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Sean Doogan

The Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. predicts the size of the annual dividend check that qualifying Alaskans will receive this year will be considerably more than the $900 checks distributed in 2013, and may approach the all-time record.

"I think the punchline is that the dividend is going to be right about doubling from last year," said Mike Burns, the executive director of APFC.

That could mean a 2014 check of $1,500-$2,000, depending on how the final numbers work out, according to Burns. The largest Permanent Fund payout in history was the $2,069 paid in 2008; the least was the $331 paid in 1984, the third year of Permanent Fund distributions...

Sean Doogan

Anchorage Economic Development Corp. detailed slow but steady growth for the Anchorage economy at its annual 3-Year Outlook Luncheon, which drew a crowd of more than 1,500 people Wednesday at the Dena'ina Civic and Convention Center.

AEDC is a private Anchorage organization that supports and tracks the growth of business in the state's largest city. Its 13-page report, released Wednesday, details what AEDC believes to be the fate of the Anchorage economy into 2017...

Sean Doogan

Municipal Light and Power, an Anchorage electric utility that serves more than 32,000 customers in the Anchorage Bowl, is issuing a small refund to customers who were hooked up to its power supply during an eight-month span from March 1-Oct. 24, 2013. The amount of the refund will depend on how much power each household or business used, according to ML&P spokesperson Ronnie Dent...

Sean Doogan

Alaska entrepreneurs, crafts people, artists, inventors and tinkerers are getting help turning their ideas into money-making realities this week.

Now in its second year, Alaska Entrepreneurship Week connects people trying to start new businesses with each other and seasoned professionals. The events range from workshops with the founder of Indiegogo -- one of the largest crowd funding resources available on the Internet -- to seminars on business startups and even a "Shark Tank" -style contest for hopeful entrepreneurs...

Sean Doogan

KENAI -- Like prospectors rushing to reap their fortunes from fabled veins of ore, thousands of Alaskans turn a small Southcentral city into a boomtown each summer. But the people who nearly triple the size of the Kenai -- about 160 road miles south of Anchorage -- aren't looking for gold. The bonanza they are after is red. Their paystreak: millions of sockeye salmon that propel themselves toward the mouth of the Kenai River each July. Their pilgrimage, much like the salmon they chase, ends in the turquoise-blue waterway that meanders 82 miles into Cook Inlet from a large, glacier-fed lake.

Welcome to the Kenai River personal use dipnet fishery...

Sean Doogan

COMING SUNDAY IN WE ALASKANS MAGAZINE: A city of dipnetters springs up at the mouth of the Kenai River. Call it Salmonville.

The Kenai River personal use fishery is winding down, with less than a week remaining. Not far from the Kenai city center, thousands of Alaskans have gathered to fill their freezers with red salmon. And although the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's sonar count has shown that more than a half-million reds have already entered the river, dipnetting has been hit or miss...

Sean Doogan

More than 100 people packed a public hearing room and overflowed into the hallways of the offices of the Regulatory Commission of Alaska on Wednesday morning as about a dozen Enstar customers testified about the recent 48.5 percent increase in the cost of natural gas the utility is passing along.

Many wanted to hear the Southcentral Alaska utility explain the reason for the hike in cost. Some were there to petition the RCA to make Enstar lower the rates.

"I don't think it will make any difference," said Caroline Gardner, an Enstar customer from Anchorage who testified Wednesday. "But you never give up."...

Sean Doogan

The Regulatory Commission of Alaska has scheduled a public meeting on Wednesday for discussion of a 48 percent rate hike for customers of Enstar Natural Gas Co., which began July 1.

The increase has already been approved by the RCA, the state agency charged with reviewing and approving utility rates. That means the average household served by the utility can expect its natural gas bill to go up by almost $40 per month...

Sean Doogan

The Municipality of Anchorage boasts more than 200 parks and hundreds of miles of trails. But more than half of Anchorage parks and almost all the trail systems are lacking in one important area: a proper place to go when nature calls.

And there are almost no public restrooms in the city's downtown core -- especially after businesses and government offices close each day...

Sean Doogan

Hang out, say, at a hot dog stand on the corner of Fourth Avenue and F Street in Anchorage, and if the wind is right, an aroma assaults your nostrils. What's that smell? It's like a dirty public restroom.

Which is pretty close to the truth. Largely unnoticed, a covered breezeway between the shuttered 4th Avenue Theatre and the downtown branch of First National Bank of Alaska has become a collection point for people to relieve themselves.

"It's a popular pit stop for our homeless and chronic inebriate population," said Chris Schutte, executive director of the Anchorage Downtown Partnership. "But truth be told, on a Friday or Saturday night, any patron passing by might relieve themselves."...

Sean Doogan

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