Seward, AK – May 20, 2013 – A new exhibit will open on June 8 at the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward. The exhibit, a 21-foot fishing boat which sits within a harbor scene, will highlight the importance and successes of sustainably managing Alaska’s fisheries. The grand opening will happen [...]
Art Opening Saturday May 18th 6-8pm Resurrect Art Coffee House Gallery _____________________________________________ “Fish...
Art Opening Saturday May 18th 6-8pm Resurrect Art Coffee House Gallery _____________________________________________ “Fish...
Executive Chef Erik Slater, of Resurrection Roadhouse Restaurant, Seward Windsong Lodge and Kenai Fjords Wilderness...
Executive Chef Eric Slater of Seward Windsong Lodge and Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge Named to Best Chefs America
Executive Chef Erik Slater, of Resurrection Roadhouse Restaurant, Seward Windsong Lodge and Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge, has been honored as one of the country’s top culinary talents in the inaugural edition of Best Chefs America. This is the first-ever peer review guide of U.S. chefs, who were chosen after extensive interviews between their fellow chefs and Best Chefs America analysts. Executive Chef Slater has been showcased in the informative and exquisitely produced 386-page coffee table book that was released on March 1, 2013.
“I am honored to be listed alongside such a group of talented Alaskan chefs and too be included in Best Chefs America.” said Executive Chef Slater. “This recognition gives me yet another reason to be appreciative of my fellow professionals here in Alaska and it shows just how tight our chef community really is.”
“Chefs themselves truly understand what it takes to be successful in this competitive industry, and Best Chefs America offers them a forum to express their views,” states Elizabeth Fishburne, Best Chefs America Lead Analyst. “Based on the overwhelmingly positive response from more than 5,000 participating chefs, it is clear that the chef world was ready for us.”
About Executive Chef Erik Slater and the Lodges
In 2011, Executive Chef Slater was honored to be selected by Alaska Governor Parnell to represent the state in the Great American Seafood Cook-Off in New Orleans.
Slater’s love of cooking came from his mother, who began honing his skills as soon as he could reach the range top. By the time he was 18, Erik Slater was a cook at the Elk Café in Spokane, Washington. A couple of years later, he worked at a small Italian café, learning old family recipes and techniques from the owners.
He later moved to the Mars Hotel as sous chef, before leaving Washington for Anchorage, Alaska, to work as head chef of Sorellas. He then moved to Napa Valley where he did fresh sheet menus paired with Napa Valley wines at the Dutch Treat Café. Slater took some time off to travel through Thailand, learning the authentic details of Thai cooking, returning to Alaska to work at a small Asian fusion restaurant in Juneau.
In 2000, Slater moved to Seward where he was head chef at Ray’s Waterfront Restaurant and a partner in Seward’s Railway Cantina, before joining Seward Windsong Lodge in 2004, as executive chef. He serves on the board of the Alaska Culinary Academy.
Seward Windsong Lodge and Resurrection Roadhouse, the on-site restaurant, operate the 2013 season from May 17th through September 17th. Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge unveils a new main lodge building with an expanded kitchen and new culinary program to its guests on May 31st for the 2013 season.
Alaska Native owned and operated, CIRI Alaska Tourism Corporation is the umbrella company for Alaska Heritage Tours, Kenai Fjords Tours, Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge, Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge, and Seward Windsong Lodge. CIRI Alaska Tourism Corporation is a Minority Business Enterprise, MBE#PS0313.
CIRI Alaska Tourism Corporation Contact: Dee Buchanon, Director of Marketing, 907-777-2837 / 907-441-9191 cell
Media Photos: www.ciritourism.com/media
About Best Chefs America
Best Chefs America is the ultimate chef’s guide to chefs. Analysts conducted more than 5,000 confidential telephone interviews with chefs who were nominated by other chefs, culinary professionals and food enthusiasts across the country. The interviews consisted of a series of proprietary questions, and software was used to aggregate the data. Chefs earning the highest scores among their peers in their region were included in the guide. The results were compiled into a 386-page coffee table book, complete with chef listings broken down both geographically and alphabetically. Best Chefs America also features stunning photography and highlights emerging culinary trends and ingredients uncovered during the interviews.
Best Chefs America costs $75.00 and can be purchased online at http://bestchefsamerica.com/orde
Best Chefs America Contacts: Mike Hicks/Gina Stouffer
LOU HAMMOND & ASSOCIATES
By Heidi Zemach for SCN
Celebrity Cruises has confirmed that during its last sailing to Seward Friday, May 10th, the Celebrity Millennium cruise ship experienced “an elevated number of people with a gastrointestinal illness.” Over the course of the sailing, 164 of its 1,963 passengers and 30 of its 935 crew members experienced the illness, thought to be norovirus. Those affected by the short-lived stomach illness responded well to over-the-counter medication being administered onboard the ship, said Cynthia Martinez the director of Global Corporate Communications for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
“At Celebrity Cruises we have high health standards for all our guests and crew,” she said. “During the sailing, we conduct enhanced cleaning onboard the ship, to help prevent the spread of the illness. Additionally, when Celebrity Millennium arrived to Seward, Alaska, on Friday, May 10, we conducted an extensive and thorough sanitizing onboard the ship and within the cruise terminal, to help prevent any illness from affecting the subsequent sailing.”
The State of Alaska Section of Epidemiology division received an email from the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) vessel sanitation program three days earlier notifying them of the matter because more than three percent of its crew and passengers were affected by gastrointestinal symptoms, said the division’s information officer Greg Wilkinson. The email said that the CDC would respond to the ship. Guests and crew on the Millennium, as on all cruise ships embarking passengers here, received a letter at boarding that asked if they had experienced any gastrointestinal symptoms within the last three days. Those who answer that they have are checked out by medical personnel, and some, deemed infectious, are not allowed to board. Similarly, if guests said they were uncomfortable taking their cruise, for reasons related to personal health or otherwise, cruise ship staff assist them in rescheduling their sailing for another time.
Celebrity Millennium departed Shanghai (Baoshan), China, on Thursday, April 25, and made port calls to Jeju Island, South Korea; Kobe and Toyko (Yokohama), Japan and Petropavlovsk, Russia, before arriving to Seward, Alaska, on Friday, May 10. Then it headed to ports in southeast Alaska.
According to health experts, each year as many as 300 million people worldwide are affected by Norovirus. Only the common cold is more prevalent. The virus is a bad gastrointestinal flu that can knock you out for about two or three days. While it’s very common in the general population, in a confined environment, such as on board a ship, it can spread rapidly, usually by people touching surfaces such as door handles and railings. All of the cruise ships stress frequent daily hand-washing and sanitizing, and the crew uses a potent virus killer to treat all surfaces and to clean the cabins daily. In the case of an outbreak, it is also used to clean all of the coaches too.
Last year, passenger’s aboard the Dawn Princess, a Princess Cruise ship, experienced elevated numbers of people with norovirus. When the ship arrived in Seward, however, only six passengers and three crew members were deemed infectious and were confined to their staterooms.
Friday’s ship was the first of many that will be coming to Seward this summer, and kicked off the official start of what many local entrepreneurs expect will be a busy 2013 tourist season here. Many of the passengers were loaded onto tour buses and spent the day sightseeing in Anchorage, while others took local day-cruises aboard Major Marine Tours and Kenai Fjords Tours. Still others wandered around town, visiting the shops and restaurants and Alaska SeaLife Center. The next cruise ship scheduled in Seward is Holland America’s Zaandam, Sunday, May 19th.
By Heidi Zemach for SCN
The Bear Creek Volunteer Fire Department is hosting a Ground Breaking on Saturday May 11, at 1:30 for the new fire-station multi-use building, with an open house and hot-dog roast to follow. March Creek is the Contractor. The contract was formally approved by the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly at its Tuesday, May 7th meeting. Six contractors bid on the project, but March Creek was the lowest bidder at $4,501,123.00, and is a contractor well known for the quality of its work, said BCFVD Fire Chief Mark Beals. For the past couple of weeks, workers have been clearing the site adjacent to the existing fire station of trees and snow, and generally preparing for the site to be ready for them to begin construction this month.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough Capital Project will oversee the project. The project is to be substantially completed by early 2014, with additional ground work to be finished in the spring of next year.
“The Bear Creek Fire Service Area Board of Directors and the Bear Creek Volunteers Fire and EMS, Inc. are looking forward to the new facility which will improve facilities for training, and a layout and design that will improve response and safety at the new station,” Beals said. “We wish to thank the community,
borough and our legislative representatives for their support of this project.”
Come out an celebrate with the volunteer fire department and Bear Creek community this important new project that has taken so long to bring to fruition.
(Link provided with permission from the Alaska Dispatch)
Turn your FM radio dial to 91.7 these days and you’ll hear some interesting old ragtime, Dixieland, big band, swing, and variety of other music predating the 1960s, along with local weather, and international news. Seward’s own new community radio station KIBH-91.7 FM, with help from local radio techie and broadcaster Wolfgang Kurtz, started broadcasting from an antenna atop a building on Fourth Avenue in downtown Seward Tuesday, via a 100 watt low-power transmitter with a license assigned to Kenai Educational Media Inc. Kurtz’s low-power transmitter will be moved to another, much more powerful 1000 watt transmitter, and placed on a tall tower located on Kurtz’s father’s hillside property in the Camelot Subdivision, and will broadcast over FM and AM. Its signal will eventually be carried clear out in Moose Pass and beyond via antennae on buildings or towers established along the Seward highway, Kurtz said.
Annette Shacklett, the Seward Phoenix Log Publisher is the current corporate board president for Kenai Educational Media, and Jeff Hetrick is its vice president. The KIBH-FM board has been holding monthly planning meetings to discuss operations, and they are always looking for more people to volunteer, Kurtz said.
For now, Doug Grant, of Grant Electronics, who donated temporary office space for the new radio station he runs inside his shop, has been programming the radio station’s content. For the past two years he’s already been broadcasting his own AM Radio station, Grant Electronics Radio, inside his own shop and immediate surroundings with the music he enjoys. So that’s what has been aired at first on KIBH, along with news and local weather. Grant also has donated his office space to the new radio station until the board can find another permanent office downtown.
Kurtz, the editor of the Seward Phoenix Log, has set up several commercial radio stations across Alaska, and more recently a low-broadcast commercial radio and Pacifica Radio-affiliate station behind Becky Dunn’s feed store a few miles outside of town. He dismantled that station following last year’s flood, but hopes to get the new station it has evolved into going and licensed as a National Public Radio-affiliate so that it can offer NPR programming blocks well known to NPR listeners such as Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and more. Kurtz said the advisory board also would like the station to become affiliated with Alaska Public Radio Network which brings programs like Talk of Alaska, Kids These Days, and the Alaska News Nightly, with reporters spread out across the state. Those shows would be interspersed with locally-produced music and public affairs programs, weather, and live coverage of local events and emergency broadcasts, depending upon volunteer’s time, money and interest. The board of directors will choose the station’s direction and programming content, and volunteers will take on the responsibility—and fun—of fundraising and making the station theirs, with programming of their own.
KIBH-FM can be a small, entirely automated operation with all of the music of all genres that Kurtz already has access to, or it can be whatever the community wants to make it become, he said. He’s hoping it will offer as much local content and information as possible, as that’s what Seward is lacking right now, Kurtz said.
By Heidi Zemach for Seward City News
The Moose Pass Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Bureau held its first ever progressive open-house event Tuesday, April 30 to showcase area mom and pop businesses. Wait a minute! Moose Pass has a Chamber of Commerce? Where?
Actually, it doesn’t have a building, but it exists online, has local members, and is kept going by the handful of residents who meet at one another’s homes every so often to strategize. Its online presence is being increased by being put on Facebook recently. The dozen plus business owners who showed up for Tuesday’s open house demonstrated a renewed interest in making the chamber, their own businesses, and Moose Pass generally a place that people don’t just drive past, on their way somewhere else, but a place where they will stop, spend some time and money enjoying it.
Most of the little places showcased Tuesday evening might be tucked away, out of view of the highway, but there are actually more small mom and pop businesses going on in Moose Pass than one might think. They’re very quaint, rustic, well thought-out, and run by friendly people who aim to show their clients a good rural Alaska experience.
Renfro’s Lakeside Retreat
The tour started at Renfro’s Lakeside Retreat, located off Seward Highway, off Mile 20, on the Kenai Lake. Host Gary Glasgow bought it from its former owners two years ago. It has eight rustic cabins, five right on the lake, and three in the spruce trees near the lake. It also has 10 R.V. sites. Glasgow said he bought it as his answer to a “mid-life crisis,” after he retired from a job as Senior Manager of Discover Card in Salt Lake City, Utah. The choice was either to come run a lodge in Moose Pass, Alaska, purchase a place in Talkeetna, or a dude ranch with 40 employees in Cody, outside of Yellowstone National Park. h. He seems very happy with the choice he made. The cozy lakeside log cabin he showed the group, typical of the rest, had a wooden back porch that overlooked a drop-dead gorgeous view of the beach and the emerald lake. The beach had a stylish fire pit for camp fires. The cabin had its own small kitchen and dining table with the same view, and an upstairs sleeping loft.
“This year’s summer bookings are awesome,” Glasgow said. He’s already three-quarters booked for the entire summer season, and last year, his first, wasn’t too bad either. His R.V. park was filled with road construction crew workers.
Last year’s flooding of Kenai Lake was unfortunate, however. All of the rental cabins were partly submerged when the lake overtopped its banks, but luckily only one sustained real damage. It will be repaired and ready to go by tourist season.
Many of the area business people on the open house tour were there either to get better acquainted with one another, or better acquainted with what the other might have to offer them or their clients. Several knew one another, but had not been inside their workplaces, or shared what exactly they do.
Teddy’s Inn the Woods
Teddy’s Inn the Woods is another stylish home-like cabin, owned and run for 17 years by Teddy Berglund and Tom Prochazka, out of immediate view of their own home. You have to climb up one story to get to it, and then there’s a nice porch with a colorful outdoor carpet with table and chairs, and a majestic view of the snowy mountains and trees. There’s a nice master bedroom, and in the main living sleeping room there are two single inset beds that children especially love, a window seat one can sleep in, and fold-down futon bed.
The building used to be a pole barn with an old wood stove, Berglund said. She and Tom fixed it up to provide extra income for the family, and to allow Teddy to be home with their children during the summertime. Berglund was a food service provider at the Moose Pass School. But now that the kids are grown and gone, she does a patchwork of jobs. She substitute-teaches in Seward, makes jewelry for another woman to sell, and helps Judy Odhner (of Blue Moon Baked Goods) to cater weddings.
“How late can I have people call you when we have an overflow?” asked Dave “Steamer” Fulton, the owner of Trail Lake Lodge. His chef, Tripp, had set out a sampling of their famous mammoth size hamburgers, chicken wings, and some wraps in the restaurant. People in Anchorage often look at their map and believe Moose Pass or Seward is closer than it really is, he said. They start driving south on the Seward Highway late at night, when it’s still light, and arrive at one or two in the morning, ready to drop and looking for a room. “Call us any time,” replied all the cabin owners, and really meant it. They, in turn asked Fulton whether he would allow folks to eat dinner after their official closing time as Trail Lake has the only restaurant in town. People frequently arrive just as Tripp has cleared up and is heading out the door, Fulton said. But he’s often willing to stay longer and whip them up something quick, knowing that folks have to eat somewhere.
It’s that friendly, can-do attitude that make Moose Pass business owners special.
(We’ll have more in Part II on Trail Lake Lodge, Keen Eye Anglers, AlpenGlow Cottage, Gone Again Charters and more)
The Moose Pass Chamber and Visitor’s Bureau will hold its first annual progressive Open House tour at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 30 to showcase all the local Mom and Pop businesses they have to offer.
Participants should gather at Renfro’s Lakeside Retreat (27177 Seward Highway, Mile 20) between 6 and 6:30, on time, to begin the tour as a group. Carpooling is encouraged due to lack of parking at some locations. The tour will stop for 15 to 20 minutes each at Renfro’s Lakeside Retreat, Teddy’s Inn the Woods, Jewel of the North, Trail Lake Lodge and Keen Eye Anglers, Alpenglow Cottage and Gone Again Charters, Blue Moon Baked Goods, Tern Lake Valley Woodworks, and Fern Hollow B & B, and Inn at Tern Lake and Chugach Backcountry Guides.
The tour will conclude at Inn at Tern Lake with a special guest presentation by Nathan Harvey of Thrive Consulting Group, a national digital communications firm that helps small businesses and nonprofits promote and grow by effectively using online tools.
This is a great way to learn what you’ve been missing as you zoom past Moose Pass on your way to Anchorage or Soldotna.
For information contact Kyle Kolodziejski, 288-4848
Welcome Crystal Symphony, Seward’s first cruise ship of the season! Most of the passengers were in Seward today on a port of call and will continue on to Southeast Alaska and then to Vancouver, B.C. Several new passengers joined the ship in Seward for this voyage to Vancouver. This is the only time a Crystal Cruises ship will come to Seward in 2013. Built in 1995 and refurbished in 2009, the Crystal Symphony can carry up to 952 passengers and 566 crew. More information is at their website.
By Heidi Zemach for SCN
Monday’s April 22 Seward City Council meeting was unusually short. They clocked out of the meeting before 8:00 p.m., with the most controversial parts of the meeting dealing with adopting new building, fire and mechanical codes, postponed until a full council could be present. City Manager James Hunt, Assistant Manager Ron Long, Vice Mayor Jean Bardarson, and Council member Christy Terry, were absent. All but Terry are on a good will trip to Washington D.C., and to Seattle, along with the Seward Chamber of Commerce leadership, meeting with representatives of major shipping companies and cruise ship companies, hoping to drum up more local business.
By unanimous consent, the council adopted the Consent Agenda adopting the Seward Port and Commerce Advisory Board’s priorities; authorizing payment of $96,000 to Alcan Electrical and Engineering Inc. for repairs needed to restore power to Camelot Subdivision; approving a contract amendment with R&M Consultants for $209,500 for managing the D-Float replacement project at the Small Boat Harbor.
There were several proclamations. Longtime, recently-retired Spring Creek Correctional Facility Superintendent Craig Turnbull was awarded one. Turnbull said he was honored, and was looking forward to seeing everyone at Safe-way, perhaps the town’s most frequent meeting-up place, as he’s not leaving town.
2013 Iditarod Champion Mitch Seavey, a two-time Iditarod winner who grew up and graduated high school in Seward, and still runs a dogsled tourist business here, also got a city proclamation. Seavey said he is honored by the recognition, and said Seward still means a lot to him. He pointed out however that the proclamation failed to mention that he was also the oldest person ever to win the Iditarod—a somewhat dubious distinction, he added, but one nonetheless. The proclamation had mentioned that his son Dallas, who won the Iditarod last year, was the youngest musher ever to do so.
Matt Gray, Watershed Program Coordinator for the Resurrection Bay Conservation Alliance and Jenna Giddens, a ranger with the Kenai Fjords National Park Service, picked up the April Bear Awareness Month proclamation. Both are Seward representatives on the Kenai Brown Bear Committee. They reminded residents to keep their yards and porches free of all bear rewards, even birdseed, thus training the bears to forage in our forests and streams, not around homes, businesses and dumpsters. At the suggestion of folks on the bear committee, the city recently signed a contract with Alaska Waste Inc., where people can now lease a 95 gallon bear-resistant garbage can from them for just $2 per month more than the standard rate. Police will fine those who repeatedly allow bears to get into their trash.
Several youngsters from TYC also showed up to advertise the upcoming children’s Bike Rodeo Safety program and Police Open House in early May. It’s a fun event enabling police to instill a message of safety in children bike riders. They give out free helmets to those who safely complete an obstacle course and demonstrate knowledge of correct biking skills, and volunteers some simple bike adjustments such as inflating tires, raising seats and checking breaks.
The meat of the meeting was to have been holding public hearings and then adopting the 2012 International Mechanical Code, the 2012 International Building Code, and the 2012 International Fire Code, all with revisions.
Council also introduced the 2012 International Residential Code Ordinance, number 2013-007, which requires even more public hearings. But Councilmember Vanta Shafer felt they were all too important and lasting to adopt without a full council present, so she moved to postpone adoption of the first three until the May 13th council meeting, and the rest concurred.
The city fire department hopes the council will adopt the 2012 International Residential Code, and insert its own version of the code’s fire safety mandates for one and two-family homes that that sprinklers be installed. By statute enactment of that code revision requires at least three public hearings be held under a strictly-prescribed timeline. Council members did not want to rush this somewhat controversial requirement through, nor to hold all of the public hearings during the busy summertime when people are working, or away vacationing. So the City Clerk has spread out the hearing date schedule to May 28, August 12, and the final hearing and enactment September 9. (more…)
By Heidi Zemach for SCN
Kerry Romig has relocated her Frontier Healing Arts & Sciences, LLC “Natural Foods” store to 233 Fourth Avenue in downtown Seward , where it will remain open year-round, and help vitalize the town’s main artery. Her much smaller store had been tucked off the Seward highway, at milepost 4, near a realtor and chiropractor, where some may not even have noticed it. The new store opened April 31st, and has seen plenty of new and former customers who have expressed their pleasure at having it down town, available to more people.
She now has the space to grow and expand her offering of products.
Romig has begun visiting with neighboring businesses to introduce herself. She has made it her job to note what they are selling to be sure that what she offers will not be in competition with their goods, but might actually compliment them.
Romig encourages customers to tell her what they would like to see the store provide. She can also do special-orders for items she doesn’t carry. The majority of requests to date have been for healthy snack items, not necessarily more sweet things like the sesame seed bars or natural cacao chocolates she already has. People want something to grab and go while on their lunch break, or for when they get hungry and they don’t have time for a full big sit-down meal. Tourists may also appreciate some healthy chips or trail mix to keep them going when they’re out hiking or biking.
Romig’s husband, Seward Police Lt. Louis “Butch” Tiner hand built all of the handsome wooden display shelves there now, and he will build the remaining shelves and window display cases. He’s a good handyman who also built the family home. Kerry and Butch are longtime residents, and community-minded people who are often seen volunteering at local events. Their three school-age youngsters still at home are Hayden Tiner, Alex and Nic Pahno.
The Stylin’ Stiches business is still available and open for logo-sewing for special events or sports teams. Its door is now inside the new natural foods store, at the back.
In 2007, founder Michael Holthouse had a vision to empower today’s youth to become tomorrow’s entrepreneurs through helping them start, own and operate their very own business…a lemonade stand. Lemonade Day is a strategic 14-step process that walks youth from a dream to a business plan, while teaching them the same principles required to start any big company. Inspiring kids to work hard and make a profit, they are also taught to spend some, save some and share some by giving back to their community. Launched in Houston, Texas in 2007, Lemonade Day has grown from 2,700 kids in one city to 150,000 kids in 36 cities across America and Canada. With the help of partners like Google, Lemonade Day will bring this entrepreneurial experience to 1 million kids in 100 cities across America, sparking entrepreneurship and empowering youth in a way that’s never been done to scale.
Lemonade Day first came to Alaska in 2011. Now in its third year, Lemonade Day Alaska has grown from 1,000 participants in its first year to an anticipated 3,500 registered youth statewide this spring. With generous support from Wells Fargo, Fred Meyer, the Anchorage Daily news and others, Lemonade Day Alaska is ready for 2013 to be the most exciting Lemonade Day yet!
For more information on how to host or sponsor a stand, or to register your youth, visit http://alaska.lemonadeday.org or call the Seward Chamber at 224-8051
By Heidi Zemach for SCN
Susan Ernst, who owns the Resurrection Fitness Bodyworks, went before the Seward City Council last night to urge the city to reconsider its proposed use of the old museum building—and in fact to avoid competing with private businesses any time. Ernst had recently come to learn that the city was planning to move the City Parks and Recreation Department in the old museum building, along with exercise equipment that it had previously had at the AVTEC gym, and would offer it up for public use, along with possibly other recreation activities, staffed by public employees.
Ernst said she was surprised to learn that when the city is presented with the opportunity to reduce government in an area, it seems to be expanding into it. She saw the proposed move as a broadening of the definition of the government’s role; “Our own government should not be competing with those of us in the private sector,” she said. Speaking also on behalf of the APEX Gym, outside city limits, Ernst asked the city to support them, rather than taking business away.
Ernst also recommended that the city move toward establishing a more neutral, supportive pro-business policy by which to measure whether any future actions or services can be provided by the private sector.
The way in which the plan for the museum came about was probably an example of how sometimes the implications of their actions aren’t properly thought out by an otherwise well-meaning city administration and council, who actually spend quite a bit of conversation thinking of how to become more business-friendly.
While planning to open the new library museum, and during budget discussions, city administration was re-thinking the use of its other facilities, and how to benefit from the empty properties: the old library and the old museum. Rather than selling or renting them, or paying to have them sit there, heated, the administrators, and their department heads, came up with a plan. Move the electric department from the old train depot building into the library along with the community planning department. The planning department space would become another public meeting room. Move the Parks and Rec staff, displaced from AVTEC under a newly re-negotiated contract to the old museum along with city-owned exercise equipment that was also displaced. To a city council that had heard concern from the public and the mayor about reduced hours for public activities at AVTEC gym, the idea seemed like a good one that would benefit the public, and raised no red flags.
Assistant City Manager Ron Long explained this at last night’s meeting, and reassured Ernst that none of the plans for the museum had been decided, and that folks still could come up with a new plan that benefited the public without competing with private businesses.
That reopened the discussion. Ideas for the museum facility included the city renting it out for such uses. Council members suggested a babies and mothers place (for tot time), a day-care facility, a facility for cultural and arts activities. They even suggested reopening the idea of allowing “He Will Provide” food bank to operate from there.
Although the YES group, or Young Entrepreneurs of Seward, had been alerted to the issue, none of its members in the business community came or spoke up. Their policy committee had not had time to study the matter in depth, and as a new organization, had not clearly planned for how it would go about endorsing issues as a group. Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Cindy Clock, at the meeting to give a report, did recommend that the city not compete with the private sector.
The Seward City Council holds its regular meeting tonight, Tuesday March 26 at 7 p.m. It was postponed Monday due to Sewards Day. The council will consider a resolution officially authorizing the Seward Arts Council’s mural society to paint an International Friendship Mural in Obihiro, Japan in 2013, and appropriating $37,420 to fund the project. They will also discuss sending a city official to its unveiling in September. At last estimation, travel costs to Obihiro were upwards of $3,000.
The City Manager is asking for $46,000 to purchase a Ford Explorer for the police department, with the needed equipment.
There may be some citizens commenting on City plans to put exercise equipment that had been housed at AVTEC into the old museum, and make it available for public use, along with other Parks and Rec-related activities there. There is concern in the business community about the city competing with private enterprise, such as the local gyms.
The council plans to discuss declarations and rulings of conflict of interest. These have been a subject of division between certain council members and the mayor for some time, with Mayor David Seaward’s frequent conflict rulings based on the broad Common Law definition of what may constitute a conflict (i.e. Duty of Loyalty) rather than the more limited city code definition, which requires public office holders to be kept from discussing or voting on businesses that they stand to gain financially from.
Due to the mayor’s rulings, and subsequent lack of enough remaining members to overturn them, Christy Terry, ARRC dock manager, has been kept from participating in Alaska Railroad-related items, such as supporting the use of cruise-ship head taxes from going toward paving the ARRC parking area and providing new signage.
More recently, Marianna Keil and Vice Mayor Jean Bardarson, who serve on the city’s behalf on the Community Health Clinic Board, were not allowed to participate in discussions concerning the city’s future role in a FQHC clinic, and on the application process.
Charles Vaugt, of Waste Management of Alaska – Kenai, will give an overview of services that they currently provide in Seward.
No this is not a plea for more willow on your property; if you have ever been to Seward’s only summer market you know that the Grazing Moose is a place that specializes in Alaskan grown organic produce, Alaskan made art and other products that are fair trade and environmentally friendly. The Grazing Moose is a place you can go where the proprietor, Joanie Merritt, takes a special interest in her customers and her merchandise. She can tell you the stories of the products she sells. She knows who made them, how they made them and when they came up with the idea for making them. Joanie is one of Seward’s special catalysts, she has shown this in her work with Seward organizations like the Arts Council and the Prevention Coalition but she also looks for and creates connections every day in her business. You can go into the Grazing Moose expecting to buy a turnip and come away knowing who might be able to offer your daughter violin lessons. Creative ideas and the passing of good information with other Sewardites come free and served with a smile.
Recently Joanie went out of town to visit with her mom who has been ill. It was a tough trip for her and while she was gone her shop caught on fire. A fire that apparently started on the porch left Joanie’s business charred on one side and smoke damaged throughout. We have started a fund for Joanie to repair the Grazing Moose. There will be a donation box at Resurrect Art for this purpose. Please stop by and give what you can to the cause. In a town where catalysts like Joanie are the way we run. Let’s help keep the smiles and information coming from a business that specializes in caring for us.
— CJ Rea, Raylene O’Connor and Eileen Eavis,
By Heidi Zemach for SCN
Soon after the Xiang Yan Kou, a 711-foot Chinese offshore heavy lift ship from Singapore appeared in Resurrection Bay February 28th to dry tow Royal Dutch Shell’s drill ship Noble Discoverer to South Korea, Catalyst Marine Engineering., a local marine welding, fabrication, and vessel support company was ready to position, fit and secure 44 sea fasteners to the deck of the XYK for the trip across the Pacific.
For five days, beginning the night of March 2nd, CME began its work. Two crews, each with eight welders and two supervisors, worked day and night in shifts to accomplish the job. “We got on board the night of the second and worked round the clock, 24 hours a day till the 7th,” said Jonah Swiderski, the shop manager. He was one of the supervisors, along with Catalyst Marine owner Joe Tougas, and Seth Price, all Seward men.
The welder’s task was to unfasten each of the tow ship’s 44 sea-fasteners, and re-weld them directly onto the hull of the drill ship and to the deck of the XYK. They would secure the drill ship and prevent it from shifting, moving or swaying, even if the vessel encountered high seas. The fasteners were spaced out along the hull’s center, its bow and stern. It took the 20-person team five days and nights to accomplish the work.
Catalyst contracted with 11 members of the Pile Drivers and Divers Local 2520. Seven of the workers were Seward locals, and nine of them had graduated from AVTEC, Alaska’s Institute of Technology welding program, also located here in Seward. None of the hired help came from out of state.
These activities were aided by the tugboat Junior, and the Chahunta, both vessels with local captains who transported the workers and equipment to and from the XYK. Their forklifts moved heavy equipment such from inside the ship vessel via mid-size water-tight hatch that opened onto the deck. The Seward welders who had trained at AVTEC included Kyle Kain, Sam Werner, Hill Novel and Scott Reierson. Others who had trained here were supervisor Seth Price, Neal Ricerson, Kele Bottineau, Morgan Provost and Justin Flowers.
Once the work was completed, each of the welds was carefully inspected and certified by Alaska Industrial X-Ray, Inc.
The XYK and ailing Noble Discoverer thus equipped, left Resurrection Bay March 9th.
Seward has seen a dramatic increase in industrial-marine activity recently, so the ability to fit right in and participate in the Shell-drill ship related port activity brought a sense of local pride, and demonstrated that even local businesses and workers already have many of the needed skills and qualifications, and also that they stand ready to play a major role in the future boom in Arctic-related shipping to come, Swiderski said.
Catalyst Marine Engineering is located inside a warehouse that includes Tougas’ Major Marine welding shop on Alameda Street, a lane that runs off of Port Avenue.
“I think that this job really showed that Seward is capable of taking on jobs of this size and of this magnitude, relying on local hires, and contracts with other statewide resources,” said Swiderski. “The whole thing is very exciting.”
Seward-based longshoremen and women also have been busy working under contract with the Noble Discoverer and other freight ships at a time of year that is generally slower for them.
Tougas and Swiderski don’t believe that all the activity is due only to Shell drilling activities, although they definitely were contributors this past summer and winter. We’re also seeing plenty more commercial industrial size barges and vessels period, they noted. The new security dock has enabled more large-size vessels to dock here, and has played host to at least five of Coastal Villages’ commercial fishing vessels. In recent weeks, the Aiviq, a 360 foot vessel docked here, along with the Sisuaq, a 300-foot offshore supply vessel, they said. The oil spill response vessel Nanuq also was here, and there was even a coal ship in.
“If you could tally up the feet of industrial vessel that was sitting here at any given time it would be off the charts for what Seward usually sees,” Swiderski said. Meanwhile, at Seward Marine Industrial Center shipyard, folks were busy working on the state marine ferries the Tustumena and Aurora, and Seward Ships has a waiting list of other boats to be worked on.
Looking at the increase in freight coming through Seward, the Alaska Railroad Corporation recently presented its board with an ambitious $80 million master plan to develop its own land near the port of Seward. Among other things, the plan calls for widening the existing ARRC freight dock, moving and fortifying its jetty, and dredging the basin adjacent to it to create an additional barge docking area. If done, there will be even more trains and barges coming and going.