Legislature(2001 - 2002)

03/15/2001 01:12 PM TRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SB  79-FRED ZHAROFF MEMORIAL BRIDGE                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KOHRING announced that the  next order of business would be                                                               
SENATE  BILL NO.  79, "An  Act naming  the Fred  Zharoff Memorial                                                               
Bridge."                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 1020                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CLIFFORD  STONE, Staff  to Senator  Alan Austerman,  Alaska State                                                               
Legislature,  presented SB  79 on  behalf  of Senator  Austerman,                                                               
sponsor.  He  explained that Senator Austerman  and the community                                                               
felt  that  this [bill]  was  an  appropriate  tribute to  a  man                                                               
[former  Representative and  Senator Fred  Zharoff] who  gave his                                                               
life to  public service in  the public  schools of Kodiak  and to                                                               
the State  of Alaska  by serving  with the  House and  Senate for                                                               
almost 20 years.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. STONE said  that Senator Austerman is the  primary sponsor of                                                               
SB 79, but there are 16  cosponsors, the most support that he has                                                               
seen for "anything on this Senate side in quite some time."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 1076                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. STONE  stated that  former Senator Zharoff  was a  person who                                                               
could get things  done, both professionally and as a  friend.  He                                                               
mentioned  that he  knew Senator  Zharoff, whom  he refers  to as                                                               
Fred, for  the 25 years  that he lived on  Kodiak.  He  said that                                                               
Senator  Zharoff was  a  "high-visibility-type  person," who  was                                                               
always involved not  only for his community  that he represented,                                                               
but also for what was good for  Alaska.  [This was also true] for                                                               
anything he  voted upon.  Mr.  Stone said that by  seeing Senator                                                               
Zharoff in Kodiak during the  interim and interacting with him in                                                               
Juneau, he  saw that  Senator Zharoff  had a  unique perspective.                                                               
He also  liked his "tutelage" in  that they would run  ideas past                                                               
each other.   Mr. Stone stated that he feels  honored that he was                                                               
able to be associated with somebody like him.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. STONE  pointed out that  Senator Zharoff was  instrumental in                                                               
obtaining  funding for  the Near  Island Bridge,  which has  also                                                               
been referred to as the "Bridge  to Nowhere."  Before the bridge,                                                               
the island  consisted of "just a  bunch of cattle."   But Senator                                                               
Zharoff and the community had a  vision that this island could be                                                               
developed if  there was a  convenient means  to get over  to that                                                               
side [of  the island].  A  boat harbor expansion was  planned for                                                               
this area, which was an "integral piece to make it happen."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. STONE remarked  that currently, there are  moorage spaces for                                                               
600 vessels  [on the island].   He  said that the  airplane float                                                               
facility has been moved to the  other side of Near Island.  There                                                               
are also two separate fisheries  research centers on Near Island,                                                               
and the possibility  of a hotel and restaurant  combination.  The                                                               
community  is  also  beginning  to   open  up  other  parcels  to                                                               
commercial  enterprises,  and there  is  a  rock quarry  on  Near                                                               
Island.  [All of these  developments] have allowed for tremendous                                                               
economic expansion of the area.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  STONE commented  that in  recent years  the bridge  has been                                                               
known as  "Freddy's Bridge."  However,  Senator Austerman thought                                                               
this name was  a "little too cute" to put  into legislation.  So,                                                               
"we" decided on  the Fred Zharoff Memorial Bridge,  a more formal                                                               
name.  But,  "I suppose folks will continue to  call it "Freddy's                                                               
Bridge," he said.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 1236                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SCALZI  mentioned  that  he  has  been  over  the                                                               
bridge.  He said he remembers  when people had to "skiff back and                                                               
forth between the harbor and town  years ago."  He also remembers                                                               
it [the  bridge] being discussed  and then constructed.   He said                                                               
the  bridge is  "much  needed access."    He went  on  to say  he                                                               
appreciates Senator  Austerman bringing  this [bill]  forward and                                                               
noted  that  he  had  the privilege  of  knowing  former  Senator                                                               
Zharoff as well.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 1265                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR KOHRING  told a personal story  that he can relate  to [the                                                               
bridge].   He said many years  ago, he helped build  a cannery in                                                               
this area,  in which he  hung "1,800  sheets of sheetrock  over a                                                               
two-month period."   He  remembers looking  at [Near]  Island and                                                               
thinking, "'I wonder if that is  ever going to develop,' and when                                                               
they built  the bridge, I  thought ...  'I wonder why  they would                                                               
build  a bridge?'"   In  hindsight, he  said Senator  Zharoff was                                                               
very  prophetic  and  visionary   in  terms  of  recognizing  how                                                               
important the  bridge was  for the  community.   He said  this is                                                               
shown in  the development of things  such as the boat  harbor and                                                               
airplane facility on the island.  He said:                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     It's a  real honor to have  this bill before us.   I do                                                                    
     support this.  I really  enjoyed working with Fred over                                                                    
     the years.   He was a wonderful human being,  and I had                                                                    
     a  very  good  friendship  with   him  and  he  was  an                                                                    
     outstanding  crib player.   I'll  certainly miss  that;                                                                    
     our friendship  and his bipartisan approach  to working                                                                    
     with his colleagues in the legislature.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  KOHRING noted  that Senator  Zharoff's wife  had sent  him                                                               
correspondence  requesting  the   House  Transportation  Standing                                                               
Committee's consideration  of this legislation.   He also pointed                                                               
out that the  mayor of the City of Kodiak,  Carolyn L. Floyd, had                                                               
provided  a  letter  of  support  for SB  79,  which  is  in  the                                                               
committee members' packets.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 1358                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SCALZI made  a  motion  to move  SB  79 from  the                                                               
committee with  individual recommendations and the  attached zero                                                               
fiscal note.  There being no  objection, SB 79 was moved from the                                                               
House Transportation Standing Committee.                                                                                        

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