Business Briefs

Posted: Thursday, January 11, 2001

New publisher named at Juneau Empire

Don Smith has been named publisher of the Juneau Empire. He assumed his new responsibilities Dec. 27.

Smith was formerly group publisher of Morris Communications Corp.'s Western Slope Publishing Group, a network of seven Colorado publications, which were sold in November.

Before moving to Colorado in May 1998, Smith was publisher of the Yankton (S.D.) Daily Press and Dakotan for five years.

Earlier in his career, Smith was advertising director for the Hannibal (Mo.) Courier-Post for 12 years. He worked in advertising sales for the Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune for his first 10 years in the newspaper business.

Morris Communications is a privately held media company with diversified holdings that including newspaper and magazine publishing, outdoor advertising, radio broadcasting, book publishing and distribution, and computer services. In Alaska, Morris properties include the Peninsula Clarion, the Homer News, the Alaska Journal of Commerce, Alaska magazine and The Milepost.

HEA announces rate cut

The average residential customer of Homer Electric Association will save about a dollar per month under rate cuts effective Jan. 1.

HEA cut its energy rate by .9 percent, the eighth such cut in less than six years. Meanwhile, the wholesale power cost adjustment, another component of power bills, fell from $.0146 to $.014159 per kilowatt hour.

HEA had expected the wholesale power cost to rise because of increased natural gas prices and projected volatility in natural gas markets. The mitigating factor was HEA's determination that it had underestimated revenue projections for the next two quarters.

HEA does expect the wholesale power cost to increase in the third quarter.

Business planning seminar offered

Mark Gregory of the Small Business Development Center presents a seminar on business planning Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the SBDC office in the Red Diamond Center on Kalifornsky Beach Road.

A good business plan conveys prospects and growth potential, helping to attract financing and resources, the SBDC said. To register for the seminar, call 262-7497. The cost is $15.

Kenai visitors bureau names board members

Marty Ragan of Alaskan Gift and Gallery, Wanetta Ayers of the Kenai Peninsula Borough, Ron Malston of Malston's Inc. and Sandra Vozar of Old Town Village Restaurant have been elected to two-year terms on the board of Kenai Convention and Visitors Bureau Inc. Bill Popp of Kenai Chrysler Center has been appointed to the board for 2001. The board's next meeting is Jan. 25 at 5:30 p.m. at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center.

Visitor inquiries on the rise

The Kenai Convention and Visitors Bureau answered nearly twice as many visitor inquiries last year as it did in 1999. The bureau mailed more than 6,000 information packets to potential visitors last year, up from 3,783 in 1999. The Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center saw more than 60,000 visits last year for the sixth consecutive year.

Visits to the bureau's Web site totaled 25,000 last year, up 40 percent from 1999. The bureau plans a major redesign of its Web site. That should be launched by March 1.

Bakery offers breadmaking class

Harvest Traditions Bakery plans a breadmaking class Saturday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

"We'll show in two hours all the things you can do with one batch of dough," said owner Sally Oelrich.

She said she also hopes Laurel Epps of Home Sweet Homer in Homer will come to demonstrate how to mill grains Epps sells in her stores.

Cost of the class is $15. The location is Oelrich's store at 44096 Sterling Highway by Napa Auto Parts in Soldotna. For information, call Oelrich at 260-9230.

Anchorage show promotes Alaska-made gifts

The 17th Annual Wholesale Alaskan Gift Show is Feb. 3-4 at the William A. Egan Civic & Convention Center in Anchorage.

Some 80 percent of the vendors are Alaskans who make products in Alaska. Most of the rest are Alaskans who sell products from the United States, Canada, Russia and elsewhere. The show is not open to the general public. Buyers from Alaska tourism-related businesses, such as gift shops, hotels and lodges, can attend for free.

For more information, contact Dee Carpenter by phone at 907-452-7469, or see the show's Web site at

BP backs Special Olympics broadcast

Backing from BP will help organizers with the nationwide broadcast of the opening ceremony for the 2001 Special Olympics World Winter Games. The games will be March 4-11 in Anchorage, Eagle River and Girdwood.

BP has underwritten the $1.6 million cost of the broadcast, which includes $1.2 million to buy air time and $400,000 for production costs, said Paul Laird, BP director of public affairs.

"They'll sell advertising during the air time they buy, and BP will pay the difference between what they sell and the $1.6 million," he said.

Games organizers were pleased.

"This commitment virtually guarantees we will have headliner talent for the 2001 World Games opening ceremony, and the world will have the opportunity to experience this international event," said Ben Stevens, president and chief executive of the 2001 World games.

BP also is co-sponsoring the speedskating competition, hosting the Founder's Reception and providing sports bags and hats for nearly 3,000 participating athletes and coaches. BP employees and their families are donating thousands of hours of volunteer time.

Peninsula Sanitation owners file rate proposals

USA Waste of Alaska, owner of Peninsula Sanitation and trash collection services from Anchorage to Nome and Ketchikan, has applied to the Regulatory Commission of Alaska to consolidate its certificated refuse operations in Alaska under a single certificate.

USA Waste of Alaska, a wholly owned subsidiary of Waste Management Inc., also has applied to merge its Alaska subsidiaries into UWA, change the names under which it provides service, file new tariffs and rate schedules, and combine its Anchorage and Eagle River service areas and its North Pole and Fairbanks service areas.

Detailed information is available from Robert Lindquist of Waste Management of Alaska at 563-3717, or from the Regulatory Commission of Alaska at 276-6222. Comments to the Regulatory Commission are due by Feb. 5.

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