News Day Round Up [June 1, 2017] - P.O.W. Report

Thursday, June 1, 2017

News Day Round Up [June 1, 2017]

Half Of Alaska’s Commercial Dairy Farming Is Shutting Down Due To Labor Shortage

One of Alaska’s two commercial dairy farms is closing for the summer because the owners cannot find reliable workers, according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

Northern Lights Dairy, six hours northwest of Anchorage, sent its last delivery earlier this month and will remain closed until at least the fall. “We’re hoping this is temporary,” co-owner Lois Lintelman told the Daily News-Miner. “We’re hoping that the problem with not having help will be fixed.”

Northern Lights Dairy is one of two commercial dairy farms in the entire state of Alaska, according to Greg Booher, a dairy consultant. It has been in business since 1978 and supplied dairy products to stores and military outposts throughout Alaska.

The couple said that one reason they are having trouble finding reliable work is due to construction at nearby Fort Greeley, where the government is installing a ground-based midcourse missile defense interceptors.

“A farmer can’t pay the wages that they’re getting at Fort Greely, and that’s what everyone thinks they should get,” Lois Lintleman said. “How can a farmer pay $20 to $30 an hour?”

In 1959, there were 525 dairy farms in the United States that accounted for nearly half of the states’ agricultural production. The largest state-owned dairy farm, the Matanuska Maid dairy in Anchorage, closed in 2008.

The problem in Alaska is also a part of a wider issue for America’s dairy farmers. While prices on dairy products have dropped in recent years, milk production in the U.S. isn’t slowing down. (RELATED: Congress Asks USDA To Bail Out Dairy Industry)

Milk prices dropped by 40 percent since 2014, and the nation’s cheese stocks were recorded at their highest level since data was first recorded in 1917. [Read the Full Story here]

Alaska’s cruise industry just keeps getting bigger

The cruise industry in Alaska is getting bigger, in more ways than one. The state is seeing larger ships traverse its waters, and new companies are on their way to debuting cruise itineraries here.
Between the ships that came to Alaska in 2015 and those scheduled to arrive in the summer of 2018, average ship tonnage will have grown by 16 percent, and capacity will have grown about 14 percent, according to numbers from Cruise Lines International Association Alaska.

“A lot of the growth is in those smaller ports,” said John Binkley, president of CLIA Alaska. He pointed to Hoonah, Whittier and Wrangell as a few places that have seen an uptick in activity recently or will see it soon.

Much of the recent capacity growth in the industry as a whole in Alaska has come from larger ships replacing smaller ones, he said. But there are also more ships visiting Alaska waters than in previous years.

New companies have their sights set on Alaska in coming years; Azamara Club Cruises, Viking Cruises and Cunard Line are all planning 2019 itineraries here. Windstar Cruises is also coming in 2018.

“Alaska is still considered the Last Frontier for so many reasons,” said Mary Schimmelman, a spokeswoman for Seattle-based Windstar, when asked why the state was such an attractive market for expansion. “That destination authenticity is something we’re really after.”

About 1,060,000 passengers are anticipated to arrive in the Last Frontier this season aboard such ships, according to the state’s cruise association, setting a new record. Last summer was the first year the passenger count topped 1 million since 2009. [Source]

Children Now Face Fines & Arrest If They Don’t Get a Permit to Mow Grass for Money

Gardendale, AL — A regular summer right of passage for motivated teenagers across the United States in search of some extra spending money has always been cutting the neighbors grass. However, teens in Gardendale, Alabama, and many other cities across the United States, are about to get a rude lesson in how government overregulation stifles personal and financial growth.

Local officials and area law services have reportedly warned area teens that without a business license issued by the city, which costs $110, they are in violation of a city ordinance, thus violating the law, if they attempt to cut grass without a license.

Mayor Stan Hogeland weighed in on the controversy, noting that when operating a business for pay within the city limits, you must have a business license. But, he also said that sending law enforcement after a child trying to earn extra money in the summer is not a priority. Unfortunately, however, if children do resist this tax on their entrepreneurial spirit — police force will most assuredly come. These children would most assuredly face at the very least, a fine, and possibly even arrest.

Hogeland stated he’s committed to finding a way to resolve this issue. But, of course, the government still wants its cut, so he will explore the possibility of a temporary license for summer months that targets entrepreneurial youth. [Source]

FAA proposes fine for United, accusing it of flying a plane not in 'airworthy condition'

At issue is a Boeing Dreamliner that United mechanics serviced on June 9, 2014. The airline replaced a fuel pump pressure switch in response to a problem a flight crew had documented two days before the repair. Instead of immediately performing the required inspection, the FAA said United put the plane back into service.

According to the federal government, United flew the plane 23 times on domestic and international routes before doing the required inspection of the new switch on June 28, 2014.

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said, "Maintaining the highest levels of safety depends on operators closely following all applicable rules and regulations. Failing to do so can create unsafe conditions."

There is no indication the failure to inspect the switch caused a problem on any of the 23 flights United made before coming into compliance with FAA rules [Source]

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