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Southeast Alaska News
PARKDALE, Ore. — People on the West Coast have counted on fish hatcheries for more than a century to help rebuild populations of salmon and steelhead decimated by overfishing, logging, mining, agriculture and hydroelectric dams, and bring them to a level where government would no longer need to regulate fisheries.
How do you sum up the life of a good man? So many memories and qualities compacted into a few words. Harold Allen Chartier (Harry) was a man who lived a life of integrity and inspired others through his kindness, humility, and humor. Harry gave “a tip of the country hat” and joined up with the Ghost Riders in the Sky on Monday, February 3, 2014. He leaves behind his loving children: daughter Susan Skye, and son Tim, daughter-in-law Brooke, and beautiful granddaughter Laraine Marie — all of Sitka, Alaska — as well as many, many, friends from around the world.
Harry was born on October 4, 1948, in Boise, Idaho. In 1978 he moved north to Alaska to wark as an engineer in Skagway. Harry married Mary Soltis and they moved to Sitka to raise their family in 1981.
For nearly 20 years, Harry worked as a building official with the City of Sitka. He was dedicated to serving the community he loved with fairness and integrity. He approached his job with a heart for service and a can-do attitude.
Harry was a personality! He had a way of walknig into a room bringing cheer in right behind him. When he would meet a new person, he would look them in the eye, find an authentic connection, and leave that person feeling special and truly seen. Magically, Harry could evn do this by sitting alone behind a microphone with his friends — the listeners — of his KCAW radio show Comin’ Up Country, a show he hosted every Friday night for many years.
Harry also helped build community through his volunteering with Southeast Regional Emergency Medical Services (SEREMS). He cared about people in their time of need and was there for Southeast Alaska.
Harry’s bones needed some sun, so after retiring from the city ten years ago, he headed to Eastern Oregon, and was living in Baker City at the time of his death. Many benefited from the gifts of rocks, pebbles, and the arrowheads he would find. He had a smile for everyone he encountered and had two green thumbs on two helping hands. Mr. Chartier was a very patient man, especially while fishing.
Harry respected peace and took time to touch many hearts. His generosity, enthusiasm, strength through adversity, and genuine love for life will not soon be forgotten.
The community can tip our country hats to a good man at a celebration of his life at the Halibut Point Recreation Area on Saturday, February 22, from 4-7 PM. Contributions can be made to the Harry Chartier Memorial Fund at Wells Fargo Bank.
Happy Trails, Harry.
Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell visited Ketchikan on Tuesday as part of his campaign for U.S. Senate. He visited the shipyard, attended a Rotary lunch, met with the Ketchikan Young Professionals Network, visited the hospital and was scheduled to attend a meet-and-greet starting at 5 p.m. Tuesday. He also took a few minutes to talk with KRBD’s Leila Kheiry in between a couple of engagements at Cape Fox Lodge. Here is a portion of their conversation.
Treadwell is running in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate. His opponents in the primary are Dan Sullivan and Joe Miller. The winner of that primary will face the incumbent Sen. Mark Begich, a Democrat, and independent candidate Bill Walker.
Ketchikan High School performed well in last weekend’s Debate Drama and Forensics state competition in Anchorage.
According to Coach Dan Ortiz, Ketchikan entered three teams in the Public Forum Debate category, which had a total of 31 teams competing.
Two of the Kayhi teams made it to the semi-final round, and one of those teams — Cheyenne Matthews and Sam Ortiz – made it into the final debate. They lost by just one vote in the final round to a team from West Anchorage.
Petersburg officials will be in the state Capital this week seeking funding for a renovated police station and municipal building. The borough assembly on Friday gave the OK for the borough to pursue additional state money for what could be an almost-10-million-dollar project.
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Back in September the borough assembly decided to pursue a combined police station and borough office project and asked for cost estimates and preliminary designs for renovating the old Petersburg city hall.
Borough manager Steve Giesbrecht Friday said he wanted the assembly’s blessing keep going with the project. “We’re looking for your blessing to submit this project to the legislature and say, this is going to be our facility. As part of that I want you blessing in the sense that we can continue moving forward on this project. We don’t have the money for full construction. We do have plenty of money to continue pushing forward on the design process, basically moving the project to, it may be an overused term, shovel ready status so that when the construction money’s available we’re ready to move.”
The borough has four-point-one million dollars in state funding originally secured for a new or renovated police building. The station has a sinking floor and separating walls because of a failing concrete slab. Corey Wall of MRV Architects told the assembly the rest of the building is in good shape. “The slab in the police department was never meant to support the framing of the second floor of the police station that was put on it at a later date and that’s why it’s starting to subside. So that slab needs to be removed but our structural engineer determined that basically the rest of the building was sound and did need some upgrades to be brought up to current structural standards to house a public safety facility but it passed that initial test.”
The structure was built in 1958 and used to house the fire department and library, until those two departments moved into new buildings on Haugen Drive. Wall said the structure is just large enough to fit a renovated police department and jail, along with renovated borough offices. He presented drawings of a rehabbed building that he said would look like new. “The finishes, all the piping, all the wiring, pretty much everything you can see is going to be completely like new, including the outside envelope,” Wall said. “But we also have some advantages which is we get to keep structural items that are not at the end of their life span or don’t even really have a lifespan, we’re not throwing those away and starting new again. So it’s kindof the best of both worlds we’ve found. We’ve done this with a number of facilities and what we’ve found is the trend is actually going towards renovation.”
The estimated price tag for the renovation is seven point one million dollars. However Wall said the estimated cost of the project overall will be nine point seven million dollars. That includes the price of redoing the police communications system, the rent for temporary borough offices while construction work is underway along with design work and construction oversight, furnishings and unforeseen costs. That estimate is about seven hundred thousand dollars above the price tag for a stand-alone new police station. However, Wall pointed out that cost of construction was the same. “So again construction is about the same for a building that’s about four thousand square feet bigger than the other facility was but your project costs are a little bit higher because we’ve put more in on the project cost side. We believe that that’s realistic because that’s what it’s going to take to get the project done completely and correctly but that’s the reason you’re seeing that increase in money for the total project cost.”
Wall said design work was about 15 percent completed. The proposed building would have a new entry and parking area for borough offices, enclosed garage for the police station and would use pre-manufactured jail cells. The building would be heated and cooled with air source heat pumps.
Mayor Mark Jensen said he’d be meeting with legislators in Juneau this week. “I mean we’re meeting with the right people, co chair of finance committee, if we get a chance to go to the governor’s office, and Cathy Munoz, who isn’t our representative, but has expressed she would do everything she can to help us and I believe she’s on house finance so. Tight budget up there this year though so we’ll just do what we can do and see what happens.”
Jensen also asked police Chief Kelly Swihart for his opinion. “Yeah this a great concept we’re happy with it. As we continue we may wanna move some doorways or walls a little bit here and there, move those around a little bit, but I think it’s a great concept and the staff’s reviewed it, everyone seems pretty happy with it,” Swihart said.
The assembly voted unanimously to authorize the mayor and manager to seek state funding for the project.
Petersburg’s borough assembly has replaced one kind of counselor with a different kind of counselor.
The mayor and assembly Friday appointed 37-year-old Jeigh Stanton Gregor to fill the seat vacated earlier this month by attorney John Hoag.
Deputy clerk Debbie Thompson swore in Stanton Gregor after he was appointed at the start of Friday’s assembly meeting. Stanton Gregor co-owns True North Counseling and Consultation, a business that provides therapy and mental health counseling for individuals, couples and organizations. He’s also worked as a fishing deckhand and an aide in the elementary school.
He’s put his name in for an assembly appointment before but was not chosen for a seat. This time however, the assembly took a vote by anonymous ballot and the Stanton Gregor was elected 5-1 over former mayor Al Dwyer. Those were the only two residents who put their name in for the spot.
That makes four of the six assembly members who have been appointed. The only remaining elected members are John Havrilek and Nancy Strand along with Mayor Mark Jensen. The seats of the other four will all be on the October ballot this year.
Sitka celebrates the Chinese New Year. “Save our Schools” rally held in Juneau. Stedman leads Alaska lawmakers in travel expenses. Trial of former Blatchley Middle School principal set for May.
ANCHORAGE — Transportation Security Administration agents found what Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport police have described as a “pipe bomb” in the carry-on luggage of a man ticketed on an oil worker flight to the North Slope Sunday, forcing an hour shutdown of the security checkpoint.
The man initially claimed the small explosive was an “avalanche device,” said Jesse Davis, chief of the airport’s police and fire department.
“I don’t know of any avalanche dangers up on the North Slope,” he said.
JUNEAU — In 2010, the state adopted an energy policy that, among other things, set a goal of having 50 percent of Alaska’s electric generation come from renewable and alternative energy sources by 2025.
The likeliest way to reach the goal is widely believed to include a major project in south-central Alaska, the proposed Susitna-Watana hydro complex. But the project, which critics see as unnecessary with the state pursuing a natural gas pipeline, is far from assured.
JUNEAU — Mining is good for Alaska’s economy, but while the state’s six producing mines are holding up well, and some even expanding, a sharp 38 percent drop in exploration spending last year is having ripple effects.
Overall, mining employed 4,600 Alaskans directly last year and the overall employment impact totaled 9,100 including indirect jobs created by the spending. Direct payrolls of mining companies totaled $630 million in 2013.
Sen. John Coghill, R-Fairbanks, questions Christie Jamieson, a staff member of Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, during an introduction of Senate Concurrent Resolution 2 during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Monday. The resolution urges the governor to acquire land in the Tongass National Forest from the federal government
FAIRBANKS — Gov. Sean Parnell said critics of his administration’s actions in a North Pole oil refinery’s impending closure don’t see behind-the-scenes work that could keep the refinery operating.
Flint Hills Resources announced earlier this month that the refinery would cease gasoline production on May 1 and the production of jet fuel by June 1.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports (http://bit.ly/M6SNuW ) Parnell told the newspaper’s editorial board that the price the state sets for refinery “royalty” oil is under review.
State officials recently released documents showing how much each legislator spent on travel last year. The totals range from a little more than $1,000 to almost $50,000.
Two of the most expensive travelers are from Southeast.
Sen. Bert Stedman spent more on legislative travel last year than any other lawmaker.
The Sitka Republican spent more than $47,000 for airfare, lodging, car rentals, meals, per diem and other costs. That’s about a third more than the previous year.
“I’ve never been No. 1 before. I don’t know if that’s good or bad,” he says.
About 40 percent of Stedman’s charges covered meetings and trainings for the Energy Council, which he chaired for most of the year.
The organization includes lawmakers from energy-producing states and provinces, as well as Venezuela. Members meet quarterly, and Stedman attended additional events.
“So it is important that we get outside and educate ourselves on how the industry works and how to structure policies to keep them competitive in a global environment,” he says.
In all, 20 of Alaska’s 60 lawmakers attended at least one Energy Council meeting.
A lot of Stedman’s other reimbursed travel covered trips to most of the 27 communities in his district. It runs from Metlakatla to Haines.
“So you should see rural legislators really stick out, not for out of state travel, but in-state, just because we’ve got to get around,” he says.
Some other lawmakers with big districts also racked up large travel bills. But most high-spenders were in leadership posts.
The state paid almost a million dollars last year for all 60 legislators’ travel. That’s up about 50 percent from 2012.
Another Southeast Representative, Peggy Wilson, was eighth on the travel-expense list.
The Wrangell Republican spent more than $35,000 during 2013.
“Now that we have a 90-day session, we actually have more committee meetings outside of the session. And for me to go to a meeting in Anchorage, it takes three days for sure, depending on what time of day the meetings are,” she says.
Wilson serves as majority whip, a House leadership position. She’s in her fourth year in that post. She says that sent her to in-state organizational meetings and other events.
Wilson also traveled to meetings and academies put on by the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council of State Governments and the Pacific Northwest Economic Region.
That’s where close to half her total travel costs went.
Does she ever turn down invitations to attend?
“Oh my, yes,” she says. “I could be gone all the time. But you just can’t go to every one. So you try to pick and chose which ones you think are going to be the most meaningful.”
Wilson’s 2013 total showed a five-fold increase from the previous year.
Southeast’s other three sitting lawmakers were in the bottom third of the travel-spending list.
Juneau Republican Representative Cathy Munoz was 42nd out of 60 with about $7,000 in spending. Sitka Democratic Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins was 52nd at $4,500. And Juneau Democratic Senator Dennis Egan was 55th, with only $3,300 spent on travel.
Former House Minority Caucus Leader Beth Kerttula came in 35th, with about $11,000 spent. The Juneau Democrat resigned her post last month to take a job at California’s Stanford University.
JUNEAU — With the scheduled 90-day session about one-third of the way over, at least four different committees are planning hearings on gas line matters this week in an effort to get as many members as possible up to speed on one of this year’s top issues.
The Senate Finance Committee is planning two-a-days Wednesday through Friday, with morning sessions generally focused on the capital budget and late-afternoon hearings on issues related to the liquefied natural gas project. A fiscal analysis of the gas line agreements also is on Friday morning’s agenda.
KODIAK — One man’s bonfire is another man’s raw material to build an Adirondack chair.
About six months ago, Andy Hathcock began using recycled wooden shipping pallets to make chairs, benches, cubbies, chests and other types of furniture. What started as a way to keep occupied has grown into a handful of commissioned jobs as word of his work has spread around the island.
His recent work includes the benches at the Java Flats coffee shop in Bell’s Flats and the tables at Hope Community Resources, where his wife works.
KETCHIKAN — Safety and Pride Patrol leaders at the Tongass School of Arts and Sciences officially suited up for the first time Monday, donning orange vests, hats and gloves with reflectors and flashing lights.
They had trained for this moment for three weeks, and they felt ready and up to the task.
ANCHORAGE — The municipality’s 49th State Angel Fund thinks it has a winning investment in a medical industry tech startup called Call Dr.
ANCHORAGE — Pilot error led to a fatal September 2011 midair crash involving a boyfriend and girlfriend flying near each other in western Alaska, the National Transportation Safety Board said.
The board determined that pilot Scott Veal was flying alongside Kristen Sprague when he suddenly flew just above her much smaller plane and then clipped its wing on the way back down, the Anchorage Daily News reported Friday.
BANGOR, Maine — A New Jersey man accused of smuggling narwhal tusks into the United States was convicted Friday of federal crimes, several of which carry a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.
A federal jury in Maine convicted Andrew Zarauskas of Union, N.J., on six counts, including conspiracy, smuggling and money laundering for his role in a smuggling ring, prosecutors said. He was released on $25,000 unsecured bond while awaiting sentencing.
SEATTLE — The executive director of the region’s top trauma hospital, Harborview Medical Center, has abruptly resigned.
Eileen Whalen’s departure was announced Friday in a memo to staff at the Seattle hospital, The Seattle Times reported. Whalen is a noted trauma-services expert who had been executive director since 2008.
Harborview is the only top-level adult and pediatric trauma center in Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho.