Winter in Unalaska by Sam Zmolek
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City of Unalaska

  • On this year’s ballot for Unalaska’s Municipal Election, there are two school board seats up for grabs. Bob Cummings is running unopposed for reelection for Seat C and David Gibson is running against incumbent Nicole Bice for Seat D.KUCB held a live forum for the candidates on Sept. 14. with Cummings and Gibson. Bice was unable to attend due to a work conflict.
  • Unalaska may be getting its first fishermen’s memorial sometime next year. Across the island plaques and statues commemorate the Aleutians’ World War II history, but there’s nothing to honor the legacy of fishermen lost at sea.Local sculpture artist Karel Machálek wants to change that.
  • If you live in Unalaska, you surely know Hope. How could you miss all that sheep skin and linen flowing across the tundra? Well, here we are — nearly three years after arriving in Unalaska, News Director Hope McKenney has said goodbye. Or, as she’ll tell you, “It’s just a ‘see ya later.’”
  • The Unalaska City Council approved a collective bargaining agreement with the union that represents many of the city’s workers on Thursday morning. Councilors were originally scheduled to vote at their regular meeting Tuesday night, but postponed making a decision after an executive session that lasted two hours.
  • The Unalaska City Council approved the contract for an interim city manager during a Special Council Meeting on Thursday. The city is actively recruiting to replace current manager Erin Reinders, whose contract expires at the end of the month. In the meantime, Chris Hladick will stand at the helm. He served as Unalaska's city manager from 2001 until he resigned in 2015.
  • In a unanimous vote, City Council members granted the Unalaska School District its full funding request of roughly $5 million — a 6.5% increase from last year. The school district is expecting a drastic drop in student enrollment next fiscal year. And officials said that means they’ll be getting less money from the state. Overall, the projected budget is about $8 million — less than a 2% increase from last year. Still, the budget has a deficit of more than $200,000. District officials said a large part of that is due to trying to combat learning losses from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • While Alaska’s lawmakers consider increasing public school funding, the Unalaska City School District prepares for a significant decrease in revenue due to a drop in enrollment. And with that, the district is looking to the city for about $5 million to cover its budget for fiscal year 2023. At a City Council meeting Tuesday, Superintendent Robbie Swint Jr. presented the Unalaska City School District’s proposed budget, which is based on an estimated enrollment of 345 students.
  • A city proposal to allow all-purpose vehicles on Unalaska’s streets failed to move forward Tuesday. The Unalaska City Council voted against allowing the ordinance to proceed to its next meeting. Unalaska currently prohibits the use of all-purpose vehicles — like four-wheelers and all-terrain vehicles — on city streets. But a state law that went into effect this year opens the door to allow these modes of transport on public roads in places not prohibited by local law or ordinance.
  • Unalaska’s city manager will leave her post in less than three months, when her three-year contract with the city comes to an end on May 31. City Manager Erin Reinders sent an email Wednesday afternoon to city staff announcing her departure. Reinders said she was notified Tuesday morning that the Unalaska City Council would not be renewing her contract for another term.
  • City Manager Erin Reinders announced at Tuesday’s City Council meeting that the number of reported COVID-19 infections had fallen to zero for the first time since the winter surge, when confirmed cases numbered in the hundreds. Also at the meeting, the city’s planning director, Bil Homka, presented the results from a survey that measures the quality of life in Unalaska. Unalaska City Council members also reviewed a cost benefit analysis for the Captains Bay Road improvement project, the city’s most expensive capital project.