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In Brief

December 8th, 2017 | Staff Report Print this article   Email this article  

Missing man found dead near camp

By Shady Grove Oliver

The Arctic Sounder

Kotzebue is mourning after a local man was confirmed dead earlier this week.

Jared Walker, 32, had been missing since Friday, when he was reported overdue from a trip out to camp near the mouth of the Noatak River, about 10 miles north of town.

According to Alaska State Troopers, Walker was last heard from Friday afternoon, around 2 p.m. He was expected to return by 4 p.m. that day. When he didn't arrive, search-and-rescue volunteers went to find him at his cabin, but he was not there.

Nearby villages upriver were asked to keep an eye out for Walker to see if he made it to any of them, or had ended up on a trail nearby.

Teams from around the region continued to look for Walker over the weekend and into the start of this week. He was found by a family member on Tuesday just after noon near the Jones Camp, about six miles north of town.

His next of kin have been notified. His body will be sent to the state medical examiner's office in Anchorage for an autopsy, troopers noted.

Quintillion launches advanced fiber optic network

By Shady Grove Oliver

The Arctic Sounder

Quintillion has officially launched the Alaska portion of its new fiber optic cable system.

On Dec. 1, the system, comprising subsea cables off the western and northern coasts, went into service in Wainwright, Point Hope, Nome, Kotzebue and Utqiaġvik.

"The Quintillion system makes it possible for local service providers to offer the same world-class products and services available long ago to consumers in the Lower 48," said Interim CEO George M. Tronsrue in a release the same day.

ASTAC will be the provider offering services on the new system. It is currently pre-selling a new internet package that the company says will include download speeds of up to 10 Mbps, which is significantly more advanced than what is currently available across much of the region.

The system was completed across the Arctic coast in October, after which the company performed a series of tests on the network. It is made up of a main trunk line stretching from Prudhoe Bay to Nome, with smaller cables connecting to each of the communities.

There is also a land-based portion of the system, which runs from Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay, and covers many of the oil fields. It was completed earlier and has been in service.

Local residents have been looking forward to the higher bandwidth and greater system capacity promised through Quintillion's network.

"Introduction of high-speed internet to Quintillion's markets will enable improved health and education services, help spur economic development, empower local business and allow consumers access to video and other high-speed applications that were previously unavailable or unaffordable for many potential Quintillion end-user customers," the company noted in the release.

ASRC reaches $1 billion in total dividends

By Shady Grove Oliver

The Arctic Sounder

Arctic Slope Regional Corp. has reached two of its goals regarding shareholder dividends.

As of its disbursement of dividends to local shareholders in November, the corporation passed the $1 billion mark in distributions since its inception.

"It's very rewarding to know our people and our region have benefitted from these efforts," stated Board Chair Crawford Patkotak in a release on Dec. 4.

The corporation was founded in 1972 under the provisions of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), and now represents about 13,000 shareholders.

In addition to the total dividends, the corporation also noted it had reached one of its goals laid out in its current strategic plan, covering 2012-2017.

"[The goal] ... called for a $55 per share dividend by the end of the plan's cycle," said CEO Rex Rock in the release. "Even through periods of unpredictability in the local and national economies, we have managed to grow by using Iñupiaq values as our guide, and I look forward to the next 45 years."

This year's dividend was exactly that amount, meaning most shareholders holding 100 shares of stock received a total of $5,500 in the distribution. The corporation expanded its shareholder base in 1989, opening enrollment to those born after 1971. Before this group was added to the original base, ASRC had fewer than 4,000 shareholders.

Alaska Communications to cut workforce by 5 percent

By Annie Zak

Anchorage Daily News

Alaska Communications plans to cut its workforce by 30 employees, or about 5 percent, spokeswoman Heather Cavanaugh said Monday.

The Anchorage-based telecommunications company last week offered all its employees the option to take voluntary separation packages.

"While parts of our company are growing, we also have pressure from reductions in state and federal programs," Cavanaugh said, though she would not go into specifics. "I wouldn't say 'laying off' necessarily, because we expect to do voluntary separation packages to the extent possible."

She did not offer a timeline for when the cuts would be finished.

"It's not something we want to do but feel it's in the best interest of having a healthy company over the long term," Cavanaugh said.


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