By Laine Welch
December 18, 2005
Invitations are going out this week to all those who have so far thrown their hats into the 2006 gubernatorial ring. The candidates are being invited to come to Kodiak in mid-March to participate in the popular "goober debate," which has been held every four years since 1990 as part of the ComFish trade show.
"The debate has always attracted the full slate of candidates, and it gives the public their first glimpse at the line up in the election year," said Norm Wooten, director of the Kodiak Chamber of Commerce, which organizes ComFish. There's one catch. The candidates are limited to a single topic: Alaska's seafood industry.
"It's the life blood of our coastal communities and puts more people to work than any other industry. It's important for Alaskans to hear all the candidates' views and how much they know about our fishing industry," Wooten said.
The Gubernatorial Candidates' Debate is set for Thursday, March 16 from 7-9pm in Kodiak. As usual, it will be broadcast live statewide via the Alaska Public Radio Network, and streamed on the Internet.
Wooten encourages anyone who plans to attend ComFish (March 16-18) to make lodging plans early, as Kodiak will also be hosting two other events. "A big film crew will be here for a movie about the U.S. Coast Guard starring Kevin Costner, and the Kodiak Rocket Launch Complex also has something going on. Everyone's welcome, but we want to make sure our ComFish folks get squared away first," he said.
Get more information about
ComFish at www.comfishalaska.com
or by calling the Kodiak Chamber of Commerce at 907-486-5557.
Topping the SFOF's wish list this year is a boat that breaks ice. The current research vessel, Alpha Helix, is the oldest ship in the academic fleet. Originally built in 1966 for research on the Amazon River, it was later given to UAF and strengthened for work in the ice. "It can push ice around but it can't break itjust enough to get you in trouble," Wiesenburg said on a recent visit to Kodiak.
A new, 133 foot research vessel
has been in the planning and design stages for 30 years, and
Wiesenburg said it is listed as a priority for federal funding
this year. Its $82 million price tag might pose a challenge,
but with all the attention being paid to global warming in the
Arctic, Wiesenburg said he is confident it will get the nod from
Congress. "I've told the folks at the National Science Foundation
that if we wait another 30 years, we won't need the ice breaking
capability more," he added with a laugh.
This will be the first in an annual series of awards to be announced each February in conjunction with the anniversary of the agency's predecessor the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries established in 1871. Winners will receive framed reproductions of the fish sketches commissioned in the 1870s by the Commission at a special awards dinner. "We hope this will be regarded as a respected and sought-after recognition by our stakeholders," said spokesperson Laurel Bryant. Nominations forms are available on the web at the new Office of Constituent Services (www.nmfs.noaa.gov/ocs/mafac/) or contact email@example.com. The deadline is January 10th.
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