The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

Turn back the pages — Nov. 19, 1987


Compiled by Julie Rosier

Quake and threatened tsunami shakes Seward out of bed Monday night — The City of Seward and other Southeast coastal communities were awakened suddenly late Monday night by an earthquake rated “severe” by the Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer. City officials, Alaska State Troopers and volunteer fire crews rushed to evacuate low lying areas around Seward’s waterfront area after the 11:46 p.m. quake, up to Sixth Avenue and including the small boat harbor before the first of several tidal waves were scheduled to strike at 1:02 a.m. “Maybe we ought to move up to the second floor,” one official nervously joked as the minutes ticked away and displayed residents were moved to the Alaska Vocational Technical Center (AVTEC) and Seward High School. Emergency crews and anxious officials spent several tense moments until the tsunami alert was cancelled at 1:15 a.m. Some residents expressed concern why the city did not set off the tsunami alarm, said Police Chief Louis Bencardino. “We felt that with the one hour warning received, we could eliminate confusion and deal with the evacuation in the area adjacent to the bay more effectively door to door, without causing panic or additional problems,” he said. “If we received a final warning of an impending wave, we would have used them, but we’ve had several false alarms like this.” Megs Testarmata was sleeping on a boat in the harbor during the quake and didn’t receive the warning to head for high ground.

Reduce SLAC’s staff? New director considers changes — The new clinical director at Seward Life Action Council (SLAC) Douglas Spanier, sees a need for change at the community mental health organization, he said at a board meeting Monday night. “I just don’t think the staff is working hard enough,” he announced to the new nine-member board of directors. He explained that each member of the staff that provides care directly to patients is providing about 50 percent of their time in direct client service. He believed that staff should be providing 66 to 70 percent of their time in direct service with patients. “If we’re not keeping clinicians busy, then we’re not using them. We might have to cut back,” he told the board. He stressed the need to start reviewing each clinician’s method with video cameras — including his own. “Quality is as important as quantity. It might get some (staff) people upset. I just don’t know what the heck they’re doing. For all I know they could be playing Tiddlywinks after they close the door.” He also said that SLAC’s liability insurance is not adequate. “The court also holds you guys personally responsible,” he told the board. He referred to punitive damages that SLAC’s current insurance wouldn’t cover in relation to one particular case.

Parent concern prompts youth drug abuse meeting — Alcohol and drug abuse in Seward are as prevalent as the wind and rain according to some local residents. Seward High School Principal Jim Fredrickson has decided not to turn his back on the conspicuous alcohol and drug use and abuse of Seward’s elementary, junior high and high school students. He’s concerned. He’s serious and he means business. Fredrickson has called a town meeting on substance abuse awareness for next Tuesday, Nov. 24 at 7 p.m. in the school theater. “I’ve received many calls from parents about kids involved in drug and alcohol use and abuse. This meeting is about what parents can do,” he said Tuesday. “I would like to see a lot of these concerned parents get together with each other.” In a survey conducted among Seward youth by Seward Life Action Council’s Drug-Alcohol Abuse Prevention Project Grant last year, 82 percent of the students rated themselves and their peers as having a moderate or severe problem with alcohol and 79 percent as having a moderate or severe problem with drugs.

Kenai Borough Assembly will reconsider liquor amendment — The Borough Assembly Tuesday night passed an amended liquor license policy ordinance which would measure the distance restriction at 500 feet from property line to property line between an establishment selling liquor and an already established school, playground or church. But the ordinance sparked considerable debate on the assembly as well as testimony for nearly a dozen members of the public and will be reconsidered at the assembly’s next meeting Dec. 3. The vote on the issue was 9-6. Mark Hodgins of Nikiski, who originally sponsored the amended ordinance, voted against it after it was amended by Nikiski Assemblywoman Karen McGahan. She added the property to property line requirement which Hodgins said made inequities possible because of the large sizes of some Alaska land parcels. Phil Nash, Kenai; John Crawford, Seldovia; Sharon Moock, Dave Carey, Pat O’Connell and Sam McLane of Soldotna all voted against the measure. Mr. O’Connell gave notice of reconsideration of the amendment at the next assembly meeting.

Booster’s sought for new club — With the advent of a statewide money shortage, Seward high and junior high extracurricular programs have had to seek new sources of income to support their activities. On the Kenai Peninsula, schools are looking to booster clubs to provide much of this help. The schedule of events for this year was made last February, before it was known that there would be such a dramatic shortage of funds. Jim Fredrickson, the junior/senior high school principal, decided that “we will try to meet the needed costs” to give Seward students the opportunity to participate as they have in the past. The Kenai Peninsula School Board decided last year to exclude extracurricular activities from their budget. Due to public pressure they agreed to pay for coaching and sponsors to help pay for the costs of travel, referees (sports), and other expenses need. The school board also directed the Student Activities Association to appropriate guidelines for schoolwide booster clubs. The activities association agreed on the guidelines in October. In accordance with these guidelines, Seward would create an executive board which had a representative from each extracurricular activity. This board would be responsible for raising funds for all of the programs included.


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