State officials pick winners in name-the-ferries contest

Posted: Sunday, March 24, 2002

JUNEAU (AP) -- Two new fast ferries will be named Chenega and Fairweather.

The names, submitted by two Alaska school children in a name-the-ferry contest, were picked from among finalists by Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer, Speaker of the House Brian Porter, R-Anchorage, and Senate President Rick Halford, R-Chugiak.

The contest was open to children in grades two through six. Participants were required to submit 250-word essays.

By law state ferries must be named after Alaska glaciers. Eleven glacier names already had been used but students had 735 other glaciers to choose from.

Chenega Glacier is west of Chenega Island. It heads in the Sargent Ice Field on the Kenai Peninsula.

Sixth-grader Emily Rose Oskoloff of Ninilchik submitted the name Chenega. In her essay, she said she liked the sound of the word, and that she admired the history of the people of Chenega Bay.

The village was on the southern tip of Chenega Island until 1964, when a tsunami after the Good Friday earthquake destroyed the village and killed more than half the residents.

Chenega Bay was reestablished 20 years later on Evans Island, 42 miles southeast of Whittier in Prince William Sound.

Fourth-grader Wesley Tyrrell of Central submitted the name Fairweather.

He says when people hear the name Fairweather, they will picture blue skies and calm seas.

The Fairweather Glacier is in Glacier Bay National Park and heads on the west slope of Mount Salisbury.

The new names will be used for a Metlakatla-to-Ketchikan fast ferry, scheduled to come on line in 2003, and a Sitka-to-Juneau fast ferry, scheduled to start service in 2004.

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