It’s time for a little summer update to let you know what my staff and I are working on as we move into fall. Rain is finally falling. That’s good for the salmon, though if you’re like me you enjoyed the sun this past month.
Agriculture around town
One noteworthy thing this summer has been seeing more and more gardens, greenhouses and hoophouses going in around town. I’ve been out to the farmers market at the fairgrounds and am impressed by the array of food that is being grown on the island. This is a great direction for Kodiak. I’m glad to learn that the Kodiak Island Borough is going to make sure that borough zoning code allows for hoop houses. It’s good to be more self-reliant in our food needs.
Though I was out of town, my staffer Astrid Lievano was able to attend the agricultural celebration and potluck hosted by the Kodiak Soil and Water Conservation District. Hopefully some of you caught the picture of her in the Kodiak Daily Mirror the next day.
Legislation for the coming session
This is the time of year when my staff and I start to vet possible legislation for the coming legislative session which starts in January. The good lead time lets us prepare ideas, get bills drafted, and hear from folks on what they’d like to see. This is a great time to come check in with us and share your legislation ideas. We’ve already had several constituents visit with us on possible legislation, and we hope to hear from more before we return to Juneau in January.
I’ll be working to get out to as many of the Kodiak Island villages this fall as possible. The challenges of traveling to all the villages in District 36 keep me from visiting each one each year, but I do try get to as many as possible on a multiyear cycle. It’s really important to get on the ground in communities to hear what is going on, see how local infrastructure is holding up, and get a sense for the real impacts of state programs and funding in our towns. Last month my office was able to coordinate a trip to Akhiok with representatives from the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation to get a look at sewer and water challenges in that town. Erin Harrington from my staff made that trip and came back with powerful photos which are featured on my blog at http://www.alanausterman.com/?p=1609.
Fisheries Committee meeting
My office has received a lot of questions in recent days about the upcoming Sept. 1 Fisheries Committee meeting to talk about the proposed changes in the management of the charter and commercial halibut fleets, primarily in Southeast Alaska. For people who are interested in listening in on this hearing there are several ways to do it:
• If you’d like to just listen in from home, you can live stream the meeting at http://www.alaskalegislature.tv.
• You can also come to the LIO and listen to the meeting by teleconference.
• You can submit written comment to the committee by sending an email to Chairman Thompson’s staff at email@example.com.
The hearing starts at 1 p.m.
Projects around Kodiak
We’ve been working to keep up-to-date copies of architectural documents for some of the projects around town in our office, and are keeping updated links on the blog at http://www.alanausterman.com. The high school architects appear to be hard at work, and the team for the new ADF&G building is hard at work on the ground already. One major road project, the Rezanof re-pave from the downtown Y to Abercrombie, got pushed off until next summer. Our understanding is that some right of way and drainage concerns near Mill Bay Road caused the project schedule to slip.
New iPhone and iPad app for the Legislature
If you’re an iPhone or iPad user, you’ll definitely want to download the new Alaska Legislature app. You can find it by searching Alaska Legislature in the iTunes store. This app is pretty amazing, with daily committee schedules, live streaming audio and video straight to your device when meetings are happening, and constant updates available on bills that are on the move. You also have fingertip access to contact information for all 60 Alaska legislators, the ability to read minutes or listen to archival audio for meetings that have already happened, and find out who’s on the different committees that might be hearing bills you’re interested in.
Marine Transportation Advisory Board (MTAB) meeting in Kodiak
In June, MTAB met in Kodiak, and included on their agenda was the discussion of providing ferry access to Ouzinkie once they’ve completed their new dock. The Tustumena drives past their front door on its runs to Port Lions and the community’s hope was that they could pull in from time to time. The conversations were very positive and I think we have lots of reason to expect that Marine Highways will provide calls at Ouzinkie on some of their runs in the future. Ferry service (or the loss thereof) can fundamentally change a community economy. This is a great development for Ouzinkie.
Several Kodiak projects in the draft STIP
The state is constantly updating and revising the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). It’s critical for projects to appear in the STIP in order to receive federal pass-through funding. There is currently a draft STIP out for public review. One of the Kodiak projects listed in the draft STIP is a portion of the proposed bike path project from town to the Coast Guard base. We suspect that folks may want to weigh in on this project, given the community support it has had in the past. To check it out and provide comment, go to http://www.dot.state.ak.us/stwdplng/cip_stip/index.shtml.
Be in touch
My staff and I are always ready to help you in whatever way you need, so get in touch. We appreciate your interest.