This Week in Alaska Business History December 30, 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

Dec. 30, 1981

Developer may build dormitories at UAA

By Bob Miller

Times Writer

An Anchorage businessman said today he is working with a group of developers who are very serious about building dormitories for the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Bob Vogt, who owns the Alaska Development Co. and also serves as Alaska’s commissioner of athletics and statewide task force coordinator for Alaska ’84, said the group may contract to build the dormitories by the end of January.

Vogt declined to name the other developers and said they haven’t committed themselves, "but they are very involved in the Anchorage real estate and development market. They have the funds and they are interested in building the dormitories."

Vogt said the group is interested in building $10 million-$15 million facilities that could accommodate 400 to 600 students.

Anchorage Times

Dec. 30, 1981

Owner of bankrupt airline agrees to partial payment plan

By Maureen Blewett

Times Writer

The former president of a bankrupt commuter airline, Polar Airlines Inc., has agreed to sell the firm and repay his unsecured creditors 10 cents on the dollar.

Five months ago, Tim Ewell, executive director of the Moral Majority in Alaska, pledged as a matter of "Biblical principle" to repay his creditors dollar for dollar. But in a surprise settlement after six days of jury trial, Ewell’s attorney, Richard Smith, asked that the state Superior Court settlement not be made public.

The settlement grew out of a lawsuit filed in June 1980. In it, Ewell charged that former owner Royce Morgan misrepresented the financial condition of Polar Airlines when Ewell purchased the airlines. In a response to Ewell’s suit, Morgan claimed Ewell mismanaged the financial condition of the airline and misconducted its business.

Ewell bought the business in 1977 and declared bankruptcy June 17, 1980. In January 1981, he became executive director of the conservative, church-backed Moral Majority.

10 years ago this week

Alaska Journal of Commerce

Dec. 30, 1991

Don’t expect too much to change

By Tim Bradner

Alaska Journal of Commerce

Optimists call it stability, pessimists see stagnation. Whatever it’s called, Alaska’s economy seems flat going into 1992.

That’s a perception, of course, because the most important economic indicator for the state -- wage and salary employment -- was still growing during November, the latest month for which there is data. Considering how things are in other states, things aren’t all that bad. Overall employment in the state is near 1985 levels, the peak of the mid-1980s boom.

But attitudes are powerful influences, and a recession psychology in Alaska’s business community can help create a real one.

The national recession is having an impact in Alaska. It used to be that Alaska was counter-cyclical. If things were down in the Lower 48, Alaska was perking. No more, it appears.

This recession is different. The national economy is suffering while oil markets remain soft, and in fact are getting softer. Low demand for fuel, one result of the recession, is helping keep oil prices down. That has major impacts here through less oil industry activity and lower state revenues.

Alaska Journal of Commerce

Dec. 30, 1991

1991 economy was flat, but with exceptions

By Margaret Bauman

Alaska Journal of Commerce

Flat to minimal growth described the Alaska economy in 1991 with real estate agents hustling to maintain sales volume, while the good news for business owners was a definite employer’s job market.

"It was flat for some people and others had a better year than they anticipated," said Ernie Hall, chairman of the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce. "I don’t think it was a terrible year for anyone. If so, I haven’t heard of it. Everyone has basically maintained or done a little better than last year. If next year is as good as last, I’ll be pleased."

"Employers have had very little problems finding people, from the technical to the less skilled workers," said Neal Fried, state labor economist. "The previous two years, employers were having a tough time finding enough workers."

The year drawing to an end saw no great hot spots for employment, although generally speaking there was a stronger demand for professional and technical skills, Fried said.

-- Compiled by Ed Bennett.

12/30/2001 - 8:00pm