It is hard to believe that May is half-over and summer underway. Time has been flying by and I have both good and not-so-good news to report.
The Ugly Truth on our grant/project state of affairs is that Igiugig has been on a losing streak and both federal and state dollars are tight! We did not receive any legislative funds from the State for our Capital Improvement Projects this year, the first time in many years. I nominated several water distribution improvement projects to the Division of Environmental Conservation in hopes they would receive funding, but the State did not fund the program. Our community was not selected for a Department of Energy, technical assistance award. We also submitted an ICDBG application; however, due to sequestration, the program has not been funded yet. We are applying for a duplex designated for teacher/public safety/health professionals through the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation too. It is time to exercise even more fiscal conservatism, but there is still good news to report too.
First, the Lake and Peninsula Borough is in the first year of a region-wide Scrap Metal Backhaul Project. On April 23-24, they hosted a summit to discuss the project. I attended the first day, and it is very detail oriented hard work dealing with waste, and we are very fortunate to have such an organized landfill and dedicated environmental department led by Christina. I encourage villagers to pile scrap in their yards and have it hauled to the landfill to take full advantage of this one-time opportunity.
Christina and I also attended our first Rural Energy Conference in Anchorage from April 29-May 1. There were informative workshops, booths, and it was really well-organized and well-attended. Then, from May 1-3, we entertained a visit by Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to look at the fall storm damage to the Bulk Fuel Farm and consider it for an Emergency Watershed Protection project. They will be returning at the end of the month to complete survey work for a project design but it can take well over a year to receive funding to complete the work.
On May 13, I attended the 10th Anniversary Celebration for the Nilavena Clinic. It was a good reminder of an inter-village cooperative effort to improve health care in our region and it is a beautiful health facility. At the End-of-Year School Celebration on May 21, we will be showcasing our placename map that we worked with elders and youth on completing; our finished product will soon be proudly displayed at the hangar. Although the physical map is completed, the place-name project will continue under a mini-grant from the Bristol Bay Native Corporation.
The projects that we do have on the horizon for this summer include: moving the modular and old clinic rental homes to a new space, the Water Treatment Upgrade, the hydrokinetic device deployment demonstration with Boschma Technologies, and building the Emergency Response Vehicle building. Currently, Iliamna Lake Contractors have been going to town building the barge landing ramp in Igiugig, and they will also be hosting a renewable energy training in the next month. But the greatest news of all, is Sheryl Wassillie graduated from Fort Lewis College with a degree in Environmental Sciences. I took a spring vacation to attend the commencement. On behalf of Igiugig Village, we congratulate you on this monumental achievement! And CONGRATULATIONS to the Class of 2013!