Month: August 2021

BP selling multimillion dollar Anchorage building

first_imgEconomy | Energy & Mining | InteriorBP selling multimillion dollar Anchorage buildingMay 23, 2016 by Elizabeth Jenkins, Alaska’s Energy Desk – Juneau Share:(Creative Commons photo by Mike Czyzewski)BP announced Monday that it’s selling its midtown Anchorage building. In a statement, the company says the sale will “reduce costs and free up capital, allowing BP to focus on its core business.”BP will become a tenant in the building rather than the owner.Spokesperson Dawn Patience declined an interview request about the sale.The building was opened in 1985 and is assessed at more than $80 million.State labor economist Neal Fried is reluctant to draw any major conclusions on the future of Alaska’s oil industry based on the sale.“I guess it’s not a big surprise, given prices, and also — of course — they have lots of other expenses that have hit them over the years,” Fried said.The sale doesn’t include the BP Energy Center.Share this story:last_img read more

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Slideshow: Fourth of July 2016 in Juneau

first_imgArts & Culture | Community | JuneauSlideshow: Fourth of July 2016 in JuneauJuly 4, 2016 by Rashah McChesney Share:Paul Desloover tapes a flag onto a float for Juneau’s Veteran’s For Peace group before Juneau’s Independence Day parade on July 4, 2016, in Juneau. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)The City of Juneau’s Pipe Band practices with an audience before Juneau’s Independence Day parade on July 4, 2016, in Juneau. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)A group representing Alaska Airlines dances before walking in Juneau’s Independence Day parade on July 4, 2016, in Juneau. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)Members of the Southeast Alaska LGBTQ+Alliance dance at their float before Juneau’s Independence Day parade on July 4, 2016, in Juneau. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)Costumed Shoefly representatives wave and throw candy to the crowds for an Independence Day parade on July 4, 2016, in Juneau. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)Leroy Romero, of Juneau, waits to drive a trolley with members of the Fusion Dance Company for Juneau’s Independence Day parade on July 4, 2016, in Juneau. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)Rylee Caron helps Lisa Marx lace up her sleeves as the two prepare to walk with the Society for Creative Anachronism group in Juneau’s Independence Day parade on July 4, 2016, in Juneau. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)Costumed Shoefly representatives wave and throw candy to the crowds for an Independence Day parade on July 4, 2016, in Juneau. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)Hundreds turned out for an Independence Day parade on July 4, 2016, in Juneau. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)Members of the Juneau Rollergirls demonstrate during an Independence Day parade on July 4, 2016, in Juneau. The photographer was skating with the team. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)Members of the Juneau Rollergirls demonstrate during an Independence Day parade on July 4, 2016, in Juneau. The photographer was skating with the team. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)Hundreds turned out for an Independence Day parade on July 4, 2016, in Juneau. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)Members of Filipino Community, Inc. dance during Juneau’s Independence Day parade on July 4, 2016, in Juneau. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)A woman tosses candy during Juneau’s Independence Day parade on July 4, 2016, in Juneau. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)Hundreds turned out for an Independence Day parade on July 4, 2016, in Juneau. Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)Members of Filipino Community, Inc. dance during Juneau’s Independence Day parade on July 4, 2016, in Juneau. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)Members of Filipino Community, Inc. dance during Juneau’s Independence Day parade on July 4, 2016, in Juneau. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)Candy is prepared at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5559 float before Juneau’s Independence Day parade on July 4, 2016, in Juneau. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)A Sarah Palin imitator poses for a photo before walking with the Southeast Alaska LGBTQ+Alliance in Juneau’s Independence Day parade on July 4, 2016, in Juneau. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)Cody Galletes, 16, considers firing 16-year-old Savannah Meketa’s bow as they wait to represent Juneau Douglas High School’s football and cheerleading programs before an Independence Day parade on July 4, 2016, in Juneau. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)Crowds prepare for Juneau’s Independence Day parade on July 4, 2016, in Juneau. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)Baskets of candy awaiting distribution during Juneau’s Independence Day parade on July 4, 2016, in Juneau. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)Maggie Polizzotto, recovers from a sugar high in a motorcycle sidecar before riding with the Shriners during Juneau’s Independence Day parade on July 4, 2016, in Juneau. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)Kara Longstreth of Eugene, Oregon checks her lipstick before representing the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Juneau’s Independence Day parade on July 4, 2016, in Juneau. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)A tube man hovers over a float over the Juneau Family & Urgent Care float as it heads along the parade route. More than 49 organizations and hundreds of people turned out to march in Juneau’s Independence Day parade on July 4, 2016, in Juneau. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO)12345678910111213141516171819202122232425 read more

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Petersburg schools open with an increase in enrollment

first_imgEnrollment looks like it’s also up at Rae C. Stedman, with 223 students expected at the start of the year up from 214 at the end of last year. The school has the staff to handle those numbers, elementary principal Teri Toland said.“Our numbers in our classrooms are still down in 20, 22, I think 22 is our biggest class,” Toland said. “We’re so lucky to have those low numbers; we know that that really makes a difference in education.”Toland said the school plans to start up a number of new clubs this year, from robotics, to Legos, running and yearbook.Share this story: Education | SoutheastPetersburg schools open with an increase in enrollmentAugust 29, 2016 by Joe Viechnicki, KFSK Share:Combined enrollment at the three Petersburg schools is an estimated 473 students to start off the year, up from 431 just two years ago. (Photo by KFSK)Students headed back to class Monday, August 29, in Petersburg as the new school year gets underway.Enrollment numbers have increased in two of the three schools and the district welcomes several newcomers to its faculty.Combined enrollment at the three schools is an estimated 473 students to start off the year, up from 431 just two years ago.Enrollment numbers can change throughout the year and are not made official until later in the fall, however it looks like the district continues to reverse a long trend of declining student counts.At the high school enrollment has increased – at 157 to start of the year.Enrollment is down in the middle school at 93. The middle school has started one-to-one laptops for seventh- and eighth-grade students this year available during the school day only.Those laptops don’t go home with the seventh and eighth graders, unlike the program at the high school level.“So we’ve gone with seventh- and eighth-graders as well as kind of train ’em up for the high school where they’ll get it in the morning after PE and they’ll take the same laptop with them all day long and they’ll check it in at the end of the day and kind of meet with some teachers,” principal Rick Dormer said. “We’ve also added in the middle school planners.”“All students have a written planner, and that’s kind of part of the process too,” he said. “They’re great and they’re using them, checking with the teacher at the end of the day and trying to get homework written down.”The district in the past has tried to help students making the transition from elementary school to middle school.The high school is trying to offer a few more supporting programs for freshman this year, making the change from middle school to high school, Dormer said.“I think if you consider our sixth-graders kind of a freshman and ninth-graders as a freshman, we see this kind of transition times are really key to support kids,” Dormer said. “We’ve focused on sixth-graders a lot because they’re younger and it is kind of a scary leap, but now we really recognize we can do more for our freshmen.”Dormer said the supports include required planners for the freshmen and mentoring.The upper-grades in the district will be seeing a couple new programs this year. One is Green Dot, something that Petersburg Mental Health Services has done around the greater community.“Green Dot is a power-based violence-prevention program and so that’s bullying, sexual assault, domestic and dating violence,” school counselor Rachel Etcher said. “So we often talk about these topics but we’re not giving people the strategies and the tools to deal with … So this is giving kids the tools to be able to intervene when it’s safe to do so.”Small signs with green dots and red dots could be going up around the school in wintertime and the program will focus on high school grades.Another new program is Interact, which is a Rotary International program for service projects, networking and development for teens. In Petersburg it will be available for grades 8 through 12.last_img read more

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Update: Assembly spares downtown pool, Douglas gym from budget cut list

first_imgCommunity | Juneau | Local GovernmentUpdate: Assembly spares downtown pool, Douglas gym from budget cut listMay 3, 2017 by Jacob Resneck, KTOO Share:Update | 6:42 p.m.At its finance committee meeting this evening, the Juneau Assembly removed the Augustus Brown Swimming Pool and Mt. Jumbo Gym from a list of possible cuts.The vote was 6-3 to spare the pool and 8-1 to spare the gym.Original story | 5:32 p.m.Students from Juneau-Douglas High School use the pool for an athletics program on Wednesday. (Photo by Jacob Resneck/KTOO)Cost cutting efforts at the City and Borough of Juneau continue as the Juneau Assembly mulls closing the downtown pool and a gymnasium in Douglas.Audio Playerhttps://media.ktoo.org/2017/05/170503FACILITIES-PKG.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Both are on the list of Parks and Recreation facilities facing closure. That’s because the Assembly is trying to fill a $1.9 million deficit without raising taxes. Limiting pool hours would save about $44,000. But shutting it down would save $562,100 annually.Previous efforts to shutter the pool were scuttled due to public outcry.“There’s some pretty passionate people about not wanting to close the pool,” Parks and Recreation Director Kirk Duncan said. “Quite frankly I’m really glad I’m not an Assembly member and don’t have to make those decisions. I think all of the Parks and Rec facilities are very important to the community, but also I recognize that we have some tough times.”Even if the Assembly spares the downtown pool this year, the facility will need significant investment.  The building is about 45 years old and nearing the end of its lifespan.“Augustus Brown pool has been here for many years,” Duncan said. “We estimate that it needs about $4.5 to $5 million in repairs. So that’s the long-term issue — how are we going to fund those repairs?”Juneau has a more modern swimming pool: The Dimond Aquatic Center in the Mendenhall Valley. But Juneau-Douglas High School students would lose a pool literally next door and downtown residents would have to travel.In downtown Douglas, the Mount Jumbo Gym is also on the proverbial chopping block.Buckets catch water from a roof leak inside the Mt. Jumbo Gym in Douglas on Wednesday. (Photo by Jacob Resneck/KTOO)“It was built as a school,” Facilities Superintendent Brent Fischer said. “The gym was built in 1941, the school was built in 1937. It was part of the school district.”The former Douglas High School building gym is now used as community space serving preschoolers, adults and everyone in between.“We get a lot of adults and youth using this, so it’s a good venue for the community,” Dave Pusich, the city’s recreation manager. “It gives them another outlet because there’s not a lot of gym space available.”Pusich grew up in Douglas and says the former high school is somewhat of a community landmark.“We also have lots of birthday parties on the weekends — it’s real busy,” he said. “We have a bouncing house we set up, lots of toys, so it’s pretty popular and it’s affordable.”Closing this gym would save less than $10,000 a year. But there are serious maintenance issues. The roof leaks. Patching things up would cost about $688,000. Renovations have been estimated to cost another $1.3 million. And to totally rehab the building so it’d be good for another 25 to 30 years would increase the cost to $4.8 million.The Assembly’s budget deadline isn’t until June. With minimal publicity, public comment is already arriving by email with more than a dozen emails urging the Assembly to save these and other facilities whose futures remain uncertain.Editor’s Note: Kirk Duncan is a member of KTOO’s board of directors.Share this story:last_img read more

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Ketchikan remains an attractive cruise ship destination

first_imgSoutheast | Tourism | TransportationKetchikan remains an attractive cruise ship destinationSeptember 28, 2017 by Maria Dudzak, KRBD-Ketchikan Share:The Borda family disembarks from the Norwegian Jewel on Monday, Sept. 25th. Candy Borda is Ketchikan’s 1 millionth cruise visitor for 2017. (Photo by Leila Kheiry/KRBD)The future remains bright for the cruise industry in Alaska, a cruise line association president said Monday during a shared during a luncheon.Cruise Lines International Association Alaska president John Binkley delivered the optimistic news to the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau and Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce.Audio Playerhttps://krbd-org.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/27CruiseUpdate.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Binkley said September 25, 2017, was an historic day as Ketchikan welcomed its 1 millionth passenger for the season.He then spoke about the economic impacts of the cruise industry to Southeast as a whole, to Ketchikan specifically, and around the globe.He cited data from a 2016 McDowell Group survey looking at current and projected numbers.For Southeast, Binkley says total visitor spending in the 2014-2015 season was $1.17 billion. There were a total of 11,200 jobs associated with the cruise industry, and payroll in Southeast amounted to $436 million.He said this is new money brought into communities.“No different than mineral extraction or oil development where we send our crude oil outside,” he said. “Money is brought back into the state. It’s the same way with visitors who come up with new money from outside our communities, outside our state, and bring new economic vitality to our state and communities.”For Ketchikan, Binkley said 96 percent of visitors coming into the First City arrive by cruise ship.On average, each passenger spends about $160, amounting to more than $1 million each cruise ship day.“If you’re on Front Street stuck behind a motor coach or waiting for crossing guards to let you through, just think about the million and a quarter dollars,” he said. “That’s $12,500 $100 bills falling out of everybody’s pockets, flying out the windows of those motor coaches, so keep your head down and look for those $100 bills on the sidewalk and see if you can pick up a few of those.”Binkley said adding the amount of money the cruise lines and crew members spend in Ketchikan amounts to $188 million per season.Statewide, Binkley says a total of 1,060,000 passengers are expected this year, an all-time record high for cruise ship visitors in Alaska.Binkley said though cruise ships aren’t seen in Interior communities, they also receive economic benefits from the cruise ship industry.“But we see about 225,000 cruise ship visitors that get off the ships in Seward or Whittier, go through Anchorage, usually by rail or motor coach up to Denali National Park, and then on to Fairbanks in the Interior.”Binkley said there are several reasons why there has been growth in the Alaska cruise industry.They include successful marketing, tax and regulatory stability, and Alaska’s attractiveness.John Binkley of Cruise Line International Association Alaska speaks at a luncheon with Ketchikan Visitors Bureau and Chamber of Commerce. (Photo by KRBD)Also, he says recent expansion of the Panama Canal allows more ships to come to Alaska.“With the new canal, they can bring bigger ships from the Caribbean, in the winter time, right through the canal, into the Pacific and up to Alaska for the summer time,” he said. “That makes a difference as well, getting the larger ships that they can position in two profitable markets in different times of the year.”Political stability in the country also benefitted Alaska, he said.In addition, Binkley said the cruise industry is strong globally, especially in the Asian market. Ketchikan holds about 4 percent of the global market, and that percentage is expected to increase.The demand for Alaska will remain high, Binkley said, and 2018 will surpass 2017 as a record year.Larger ships, with greater capacity, will be coming to the state over the next two years. Binkley says communities need to be ready to embrace that growth, and have the infrastructure necessary to accommodate it.“Ketchikan really has been one of the leaders in looking forward to what is going to be needed – planning, making sure they are setting aside the money to be able to fund the infrastructure to meet the demand of the industry. And that really has allowed Ketchikan to grow and have that capacity here to meet demand.”Binkley said new cruise lines will be visiting Alaska in the coming years.Windstar Cruises has sailings planned for next season, and Viking, Azamara and Cunard will arrive in 2019.Share this story:last_img read more

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Does Juneau really have the smallest Costco in the world?

first_imgBusiness | Curious Juneau | Interior | Juneau | SoutheastDoes Juneau really have the smallest Costco in the world?March 28, 2019 by Jeremy Hsieh, KTOO Share:Even in the middle of the workday on Tuesday, there’s steady traffic at Costco in Juneau. The city assessor’s records put its total square footage at 76,696. (Photo by Jeremy Hsieh/KTOO)Audio Playerhttps://media.ktoo.org/2019/03/28COSTCO-CJ.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.The other day, Phil Fleming was loading up a car in the parking lot of the Costco in Juneau. He said a salty version of something you may have heard before.“Just now on the phone, actually, a woman was saying, ‘Yeah, that’s the smallest damn Costco I’ve ever seen,’” he said. “She’s comparing it to the Seattle and Anchorage ones. … It’s one of the smallest, from what I’ve heard.”But is it the smallest Costco in the world?“As far as I can tell, that is true, yes,” said Costco Wholesale Assistant Vice President Kevin Green.He oversees the warehouse club chain’s northwest regional operations. He said that’s out of 770 Costco locations on four continents.There was some wiggle room in his initial answer, so I pressed him.“Are there other ones that are close that leave you some doubt?” I asked.“No. Absolutely not,” Green said.Green said the Juneau Costco, built in 1993, was a prototype, one of only a few that small. There was also one in Sequim, Washington. A full-sized Costco eventually replaced that one.“And yeah, at the time, it was a test to see if that kind of smaller-market format would work. We’ve since decided that it probably doesn’t,” Green said. “But it does work in Juneau.”Juneau’s Costco is about half the size of a typical store, which is around 160,000 square feet. Like the one that opened in Fairbanks in November.And it’s only a third the size of the world’s biggest in Salt Lake City, Utah, which was also a test build, Green said. It opened in 2015.Size comparison by area of the largest and smallest Costco stores in Salt Lake City and Juneau. (Graphic by David Purdy/KTOO)In Juneau, Green said the geography limits growth and makes shipping challenging. But it is a profitable store, with 2-to-3 percent growth per year and 100-plus employees.Back in the parking lot, customer Steve Houlihan ventured a guess about why Juneau’s store can cut it.“I think, ’cause of the villages and all the stuff that comes remotely here, this seems like this gets a lot of use,” Houlihan said. “But it doesn’t seem like the parking lots are as full as down south. You can’t get in and out of them down south.”ToshCo is a hardware and grocery store in Gustavus, pictured here on June 2, 2018. Many of its products come directly from Costco in Juneau. (Photo by David Purdy/KTOO)There is one patron, about 70 miles away by boat, who’s about as transparent as can be about his dependence on Costco: Toshua Parker, founder of ToshCo.He said the hardware and grocery store in Gustavus is about eight years old now. When he started it, it was named Icy Strait Wholesale. But the community promptly rebranded it.“Everyone calls it ToshCo,” Parker said. “Before the doors opened, people started calling it that because my name’s Tosh and most of the products in the beginning all came from Costco in Juneau.”Parker said Costco’s store-brand products are pretty ubiquitous in Gustavus, which has a year-round population of about 450.But Caroline Malseed in Juneau thinks she’s missing out.“We would like it to be bigger,” she said. “More stuff.”Juneau’s not actually missing out on that much. Green said there are about 3,200 products in Juneau’s warehouse. A typical Costco warehouse has about 3,800 products at a time. That’s a small fraction of the selection at a typical big-box everything store — and part of Costco’s strategy for controlling costs.The company did explore a 12,000-square-foot expansion in 2006, though it never happened. Green said it’s still a possibility, but there are no current plans.Fleming is OK with that.“I can’t say — maybe if I saw a bigger one, then I’d be, ‘Oh yeah! We gotta have a bigger one!’ Right now I’m pretty, pretty gruntled with it,” Fleming said.I asked Green to weigh in on one more Costco controversy: Within the store, do you shop clockwise, or counterclockwise?“Um, I always go counterclockwise, yeah,” Green said. “Although, there’s some — like where we work in Issaquah, if you go into that building, you do go clockwise, because that’s the way it’s laid out. So there are some. Yeah.”Have your own Curious Juneau question? Submit it, subscribe to the Curious Juneau podcast, and catch up on past curiosities at ktoo.org/curious. Share this story:last_img read more

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Using local foods, a Juneau middle school teacher demystifies cooking for kids

first_imgCommunity | Education | Environment | Food | Juneau | Juneau Schools | State GovernmentUsing local foods, a Juneau middle school teacher demystifies cooking for kidsMay 24, 2019 by Zoe Grueskin, KTOO Share:Students in Chris Heidemann’s outdoor life skills class enjoys smoked salmon on May 20, 2019. The class smoked the salmon the week before. (Photo by Zoe Grueskin/KTOO)For kids who’ve never cooked, smoking their own salmon might seem out of reach. But a teacher at Juneau’s Floyd Dryden Middle School wants his students to know it’s just another life skill they can master — and shows them how to do it.Audio Playerhttps://media.ktoo.org/2019/05/23Smoked.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.It’s the last week of school before summer break, and things are pretty laid back at FDMS — at least in room 204, where the students are enjoying snacks and a nature documentary. It’s pretty standard end-of-year stuff, but that smoked salmon wasn’t bought at the store. The students smoked it themselves right outside their classroom just a few days before, with the help of their teacher, Chris Heidemann.Heidemann teaches hunter education and outdoor life skills classes, which he says mostly focus on preparing food. The smokehouse they use is easily built. Often he’ll have the students construct it, using plans he found online. He says the whole thing comes together in about three hours with $200 worth of materials.Inside, his classroom is full of more gadgets.“I have six functioning kitchens, set up with stoves, KitchenAids, microwaves, food processors, everything you’d need. Sinks for doing dishes,” says Heidemann.Heidemann’s goal is to demystify cooking for his students. Over the years he’s taught the class, he says, he’s learned to start with the basics. Even boiling water on the stove can be intimidating for a first-time cook. So Heidemann says that’s where they start.His class cooks pretty much every week. Over the course of the semester, they work up to more complicated recipes and projects, like the fish smoking.Most families contribute a $25 class fee, but Heidemann says that’s just a request, and no one is turned away if they can’t pay. Some projects are funded by specific grants that the Juneau School District helps him find.Fish smoking is one of them. That project’s been supported by a state program called Nutritional Alaskan Foods in Schools, which aims to bring more local foods to students.Heidemann has plenty of dreams for the class. He’d love to do more foraging and work with local game meat, like deer.“Just being able to be even more local with the foods that we use,” he said. “Maybe even growing something, but that could be years in the future with how things are developing right now.”The state grant that supports Heidemann’s fish smoking was last funded in 2015. That’s been enough to keep his classes smoking salmon since then. The district estimates that money will run out after next school year.Chris Heidemann checks on the final batch of salmon on May 17, 2019. He came to school at 4:30 that morning to light the fire in the smokehouse. (Photo by Zoe Grueskin/KTOO)Chris Heidemann says this smokehouse, pictured here on May 17, 2019, took around three hours and $200 worth of materials to build. (Photo by Zoe Grueskin/KTOO)Students enjoyed the salmon they smoked on one of the last days of class, May 20, 2019. (Photo by Zoe Grueskin/KTOO)123 read more

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As BP exits Alaska, 1,600 employees are waiting to find out what’s next

first_imgAlaska’s Energy Desk | Business | Economy | Energy & Mining | North Slope | SouthcentralAs BP exits Alaska, 1,600 employees are waiting to find out what’s nextOctober 4, 2019 by Elizabeth Harball, Alaska’s Energy Desk Share:BP employee Joe Miller in his Anchorage home with his children Hadley, 5, and Liam, 8. (Photo by Elizabeth Harball/Alaska’s Energy Desk)Audio Playerhttps://media.ktoo.org/2019/10/ann-20191003-3.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.On Aug. 27, BP engineer Josh McFarland entered a packed conference room, where company leaders addressed everyone simultaneously via video conference: “Sort of like watching the finale to a TV show,” McFarland said.That day, BP announced it intends to sell its entire Alaska business to Hilcorp for $5.6 billion. McFarland said he and his colleagues were stunned.“A lot of people’s reaction, including mine, was emotional at first — it was sort of awestruck,” said McFarland, who has worked at the oil company for four and a half years. “Because it was like, ‘Man, what is Alaska like without BP?’”BP has operated in Alaska for over half a century and has long had a hand in running the state’s biggest oilfield, Prudhoe Bay. The company’s plans to exit the state has left hundreds of workers like McFarland in limbo.Today, many BP employees are waiting to learn if they will get a job offer with Hilcorp, the company buying BP’s Alaska business, or if they will get an offer to work for BP outside Alaska. They have been given the choice to pursue those opportunities or they can take a severance package up front.BP engineer Josh McFarland has worked at the company for four and a half years. (Photo by Elizabeth Harball/Alaska’s Energy Desk)Employees seeking jobs with BP and Hilcorp have been told they will learn what their options are by late December.Of the roughly 9,900 people who work directly in Alaska’s oil and gas industry, more than 1,600 work for BP. And it’s widely accepted that Hilcorp, an oil company with a reputation for cutting costs, will not be hiring back all the BP employees who are currently working there.So now, as they find themselves in the middle of one of the biggest industry transitions in the state’s history, BP’s Alaska employees are all trying to figure out what’s next.“I think I’m feeling trepidation,” said Abbie Barker, a BP employee of nearly 13 years.“There are so many choices, and there are good things about each choice,” Barker said. “But some of those options come with sacrifices, you know? Or wholesale changes.”Barker, a drilling engineer, described getting a job at BP as getting a “golden ticket.” She was hired from outside the industry, and BP provided her with coursework and training so could get the job she has today, a drilling performance analyst.Barker has looked BP jobs in Houston, Texas, but as someone who grew up in Alaska, she said it’s hard to imagine living there.“It’s so different from Anchorage,” Barker said. “Bugs, spiders, traffic — not just Glenn Highway traffic, but real traffic — hurricanes.”But Barker is thinking about much more than just spiders, traffic and hurricanes. She has a family here: two small children and a husband who is a lifelong Alaskan with a good job at the Alaska Railroad.“The thing I get caught up in is, ‘OK, if I make this choice, what else changes? What does that mean for my husband’s work? What does that mean for how we live today?” Barker said.Abbie Barker has worked for BP for over a decade. “There are so many choices,” she said. (Photo by Elizabeth Harball/Alaska’s Energy Desk)Barker feels many Alaskans haven’t realized the transition is bigger than just BP and the oil industry.“This is a change in ways we can’t even begin to appreciate, that will take years to really, fully understand. There’s a whole lot of people that have a lot of things to decide in the next few months…for a lot more people than just BP employees.”Barker emphasized she doesn’t think the change is necessarily bad. She said she’s impressed with what Hilcorp has done with the oilfields it operates. It’s more that it’s an uncertain time for a lot of people, she said, from the caterers who feed Prudhoe Bay workers to the people at the daycare who look after her children.Another person living with that uncertainty is Joe Miller. Miller was just months into a new job at BP when the announcement landed — his first day was March 3. He said he’s feeling “cautiously optimistic.”“One thing about the oil and gas industry is it’s taught me to deal with or manage change much better than others,” Miller said.Miller also has two kids: a son, Liam, who is 8, and a daughter, Hadley, who is 5.In Miller’s tidy blue house in downtown Anchorage, Liam and Hadley ate an after-school snack as their father described how they are his top priority as he weighs what’s next.BP’s office building in Anchorage. (Photo by Elizabeth Harball/Alaska’s Energy Desk)“Alaska is home for me and our family, we have both sides of the family here,” Miller said. “We’re very fortunate. So I’d say we are looking for Alaska opportunities.”Miller said the day BP dropped the news was an “emotional roller coaster” for him. It happened to be Hadley’s first day of kindergarten. When he went to pick her and Liam up from school, they already knew what had happened.“The kids were in the back, and (Hadley) had heard about the announcement and said how concerned she was and that, ‘Dad, everything is going to be OK.’” Miller said. “And I just wanted to start crying. It was a good reminder that everything with the Millers is good. We have a solid family, we are going to be OK.”McFarland is also trying to stay positive. He’s 29 years old and doesn’t have a family here. And while he was happy to get a job with BP in Alaska — he likes the outdoors and enjoys how quickly he can get to trails and rivers from Anchorage — he sees the transition as an opportunity for change.“At my age, I don’t know how many people get these choices,” McFarland said. “Do you want to redefine your career path? Do you want to go and work for a much smaller company? Do you want to stay and work elsewhere with BP? Do you want to just not do any of it?”But McFarland recognizes that for others at BP, the situation is harder.“You sort of see all the different reactions based on the different circumstances for everybody,” he said.And for the next few months, at least, Miller, Barker, McFarland and hundreds of other BP employees in Alaska won’t know exactly what lies ahead.BP’s Alaska exit no surprise, say experts and industry insiders Share this story:last_img read more

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Pilot dead, passenger survives after North Slope charter plane crash

first_imgArctic | North Slope | TransportationPilot dead, passenger survives after North Slope charter plane crashMay 17, 2020 by Wesley Early, KOTZ – Kotzebue Share:Teshekpuk Lake. (Photo courtesy Bureau of Land Management)The pilot of a charter plane is dead after crashing near Teshekpuk Lake southeast of Utqiagvik Thursday night.The North Slope Borough Search and Rescue Department received a distress signal between 9 p.m. and midnight, says spokesperson D.J. Fauske. Fauske says pilot Jim Webster of Fairbanks charter company Webster’s Flying Service died in the crash.Fauske says Search and Rescue found one passenger alive: Ben Jones, a researcher with the University of Alaska Fairbanks Institute of Northern Engineering. A rescue helicopter brought Jones to Utqiagvik.“Ben is recovering in Utqiagvik at our hospital there, with multiple fractures,” Fauske said. “(He’s) expected to recover, but obviously severely injured.”Fauske says Jones and Webster were the only two on the plane. UAF spokeswoman Marmian Grimes says Jones was conducting research at the Teshekpuk Lake Observatory. Jones’s research primarily deals with permafrost and arctic water systems. Grimes didn’t know if Jones was heading towards or away from the research site when the crash occurred.Fauske says the National Transportation Safety Board is coordinating an investigation into the crash with the North Slope Borough. And he says flying conditions were very bad and foggy when the distress beacon was received.Fauske says it was important that Webster had a special international beacon that was compatible with the borough’s search and rescue equipment.“They were able to locate them because of that device,” Fauske said. “Without that device, it was still bright out since it’s that time of year, but it would be very difficult.”North Slope Borough Mayor Harry Brower thanked search and rescue for recovering Jones, and he sent prayers to Webster’s family.Share this story:last_img read more

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How Women Have Helped MSNBC Tip the Cable-News Ratings Scales

first_imgMediaTVHow Women Have Helped MSNBC Tip the Cable-News Ratings ScalesRachel Maddow and other talented reporters have transformed the media landscape in the Trump eraBy Steve Erickson – February 1, 20183821ShareEmailFacebookTwitterPinterestReddItSince January 20, 2017, no movie or TV show has been able to compete with the spectacle of American self-abasement. As the 45th presidency descends into psychodrama for which the price of admission is national shame, MSNBC has edged perennial front-runner Fox to become the top-rated cable news network by some metrics, and last fall, when politics, journalism, and entertainment were swept up in revelations of sexual abuse—with one of the most egregious offenders being the one who lives in the White House—what was conspicuous was the extent to which MSNBC’s resurgence has been driven by women.The dominance of MSNBC’s female reporters, anchors, and commentators is more striking when compared with competitors CNN, with its all-male prime time, and Fox, whose few formidable women such as Megyn Kelly have bolted, telling tales of sexual predation by Fox’s late mastermind, Roger Ailes, and loudest mouthpiece, Bill O’Reilly.The growing feminism of MSNBC doesn’t seem part of any grand scheme. Over the past couple of years MSNBC has increasingly featured all-female roundtable analyses, such as those that followed the 2016 national conventions, not as a gimmick by which the patriarchy amuses itself with the ponderings of the gentler sex but rather as a straightforward convergence of talent and tenacity. To paraphrase an old TV ad that only an old magazine writer would remember, the women on the set got there the old-fashioned way: They earned it.Which is to say they triple-earned it, since that’s how worthy women get any-where. To be sure, MSNBC is hardly a man-free zone, what with warhorse Chris Matthews, whose own comments about a pretty face or two have gotten him into some trouble lately, and suave Brian Williams, redeeming himself from a scandal a few years back when he gilded his résumé with a few too many battle heroics.But the network’s female dominance has evolved by way of intrepid Kristen Welker, Kasie Hunt, and Hallie Jackson covering the White House and Congress; Joy Reid, the most incisive commentator in TV news and the one least inclined to put up with nonsense; and influential Mika Brzezinski in the morning and the departed Alex Wagner, now at CBS after establishing at MSNBC a prototype for smart daytime political talk.With due respect to all of them, however, the keepers of MSNBC’s current identity are Rachel Maddow, Nicolle Wallace, and Katy Tur, each distinct from the others while forming a gestalt in the resistance to the ongoing degradation of the American idea. The network’s star, Maddow is the daughter of an Air Force captain and a California school program administrator. The first openly gay Rhodes scholar, she likes to say her politics are progressive in the manner of Eisenhower-era Republicanism, but you have to wonder what Eisenhower Republicans would have made of her.Maddow has a wit and sense of narrative no other anchor has. Her lead stories open with long-ago-and-far-away historical nuggets that inevitably unfold into the day’s headline. It comes as a shock to learn that she deals with depression since on air she’s irrepressible, which has gotten the better of her judgment now and then. Her reputation as the left’s ever-trusted Edward R. Murrow took a hit last spring when she hyped acquisition of the president’s tax returns and kept viewers waiting from one commercial break to the next only to finally reveal a single sheet of a single return from a single year.But what distinguishes Maddow besides a sweeping intelligence is her graciousness: Republican ex-senator Rick Santorum goes on her program because he knows he’ll get a fair hearing that never degenerates into character assassination; and that Maddow can be civil to White House hack Kellyanne Conway is grounds for a Nobel Peace Prize. Maddow counts among her early mentors both the aforementioned Ailes at Fox and left-wing psycho Keith Olbermann, once MSNBC’s raging pooh-bah, which explains the congenital courtesy that paved the way for appearances on her show by Nicolle Wallace, communications director for George W. Bush. Wallace was also senior advisor to John McCain’s 2008 campaign against Barack Obama, declining to vote at the last minute when day-in and day-out proximity to her candidate’s running mate convinced her Alaska Governor Sarah Palin couldn’t be placed a heartbeat from the presidency.Following that election and subsequent publication of a novel about the first woman chief executive, Wallace now hosts Deadline: White House, cable’s best political show. As a former operative who dealt with the media on an hourly basis, Wallace assembles a consistently impressive array of reporters, politicos, and brainier pundits and offers a bracing understanding of what’s going on in the government these days to the extent it can be understood.Wallace is important because she’s not exactly a Bolshevik, whatever may be MSNBC’s liberal reputation and notwithstanding its history composed of Pat Buchanan, Ann Coulter, Tucker Carlson, Peggy Noonan, and George F. Will. Before many Republicans, Wallace suspected that if you cracked open the soul of the billionaire who would lead the free world, a swarm of locusts would emerge, and her sunny humor off sets a seething sense of disgust that occasionally leaves her sputtering and her guests barely getting a word in edgewise.On her show she’s often surrounded by fellow exiles of a disenchanted center-right that doesn’t believe conservatism excludes the ability to morally distinguish between white supremacists who run a woman over and the people protesting them. Among them is old McCain campaign buddy Steve Schmidt, whose dismay at what’s happened to his party and country is expressed with the quietly eloquent fury of a prairie preacher.When the sex-abuse scandal broke in October, no one better negotiated the alternating demands of indignation and perspective than Wallace. Sometimes sitting next to her on those broadcasts was Katy Tur, who was a weather reporter and freelancer with a semi-legendary if nameless French boyfriend when fate put her in the right time and place.Watch Tur interview anyone for more than three minutes and you wonder whatever possessed a swaddled real estate swindler turned reality-TV racketeer to suppose he hadn’t met his match. Relentlessly covering Donald Trump’s terrorism against Latinos, POWs, and the physically disabled, not to mention the women he threatens to sue for having been his victims, Tur frequently stared down howling minions at events when the candidate enlisted the mob against the girl kicking his butt every night. As described in her book, Unbelievable, Tur also figured out sooner than anyone else that in presidential politics, zeitgeist beats demographics and that a grim surprise might be in store on election night.It’s a small consolation that long after the 45th presidency is blown off its hinges by its own gusts of duplicity, betrayal, and dementia, Katy Tur, the Christiane Amanpour of campaign coverage, will still be reporting from the front line of the second American civil war. By then it may be time for someone else to knock the women of MSNBC off their pedestal in the name of a free and vibrant press. But that time isn’t now.RELATED: Donald Trump Actually Threatened to Defund “Out of Control” CaliforniaStay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today. TAGSDonald TrumpFox NewsMSNBCRachel MaddowPrevious articleThere’s a New Twist in Natalie Wood’s Unsolved DrowningNext articleAll of L.A.’s Free Museum Days in FebruarySteve Erickson RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHORRep. Adam Schiff Wants a ‘Wholesale Review’ of the Trump DOJAfter Several Controversies, Tito Ortiz Resigns from Huntington Beach City CouncilThe World According to Nikki Haskell, High Society’s Perennial Party Girllast_img read more

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