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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

Hang out at, say, 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

A Southcentral Alaska man got swept up in an Alaska State Troopers boating safety initiative last week in an encounter that ended with a $160 citation -- and a lot of laughter.

That's because the craft he and his passenger were testing in the shallow, nearshore waters of Finger Lake wasn't what most people would consider a boat. It was a floating picnic table.

Last week's Matanuska Valley run-in with troopers was a costly, albeit pretty funny, lesson for Michael Gonzalez, the 37-year-old man who built the picnic table boat.

"Do your research before being innovative," Gonzalez said...

Sean Doogan

A Southcentral Alaska man got swept up in an Alaska State Troopers boating safety initiative last week in an encounter that ended with a $160 citation -- and a lot of laughter.

That's because the craft he and his passenger were testing in the shallow, near-shore waters of Finger Lake wasn't what most people would consider a boat. It was a floating picnic table.

Last week's Matanuska Valley run-in with troopers was a costly, albeit pretty funny, lesson for Michael Gonzalez, the 37-year-old man who built the picnic table boat.

"Do your research before being innovative," Gonzalez said...

Sean Doogan

Nome is used to rowdy residents, but some relatively new transplants are making a real nuisance of themselves -- although unlike the colorful characters of the early 20th century gold rush days, these visitors have four legs, not two.

Musk oxen are wandering into the city on the Seward Peninsula, and despite loud noises, water hoses and even a blow-up bear coated in ursine urine, they don't want to leave...

Sean Doogan

Nome is used to rowdy residents, but some relatively new transplants are making a real nuisance of themselves -- although unlike the colorful characters of the early 20th century gold rush days, these visitors have four legs, not two.

Musk oxen are wandering into the city on Alaska's Seward Peninsula, and despite loud noises, water hoses and even a blow-up bear coated in ursine urine, they don't want to leave...

Sean Doogan

Beginning this month, Southcentral Alaska customers of Enstar -- the state's largest natural gas utility -- will be digging deeper into their pockets to pay their bills.

Effective July 1, Enstar customers will see their average monthly bill increase by 48.5 percent, according to John Sims, Enstar's director of business development. That's a jump of $39.97 for the average residential customer.

Enstar said the increase is mainly due to a carry-over from the second quarter of 2014 -- April to June -- when it overestimated the amount of gas its customers would use...

Sean Doogan

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