DMV Director Duane Bannock displayed his favorite vanity plates at Industry Appreciation Day.
Continuing its 14th straight sunny August afternoon, Industry Appreciation Day drew an estimated 6,000 people to the park strip in Kenai. Although no official head count was taken, according to Jack Brown, chairman of the organizing committee, some 2,000 hamburgers were served along with more than 1,000 hot dogs, two and a half 4-H blue ribbon hogs, 250 pounds of Kenai wild salmon, 500 pounds of watermelon, hundreds of ears of corn on the cob, and thousands of cups of Coca Cola products, all donated on behalf of Industry Appreciation Day.
The popular frozen fish flinging contest drew slingers of all ages at Industry Appreciation Day.
Governor Frank Murkowski and his wife Nancy flew in for the day along with a host of dignitaries that included Lt. Governor Loren Leman and his wife Carolyn. Director of the Department of Motor Vehicles Duane Bannock came home to help with the cooking for the event. The jubilant Bannock, who has never missed cooking for Industry day since its inception, told everyone he was proud to have been able to shorten the lines at DMV offices, an accomplishment that also brought praise from Governor Murkowski. The Governor also complemented the work of the Agrium Task Force in acquiring another year’s supply of gas for the fertilizer producing plant in Nikiski. He then took the occasion to sign two pieces of legislation in law; HB#178 will allow all motor vehicle owners to display specialty license plates. Prior to the new bill specialty plates were restricted to mainly private and non-commercial vehicles.
Bill Popp congratulates Dannis Steffy selected to receive the first Don Gilman Service to the Community Award at Industry Appreciation Day
Murkowski also signed into law SB#110. “Basically, this allows Alaskans to make decisions rather than federal bureaucrats,” Murkowski told the crowd. The intent of the bill is to transfer wastewater discharge permits from federal EPA in Seattle, to state ADEC. “Now Alaskans will decide what’s important, who gets inspected and when, and how to apply our water quality standards,” said Murkowski.
The day wasn’t all about politics and free food. 1-year-old Rachel Mackey was selected to participate in the frozen t-shirt contest and ended up going home with a new bicycle and free helmet, “It was freezing, my hands became numb, but after beating it real hard it got easier and easier until I finally got it on, but the sleeves were the hardest part so I just put my hand in a fist and kept pushing until it gave way,” said the elated Mackey. Earlier Rachel had assisted Carrol Martin in serving 4-H pork that was purchased at the Junior Livestock Auction by Senator Tom Waggoner and Norm Blakeley and donated for the free Industry day feed.
Rachel Mackey won a new bike & helmet at Industry Appreciation Day
Singled out for special recognition at this year’s event by the twin cities of Kenai and Soldotna, were George Ford by the city of Kenai, and Paul Miller by the city of Soldotna. A new award this year, the Don Gilman Service to Community award went to Dennis Steffy for his years of dedication to the UAA Mining & Petroleum training programs. The outstanding individual from the oil & gas industry this year was Dan Grove Branch Manager for Air Liquide America Corporation in Nikiski. For tourism, Mitch Seavey of Ididaride Sled Dog Tours was presented the outstanding business award. BJ Services Co. received the award for outstanding support business, and XTO Energy was selected as the oil & gas business of the year. Buddy Harris received the first Drew Scalzi Outstanding Individual award in commercial fishing, and Paul Gray was chosen as outstanding individual for his “Exploring Alaska” television show. Carlile Transportation Systems was given an award for outstanding support business of the year.
An estimated 6,000 enjoyed another Industry Appreciation day under breezy sunny skies
Prizes were also earned in the unique Frozen Salmon Toss competition. In all, more than a dozen new bikes and helmets were given away to youngsters of various ages. The winners of the Peoples Choice award in the annual chili cook-off this year went to the mildly spicy Peninsula Moose Lodge.
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