Ryan Binkley following the court hearing on the sale of the Alaska Dispatch News in September. The Binkley company recently announced it is purchasing three other Alaska publications. (Photo By Wesley Early, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage)
The owner of Alaska's largest newspaper, the Anchorage Daily News, is purchasing three other publications.
In a Monday announcement, the Binkley Company says it is buying two weeklies – the Alaska Journal of Commerce and Chugiak-Eagle River Star – and the monthly Alaskan Equipment Trader. All three are currently owned by Morris Communications.
The Binkley Company bought the former Alaska Dispatch News in bankruptcy court last summer. To cut costs, it outsourced printing and laid off some staff. It also returned the newspaper's name to the Anchorage Daily News.
Daily News co-publisher Ryan Binkley said in the statement that the company is excited to add “new areas of coverage and new audiences” and plans to increase efficiency by adding the smaller publications to the larger group.
Binkley said Tuesday he was traveling and unavailable for comment.
The Binkley Company did not disclose the purchase price. The sale is expected to be finalized Friday.
Morris Communications announced in August it was selling three other Alaska newspapers: the Juneau Empire, the Peninsula Clarion and the Homer News.
Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport general manager Jim Szczesniak stands in front of an aerial photo of the airport Monday in the Capitol. He said he would like to see the airport build on its role in global cargo transport. (Photo by Andrew Kitchenman/KTOO)
The new general manager for Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is looking to add more flights to China.
Jim Szczesniak started work Jan. 22 and discussed his plans during a recent visit to Juneau. He said the airport's role in the economy is at the center of his work, which includes adding and maintaining services for the coming summer tourism season.
China is a particular focus.
“We've had some exciting meetings with (the) Chinese delegation lately, that's included some potential talks of air service over there,” Szczesniak said. “We're going to continue to push that avenue to see if we can get some direct access to Asia.”
The Chinese officials included representatives from the Sichuan Province and from a Chinese airline.
Szczesniak also said he wants to build on Anchorage's role as a global center for air cargo transport. For instance, he'd like to see the airport have facilities for keeping certain types of inventory on hand for fast shipping, such as pharmaceuticals or mining equipment parts that could be sent to Asia quickly.
“We want to take that air cargo power and essentially leverage that by developing some of the property on the airport to help with international trade,” Szczesniak said.
Szczesniak is a former Chicago's O'Hare International Airport executive who has worked mostly recently at a T-shirt company. He said his experience with air cargo at O'Hare led to his interest in the Anchorage job.
UA president Jim Johnsen delivers his State of the University address at Lucy Cuddy Hall at the University of Alaska Anchorage. (Photo by Wesley Early/Alaska Public Media)
In his State of the University address Tuesday, University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen stressed the need for an increase in state funding after four years of cuts.
Addressing Commonwealth North's monthly public affairs luncheon at the University of Alaska Anchorage, Johnsen described the challenges the university has faced since the state's economic downturn began.
“These cuts hurt badly. But the greater impact than to us here at the university is the impact to the state and our reduced capacity to serve our large, unmet needs for higher education,” Johnsen said.
The university's annual budget has declined by more than $60 million since 2014. The UA Board of Regents requested an increase from the state for the next fiscal year, but Gov. Bill Walker's proposed budget would flat fund the university at $317 million.
Johnsen said meetings with state legislators this session have left him hopeful that lawmakers want to invest in public education. He said the university has worked hard to find ways to save money by consolidating programs, cutting travel and administrative costs and freezing wages.
Johnsen also encouraged anyone concerned about university funding to do what they can to help.
“In whatever way you can by getting in touch with your legislators, we're deep in the budget process right now, and letting them know how critical it is for you as a student, how critical it is for you as business leaders, how critical it is for you as leaders of foundations, as leaders of our state, as educators, that we support this great university,” he said.
After his speech, Johnsen said he feels the Legislature recognizes that the university is a sound investment.
“We didn't just sit back or crawl under the table and wait for oil prices to come back. We went forward and came up with very strong, proactive plans,” Johnsen said. “And I think that legislators see ‘Wow, OK, those guys are moving forward. They want to lead. They seem to be a good investment in our people and in our future.”
State budget negotiations are ongoing. Legislative subcommittees for both the House and the Senate are considering the university budget this week.
Alaska Public Media's Wesley Early contributed to this report.
The Olympic gold for Randall and Diggins ends a 46-year drought for the American women, who had never medaled before at the winter games. (Photo courtesy of APU)
An Alaskan skier made Olympic history on Wednesday, ending the 46-year medal drought for the U.S. women's cross-country ski team.
Anchorage's Kikkan Randall and her teammate Jessie Diggins, from Minnesota, won gold in Pyeongchang, South Korea in the cross-country team sprint.
In that event, two skiers take turns skiing 1.25-kilometer laps around the arena, completing three legs each.
And for almost the entire 16-minute race, the Americans were behind the Norwegians and the Swedes.
Jessie Diggins skied the last leg for the Americans and, coming up on the last curve of the race, she slips between Norway and up alongside Sweden's Stina Nilsson.
With just a few meters to the finish, Diggins out sprinted Nilsson, earning gold by .19 seconds. Kikkan Randall was there at the finish and ran out to Diggins, who collapsed onto the snow.
It wasn't possible to get everyone in the photo tonight but this golden night is dedicated to all who helped us get here!! Words cannot express how meaningful it's been to be on this team and to get to represent #teamusa !! Thank You Thank You Thank You!!! @Flyingpointroad
A post shared by Kikkan Randall (@kikkanimal) on Feb 21, 2018 at 8:23am PST
In a post on Instagram, Diggins credited the entire U.S. women's cross-country ski with the history victory.
“This team brings out the absolute best in every one of us. Thanks for giving us this chance to do the impossible today!” Diggins said.
Randall shared a similar sentiment online. “Words cannot express how meaningful it's been to be on this team and to get to represent #teamusa,” Randall posted on her Instagram.
Randall grew up in Anchorage and skies professionally for Alaska Pacific University. She has multiple gold medals from World Cup races but has had her eyes on an Olympic medal since Sochi four years ago.
These are Randall's fifth and final Olympics.
The Olympic gold for Randall and Diggins ends a 46-year drought for the American women, who had never medaled before at the winter games.