NSEDC doles out funds for regional projects
During last week’s board of directors meeting of Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation, directors approved the payout of $1.2 million for 25 regional projects under their Outside Entity funding and three community energy fund projects.
The following entities received money: City of Elim, for the purchase of a backhoe loader, $63,563; Native Village of Diomede, solid waste and assistance program, $77,202; Brevig Mission School, Healthy hearts, healthy hands, healthy habits, $43,190; City of Brevig Mission for the multi-purpose building expansion, $100,000; Native Village of Brevig Mission for a shelter cabin, $40,093; Chinik Eskimo Community, Search and Rescue operations, $80,500; Gambell School, all sports, $43,042; City of Wales, Community Center demolition and cleanup, $43,601; Native Village of Wales, Kingikmiut Dance Festival, $53,046; Native Village of Koyuk, Elder Meal program, $29,116; Koyuk Search and Rescue, SAR, $30,884; City of St. Michael, Service Unit renovation, $49,399; Native Village of St. Michael, EPA/ IGAP program, $8,000; Native Village of St. Michael, Reindeer corral/implement reindeer plant, $60,000; Alaska Arts Education Consortium, Nome Basic Arts Institute, $13,300; Nome Kennel Club, winter trail marking, $6,000; Nome Public Schools, Nome Elementary computer upgrades, $60,000; City of Savoonga, Centennial Celebration, $120,000; City of Shaktoolik, loader-backhoe purchase, $120,000; City of Stebbins, equipment purchase and repair; $60,000; Tukurngailnguq School, outside basketball court, $5,819; City of Unalakleet, fire truck, $60,515.
The directors also approved $200,000 for the City of Brevig Mission’s proposal to construct a heat recovery project from the Alaska Village Electric Cooperative power plant to the water treatment plant.
Another $184,889 went toward the City of Shaktoolik’s proposal to weatherize a city building. The directors also approved $320,000 for the City of Stebbins to replace meter bases in the community and the installation of energy monitors for each household. According to a NSEDC press release, their Community Energy Fund also pays out $1 million to each of the 15 member communities “with the intent of contributing to long-term solutions that decrease the high cost of energy.”
In other business, directors heard reports from department heads. Director Dan Harrelson commented on the CDQ winter crab fishery. “To me that was a great thing and I would like to see that continue,” he said. According to Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game reports, the 2016 red king crab commercial Community Development Quota allocation for Norton Sound was 38,790 pounds. By April 17, over 29,300 pounds, or 75 percent of the CDQ red king crab allocation were harvested by 24 registered permit holders and the fishery closed on April 21. The rest of the CDQ allocation is allowed to be harvested in summer.
Karl Erickson of Unalakleet noted that Shaktoolik and Unalakleet fishermen could not participate in the fishery. “We didn’t have any ice,” he said. “If we don’t get ice we cannot participate under current regulations,” Erickson said. He suggested NSEDC to lobby for a change in regulations that would allow setting pots from a skiff for the winter crab fishery.
The halibut quota for this is year is 66,000 pounds, reported Quota and Acquisitions Manager Kinneen. He emphasized the importance of the halibut fhisng for St. Lawrence Island fishermen. Kinneen recommended to continue that NSSP buys halibut from fishermen of St. Lawrence Island first and then, once Nome fishermen are done with fishing for Red King crab around the middle of August, to buy from them. “The opportunity for fishing in Savoonga is important, let’s make sure they get that opportunity,” he said.
William “Middie” Johnson in his report on the Southern NSSP operations said that he plans to get a couple of different buyers for coho and chum salmon this summer.
Currently under construction, the new tender T/V King Island is scheduled to hit the water in the first week of June, with christening to be on June 9. It then takes a week to ten days to sail from Homer to Nome, where it will be used as a regional tender vessel.
After going through the report of the NSSP Working Group, chairman Oscar Takak suggested to do away with the working group, arguing that many of the items discussed at the NSSP Working Group were adequately discussed by NSSP managers in their reports. NSEDC CEO Janis Ivanoff explained that the working group was established as a forum for fishermen to meet with staff twice a year. She agreed that it takes another hour of the board’s time, and if the board so wishes, this could be addressed in a reorganizational meeting scheduled for November. Dan Harrelson added, “I can see that go away, but we need to keep having staff travel to villages and speak with fishermen.”