Friday APRIL 16, 2010
Working to Combat Domestic Violence in Alaska by Choosing Respect
In Anchorage, Sen. Murkowski took part in the ‘Choose Respect' March against domestic violence. Carrying the banner with Sen. Murkowski are (from left) State Sen. Lesil McGuire, Attorney General Dan Sullivan, Anchorage Assembly Member Elvi Gray-Jackson and Denise Morris, executive director of the Alaska Native Justice Center.
While back home recently, I participated in an Anchorage rally calling on Alaskans to ‘Choose Respect' and end domestic violence and sexual assault in Alaska. In addition to the march in Anchorage, hundreds of Alaskans in 17 other communities turned out in a show of strength against this epidemic in our state.
I thank Gov. Parnell and his administration for strong leadership and public commitment on this very important issue and those legislators who are also working to strengthen law enforcement, increase sentencing guidelines, and enhance victim support services.
I also commend the Alaska Network to End Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault on the publication of the Alaska Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Prevention Plan. Prevention is a crucial piece of the solution to ending domestic violence and sexual assault in Alaska.
Many of you are on the front lines of this very serious issue and have put in countless hours staffing crisis lines and counseling victims. I thank you all for your hard work.
You can read more here about this very important issue.
Celebrating Alaska's First LEED Certified School
Sen. Murkowski was on hand for the mounting of the LEED certification plaque at Machetanz Elementary School. With Sen. Murkowski are (from left) Mat-Su Borough School District Director of Operations & Maintenance and Transportation Henry Cottle, Mat-Su Borough Project Manager Bob Bechtold and Machetanz Elementary Principal Tom Lytle.
Over the spring recess, I visited Machetanz Elementary School in Wasilla which has been recognized as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building by the U.S. Green Building Council. Machetanz Elementary received the silver level of certification and is the first school to be LEED certified in the State of Alaska. The school is built on a reclaimed gravel pit, with all classrooms facing south, so they can maximize sunlight and save groundwater. The school's mechanical systems are exceptionally efficient so the building should reduce energy usage by up to 42 percent. Additionally, more than 30 percent of Machetanz Elementary is made from recycled materials and 10 percent from materials obtained in the Mat-Su Valley.
Everyone who worked on the design of this building -- from the architects and contractors to the administration, teachers, students and families of the Mat-Su School District -- should be really proud of the results. It is a testament to what hard work and attention to detail can accomplish.
Visit my photo page if you'd like to see more photos from my visit to Machetanz Elementary.
Recognizing Alaska's Military Award Winners
I was honored to be in Fairbanks on April 2 for the annual military awards banquet with General Norton Schwartz, Chief of Staff of the Air Force. Each year, servicemen and women of the U.S. Army, the Army National Guard, the 168th Air Refueling Wing and the 354th Fighter Wing of the Air Force are recognized by the community for their outstanding service to our country.
In addition to our award-winning servicemen and women, Jennifer Carter was named Fort Wainwright's Civilian of the Year and Jennifer Chura was named Eielson Air Force Base's Civilian of the Year. Ms. Carter was honored for her work as a company family readiness group leader, contributing more than 1,600 hours of community service to the families at Fort Wainwright. Ms. Chura was recognized for her work in creating a website for airmen and their families relocating to Alaska as well as for her work keeping the families of servicemen and women informed of squadron activities in her role as a Key Spouse.
Also on the program each year is the presentation of the Messer award -- the highest award that can be presented to a member of the Fairbanks community for service to the military. This year, I was proud to see Althea St. Martin, my Fairbanks field representative, receive the Messer award for her work with the military community. Althea has been my point person in Fairbanks for years, and I am very fortunate to have her as a member of my staff.
I send my sincere congratulations to all the men and women who were honored, and I thank each of them for their service to our country and to our community.
And while I'm talking about our award-winning military servicemen and women, I also want to recognize two of Alaska's award-winning veterans - Virginia Wood and Nancy Baker - who were Women Airforce Service Pilots, or WASPs, during World War II. Last month, the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor Congress can bestow on an individual, was awarded to WASP members at a ceremony here in Washington, D.C. Virginia and Nancy were unable to attend, so I was honored to bring the award to them when I was in Fairbanks. I enjoyed visiting with Virginia and looking through her WASP service scrapbook. Nancy was on hand at the military awards banquet and was presented her medal by Gen. Norton Schwartz, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force. A third Alaskan WASP, Ellen Campbell of Juneau, traveled to Washington to receive her award.
Sen. Murkowski presents Virginia Wood of Fairbanks with a Congressional Gold Medal that Women Airforce Service Pilots received in Washington earlier this year.
(From Left) General Norton Schwartz, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, and Sen. Murkowski present Nancy Wood with her Congressional Gold Medal for her WASP service. Nancy received her award at the recent Military Appreciation Banquet in Fairbanks.
Be sure to catch the upcoming edition of the Alaska Report, where I highlight the WASP medal ceremony here in Washington and speak to Ellen Campbell, one of Alaska's three WASP veterans. Look for that episode in early May.
So Much Alaska, So Many Memories
Over the spring recess, I traveled throughout the state visiting Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley, Fairbanks, Bethel, Koyuk, Shaktoolik, Unalakleet, Chugiak, Nome and Paxson. It's great to get out across the state to listen to the concerns of Alaskans.
Sen. Murkowski spoke at the Alaska Family Services Women's History Month Luncheon in Wasilla. Pictured with Sen. Murkowski is Judy Gette, who is the director of domestic violence and sexual abuse programs with Alaska Family Services.
While visiting Machetanz Elementary, Sen. Murkowski stopped in to chat with fifth grade students and their teachers Mrs. Class and Mrs. Riggan.
Sen. Murkowski spoke with the students of Mirror Lake Middle School in Chugiak during an assembly.
Sen. Murkowski poses for a photo in Koyuk following a community meeting.
The staff of the Koyuk School join Sen. Murkowski for a photo.
Sen. Murkowski with some of the residents in Shaktoolik.
While in Paxson for the Arctic Man, Sen. Murkowski enjoyed the afternoon with some fans from St. George.
||Hearing: Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee | 9:30 a.m. | Washington, D.C.
||Hearing: Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee | 9:30 a.m. | Washington, D.C.
||Hearing: Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee | 2:30 p.m. | Washington, D.C.
||Hearing: Senate Appropriations Commerce, Justice and Science Subcommittee | 10:00 a.m. | Washington, D.C.
||Hearing: Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee | 10:00 a.m. | Washington, D.C.
||Hearing: Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee | 10:00 a.m. | Washingon, D.C.