Turn Back the Pages
May 2, 1987
The Seward Phoenix LOG
Compiled by Julie Rosier
FY 88 Budget: Little change in five years – The City of Seward is doing very well. In preparing the budget in April 1983, the city looked at the revenue projections for the coming years and saw that fiscal 1988 was supposed to be the zenith year for oil dollars. So they started preparing started preparing themselves for the cutbacks. They wanted lean budgets. Only absolutely essential new employees were hired. They made it more difficult for merit increases to be given. Only projects that had potential for revenue flow or decreasing the pressure on taxpayers were lobbied for. The result? A budget recommendation that’s only $42,473 more than it was five years ago. According to City Manager Ron Garzini, the city leaders knew they had to “get off the dependency on state money” for operating local government. Mr. Garzini said the strategy was simple. Drop the mill rate, up the sales tax and hold the operating budget. And increase “our economic development efforts. Those kinds of things put us in the current financial situation that we’re now in,” Mr. Garzini told the LOG Tuesday.
Commercial fishermen rediscover Seward – The commercial fisherman has discovered Seward! Or should we say Seward has been rediscovered by the fishing industry. During the past few weeks, every available square foot of tieup dock space in Resurrection Bay has been utilized by fishing boats as the crews prepared for the herring, black cod and halibut openings. Vessels in the small boat harbor were tied from two to four deep and ranged in size from 32 footers up to 80 feet. They came from all over. Crews from Cordova, Seattle, Homer, Anchorage and Southeast mingled in downtown drinking establishments after spending hard days mending gear, making boat repairs and stocking up with groceries. An estimated 200 boats are docked in Seward, with crews ranging in size from two to five. It was a boom that happened suddenly. To many people, unexpectedly. It just may the beginning. Said the local plant manager of Seward Fisheries, “Seward’s becoming more known as a port.” A fishing port that provides service. During his seven years with Seward Fisheries, John Woodruff said his firm has been working hard on providing services. Services that attract the fishermen such as ice, bait and mechanics that know the ins and outs of vessels. And competitive prices for cash.
Local man arrested on drug charges – Jimmy G. Ross, 30, of Seward, was arrested at his residence on Eagle Lane by Alaska State Troopers and Seward City Police Saturday afternoon, after serving a search warrant. He is being held in the Seward City Jail on $50,000 bail and being charged with a felony: misconduct involving a controlled substance in the III degree by possession of a IIA controlled substance with intent to deliver or manufacture. SPD spokesperson Lt. Don Earl said, “There is a possibility of further charges pending a grand jury hearing.” Mr. Ross’ arrest was the “result of an ongoing investigation,” said the Lt. Monday. Police found 1.5 pounds of marijuana, 61 slips of cocaine weighing one-half gram each, 17 weapons, over 1,000 capsules of an undetermined substance and $6,490 in cash. Police estimate the street value of the marijuana and cocaine to be approximately $8,000.
Fishing boats go down – At least two boats have gone down, four others were reported disabled and four medical evacuations occurred during the 24-hour halibut opening that began at noon Monday, reported Coast Guard officials. One fisherman died when the 56-foot halibut fishing vessel Chabro sank about 80 miles southeast of Seward. The vessel broadcast a Mayday signal about 9 a.m. Tuesday. The five crew members donned survival suits and jumped into the water. A Coast Guard C-130 airplane dropped a life raft about an hour later, and the crew was seen getting into it. They were picked up by a nearby fishing boat, the Kodiak. A USCG helicopter from Cordova picked up one of the men and flew him to Seward where he underwent stabilization at Seward General Hospital, lasting about two hours. He was then flown to the thermal unit at Providence Hospital in Anchorage where he died. Another vessel was reported sinking in the Gulf of Alaska Tuesday evening and a USCG C-130 was dispatched to investigate. No other details were available. Near Homer two vessels were disabled. They were towed in by Homer Coast Guard Auxiliary. Another was reported disabled in southeastern Alaska and another near Cape St. Elias.
It’s worth a billion dollars – It’s worth a billion dollars. It’s Alaska’s number one export. It employs more people than any other industry. And it’s growing! Those are the conclusions of state Senator William L. Hensley (D-Kotzebue) who in a letter to Mayor Harry E. Gieseler who asked, “What percentage of this worth do we capture in state?” What’s he talking about? Fish! And the benefits in-state processing has to local economies. Like for example, Seward! Sen. Hensley’s letter has sparked Councilmember William C. Noll’s interest. Responding, Mr. Noll has asked in a letter to City Manager Ron Garzini whether there are “ways we, as a community, can encourage a healthy, prosperous growth of this already important Seward industry.” Councilmember Noll notes that “Alaska’s fish are vital to the Pacific Rim consuming nation.” He goes on to state that the “importance of fish to the community of Seward is self-evident.” Mr. Noll, who is the vice president of Suneel Alaska Corporation, was instrumental in the opening up of Alaska’s coal trade with Korea and is considered an expert in international trade development. Mr. Noll is urging the city to examine “the complex questions of where we are and where we are going in the fishing area.” He sees the benefits to the local economy of a stable, year round fishing industry.