Nenana picks new chief

Posted: Monday, December 11, 2000

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The Nenana Traditional Council has a new chief to replace longtime leader Mitch Demientieff. Jack Irwin defeated four other candidates in the Dec. 3 election.

Irwin takes over the multi-million dollar council on Monday. He replaces Demientieff, 48, who retired after nearly 30 years at the council, most of them as chief.

Irwin garnered 39 votes. His nearest opponent, Stanley Starr, received 17. Tom Titus was third with 14 votes. Gilbert Ketzler received six and Martha Ketzler had one vote.

''The council is in good hands,'' Demientieff said. ''He's the one that I nominated.''

Irwin is the brother of Mike Irwin, chairman of the board of Doyon Ltd., the Interior Native regional corporation.

The council operates the Summer Youth Enrichment, Child Care Development, and the Tribal Workforce Development and Energy Assistance programs. The council recently received $1 million in federal money for economic development and road construction, said tribal administrator Cathy Keyse-Sweet.

Demientieff says he plans to spend more time on his other commitments, which include work as chairman of the Federal Subsistence Board and of the Toghotthele Corp. board of directors. He owns the Corner Bar in Nenana.

Tribal members also seated four members on the tribal council in the recent elections. Karen Lord received 61 votes, Nita Marks got 51, Mary Kleinschmidt received 55 votes, and Sam Kanayrak had 44 votes.

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