Elwood Brehmer

Gas line projected to generate thousands of in-state jobs

Alaska Gasline Development Corp. CEO Dan Fauske provided figures estimating a major impact to Alaska if the proposed in-state gas pipeline is built.

“It will be the largest project in North America. It will supply 8,000 direct and 15,000 indirect jobs,” Fauske said Nov. 9 in a presentation to the Associated General Contractors of Alaska annual conference.

Partnerships working to reduce moose collisions in Alaska

The Alaska Moose Federation, or AMF, is partnering with state agencies and private industry to implement new strategies to reduce the number of vehicle versus moose collisions.

AMF Executive Director Gary Olson said heavy snowfall last winter pushed more moose into urban environments and onto plowed roadways. That led to more than 1,000 confirmed moose collisions last winter totaling more than $35 million in damage. In one 24-hour period in early February, the federation’s moose salvage program picked up 17 dead moose.

Wood biomass project to power Tok appears promising

Alaska Power & Telephone’s feasibility study for a wood biomass plant in Tok should be finalized by the end of November, Thomas Deerfield, project coordinator, said, and the initial findings for the proposal look promising.

Deerfield owns Dalson Energy, an Anchorage-based energy consulting firm that specializes in the use of wood biomass energy systems.

Wood biomass systems traditionally burn wood harvested as a renewable fuel to power a boiler system, which transfers heat through steam to warm individual buildings, Deerfield explained.

Roads to Resources effort emerging from planning stages

The Roads to Resources proposal set forth by Gov. Sean Parnell as a funding mechanism to jump start work on four surface transportation projects in Alaska is slowly gaining steam, according to officials close to the work.

In late 2011, the governor announced a $28.5 million budget proposal aimed at increasing access to resources currently outside the state’s road system.

TSA plans for expedited security in Anchorage

The Transportation Safety Administration recently announced an expansion of its PreCheck screening system to Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport for eligible travelers.

Lorie Dankers, TSA public affairs manager said the program should be implemented in Anchorage by early December.

Interior Dept. says it will release emergency funds to pay pilots

Sen. Lisa Murkowski announced in a Nov. 1 press release that Alaska pilots waiting on payment for work done with the U.S. Department of Interior can expect to see cash arriving soon.

AEDC forecast sees strong growth for Anchorage, state

The Anchorage economy showing promise can be used as an indicator for the rest of Alaska, Bill Popp, president and CEO of the Anchorage Economic Development Corp., told the Society for Marketing Professional Services at an Oct. 23 luncheon.

Job growth, or lack thereof, is one of the first indicators he looks at when determining the health of an economy, Popp said. Figures were flat in 2009 and 2010 because employers were wary of faltering economies elsewhere. Companies refrained from hiring, he said, to see whether “the global catastrophe was going to come washing over us.”

Nome and Kotzebue projects await bond vote

Proposed port development and improvement projects in northwest Alaska are moving forward with environmental and planning surveys, officials in Kotzebue and Nome said.

A $10 million grant for the city of Kotzebue to fund study and initial construction work on the proposed Cape Blossom access road, which would link the future port site to Kotzebue, is a part of the $453.5 million in transportation projects on the proposed state bond package up for a vote Nov. 6.

Pier 1 Imports opens store in Fairbanks

Pier 1 Imports opened its northernmost store in Fairbanks on Oct. 29, with a new look for one of the home furnishings retailer’s newest outlets, said Executive Vice President Sharon Leite.

“Pier 1 Imports offers merchandise that fits all decorating styles, as well as a broad array of affordable holiday décor, furniture and gifts and we look forward to sharing Pier 1 Imports shopping experience with the residents of this one-of-a-kind community,” said Leite, who was in attendance for the event.

Alaska Air Group reports record profits in 3Q

Alaska Air Group, Inc. announced record profits when its third quarter earnings were released Oct. 25.

The airline company reported $150.3 million in net earnings for the quarter, compared with $131.1 million in the third quarter of 2011. Total revenue for the quarter was $1.3 billion.

“This is the highest quarterly profit in our history and it’s the 14th consecutive quarterly profit that we’ve reported,” Brad Tilden, president and CEO, said.

Alaska Air Group manages Alaska Airlines and the smaller Horizon Air.

Steady growth forecast for major Alaska airports

The Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities recently released its forecast summaries for both Ted Stevens Anchorage International and Fairbanks International airports.

The reports were prepared to provide the Alaska International Airport System, or AIAS, with data regarding trends in both passenger and cargo traffic through both airports, which will be used to aid in long-term planning strategies for both airports, according to an internal AIAS letter available on its website.

Annual Day of Caring draws 800 volunteers

United Way of Anchorage gathered more than 800 volunteers for its 19th annual Day of Caring in September, a day devoted to giving Anchorage corporations an avenue to give back to their community, Christine Gire, communications manager for the non-profit, said.

“Day of Caring is the single largest day of corporate volunteerism in Anchorage,” Gire said. “It’s a day when UWA celebrates the commitment of local business volunteers for rolling up their sleeves and taking on much needed community projects.”

Late payments frustrate pilots working for DOI

Troy Cambier is a pilot for hire. He is owner and operator of Chena River Aviation, based in Fairbanks. Cambier flies his four-seat Robinson R-44 helicopter throughout Alaska filling a transportation void wherever it’s found.

USDA provides nearly $29M in grants for rural infrastructure

U.S. Department of Agriculture officials announced 16 rural Alaska communities will receive funding to improve health and water quality in the villages. The majority of the money will be used in Native villages to fund development of community water and wastewater disposal systems.

The USDA will fund the projects through it Rural Alaska Village Grant program, Jim Nordlund, USDA Rural Development Alaska director, said.

Alaska Airlines orders 50 planes from Boeing

Alaska Airlines announced an order for 50 new 737s from Boeing on Oct. 11, totaling $5 billion at Boeing’s list prices. The order, to be filled from 2015 to 2022, denotes the airline’s largest single order in terms of dollars spent, according to a press release from the company.

Cuts threaten budgets for Natives, veterans, contractors

Automatic cuts in the Department of Defense budget of up to 18 percent are set to kick in Jan. 2, 2013, if Congress does not act. The cuts, approved by Congress in August 2011 as a part of the Budget Control Act deal to raise the national debt ceiling, trim $500 billion off Defense Department budgets from 2013 to 2021.

AFN addresses challenges, marks 100 years for Grand Camp

The 2012 Alaska Federation of Natives convention will be held Oct. 18 to Oct. 20 at the Dena’ina Convention Center in Anchorage with the theme “Success Beyond Barriers.”

“It’s about our people’s repeated success at overcoming barriers and finding ways to thrive beyond the challenges that persist, especially in rural Alaska,” AFN President Julie Kitka said.

Incentives for wellness programs included in health care reform

With uncertainty surrounding how the roughly 2,700-page law will impact benefit costs for employers, fostering a healthier workplace, and in turn healthier employees, as a way of driving benefit costs down, was an overriding message at the State of Reform health policy conference.

To grow healthy work environments, insurance providers are encouraging employers to put health initiatives into action termed wellness programs.

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