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

Turn back the pages — Feb. 9, 1989


Compiled by Julie Rosier

Project developer touts “renter’s coalition” — A meeting Monday touted as intended to organize a renter’s coalition, turned out to be more of a developer’s presentation instead. Flyers announcing the meeting had been widely distributed, but the persons conducting the meeting disavowed any connection with the flyers. The meeting was held Monday at 7 p.m. in city council chambers. It was led by Anchorage attorney Michelle Minor, who was hired as a spokesperson by Idaho developer Marty Frantz. Frantz is trying to get council approval for a conditional use permit to build a 24-unit subsidized housing complex. Funding for subsidies would be provided by Farm Home Administration. The complex would be built on property owned by former Seward resident Frank Irick. About a dozen people attended the meeting, including council member Leslie Simutis. It soon became apparent that the meeting was not connected to any “Seward renter’s coalition” as represented in the flyer. Anchorage attorney Kirk Wickersham, who said he was asked by Minor to come along as a “resource” during the meeting, said he didn’t know anything about the flyer. Minor said the flyer was drafted by another Anchorage resident, Susan Taylor, but no connection was made between Taylor, the purported coalition, and anyone actually present at the meeting.

Women refs keep laws on the court — If you are an avid basketball fan, you have probably seen two referees at the high school and city league games that don’t fit the traditional role set for the position. Kristin Erchinger and Lorri Hill, aside from being relatively young basketball officials, are two of only three women wearing stripes in Region III. Region III includes the Kenai Peninsula, Palmer, Wasilla and Houston, and the only other woman official in the area is Stacia Engebretsen of Anchor Point. According to an Alaska Activities Association estimate, there are currently 20 female basketball officials in the entire state. Kristin Erchinger and Lorri Hill, both former high school basketball standouts and college level athletes, got their initial training in a 16-hour officiating class last October. Though the women attended the workshop for different reasons, neither of them thought they would end up making calls at high school games. Ms. Erchinger, a 23-year-old office manager for Suneel Corporation, said she thought she might get training to officiate a few junior high games, but had no anticipation of officiating high school events. With the help of local officials Cliff Draper and Mike Yanez, she said she gained the confidence and skill she needed. Lorri Hill, eighth grade math and algebra instructor at Seward Junior/Senior High coached seventh and eighth grade girl’s basketball this season, and decided to enroll in the officiating class to find out about rule changes.

Plane burns at Johnstone Bay — Two Anchorage men were picked up by a United States Coast Guard H-3 helicopter from Johnstone Bay Sunday night after their plane was spotted burning on the ground. Pilot Don Devoe and passenger Greg Fischer had safely landed in a PA-12 30 miles east of Seward to view some land, reported Petty Officer Beard of the Coast Guard Air Station in Kodiak. While the men were on the ground away from their aircraft, a heater in the plane malfunctioned, catching fire and igniting the structure. The fire was spotted by a passing plane heading into Seward whose pilot reported a possible crash to the flight service in Cordova. The Coast Guard’s rescue coordination center in Juneau was notified and a helicopter was dispatched from the Kodiak air base. Upon arrival the H-3 found pilot and passenger in excellent condition, and their aircraft badly damaged. The Coast Guard reports the men were well equipped and had supplies to last them approximately two weeks. Mr. Devoe, who never sent off a distress call, had instead radioed a relative and was expecting to be picked up the following day.

Spring Creek springs first inmate — Feb. 5, 1989 the first inmate ever processed into Alaska’s only maximum security correctional center, became the first to be released. At 7 a.m. Sunday Mr. Robert Gabel walked through the doors of Spring Creek Correctional Center a free man. Robert Gabel, a 34-year-old Illinois resident, was at the head of the line when the first group of residents was processed into Spring Creek June 1, 1988. Gabel came to Spring Creek and finished the theft sentence he began serving at Fairbanks Correctional Center one year prior. Gabel, a medium-security inmate, was one of a handful of lesser offenders processed into Spring Creek last summer, Spring Creek superintendent Frank Sauser said the first draft of inmates was fairly mixed — consisting of different security levels. Rather than transfer out of the facility to finish his sentence when greater numbers of maximum security residents starting showing up, Gabel opted to stay. He said he made friends at Spring Creek, and added that he liked staying at Spring Creek rather than a pretrial facility.

Only SHS ski meet of ‘89 is Saturday — The first and only Seward High School home ski meet is scheduled to take place Saturday, February 11 at Mile 12. The race, beginning at noon, will feature skiers from Valdez, Homer, Seward and possibly Wasilla. The race will be freestyle individual (diagonal and skating techniques) consisting of a boy’s race of 6 kilometers, and a girl’s race of 4 kilometers. After the event skiers will return to the high school for an awards presentation and a potluck lunch for racers, coaches, officials and volunteers. Last weekend the Seward High School team ventured to Valdez for a four person relay. Two racers skated four kilometers on the first and third leg, and two skiers raced three kilometers on the second and fourth legs, while using the diagonal stride technique. The girl’s team of Dawn Ruby, Brandy Gibson and Kyrstin Frazier finished with a good effort for their first year of skiing. Out of the boys team, Daryl Sela turned in the fastest time for the four kilometer skating leg. Russel Stigall skied the second leg of a four kilometer skating loop with a time just under Daryl Sela’s.


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