn less than $36,000 annually.Although CIHA is a nonprofit affiliate of Native corporation Cook Inlet Region Inc., Strawberry Village is available for all individuals who meet income requirements, not just Natives.Of the 60 units, half will have two bedrooms and measure either 914 or 928 square feet. The other 30 units will have three bedrooms and measure 1,276 square feet. Three of the homes will have one level and be accessible for disabled family members.CIHA officials expect rent for a two-bedroom unit will be $736 per month and $848 monthly for three-bedroom units.Project funds include two AHFC loans -- a $2.3 million loan and a $500,000 arbitrage-subsidized loan -- plus $1.2 million from the Native American Housing and Self-Determination Act and more than $5.1 million in low-income tax credits from a federal program to spur affordable housing development.The project developer is Venture Development, with design by architect Koonce Pfeffer Bettis of Anchorage. Neeser Construction Inc., also of Anchorage, is the general contractor.CIHA owns and operates low-income rental properties around Alaska. They include 215 units in Anchorage, 24 in Kenai, 18 in Seldovia and 10 in Ninilchik.

Few strategies have win-win potential of Enterprise Zones

JUNEAU -- As Alaska’s fiscal gap widens, the economy’s growth slows. Business development must take priority so Alaskans can have good jobs and profit from vigorous businesses. House Bill 36, Enterprise Zones, will invigorate Alaska’s economy and bring prosperity to many communities throughout the state.The time has come to stop talking about what could be done to stimulate growth in Alaska and start proposing real solutions. Enterprise zones provide a real solution.Enterprise zones are not a new concept. They were first introduced in President Reagan’s administration as a way to stimulate the economy in depressed areas by offering business incentives, such as tax breaks.Traditionally, enterprise zones rely on credits towards or exemptions from state taxes or fees. The backbone of the incentive package is the local options.The designation of an enterprise zone would authorize local communities to offer the incentive or incentives of choice from a short list: Reductions in permit or user fees; Credits on or exemption from property taxes; Flexibility in regulation; and Lease or sale of real property to private persons.On top of authorizing greater flexibility in providing local economic development incentives, HB36 would also establish statewide corporate income tax credits.Additionally, it will help facilitate access to federal grant money. Various grant programs are available through the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. Most notable are the Community Development Block Grants and the federal Enterprise Zones and Empowerment Communities Program.The two statewide incentives are, first, that 15 percent of the initial investment would count as a credit toward state corporate income taxes. Secondly, after one year of operation within an enterprise zone, a business could qualify for a corporate income tax credit of $500 per new employee.With an enterprise zone, any Alaska community would have the option to offer reductions in permit or user fees, credits or exemptions from property taxes, flexibility in regulation, and the lease or sale of real property to private persons. This variety of options will encourage much growth and development in underdeveloped areas. These allow local initiative and entrepreneurship, benefiting the whole community.A quick look at the problems facing Alaskans shows the importance of instituting solutions that can work. Between October 2000 and October 2001, Alaska had the highest unemployment among all western states. In the last decade, Alaska per capita income was flat while the national average increased by 12 percent. In the last decade, more than 30,000 young Alaskans left our state because of the lack of meaningful employment.I am convinced enterprise zones work in Alaska because of the positive results I have seen from Metlakatla Indian Community, which was designated as a second round Enterprise Community by the federal government in 1999.Community residents played an active role in outlining a plan that would diversify and repair an economy that relied heavily on the fishing and timber industries. With grants from the program, the community was able to diversify its economy. They constructed a water bottling plant and are currently establishing public ferry facilities at Annette Bay. The enterprise zone program has created strong community involvement and long range planning, paving the way for other communities to prosper.Quite simply, we need plans that increase per capita income, lower unemployment and encourage young Alaskans to remain in state. Enterprise zone programs will achieve these goals by importing income into our Alaska communities and thus empowering depressed communities to rebuild into self-sufficient, healthy economies. These programs provide viable solutions for some of the problems facing our state.Alaska Republican Sen. Ted Stevens, a strong supporter of enterprise zones, reworked a federal law to help Alaska communities benefit from enterprise zone programs. The state and Fairbanks Chambers of Commerce, the Alaska Municipal League and the Fairbanks City Council all view this approach as a winner for Alaska’s economy.A healthy, growing economy leads to good returns for those who are willing to take risks and good jobs for those who want to work. The passage of HB36 will empower distressed areas to create economic opportunities and jobs for residents. I am encouraged by the introduction of a companion bill by the Senate State Affairs Committee that may bring Alaska enterprise zones into fruition this year.The bottom line is few strategies have this win-win potential for our state.Enterprise zones install a new vitality in communities and create job opportunities for Alaskans and their families. It is clear the positive effects gained by instituting these programs will help Alaska reduce its fiscal gap, which has to be done to protect our state’s future and ensure it has a strong economy to pass onto future generations.Rep. Joe Hayes, D-Fairbanks, is a member of the House Labor & Commerce Committee. He can be reached at 907-465-3466.

Push salmon as healthy, expert says

Consumers worldwide are increasingly craving healthy food, representing a potential market for Alaska seafood, according to an industry expert.Global sales of natural, organic and health food recently totaled $67.5 billion, said Tom Harding, president of AgriSystems International, a food industry consulting firm.The United States represents 36 percent of those sales while Europe tallies 31 percent and third-place Japan 16 percent.Harding spoke March 6 at the Business of Seafood Forum at the Egan Civic & Convention Center in Anchorage. The event was sponsored by World Trade Center Alaska."Britain leads the growth pack in Europe," he said, citing the country’s response after mad cow disease outbreaks. Ten years ago major British grocer Sainsbury had no sales of organic food, but now the company tallies 3 million pounds each week in organic food sales, he said.Harding described current international buying trends to help Alaska seafood producers and processors understand and reach new markets."You’ve got to be willing to change," Harding said, urging Alaskans to consider possible markets. "Give the marketplace what it wants."An emerging world food market, what Harding called the lifestyle of health and sustainability segment, could beckon Alaska seafood, he said. Consumers in this market look for high-quality products at reasonable prices, and they desire product and company information, he said. These consumers want to know the story behind the products, Harding said."Boy, have you got a story," he told the Alaska audience. "You’ve got to tell it every day," not just during nonfishing months, he said.This market segment represents 26 percent of the adult population with about 50 million U.S. residents, and 60 percent of these consumers are women. Harding expects further growth in this category.These buyers value social responsibility, quality and service-oriented marketing, he said. They buy products that meet their value system, Harding said.The lifestyle of health and sustainability is a $230 billion market in the United States and $540 billion internationally, he said.Despite the size of this market, it’s worth Alaskans’ efforts to promote products to these consumers, he said. Partnerships are one way to tackle the large market, Harding suggested.Healthy eating is also important in the fast food and food service industry, he said. Natural and organic restaurants are gaining numbers, Harding said.Primarily, it’s important to understand the market, he said. Identify where Alaska products can meet demand, and through partnerships perhaps between fishermen and processors, work to supply the market, Harding said."Be willing to change, and change you must," he said."This is really about creating a future for yourself," Harding noted. "This is not about money. It’s about our common future. We have lots of customers who want to buy your products but you have to connect with them."

Alaska Air Carriers Association elects Kip Knudson as president

Kip Knudson has been elected president of the Alaska Air Carriers Association.Knudson, 37, was elected to the post during the association’s 36th annual conference and trade show in Anchorage Feb. 28. He replaces Bob Hajdukovich, director of operations for Frontier Flying Service, a Fairbanks-based airline.Knudson is general manager of Era Aviation Inc. in Anchorage. He formerly served as vice president of the Alaska Air Carriers Association, a group founded in 1966 to promote the interests of Alaska’s commercial aviation businesses.Issues facing the state’s air carriers have remained constant over the years and won’t likely change during his tenure, Knudson said."The No. 1 issue for all carriers and pilots is achieving a better safety record," Knudson said. "That never changes, I’m afraid."Alaska has the highest aviation accident rates in the nation. Knudson is hopeful a new safety program administered by the association will change that.The Five Star Medallion Program is a volunteer accreditation for Alaska air carriers that includes, among other things, a company safety program, simulator training, risk assessment checklists, increased mechanic and ground service training, and independent safety audits.Lowering accident rates would likely help lower air carriers’ insurance costs, which have skyrocketed over the past few years, he said.

Bill would prohibit use of credit history in insurance applications

Legislation that would prohibit insurance companies from relying on personal credit histories is active in both the state House and Senate. In the Senate, a bill sponsored by Sen. John Cowdery, R-Anchorage, has moved from the Senate Transportation Committee, which Cowdery chairs, to the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee. The bill is Senate Bill 320.Meanwhile, the House Labor and Commerce Committee held an extensive hearing March 6 on a similar bill, House Bill 395, sponsored by Rep. Harry Crawford, D-Anchorage.In the House committee hearing, insurance industry representatives defended the practice, citing a statistical correlation between people with bad credit histories and accidents. The practice is used in both automobile and home casualty insurance.Senior citizen groups appearing at the House hearing felt the practice was discriminatory because many seniors do not use credit cards and have no credit history. They may be penalized by insurers through denial of insurance or being charged higher rates, they said.State would survey 90 additional tideland sites for maricultureThe House Resources Committee approved a bill allowing the Department of Natural Resources to survey tideland sites for mariculture farms. Under House Bill 208, sponsored be Rep. Drew Scalzi, R-Homer, an additional 60 sites for oyster farms, 20 sites for clams and 10 for geoducks would be surveyed.The sites would be available for 10-year leases. Any naturally-occuring shellfish on the sites would be available for public harvesting prior to the start of farming. The bill is now in the House Finance Committee.

Exports slip thanks to Japan, BP

Alaska’s exports to the world totaled $2.4 billion in 2001, down from $2.5 billion in 2000, according to the state trade office.Exports to Japan, Alaska’s No. 1 market, dropped 20 percent in 2001 to total $1.04 billion. State trade officials attributed the decline to the country’s ongoing economic crisis.The decrease in overall export totals comes chiefly from a decline in crude oil exports since BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. last year shipped crude oil to West Coast refineries rather than refining it in Alaska for worldwide export.Such a switch affects the state export dollar value but not the economy since prices remain the same, according to officials from the Division of International Trade and Market Development.In 2000 Alaska exported $288 million in crude oil compared with almost none in 2001.Forest product exports also declined in 2001 to total $155.4 million, down 25 percent from the previous year.Alaska’s largest export, seafood, accounted for 50 percent of total exports. Seafood exports climbed to $1.2 billion in 2001, up 15 percent from 2000. Sales of pollock products, including fillets, surimi and roe, accounted for the increase, state trade officials said.Mineral exports increased by 12 percent thanks to increased output. However, prices for zinc ore, the largest mineral export, continue to decline, and although production value was up, profits were down for mineral exporters, reported the state trade office.Sales of liquefied natural gas to Japan and coal to Korea registered at 2000’s levels during 2001. Fertilizer exports, primarily from Agrium’s Nikiski plant, totaled $189.8 million last year, up 23 percent from 2000.Exports to the state’s No. 2 trading partner, Korea, increased 3 percent to $464 million in 2001.Canada was Alaska’s third largest export market with more than $188 million in exports last year, up 13 percent from 2000.

Metal prices slice mining's worth

FAIRBANKS -- Low metal prices and reduced exploration spending caused the value of Alaska’s mining industry to drop almost $300 million in 2001, according to state industry reports presented during the Alaska Miners Association conference in Fairbanks March 5-9.State officials are hopeful that final reports from mining companies will bump the total value of Alaska’s mineral industry over the $1 billion mark. Right now, the tally sits at $992 million, a sharp decline from the $1.28 billion posted in 2000.Yet a number of those attending the 18th Biennial Conference on Alaska Mining said they were "cautiously optimistic" about a future recovery of the mining industry."A lot of the gold gurus are predicting that gold is going to go out of sight," said Rich Hughes, a Fairbanks-based mining engineer and co-chairman of the mining conference. "But that would be a detriment, because there would be a lot of chaos."Rather, a stable, steady increase is needed, he said. Accounting for inflation since 1934, when the U.S. government set gold market price at $35 an ounce, gold should be selling for $460 an ounce today, Hughes said, not the $290 per ounce price of current markets."Every little bit of increase helps," said Steve Borell, executive director of the Alaska Miners Association, about recent upswings in metal prices."If we see gold get up to $320 to $325 an ounce and stay there for a while, that should encourage some people to get involved again," he said.Two Interior Alaska placer miners attending the conference agreed, saying the increase in gold was needed to stimulate individual and family-sized mining operators to resume work.Al Hopen, who mines about 25 miles northeast of Fairbanks, plans to operate this summer "because I owe the bank money. I can’t quit," he said. "It’s like flying to Hawaii. You can’t turn back when you’re over halfway there. You’ve got to keep going."Paul Manual is one placer miner who has chosen to halt work on his ground in the Circle Mining District, waiting for better market prices. Yet leasing his heavy-duty earth-moving equipment isn’t generating much profit either, he said.Such individual operators were hard to find at the conference, where miners learned that production of placer gold, the nugget-sized chunks separated from host creek dirt and gravel using gravity and water, dropped more than 50 percent in 2001.David Szumigala, a geologist with the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, said during his conference presentation March 8 that fewer than 23,000 ounces of placer gold was extracted in 2001, compared with 46,314 ounces in 2000.Lode gold mining, where rocks containing microscopic-sized flecks of gold are crushed and processed, is quickly out-pacing placer mining production. The state’s largest gold mine, Fort Knox, outside Fairbanks, produced 411,000 ounces of gold in 2001, and the Greens Creek Mine in Southeast extracted another 73,000 ounces of gold from its ore last year, Szumigala said.Last year, Fort Knox added gold production from a satellite deposit called True North, a property located about 10 miles from the mill complex."True North was the only new lode mine to go into production in the United States last year," Szumigala said. "That was a significant accomplishment in getting the permits to mine and starting up production for three-quarters of the year."Although gold mining is an integral part of Alaska’s history and development, the bulk of value in the today’s industry comes from extraction of zinc and lead, base metal production measured in tons rather than ounces.Located in northwestern Alaska, the Red Dog Mine logged record production of those industrial metals in 2001, thanks to completion of a $104 million mill optimization project late in the year.The 400-plus workers at Red Dog produced 1.2 million tons of concentrate, which includes 570,000 tons of zinc, just over 100,000 tons of lead and 5.9 million ounces of silver."Red Dog accounts for 70 percent of all metal mined in Alaska and 60 percent of the total value of the Alaska mineral industry," Szumigala said. "Let’s hope they keep going, because if they drop, we’ll all be in trouble."Yet market prices for lead and zinc also have hit some troubling lows for the industry. "The price of zinc averaged 40 cents a pound, and now it’s 34 cents," said Dick Swainbank, mining specialist for the state Department of Community & Business Development. "They barely broke even ... when you’re all the way down, everything looks up."Exploration and development spending also declined in 2001, compared to prior years. About $22 million was spent by prospectors looking for new mineral deposits in 2001, compared to nearly $35 million in 2000 and $52 million in 1999.

Koestenbaum's mind never stops

Peter Koestenbaum, the legendary business and leadership philosopher, keynoted the Alaska Capital Investment and Manufacturer’s Conference 2002 last week. Peter K., as he’s known by friends, looks like Tolstoy: 73 years old, white beard, twinkling eyes and a mind that never stops. His schedule doesn’t stop either. It’s not uncommon for him to consult with chief executives on three continents in the same week. Here are some of Peter K.’s observations: On the relevance of philosophy to business: "The more you understand the human condition, the more effective you are as a businessperson. Human depth makes business sense." On exercising leadership: "Leadership is seizing an impossible situation and either wrestling it into a breakthrough solution or releasing its dormant greatness." On his definition of a leader: "A person who is truly effective in achieving worthy results, in any field, no matter what the obstacles, with unfailing regard for human beings." On the requirements of leadership: "Leading requires changing not only the way you think and the way you act but also the way you will." On greatness: "Greatness comes with recognizing that your potential is limited only by how you choose, how you use your freedom, how resolute you are, how persistent you are; in short, by your attitude. And we are all free to choose our attitude." On strategy: "Paradoxical as it may seem, the personal precedes the strategic; good strategy is created by a brilliant mind and implemented by a strong character, not the other way around." On the meaning of your job: "The significance of your job is not that it offers you security but that it demands from you personal growth." On what it means to be a leader: "To be a leader is to be awake and alert, to be dissatisfied at all times." Koestenbaum’s comments don’t simply stand alone. He has a coherent framework for his thinking. His thinking is important because it is leaders who create wealth, both financial and civic wealth. Here’s a distillation: The two greatest challenges facing business are leadership challenges. First, organizations need to develop what he calls leadership intelligence or a leadership mind. Second, leadership intelligence has to be spread throughout the organization. With leadership intelligence, one can develop quality people. It takes quality people to create and to support the quality products and services that result in wealth. The leadership mind: According to Koestenbaum, leaders think differently from other people. A leader is focused on greatness in all he or she does. Greatness is effective and worthy action. The Leadership Model: Koestenbaum defines the mind-set of a leader as the Leadership Diamond. The four corners of the Diamond represent the four major leadership strategies: vision, reality, ethics and courage. The area inside of the diamond is one’s capacity for greatness. Greatness also has two facets: professional competence and personal character. Both are essential.So what do these four leadership strategies mean?Vision is the ability to think big and new. It speaks to the ability to apply analytical skills. This is the domain of creativity and the ability to generate new perspectives. When I think of business leaders with vision, I think of Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines and his drive to create the low-fare airline.Reality means having no illusions. It speaks to relying on data that is factual, and not emotional. It is tough, task-oriented and results-focused. When I think of business leaders with a reality focus, I think of people like Hjalmar Olson and Tom Hawkins at Bristol Bay Native Corp.Ethics is about providing service. It speaks to the value of people and integrity. When I think of a business leader with ethics and a team orientation, I think of Ann Rhoades, an executive vice president with JetBlue.Courage is about acting with sustained initiative. When I think of a business leader with courage, I think of Colman Mockler, former chief executive of Gillette and his success at fighting off repeated corporate takeover attempts in order to preserve the value of Gillette.So how does someone put these four strategies together in order to take action? As an individual, you exercise leadership by teaching leadership. And you teach leadership best by modeling what you want to see. As an organization, it means creating opportunities to spread leadership intelligence and creating an environment in which everyone is a leader. Tim Pearson is a professional business coach and founder of MindJazz. He can be reached via e-mail at ([email protected]).

This Week in Alaska Business History March 17, 2002

Editor’s note: "This Week in Alaska Business History" revisits events that shaped our past."Those who cannotremember the past arecondemned to repeat it."-- George Santayana, 1863-195220 years ago this weekAnchorage TimesMarch 17, 1982Firm calls Susitna project viableSuggest state pay half costBy Dave CarpenterTimes WriterA private consulting firm has given high marks to the proposed multibillion dollar Susitna hydroelectric project after conducting a 2/12 year, $35 million study.In a seven-volume feasibility report released today, Acres American Inc. concluded that construction of two giant dams on the Susitna River is "technically feasible and economically viable" despite the hefty price tag -- an estimated $5.13 billion.The consultants said the project is an "optimal" plan for providing electricity in the Railbelt through 2010 and beyond, almost certainly at a significantly cheaper rate than coal or natural gas.Acres, a consulting firm from Buffalo, N.Y., recommended a minimum state appropriation of $2.3 billion. The remainder would be financed through bonds, in order to avoid high consumer costs in the years immediately following Susitna’s planned on-line date of 1993.Anchorage TimesMarch 20, 1982New salmon recall announcedBy Karin DaviesAssociated PressJuneau -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration ordered the recall Friday of 7 3/4-ounce cans of salmon packed by two additional Alaska canneries. The agency indicated still more recalls might be on the horizon.FDA officials said the cans could be defective and may contain deadly botulism.Sue Hutchcroft, a Seattle FDA spokeswoman, said she doesn’t know how many cans the additional recall will involve but "it’s probably in the millions."It was yet another blow to the ailing Alaska seafood industry, which is still feeling the effects of the recall last month of millions of cans of suspect salmon.The packs of Chugach Alaska Fisheries in Cordova and Diamond E Fisheries in Egegik are being recalled, FDA spokesman Christopher Smith said.10 years ago this weekAlaska Journal of CommerceMarch 23, 1992Surviving Alaska banks are well capitalizedBy Margaret BaumanAlaska Journal of CommerceAlaska banks will see little growth in 1992 and 1993, but are doing very well, with increasing assets and the high liquidity, which indicates caution in lending practices, banking experts say."All of our banks are well capitalized and in good shape," said Willis Kirkpatrick, director of banking, securities and corporations for the state Division of Banking."Alaska banks are doing very well. They are increasing their assets and more important, they are increasing their equity accounts, mostly by retained earnings.""I don’t think we saw much growth in 1991, nor will we see much growth in 1992," said Ed Rasmuson, chairman of the board of National Bank of Alaska. "(But) even if we don’t have any growth, I don’t think the economy is doing all that bad.""What’s happened is the poorly run banks have gone broke and we are left with banks that are healthy and doing well," said David Cuddy, senior vice president of First National Bank of Anchorage.Alaska Journal of CommerceMarch 23, 1992Chevron USA might pull outBy Ray TysonFor the Alaska Journal of CommerceA survey of oil companies indicates that for the first time in years there may be no summer exploratory drilling on Alaska’s Outer Continental Shelf, reflecting a growing frustration with government policies and regulations that continue to push industry to look for crude oil outside the United States.Meanwhile, Chevron USA could become the next oil company to pull out of Alaska. Over the past several years, the company’s employment base has dwindled from about 200 to five."When you’re not doing anything there’s no reason to stay," said Tom Cook, Chevron’s Alaska exploration representative."We have absolutely nothing in the works," he said.-- Compiled by Ed Bennett.

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