Kaitlyn Massey, 2, gets a hug from Moose Lodge 1942's mascot during Industry Appreciation Day in Kenai Saturday afternoon. Lin Wheeler was the friendly voice inside the moose.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
From oil company executives and board-room big wigs to blue-collared buoy and net-pulling fishermen, everyone was welcome at Industry Appreciation Day held Saturday at the Kenai Green Strip.
The annual event, now in its 14th year, celebrates the peninsula’s three major industries commercial fishing, tourism and oil and gas with free food, games, music and prize giveaways.
“This is a day to honor the companies and the economic contributions of companies and their employees,” said Jack Brown, chair of the Industry Appreciation committee.
This year, Gov. Frank Murkowski, accompanied by Lt. Gov. Loren Leman, also participated in the annual event.
“Life is good on the Kenai,” Murkowski said. “I’m grateful to see how things are going down here.”
Murkowski also spoke to the crowd about the recent developments with Agrium that postponed the closing of the North Kenai fertilizer plant until November 2006.
“I want to compliment the community and the whole Kenai Peninsula for working together. ... It bought Agrium another year,” he said.
Murkowski also signed two bills into laws during the event, one of which was House Bill 178, allowing all motor vehicles owners, including those used in commercial activities, to display vanity or specialty license plates.
“This goes a long way to knocking down the barrier of who can get one,” said Duane Bannock, director of the Division of Motor Vehicles and one of several people working the barbecue grill during the event.
The use of vanity or specialty license plates had been restricted to passenger vehicles, motorcycles, noncommercial vans pickups and motor homes.
Senate Bill 110, which relates to National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System primacy, was also signed by Murkowski.
The intent of this bill is to begin transferring wastewater discharge permits from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Seattle to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
“Basically, this allows Alaskans to make decisions rather than federal bureaucrats,” Murkowski said. “Now Alaskans will decide what’s important, who gets inspected and when, and how to apply our water quality standards.
“Primacy is a common sense reform that will result in quicker permitting and better environmental outcomes. We’ll see more results and less process,” he said.
Awards were given out to honor individuals and businesses from all three industries Saturday.
The city of Soldotna presented Paul Miller an award for Outstanding Personal Contribution, while the city of Kenai presented an award to George Ford for his numerous years of service to the community.
For commercial fishing, the Don Gilman Service to the Community Award was presented to Inlet Fish Producers Inc. for outstanding commercial fish processor, while Silvertip Net and Gear was honored as an outstanding support organization.
The Don Gilman Service to the Community Award for an outstanding individual was presented to Dennis Steffy.
Buddy Harris received the Drew Scalzi Outstanding Individual Award.
For oil and gas, outstanding individual award was presented to Dan Grove, branch manager for Air Liquide America Corp., while BJ Services Company, U.S.A. received the award for outstanding support business, and XTO Energy Inc. received the award for outstanding business.
For tourism, Ididaride Sled Dog Tours was presented the award for outstanding business, while Paul Gray with the “Exploring Alaska” television show received the award for outstanding individual, and Carlile Transportation Systems received the award for outstanding support business.
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