Special Election To Be Held in Sand Point for Small Boat Harbor Rehabilitation
The City of Sand Point will be holding a Special Election next month. In addition to the regular November 6th state and national ballots, the City will have a ballot that asks the citizens of Sand Point whether they approve applying for bond funding to help rehabilitate the Robert E. Galovin Small Boat Harbor.
The City is moving ahead with the design and expects to have the project ready to build next summer. A $5 million grant from the Department of Transportation (DOT) was awarded to the City for this project. That money must be matched dollar-for-dollar, with ‘non-state’ funding.
The Aleutians East Borough has promised $2 million to help with the match requirement. Therefore, the City is seeking the remaining funds through a General Obligation (GO) bond.
The wording on the Special Election ballot will read:
For more information about the project, please contact one of your City Council members, Mayor Gundersen, City Administrator Paul Day or call the City office at (907) 383-2696.
Agencies Solicit Comments from Public on Proposed Cold Bay Airport Improvement Project
The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT) and the FAA are soliciting comments and information on a proposed project to improve the Cold Bay Airport. The project improvements are needed because the main runway is worn, uneven and lacks adequate runway lighting. In addition, there is no apron or taxiway to serve the new terminal building built by the Aleutians East Borough (AEB) in 2008. The AEB strongly supports this project, including having committed $225,000 for the design of the apron/taxiway and securing $2,000,000 from the State of Alaska FY2013 Designated Legislative Grant for Apron and Taxiway construction. FAA regulations prohibit visual obstructions within the runway visibility zone (RVZ). The AEB terminal was built outside of this zone in accordance to those regulations. The terminal currently accommodates the Cold Bay offices of the FAA and NWS, but the terminal portion of the building has remained mostly vacant, lacking an apron/taxiway.
A proposed new Cold Bay clinic would be constructed near the new apron, making this project a potential health and safety necessity. In addition, this project is expected to boost the local and regional economy. For example, there is an initiative to transport locally-caught live crab and other fresh and frozen seafood to China directly from Cold Bay. The terminal and connecting apron/taxiway would play a large part in the success of that plan.
Cold Bay and King Cove Become Tsunami-Ready and Storm-Ready
On Sept. 28, 2012, the City of Cold Bay became the ninth community in the State of Alaska to become TsunamiReady and Storm Ready. A day later, the City of King Cove became the tenth community in the state to earn these two important designations.
StormReady, a program started in 1999 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, helps arm America’s communities with the communication and safety skills needed to save lives and property–before and during the event. StormReady helps community leaders and emergency managers strengthen local safety programs “Alaskans must be aware of the threat of distant tsunamis and be prepared and ready in the case of a locally-generated one,” said Aimee Devaris, acting regional director of the National Weather Service Alaska Region. “It is critically important that people recognize nature’s warning signs that a tsunami may be imminent, such as intense ground shaking, the ocean roaring, or the ocean suddenly retreating. The TsunamiReady program emphasizes the planning, education and awareness necessary for communities to minimize the risks to lives and livelihoods from tsunamis and other coastal hazards.”
StormReady communities are better prepared to save lives from the onslaught of severe weather through advanced planning, education and awareness. No community is storm proof, but StormReady can help communities save lives.
Since June 20, 2001, TsunamiReady has helped community leaders and emergency managers strengthen their local operations. TsunamiReady communities are better prepared to save lives through better planning, education and awareness. Communities have fewer fatalities and property damage if they plan before a tsunami arrives. No community is tsunami proof, but TsunamiReady can help minimize loss to your community. “The leadership in King Cove and Cold Bay has been instrumental in their communities becoming TsunamiReady,” said John Madden, director of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. “Motivated local emergency managers are critical to the development and implementation of the plans, warning capabilities and public education necessary to be recognized as TsunamiReady.”
King Cove’s Recoverable Heat Project
Provides Tremendous Savings
The King Cove School has completed a full year using the City’s recoverable heat, saving over 22,000 to 24,000 gallons of fuel. That translates to an impressive $96,000 in savings for the Aleutians East Borough School District.
Part II of this project, which started in the spring of 2012 and has now been completed as of September 2012, consists of providing recoverable heat to the Clinic, professional building and Aleutian Housing Authority (AHA) housing. There are 16 families that will be benefitting from this heat savings. The annual fuel savings from these facilities should be about 20,000 gallons. With the cost of fuel at over $4.00/gallon, this resulted in a tremendous financial savings of approximately $80,000.
The recoverable heat is piped out of the King Cove powerhouse from the electric boiler.
The Alaska Energy Authority, with the assistance of King Cove’s public works and electric departments, assisted with installation of the required piping during the summer months. The boilers in these facilities were retrofitted to use this recoverable heat.
The City of King Cove’s administration is very pleased to be able to provide this recoverable heat to these facilities and help save the environment from the fuel emissions.
Nelson Lagoon Launches Integrated Solid Waste/Recycling Program
The Nelson Lagoon Environmental Department has initiated a new recycling program this fall. Stackable recycling bins have been distributed to nearly all of the homes and businesses, free of charge. The program requires residents to separate out aluminum, steel and glass. The aluminum and glass will be stored for back haul. Once people are used to separating these items, the Environmental Department plans to include all plastics.
About 20+ homes and businesses are involved with the program so far. The EPA Indian General Assistance Program (IGAP) is funding the program for the first couple of years. After that, it is expected to be fully sustainable by the community.
The IGAP program has also funded a salary for a Solid Waste Manager position, 6 days a week.
Crews Repair Nelson Lagoon’s
Safe Water Transmission Line
Workers finished repairing a sizable length of eroded water transmission line earlier this month. The washed out line was located approximately 5 miles down the beach, southwest of the village and halfway to the community water supply.
The crew (John Nelson Jr. and Emanuel Johnson) reburied the pipe (500 fathoms deep) after making the repairs. Nelson Jr. and Johnson got the job done for a remarkably low cost compared to similar but smaller jobs done within the community in the past. The residents of Nelson Lagoon would like to thank the two men for doing such a great job!
Crews Complete Weatherization Project, Structural Repairs to Home of Nelson Lagoon Elder
Thanks to funding from the Aleutian Housing Authority (AHA) and the Indian Community Development Block Grant Program (ICDBG), Richard Johnson Sr.’s home will be much better equipped to withstand the long winters in Nelson Lagoon. Not only will the home be more be less expensive to heat, it will also be more comfortable and safer.
The crew (Ernest Mobeck, Glen Nelson, Darren Johnson and Craig Rysewick of Nelson Lagoon) began the work this fall. They repaired structural damage and weatherized the home for better energy efficiency. The work included residing the lower portion of the house, replacing insulation, closing up the leakage in the walls, rebuilding the entry deck and railing to the stairway and landing, installing a new boiler, replacing the shower enclosure in the main bathroom upstairs and installing a bathroom fan. The work took approximately five weeks. The labor consisted of an all-local crew except for the boiler installation.
“The weatherization program is a great program for rural Alaska,” said AHA project manager John Santos. “AHA has done a huge amount of work in a large area of need.”
AHA is one of several agencies that work through Alaska Housing Finance, which administers the weatherization program.
“It’s making a huge difference throughout the area,” Santos added.
Santos said structural repairs needed to be completed on Johnson’s house before the weatherization work could make a difference. Construction materials were freighted from Seattle to Port Moller. From there, a tender transported the materials to Nelson Lagoon. The crew started work last month and finished up earlier this week. Santos will be making a trip out to the community next month to do a final inspection on the home.
“After the weatherization program is completed, we often hear people say that they’re using 20 to 40 percent less fuel to heat their homes,” Santos said. “That’s a substantial savings. When you can do something that cuts the heating cost nearly in half, make the house more comfortable and nicer to live in, that’s a good thing.”
Sand Point’s Police Chief Shoemaker Moves On
After serving as the Chief of Police for the City of Sand Point for the past 9+ years, Chief Van (Joe) Shoemaker caught the last ferry of the season and has headed to warmer climates. Originally from North Carolina, Van is ‘going home’, primarily to be closer to his aging mother. Although he never completely lost his southern accent, having spent over 25 years in Alaska both in the military and law enforcement has ‘helped’ him in that regard.
Hunting and fishing, especially for halibut, are things he is going to miss about Sand Point – that, and the people living in our community.
“I know it may sound corny, but I truly enjoyed helping the people that needed my help,” said Chief Shoemaker.
His future plans include continued working in the law-enforcement field and fishing.
We want to thank Chief Shoemaker for always trying to do the right thing for our community, and we wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.
John Lucking is serving as the Acting Chief of Police for Sand Point.
Update from the AEB Natural Resources Department
By Ernie Weiss, AEB Natural Resources Director
AFN 2012 Annual Convention Resolutions of fisheries interest
The Alaska Federation of Natives Annual Convention met at the Dena’ina Center October 18 – 20. The delegates adopted 43 resolutions out of 44 presented. The rules were not suspended to allow for resolutions from the floor.
Resolution 12 – 20 Reduction of Chinook, Chum and Salmon Species Bycatch in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska Pollock Fishery and in the Russian Economic Zone (submitted by AVCP)
Protect salmon to ensure sustainable harvests
Request NPFMC review Amendment 91 to the BSAI groundfish FMP in light of the 2010 genetic stock identification (GSI) (Amendment 91 set Chinook Bycatch at 60,000 in BSAI)
Request NPFMC work with CDQ groups to reduce bycatch, and possibly reduce and/or eliminate October/November fishing.
Request NPFMC continually review Chinook bycatch measures and continue GSI study.
Amended to request protections for Bering Sea canyons: Zhemchug and Pribilof.
Amended to add Halibut to list of species.
(adopted as amended)
Other Resolutions of fisheries interest
12-08 Support for the Board of Fish Generated Proposal that would add Pacific Herring to the State of Alaska’s Forage Fish Management plan. (resolution was TABLED)
12-17 Supporting Alaska Chinook Salmon Disaster Declarations (unanimously adopted)
12-19 Request funding research on declining salmon stocks through Sustainable Salmon Initiative. (unanimously adopted)
12 – 28 Support of Active Salmon Rehabilitation including Habitat Nutrient Enrichment
(adopted as amended)
12 – 37 Supporting the Ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) (adopted)
12 – 38 Request Review and Revision of the Yukon River Salmon Treaty to include provisions for Low-Chinook Salmon Productivity Years. (adopted as amended)
12 – 41 Calling for the Establishment of Inter-tribal and Alaska Native Fish Commissions.
(adopted as amended)
Chinook Salmon in the spotlight
The Alaska Chinook Salmon Symposium was presented October 22-23 at the Egan Center by ADF&G to look at Chinook salmon scientific research and to identify research needs. The event was a success and was attended by NPFMC, BoF members, and state legislators. The format included ample time for the audience to pose questions and interact with the panel experts.
According to the first presentation, based on research of 12 data sets from 1976 to 2011 of Alaska river Chinook salmon stocks including Nelson River, we have not seen Chinook salmon abundance this low in about half of those stocks. Other presentations included distribution of Chinook in the pollock fishery, where the bycatch is highest in the B season and in daylight hours. The extremely cold winters in the Bering Sea since 2006 may be a factor in the current Chinook crisis. The first winter at sea is critical to the young adult salmon. Research on these salmon demonstrates that their diet includes fish and squid. The Aleut word for Chinook was said to be Chavichax, during a discussion of the local, traditional and ecological knowledge of the salmon.
The U.S. Department of Commerce recently designated a Chinook salmon resource disaster for Cook Inlet and the Yukon & Kuskokwim rivers in response to a request from the State.
Other upcoming meetings will also highlight Chinook Salmon:
Chinook bycatch in all GOA trawl fisheries will be on the agenda for the NPFMC meeting in Anchorage December 3 – 11. Also, a Chinook Salmon Outreach Workshop will be held in Anchorage December 11 & 12, through the Arctic Yukon Kuskokwim Sustainable Salmon Initiative (AYK SSI).
Steller Sea Lion meetings
The 2010 Biological Opinion (BiOp) stated the endangered western population of Steller sea lions was at risk of jeopardy of adverse modification (JAM), and put in place harsh restrictions on groundfish fisheries in the central and western Aleutians (areas 541, 542 & 543). A court-ordered EIS is being prepared by NMFS, and the Steller Sea Lion Mitigation Committee is assisting the NPFMC in the preparation of alternatives to be analyzed in the EIS.
The AEB submitted 4 SSL EIS proposals for alternatives concerning WGOA fisheries to the committee.
Eliminate the D season in the western GOA pollock fishery and reallocate the TAC from the D season to the three other seasons, equally.
Change the opening date of the Pacific cod A season in the WGOA for all gear types.
Change the apportionment of the Pacific cod TAC in the WGOA from 60:40 to 80:20.
Add six Steller sea lion Critical Habitat sites within the AEB to the Navigable Transit exemptions in SSL regulations, allowing vessels transiting the area to maintain a minimum of 1 nm from each site, rather than 3 nm, for vessel safety.
The committee accepted the AEB proposals, but is focused on actions for the western and central Aleutians at this time. Recent independent reviews of the BiOp have questioned the validity of the science behind the JAM determination, and raised questions of management measures throughout the range of the western SSL population. Committee Chair Larry Cotter suggested the AEB WGOA proposals could be more fully considered at a later date. Oral arguments in the Ninth Circuit court of Appeals case State of Alaska V. Jane Lubchenko will be heard in Seattle on December 4th.
AEB Fishermen’s Meeting at Silver Cloud
The Aleutians East Borough will again hold a fishermen’s meeting this year on the first day of the Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle, November 27th. This year we will try to teleconference the meeting to all of the AEB communities. Among the attendees will be ADF&G staff, AEB Natural Resources staff, NPFMC member Sam Cotten and AEB WASSIP Advisory Panel Representative Denby Lloyd. The topics to be discussed include: Board of Fisheries upcoming meetings for Area M salmon and Pacific cod, NPFMC agenda items including the proposed rationalization of CGOA groundfish fisheries and the WASSIP and SEDM genetic studies.
SWAMC Works with Schools To Bring STEM Education Programs to Southwest Alaska
By Cameron Dean, SWAMC STEM Coordinator
As an economic development organization for Southwest Alaska, one of the goals of the Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference (SWAMC) is to find ways to help education become even more relevant to communities’ needs and students’ futures. Over the past year, SWAMC’s focus has been science technology, engineering and math, or STEM education. STEM has become a popular buzzword for politicians in the past few years, largely thanks to the economic benefits these fields bring. Nationally, students versed in STEM related fields can expect higher wages and employment rates after they graduate, regardless of their future career paths, and the picture is even brighter in Southwest Alaska. Southwest communities will need more engineers, biologists and airplane mechanics, but students require a solid foundation in STEM before these types of careers become possible. To that end, SWAMC is working with schools to bring unique, hands-on and relevant STEM education programs to Southwest Alaska.
The first is an ocean science curriculum built around student-led investigation of shellfish toxins at local beaches, giving them the rare opportunity to do real science while providing an important service to their communities. They will learn about the cultural, ecological and economic importance of the marine environment by taking part in it themselves.
Two other programs SWAMC is promoting, SeaPerch and Engineering is Elementary, extend engineering education, normally limited to at least high school students, to elementary and middle school. Engineering is Elementary is a curriculum that uses realistic problems, like an oil spill, to teach science and engineering as students work together to build a solution. SeaPerch is an underwater robotics project that lets kids build their own, fully functioning remotely operated vehicle (ROV), similar to the ones used across the state for repairs, surveying and research. STEM education programs like these encourage experimentation, investigation and creativity to engage students while giving them the skills they need to compete after graduation.
Greetings from the Cold Bay School!
By Kerry Burkhardt, Cold Bay School Principal
Much to our surprise, the students, Mrs. Lyons (the teacher’s aide), and myself have already finished the first quarter of the school year! Whew! Time certainly flies! These fine kids have been working diligently, reading up a storm, solving tricky math problems, researching Civil War subjects, and utilizing their creative minds! It’s no surprise that the students are missing the DeVault family. However, their attitudes are great, and they realize that it’s a new year.
This quarter we’ve enjoyed several guest speakers. Winnie Winikoff who was here working on her graduate research spoke to us about the importance of Salmondae and of maintaining their healthy habitat. The Tsunami Readiness Team, led by Cindi Preller thoroughly entertained and trained the students for an entire afternoon!
Recently, AEBSD Superintendent Tim Stathis worked with each student while he was here visiting. They can’t wait until he returns. Mr. Stathis also met with interested community members while he was in town. George Cromer III, also with AEBSD, spoke to our class about the importance of not using tobacco, drugs, or alcohol. Avoiding these substances is one of the hot topics at school this week as we celebrate “Red Ribbon Week”!
Paige Kremer is running the school’s Student Council this year. During September, she helped the kids run a raffle for a lovely Halloween wall hanging donated by Linda Kremer. Through the generosity of the Cold Bay and others traveling through on PenAir, the Cold Bay Student Council raised $222.00! We send much gratitude and appreciation to Mrs. Linda Kremer, to Paige Kremer and to the people who bought tickets.
Finally, the students and I sincerely thank Mrs. Donna Lyons for her excellent job of helping us all in so many ways every day!
Make your Vote Count: Vote on Nov. 6th
Election Day is Tuesday,
November 6th, 2012.
The polls will be open 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Make your vote count on Election Day!
AEB Communities Celebrate Halloween
The daylight is getting shorter, and darkness is creeping in earlier and staying around longer. That means Halloween is just around the corner. But before your community is overrun with ghosts and goblins, there are a few fun and safe activities to help celebrate this fun-filled holiday.
The Cold Bay Public Library plans on having a Movie/Halloween night celebration for the kids on Saturday, Oct. 27th.
o 4 p.m. at the Community Center
o Children of all ages are welcome
o For more information, call Donna Lyons at (907) 532-2604.
King Cove’s Recreation Department is planning a Halloween Party for kids on Saturday, October 27th:
6th grade on Down at the Teen Center
o 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM
o Costume Contest: 1st, 2nd, & 3rd Winners
o Fun, Dancing, Treats
7th Grade on Up
o 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM at the Teen Center
o Costume Contest: 1st, 2nd, & 3rd Winners
o Fun, Dancing, treats
Sand Point is holding a Halloween carnival for the kids at the Sand Point School on Sat., Oct. 27th: The Jr. High Basketball teams and their parents are sponsoring the event. The Jr. High is raising money to pay for airfare to attend a tournament in Bristol Bay.
o Noon to 3 p.m.
o About 20 booths
o Games, prizes and food
Akutan is holding a Halloween carnival for the kids at the Akutan School on Wed., Oct. 31st
o The student council is hosting the carnival
o 4 to 6 p.m. at the school gym
o 10 different games including bobbing for apples, a donut eating contest, a cake walk and a ring toss.
Nelson Lagoon is planning two Halloween parties for the kids:
A Halloween-themed school dance for all ages
o At 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27th
o Location: the Community Center
Annual Halloween Party
o At 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 31st at the Community Center
False Pass is holding a Halloween carnival for the kids at the False Pass School on Sat., Oct. 27th:
o At 3 p.m. in the school gym.
o Features a haunted house.
o Games include bobbing for apples, fishing for toys, tossing games and face painting.