By Dot Bardarson The friendship between our sister city, Obihiro, Japan and Seward will be strengthened this year by the gift of involvement. We have been friends for a long time, when 45 years ago, Seward and Obihiro became sister cities. Then in 1973 we began the student exchange program. [...]
Welcome Crystal Symphony, Seward’s first cruise ship of the season! Most of the passengers were in Seward today...
Environmental Assessment on Herman Leirer Multi-Modal Trail Feasibility Available for Public Comment
An Environmental Assessment (EA) evaluating alternatives for the feasibility of an interagency multi-modal trail along...
Chelsey Olesiuk and Richard Mack, of Seward went on the Seward/Obihiro Exchange Program last Summer, along with some...
HB 80, a bill to remove cruise ship/large passenger vessel water quality discharge standards in Alaska, and revert them to the way it used to be before a 2006 citizen’s initiative called for stricter requirements took effect, has been fast-tracked through the state legislature. It passed the House February 4th, and is now going to the state senate for approval. In proposing the bill, Governor Parnell drew from some points made in his hand-picked science-team’s preliminary report on the issue. The bill discontinues the work of the team mid-way, however, not allowing the team to take the additional two years promised to complete studying the issue and producing a final report. To learn more about this bill, and the science team’s report, and internal dissenter, there are some very interesting articles in the Anchorage Daily News, which can be read on ADN.com
Read more here: Science panel report used to push cruise ship bill after DEC said it wouldn’t., published: February 9, 2013 (Sunday edition by Richard Mauer.)
Or this Anchorage Daily News editorial: Our View: Cruise ship bill needs a cold, hard look – not a rush job
Seward typically sees three to four cruise ships per week, sometimes more from mid- May through early September, some carrying up to 3,000 passengers and even more crew members.
Rep. Paul Seaton, of Homer, was the only republican House member to vote against the bill. He had hoped for greater protection for critical fish habitats:
“It changes the standards that were put in place by the voter initiative and
allows permanent mixing zones. I voted against passage because removal of the
target standards, rather than giving the ships longer to comply as technology
improves, will not lower pollution in confined state waters and can impact other
resources. I am disappointed that DEC was unwilling to remove the agency’s
ability to allow these discharges in the 6 statutorily designated Critical
Habitats, including Kachemak Bay. I hope in the end more consideration will be
given to reducing the impact of discharges from one million cruise ship visitors
per year and we can avoid potential conflicts with other uses of our sensitive
coastal waters.” (quoted from Seaton’s weekly newsletter to his constituents).
The Seward Highway closed around 2:30pm Saturday afternoon at mile 87.7 and opened back up tonight around 9:30 pm tonight. More details about the accident can be found online at KTUU.com:
UPDATE (5:30 p.m.): Alaska State Troopers estimate that the Seward Highway will not open until approximately 8 p.m.
According to AST spokeswoman Megan Peters, a Dodge Caravan was heading southbound when it struck a man and then a disabled vehicle. The pedestrian died; the two individuals in the van were transported to a local hospital.
Troopers are currently working to clear debris and evidence and remove the inoperable vehicles from the scene.
No names have been released. This is a developing story. Check back at KTUU.com for updates.
Both lanes of the Seward Highway around mile 87.7 are closed for a few hours, according to officials.
Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters says a pedestrian was struck and killed by a vehicle shortly after 2 p.m. Saturday.
As of 7:20pm the Seward highway is still closed.
From KTUU online at:
This Saturday, October 6, at 7 p.m., Amy Carney and Tember Eliason will be sharing their experiences from their August trip to Obihiro, Japan. Presentation will be held in the basement of Seward Community Library. Come learn about Japanese culture through the eyes of two Adult Exchange program participants.
By Heidi Zemach for SCN
When two thousand tourists are made to get off their cruise ship in Seward and wait for a few hours before being allowed back on, rumors can spread rapidly in the community. This week’s special port of call by the Dawn Princess cruise ship, was a case in point.
A number of passengers and crew members had active cases of Norovirus on the ship, and Princess was dealing with it, said Kirby Day, Director of shore operations for Princess Cruises in Juneau. By the time the ship had reached Seward, from its beginning ports of Japan, and Beijing, China, there were six passengers with confirmed cases of the virus confined to their staterooms, and three symptomatic crew members. All remained in quarantine while the ship was in Seward, he said.
Meanwhile, the remaining passengers were evacuated, and every part of the ship was sanitized according to Princess’ intense sanitation procedures, which were planned with the help of the Center for Disease Control. A special health officer was brought in to oversee the operation on board. The remaining passengers were then allowed to re-board. All went well after that, Day said. By the time the ship reached Juneau Friday, only two passengers were in quarantine.
The novo virus is a bad gastrointestinal flu that knocks you out for about two or three days, he said. It’s very common in the general population, but in a confined environment, such as on board a ship, it can spread rapidly by passengers touching germs found on surfaces such as door handles and railings. All of the cruise ships stress frequent daily hand-washing and sanitizing, and the ships’ crew uses a potent virus killer to treat all surfaces and to clean the cabins daily, he said. It is used to clean all of the coaches too, Day said.
“We’ve been very fortunate this season,” he said. “We just haven’t had a lot of cases.” In fact this was the only instance this cruise season of a Princess Cruise passengers contracting the flu-like virus, Day said, although there may have been some cases on other cruise ships earlier.
The Dawn Princess’ passengers are on a 25-day world cruise between Beijing and San Francisco. Princess has seen 980,000 passengers visit Alaska this summer. That’s about 80,000 fewer than the number they had in 2008, prior to the national recession, Day said. But people are still cruising, and the company did not have to offer as many deep discounts to fill their ships as they have in previous years, so he’s optimistic that in time, the economy, and his cruise business will improve.
$50 donation for Cruise & Dinner
- Kenai Fjords Bay Cruise to Fox Island
- Prime Rib & Salmon Dinner on Fox Island
- No Host Bar – Alaskan Beer & Wine
- Live Outcry Auction
- Credit cards accepted on the island
Saturday, August 25, 2012
- Check in at Kenai Fjords Tours Office at 5:00 pm
- Pick up “will-call” tickets at this time
- Departs 5:30 pm – Returns 9:30 pm
For tickets and information call or visit:
- Seward Fire Department
- (907) 422-2911 or (907) 224-3445
- 316 Fourth Avenue, Seward AK 99664
All proceeds benefit the Phoenix Chapter of the Alaska State Firefighters Association. The Phoenix Chapter is a combined effort of Bear Creek, Moose Pass and Seward Fire Departments, and the Seward Volunteer Ambulance Corps in a joint association for advanced training and education of our emergency responders to better serve our communities.
ONLY 140 TICKETS- DON’T MISS OUT!
By Heidi Zemach for SCN
No sooner had the 236-foot Greenpeace Esperanza vessel gone, headed for the Arctic on its quest to be the eyes, ears and conscience of those opposing Shell Oil’s test drilling, than Seward Ship’s Drydock received another large, noteworthy vessel for repairs. The 174-foot U.S. Army landing craft Monterrey was towed to Seward last week, where it’s expected to stay for 30-45 days for repairs to its hull. Two Active Guard and Reserve soldiers are to stay with the ship until it is ready to leave, and heads to another dry dock for its annual maintenance work.
The Monterrey, heavily laden with construction equipment, had been headed for Bethel, on its way to the new village site of Mertavic, about nine miles away from Newtok, when it hit Humpback Rock, a chartered hazard off Kodiak Island June 8th . The landing craft, spilling an estimate 5,000-12,000 gallons of diesel fuel from two ruptured tanks. was deliberately beached on Puffin Island. An aggressive, and reportedly successful spill containment/cleanup operation ensued. No damage to the environment or wildlife was reported, although several important local fisheries were threatened.
The Monterrey’s 350 tons of cargo, construction equipment including bulldozers, fuel tankers and dump trucks, on their way to help relocate the village of Newtok on Nelson Island in Western Alaska, had to be left behind at Kodiak, where it will be picked up by another landing craft July 10th and taken back to the Lower 48. Meanwhile, the new village’s third year building construction season (of a five year $80 million federal operation) was canceled for the year.
The Marine Corps is leading the multi-agency construction of an emergency shelter, roads, homes, and an airfield for 350 Yup’ik villagers whose home is being eroded away and reclaimed by the Ninglick River. According to Army Corps of Engineers estimates, Newtok has less than 10 years before the land has fully eroded as the river changes its course. The village also is vulnerable to storm surges and tsunamis.
The Seward City Council last month (June) agreed to extend the city’s ground lease ground lease agreement with Seward Ship’s Drydock, Inc at Seward Marine Industrial Center, (SMIC) through the year 2040. A major effort is underway to make major harbor improvements and to build a protective breakwater to enable more vessels to dock across the bay at SMIC. They’re especially working with the leadership of a Western Alaska CDQ Fishing Fleet known as Coastal Villages, which hopes to relocate its Seattle-based fleet here in Seward.
Alaska Congressman Don Young had some good news for the Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARRC). He informed them Thursday that ARRC will continue to receive funding near current levels through Federal Transit Administration (FTA) formula funds. Young served on the conference committee and on the House committee with FTA jurisdiction.
Late Wednesday evening a House-Senate Conference Committee reached an agreement on the surface transportation bill that includes funding for ARRC in a new funding formula. Details of the formula and the exact amount of funding for the railroad were not confirmed, but the railroad was told to expect about $31 million compared to the $35.8 million ARRC currently receives. The Senate bill would have reduced FTA funds by at least 75%. The House bill did not change the amount of FTA funds. The final conference approved bill is close to the House position, according to reports.
Chris Aadnesen, ARRC President and CEO thanked the Alaska Congressman and Senators Murkowski and Begich for their hard work to retain its funding. The City of Seward joined with other Alaska cities in calling for continued funding. The city was concerned what funding cuts could mean in terms of passenger rail service to Seward during the tourist season, and to the railroad’s troubled finances in general.
“We deeply appreciate their backing as well as the support we received from Alaskans from every corner of the state, our employees, and labor leaders from across the country,” Aadnesen said. “The fact that we had Don Young, who is such a great fighter for Alaska and the railroad, on the conference committee was absolutely invaluable. His long-term relationships with many of the House and Senate conference committee Members were critical to our success.” Both the House and the Senate are expected to consider the conference committee approved legislation this week.
Looks like fair seas for our Resurrection Bay fund raising cruise on Friday, June 15. According to the marine forecast, we are looking at almost no seas for the day. This means we will have smooth sailing for our Res Bay cruise! Yes. Bring a jacket to be comfortable on the water when you go outside to look for the whales, stellar sea lions, puffins and more. Check in is 5:30, departing at 6:00 p.m.
Tickets are still available at the library or by calling 907.362.1225 and reserving with a credit card. Tickets can be held as ‘will call’ with the phone orders, so you don’t have to worry about getting the tickets in hand. Full meal deal with all you can eat prime rib and Alaska salmon buffet, cash bar, silent auction items to peruse and bid on, and Dana on board to visit with, get her autograph in your favorite Stabenow book. If you are coming from out of town, hotel rooms are ‘special’ at the Seward Hotel, while they last, ask for the ‘Dana Special’ (224-8001).
We have had a few questions about our guest author Dana Stabenow. We want to give some information about her and her work. Dana’s website has her biography, it’s an interesting one. Born in Anchorage, raised on a 75′ fishing boat, Seldovia high school grad, UAF grad, pipeline employee, recipient of an Edgar award. Read more at her site. click here
Dana’s published books are many, Kate Shugak series 19, Liam Campbell series 5, Star Svensdotter 3, plus short stories. see her book list here.
The Library Museum volunteers are very excited to have Dana join our cruise and be ‘part of the heart’ of Seward. A public library supporter and an Alaskan author, Dana knows how important, and used, libraries are in small Alaska communities like ours. She has donated audio CD’s and some MP3′s for the silent auction, plus have in our Seward Library Museum.
Thank you Dana for joining us, we are looking forward to sailing away with you on Friday!
The Library Museum Volunteers
June 15th, this coming Friday night, the Star of the Northwest sails away with our special guest Alaskan author Dana Stabenow on-board. Cruise departs at 6pm sharp, check in at 5:30 with the Major Marine Tours office in the small boat harbor. All you can eat Prime Rib and Alaska salmon dinner, cash bar and silent auction, with items that include an overnight for two persons at the new Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge, full day fishing trip, overnight at the Sheraton hotel with couples massage, the list goes on.
Dana will be signing her new book Restless in the Grave, or bring your favorite book by Dana to sign. We will be auctioning an exclusive lunch with Dana the next day, Saturday June 16th, at 11:30 a.m. at Ray’s Waterfront restaurant.
Tickets are on sale now at the Seward library, $80 per person. You can use your credit cards, checks or cash when you go to get your tickets. You can call to reserve with your credit card to 907.362.1225 and have your tickets as ‘will call’ tickets, just check in at the Major Marine Tours office at 5:30pm Friday June 15.
Remember, the boat sails at 6pm sharp, check in is at 5:30pm. Come join us as we cruise Resurrection Bay, enjoy an evening with Dana Stabenow, and raise funds for the new library-museum.
Learn more about Dana Stabenow at her website www.stabenow.com and see her write up about coming to Seward at: http://www.stabenow.com/2012/05/29/im-sailing-a-way
Come support Alaska’s newest public library and museum!
The Library Museum Volunteers
Bid on a lunch date with Dana Stabenow!
Cruise on down to Seward for the marine cruise of the summer, when internationally-renowned writer Dana Stabenow is joining the Friday, June 15 gala fund-raising dinner cruise from Seward on beautiful Resurrection Bay. Guests on the four-hour cruise aboard the 126-foot long Major Marine’s “Star of the Northwest” can plan on being treated to a gourmet prime rib and salmon dinner, a cash bar, marine sea life viewing and bidding on a wide variety of exciting silent auction travel adventures. Besides getting books personally autographed from Dana Stabenow, cruise guests can also bid on an exclusive luncheon package for a private lunch with Stabenow the following day (Saturday, June 16) at Seward’s top seafood restaurant, Ray’s Waterfront.
Other travel adventure auction items include two nights at the Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge, an overnight Ice Spa Massage package at the Anchorage Sheraton Hotel, and a full day fishing charter with Aurora Charters. Tickets are available for $80 per person and by calling (907)362-1225. The cruise is scheduled to leave Seward at 6 p.m. and return by 10 p.m. All proceeds from the cruise will benefit the new Seward Community Library Museum, which is currently under construction and scheduled to be open in December.
Sponsors of the dinner cruise is Major Marine Tours; Aurora Charters; Harmon Construction; Inn at Tern Lake; Jaffa Construction, Seward Fish; The Perfect Cup, and the Alaska Railroad Corporation.
Learn more about Dana at her website: www.stabenow.com
By Heidi Zemach for SCN
Two Seward High School students are looking forward to visiting our Sister City, Obihiro, Japan for about 12 days this July as participants of the 2012 exchange program, which has been going on some 22 years. Richard Mack and Chelsey Olesiuk will be accompanied by adult Seward ambassadors Amy Carney and Tember Eliason, both library and museum employees. Their four student and adult counterparts from Obihiro will visit Seward in early August.
Mack, a Sophomore, already has many interests in popular Japanese culture through the video games he plays and Manga comics he reads. Mack wants to visit the Smiling Cat Shrine, the Bon Festival, and to experience the Japanese lifestyle generally. His favorite school subjects are History and Science.
Chelsey Olesiuk, a Senior, whose favorite subject is Art, is interested in seeing all of the different types of artwork to be found in Japan and its intricate buildings. She would like to explore the teenage Japanese lifestyle and try out new and different foods. Her hobbies include singing, painting, volleyball, cheer-leading, and reading.
Amy Carney is “super excited” to participate in her fourth foreign exchange program. Although she has never gone to Japan, she already has learned a few Japanese phrases. She hopes to be able to share what she learned upon her return, as well as to share photographs and objects gets finds there by displaying them in the new library museum.
Dessert Night and Silent Auction
June 9, 2012 7pm to 9pm
Hotel Seward Banquet Room
Price: $10.00 per person purchased in advance
$15.00 per person at the door
Desserts by Amy Mow and Judy Odhner
The price of your ticket includes a trip through the all you can eat
Dessert Buffet, coffee, and punch.
Alcohol will be available for purchase
You can purchase tickets from Veronica Wilde 491-1161 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Veronica Wilde has been chosen to spend a year in Bolivia as an ambassador for the National Rotary Youth Exchange
All proceeds from the evening will help her achieve those goals
The Exit Glacier area of Kenai Fjords National Park is closer to opening for the summer season. The road is currently open to the Resurrection River Bridge leaving the last 1.5 miles within Kenai Fjords National Park closed to vehicles. There is still a four to six inch ice layer covering the road and park staff are working on clearing the parking lot and the Exit Glacier Nature Center area.
There is still up to three feet of snow covering the trail system, so snowshoes are recommended for travel. There is some difficulty negotiating trails due to snow-laden alders obscuring the trail. Facilities are limited to vault toilets until overnight temperatures stay above freezing.
Many thanks to the Alaska Department of Transportation for their work on Herman Leirer Road and their snow removal efforts throughout the winter season!
Seward is welcoming spring visitors, arriving by rail, cruiseship, and motorcoach.
The Princess cruise ship, the Diamond Princess, arrived to the cruise ship terminal (ARRC Seward Intermodal Facility) and was in port for several hours on Monday, May 14. The passengers enjoyed a good weather day, overcast but not snowing as it had been the day before.
Passengers were walking around our community and using the transportation system to get around Seward. The ship arrived from Japan and had been at sea for six days. The Diamond Princess had approximately 2500 passengers. The Diamond Princess is headed for Yakutat Bay, according to their bridge webcam, take a look here:
Next cruise ship is Friday the 18th, The Radiance of the Sea, a Royal Caribbean ship.
The Alaska Railroad rail service to Seward started this last weekend ( May 12, 2012). The engines looking shiny- clean in the sunshine. Rail service is daily into Seward from Anchorage leaving at 6:45 a.m. arriving into Seward at 11:05 a.m. Departs Seward at 6 p.m. arriving back into Anchorage at 10:15 p.m.
Saturday March 24th at the 7pm Rae building
The rescheduled 2012 Alaska Ocean Film Festival washes ashore at the Rae Building on Saturday March 24th. Showtime is 7pm. Elude sea monsters in Holland, canoe from Valdez to Whittier, and more in this action packed evening of ocean shorts. (Tickets are $5). Sponsored by the Alaska Center for the Environment and the Resurrection Bay Conservation Alliance.
Elude sea monsters in Holland; Track exotic ocean Species; Canoe from Valdez to Whittier; Garden on the ocean floor
RESCHEDULED due to a blizard in January:
Alaska Ocean Film Festival
At the UAF Rae Building
Saturday, March. 24th
Monsterboards, Holland, Matthew McGregor-Mento, 8 mins
Combine a crack up sense of deadpan humor, small waves, eco art surfboards, and a horrific fear of sharks … what do you get? Monsterboards, of course. Surf’s up, enjoy the ride!
Into the Deep with Elephant Seals, USA, Sedva Eris, 11 mins
Meet the UC Santa Cruz marine biologists using high-tech tools to track elephant seals along the San Mateo coast. Some of these marine mammals weigh 4,500 pounds, can dive for a mile, and hold their breath for an hour. The elephant seals incredible come back from near extinction is a testament to the power of protected areas.
Capture: A Waves Documentary, Peru, Dave Aabo, 22mins
This piece dives deep into the impoverished community of Lobitus, Peru and the experience of surf travelers who share their passion with the youth. Witness the opportunity for empowerment as kids learn about creativity and self-expression from international surfers turned humanitarians.
The Coral Gardener, United Kingdom, Emma Robens, 10 mins
Coral reefs are like underwater gardens, but who would have thought you can garden them in just the same way? Austin Bowden-Kerby is a coral gardener. He has brought together his love of gardening, and passion for the underwater world, to do something very special that just might save the coral reefs of Fiji. Directed by Emma Robens.
Landscapes at the World’s Ends, New Zealand, Richard Sidey, 15 mins
A non-verbal, visual journey to the polar regions of our planet portrayed through a triptych montage of photography and video. This piece is a multi-dimensional canvas of imagery recorded either above the Arctic Circle or below the Antarctic Convergence.
Eating the Ocean, USA, Jennifer Galvin, 21 mins
Narrated by Celine Cousteau, this film is a journey to the heart of Oceania where an international team of researchers studies the rapidly changing diet of French Polynesians. Through the cientists’ investigation and by spending time with families, fishermen and school children we discover a public health crisis brought on by western influences.
Birdathlon, USA, Rachel Price and Karen Lewis, 4 mins
Who will win a race that involves both air and sea? Find out when our intrepid Rhinoceros Auklet is pitted against an Arctic Tern in an Olympic-caliber spoof that demonstrates the unique physiology and biology of the Alcid species.
Team Clark Goes Canoeing: Valdez to Whittier, USA, Dan Clark, 9 mins
Simply mesmerizing. This is the story of six weeks solitude and simplicity, the rewards of submersing children in the wilderness, and the challenges that make it memorable. A dream trip for many of us, no doubt, but does that dream include diaper swap outs at the re-supply? You’re not gonna believe this one!
The Majestic Plastic Bag, USA, 4 mins.
A brilliant mockumentary about the miraculous migration of “The Majestic Plastic Bag” narrated by Jeremy Irons. It was produced by Heal The Bay as promo in support of California bill AB 1998 to help put an end to plastic pollution.
So here is a chance to actually make your vote count without being involved in politics. I am vying for a spot to write a travel blog on a Russian icebreaker ship up to the North Pole. It is a contest based on who can gather the most votes for their short (400 word limit) essay. I am reaching out to the community to garner support and help my cause. I think it would be great to give credit to the community and show that small towns can help each other out. You can view the essay and vote here:
It takes literally 3 minutes of your time. You can vote by using your Facebook login. 3 clicks and you are done. Also started a Facebook fan page that you can check out and share:
Hope that everyone can give a hand and I will most certainly be in your karmic debt. Thanks. -Dave