September 22nd | Staff Report
Finance office to see two new hires
By Jim Paulin
Bristol Bay Times - Dutch Harbor Fisherman
Two top positions in the Unalaska City Finance Department will be filled by one new face and one familiar one.
Following a nationwide recruiting process, Unalaska City Manager David Martinson has hired Clay Darnell of Broken Arrow, Okla., as the city's new finance director. Darnell has an extensive background in municipal and governmental accounting, serving as the assistant controller for the City of Tulsa, Okla., since October 2007.
Darnell holds both a CPA and CMA and is an adjunct professor in accounting, teaching a variety of entry-level accounting classes, which will benefit the current staff.
Martinson also announced that Catherine "Cat" Hazen has been selected as the city's new controller, replacing A.B. Rankin, who retired.
Hazen was a senior accountant in the finance department from 2000 to 2010, and has been working in the clerk's department since 2010, serving as city clerk for the last three years. Hazen has a bachelor's degree in accounting and has many years' experience in both private sector and governmental accounting.
Darnell and Hazen begin in their new positions on Oct. 16.
Senators propose September as "Alaska Wild Salmon Month
Alaska Wild Salmon was on the menu and on the Congressional agenda last week in Washington, DC. Alaska Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan introduced a resolution marking September as Alaska Wild Salmon month, which could be considered by the Senate this week.
These two senators, along with Alaska Congressman Don Young and the Walker-Mallott Administration, were honored with "Fish First" awards from Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) during a Celebration of Alaska Wild Salmon in the nation's capital. Alaska Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott accepted the award on behalf of the Walker-Mallott Administration. The celebration featured wild salmon flown in from Bristol Bay. On Tuesday, BBNC Board Member Peter Andrew, Jr. testified at the Senate Commerce Committee about the value of salmon to Bristol Bay's culture, ecology, and most importantly, economy.
"Alaskans understand and appreciate the central role wild salmon play in our lives, and this week we hope the rest of the country begins to understand the tremendous value of these fish," said BBNC CEO Jason Metrokin. "We thank our delegation and Lieutenant Governor Mallott for their leadership and support for wild salmon, and tireless efforts to share salmon's value with both their colleagues and the American public. After a tremendous salmon run in 2017, a celebration is certainly in order for the fish that we always put first."
The resolutio?recognizes the contribution Alaska wild salmon make to the U.S. and Alaska economy, noting that they support 38,000 jobs and $2 billion in annual income across the U.S. In addition to establishing September as Alaska Wild Salmon month, the resolution "encourages individuals, corporations, and other relevant organizations to help celebrate the sustainable Alaska Wild Salmon industry and the health and social benefits it provides to our nation."
BBNC joined sportsmen, commercial fishermen, conservationists, and others in a Celebration of Alaska Wild Salmon. Guests were served wild salmon flown in from Alaska, and remarks from the Alaska delegation as they are presented with "Fish First" awards from BBNC. The celebration was inspired by the success of the second annual Alaska Wild Salmon Day, held statewide every August 10th.
BBNC Board Member Peter Andrew, Jr. testified before the Senate Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard regarding the importance of the Bristol Bay fishery. The subcommittee is led by Sen. Sullivan?The hearin?discussed the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act that governs marine fisheries management in U.S. waters.
Alaska Office of Boating Safety receives national recognition
The Alaska Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation's Office of Boating Safety was recently recognized with three awards at the 2017 conference of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.
Education Specialist Kelli Toth was named the 2017 National Boating Safety Educator of the Year. This award symbolizes the highest level of achievement among boating safety educators in the U.S. Among her many accomplishments since Toth joined the Office of Boating Safety in 2011, the total number of students attending Kids Don't Float education program classes has swelled to over 75,761.
"In a profession where outstanding work is the standard, Kelli's passion and dedication are above exemplary," said Alaska State Parks Director Ethan Tyler.
The Office of Boating Safety also won the NASBLA Innovations Award, presented to a program or initiative that demonstrates the highest level of innovation leading to advances in boating safety.
The annual award was established to bring greater visibility to exemplary state, corporate or public-private partnership programs and to encourage the sharing of these initiatives with other agencies and recreational boating safety stakeholders.
Boating Law Administrator Jeff Johnson was inducted into the National Boating Safety Council's National Boating Safety Hall of Fame. Inductees are chosen from among those who have demonstrated vital leadership and support through many years of service to boating safety.
"Jeff was the State of Alaska's first official Boating Law Administrator in 1998. Credit is due to Jeff for the establishment and the many successes of the Alaska Boating Safety Program to date," Tyler said.
"These awards from NASBLA are the result of years of tireless work and amazing passion for protecting and educating Alaskans. This state is so very fortunate to have people like Jeff and Kelli with such commitment to boating safety in Alaska, and I am proud to be on their team," Tyler said.