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Beetle boss Bannock to address city council

Posted: Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Kenai spruce bark beetles are expected to be put on notice tonight that there's a new mitigation program manager at the helm and he's heading to town.

Duane Bannock is listed on the Kenai City Council meeting agenda to make a presentation involving two specific projects in Kenai, one being called the Floatplane right-of-way project and one the Redoubt right-of-way project.

In a letter to Mayor Pat Porter and councilmen, Bannock said the Kenai Peninsula Borough Spruce Bark Beetle Mitigation Program has identified "several parcels" owned by the city as well as privately owned properties that require hazard tree removal.

"This work will be performed by licensed contractors with an estimated start date in June 2009," Bannock's letter states.

Only dead trees that can impact roads and access will be cut down.

Also on the council agenda is a planned presentation by Margaret Coleman, a child advocacy center executive.

Children's advocacy centers have been established in Kenai and Homer, providing a safe, child friendly environment for child victims of sexual assault to talk about what happened to them, according to a memo in the council agenda packet.

The centers bring community partners together to address the investigation, prosecution and treatment of child abuse cases.

April is Child Abuse Awareness and Sexual Assault Awareness month.

A third presentation scheduled for tonight is by Olivia Pfeifer, a Kenai Central High School student, who plans to speak about her "Caring for the Kenai" project.

City Manager Rick Koch said Pfeifer's project, titled "Better Bird Control," addresses the hazard that birds present to planes landing and taking off at Kenai Municipal Airport.

In the past, the city police have tried several various methods of scaring birds -- particularly gulls -- off the ends of the runway where they congregate in summer.

The council is slated to consider an ordinance adding a written procedure to the Kenai Municipal Code for releasing public records and regulating public record inspection.

Over the course of several months, city hall received an unusually high number of such public records requests relating to the proposed rezone of properties north of the Kenai Spur Highway across from KCHS, according to Koch.

The proposed ordinance states public record requests must be approved by the city clerk and completed "promptly" if approved. Though prompt is not clearly defined in the ordinance, if a request is deemed non-routine or large, a written notice is to be given to the requestor within five working days.

The ordinance is set for a public hearing tonight.

Now that the rezone of 14 parcels along the highway corridor to Limited Commercial has been approved, Koch said a letter has been sent to residents displaying large, pink protest signs giving them until next Monday to take down the signs.

"On Friday, they put up more signs," Koch said. "We sent another letter (Monday) saying all signs must be down by April 20."

In addition to signs expressing opposition to the rezone, a large new sign encourages Kenai residents to sign a petition seeking a voter referendum reversing the council's decision to rezone the 14 parcels.

The council meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

Phil Hermanek can be reached at phillip.hermanek@peninsulaclarion.com.



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