Thursday, May 27, 2010

An Open Letter to the Residents of Kenny Lake

An Open Letter to the Residents of Kenny Lake,

The Kenny Lake Community League admitted to violating dispersal regulations during their revenue sharing meeting last month. They admitted they did not post announcements in three public places for five days before the public meeting, designed to "give residents the opportunity to comment on their ideas".

After a complaint to Governor Parnell, the League was told by Dept of Commerce agent Tara Jolie to comply with this Minimum Qualification next time, and to re-hold the public revenue meeting on June 15. Without any mention of a reprimand or investigation, Jolie praised the League for doing such fine work and suggested to the complainer that it was an oversight.

The revenue sharing started as a program to help municipalities, first called MEEP, then SEEP, then as the Community Revenue Sharing Program (CRSP) when Sarah Palin became Governor. The funding was expanded to include unincorporated areas in 2007.

According to the Alaska Division of Community Advocacy, "The Kenny Lake Community League organizes activities, is an advocate for local concerns, and administers state grants." http://www.dced.state.ak.us/dca/commdb/CF_CIS.cfm?Comm_Boro_Name=Kenny+Lake

With my own eyes I have yet to see any activities organized by the League, other than the yearly fair. Their only other legitimate purpose, the Community Well, is so messed up and has so many complaints the new Treasurer, Lisa Boone, refuses to even touch the old well fund books. After repeated attempts to find out the League's exact new purpose from their email list, I am assured by their non-response that they are not an "advocate" for my concerns. From what I can see they provide nothing substantial to the community as a whole. That they attempt to hide their activities from the public is now public record.

The League has received a total of $57,528.00 in CRSP funds since FY 2008, administering money required to be "irrevocably dedicate[d] to a public purpose." (Application Cover Sheet FY 2011)

Sitting at the helm of the Kenny Lake Community League is President Gay Wellman. Under her leadership, the League became a corporation, approved by the members in October 2009. This writer has no idea how many League members voted to approve this change.

According to their new corporate By-Laws, "To be a voting member the community member must submit a membership form at any time during the fiscal year at least a week prior to the Annual Fall meeting. Any person signed up during a membership year is considered a member of
the Kenny Lake Community League."

Their membership area is defined by them as "extending from Thompson Pass to mile 95 along the Richardson Hwy. and the area along the old and new Edgerton Hwy to mile 22 on the new Edgerton Hwy." Compare this to the description by the state of Alaska: "Kenny Lake lies off of the Richardson Highway, between miles 1 and 22 on the Edgerton Highway and between miles 1 and 11 of the Old Edgerton Highway."

In December 2009, I responded to an email plea sent out to the KLCL elist by a local business owner. He asked, "How did the Community League violate the Articles of Incorporation and the bylaws by: declaring themselves a Board of Directors instead of a community league?"

Community meetings are all alike, whether you're in Seattle, Washington or Kenny Lake. After a decade of experience in dealing with community groups, I have zero respect for the entire concept of community governance. I am not now and will never be a member of any community group. Why? Because not only did the League refuse to answer his question, they spent the better part of an hour lecturing him about how hard they work to help the community. They followed up their lectures with two lecture/editorials in the CRR 12/17/09.

But check out what I learned in just one meeting:

The Agenda for the December 7, 2009 KLCL Board Meeting included a review of the construction progress. The KLCL does not appear to follow any procedures for putting grant funded work out for public bids. Under "Electricity" it says: "Choose who to do rest of electrical work, Bob or Jim Williams?"

Discussion of hiring a short-term administrator was also on the 12/07/09 Agenda. The formation of Seven Standing Committees was last, including the need for a Finance Committee to "establish a working budget, look at options for further grants or funding avenues."

For the past two seasons the League has paid someone $3000.00 to manage the one day, 8 hour Fair. Now they wonder if the Fair needs a separate committee. They also want a committee to revise and review scholarships. They want a committee to plan Hall Usage (and establish fees). They want a Maintenance Committee, a Well Committee, and a Records Committee.

Last month, during the unpublicized revenue sharing meeting, the KLCL asked for another $6202.00 for maintenance/improvements in FY2011. They also have plans to upgrade the building's electrical by separating the meters to each building. They claim the increased wattage they gain will give them "more options" for community events.

Yet in October 2008, Kenny Lake's "success" was celebrated in a USDA Rural Development newsletter. Published 10/18/09, the article explains: the USDA provided a grant of $26,300 through the Community Facilities Program. According to Arlene Rosenkrans (USDA), "We use both halls for the annual community fair and local gatherings, but both buildings needed to be fixed." The Result? The USDA says Kenny Lake "now has two usable buildings."

Gay Wellman is a familiar name around Kenny Lake, as is her husband Dave. Together they own and operate a private Bed & Breakfast called the Wellwood Center on the Edgerton Hwy. Arlene Rosenkrans wrote an article about Gay in the May 6, 2010 Copper River Record where she listed all of Gay's associations and achievements. Arlene tells us Gay is a "skilled facilitator," openly referred to in London/EU academia as a Marxist Change Agent. Included in Gay's list of activities is, "She is a founder and Board Member of Wrangell Institute for Science and Environment (WISE)." WISE's spiritual mission in Kenny Lake is to remake local residents into more "enlightened citizens" who "make wise decisions."

WISE President Janelle Eklund is another active participant in the KLCL. She owns a private tourism company called Copper River Country Nature Tours. Together with WISE, Janelle runs nature walking tours from Copper River Princess that cost $119. per adult, $79. per child.

WISE offices appear to be housed at the Wellman's private home in Kenny Lake. The Wellmans also operate their for-profit School of the Earth out of their home based business. SOE is saving Mother Earth by "providing education, motivation, and support for constructive action." Costs for these classes are unpublished.

In FY 2008, WISE received $3000. from the CRSP pot. In FY 2009, WISE received $4000. from the CRSP pot. In FY 2010, WISE received $4000. from the CRSP pot. During the last revenue sharing meeting WISE requested $4000. for FY2011, "To continue student water shed program/camps/lectures." A request was also made on behalf of a new study proposed by Dave Wellman and his new group, The Willow Creek Watershed Consortium, for $4500., "to research the viability & longevity of Kenny Lake's only creek."

All funding requests from the Wellman's affiliate groups were granted.

Of the seventeen groups receiving CRSP funds since 2008, WISE ranks 5th, above Copper River EMS ($11,300. - 3 years), Kenny Lake School Association ($10,000. 1 year), Kenny Lake School ($8500 – 2 years), Kenny Lake School Track Association ($7500. – 1 year), Copper Nuggets 4-H Club ($6900. – 2 years). Obviously the Wellman's and their buddies on the League believe WISE enlightenment programs can be classified as serving a greater "public purpose" than the school, kid's sports programs and the all volunteer fire department.

In her December article praising Gay Wellman for all her good works, Arlene goes on to tell us "She is also an active member of Copper Country Alliance and the Wellwood Council. The Copper Country Alliance "was formed in 1992 to enable residents and friends of the region to speak out with a unified voice to protect its rural and wild character during a period of rapid tourist development, road construction, and change." It's a dues paying membership 501(c)(3) club.

What rapid tourist development are they referring to? I see nothing of the sort out here. In fact what I see could be more aptly defined as a steady decline in tourist businesses, at least for the ones not affiliated with WISE or the KLCL.

The Wellwood Council exists no where online so I don't have any information about it. I'm not sure if it has anything to do with the Well Committee getting $4000. in CRSP grants in 2008.

My proposal to expand kennylake.com to include a community toolbox, to form an online network for local businesses to advertise and market their goods and services, to establish a community classifieds section and provide detailed maps of local businesses and services was shot down by Paul Boos (WISE) and Billy Williams (Tonsina Agricultural Project, $16,500. – 4 years, above WISE on the CRSP list).

There is nothing going on out here that promotes local tourism, and the last big jump in visitor traffic that anybody noticed in Kenny Lake was when I first put up the website for the Kenny Lake Mercantile in Feb 2007. Sharon was full all summer and everyone commented on it. I volunteered a hundred plus hours to fill in her pages. I was sure it would be helpful to both locals and visitors, and the results were significant, immediate and profitable.

Now consider this:

"During the 2000 U.S. Census, there were 190 total housing units, and 47 were vacant. 33 of these vacant housing units are used only seasonally. 102 residents were employed. The unemployment rate at that time was 3.77%, although 67.62% of all adults were not in the work force. The median household income was $28,750, per capita income was $13,121, and 25.88% of residents were living below the poverty level." (State of Alaska census report)

Can we, as a community, really afford to ignore the reality of what is happening in our area? If we do not come together and find a way to promote local business and advertise our existence, our privately owned for-profit enterprises will become a thing of the past. Our children and grandchildren have so little opportunity for work here, and it seems to get worse every year.

Big Community Websites are very expensive to build and maintain, but that is the best and perhaps only way our small tourist businesses can compete for visitor traffic against the big corporate tour company (and its WISE affiliates). So yeah, I thought it made sense to utilize a busy site that's already up and has a gorgeous template, plus, the owner has already agreed to donate more of her web pages to the community. Should anyone of us wonder why Gay Wellman wrote and suggested perhaps I should build the League a website, along with her condolences that I lost the bid to expand kennylake.com?

Allegations of KLCL fiscal irresponsibly have been made and there are some community members who think a federal audit is needed. There are several other stimulus programs intended to "help" Kenny Lake that are under the direction of these same WISE people.

The Copper River Country Stories Mapping Project is also supposed to help promote tourism in our region. It will not include anyinformation about local services and goods. It won't help the local tourism businesses (besides the Wellmans, Eklund, Boos and other WISE businesspeople) but it will fulfill all the data gathering requirements for Asset Based Community Development. (Let Your Assets Be Your Guide, AK Rural CAP 2007).

On June 15, 2010 at 7pm the KLCL will again hold a public meeting to give you an opportunity to comment on bids and apply for a piece of the $55,302.00. You do not need to be a non-profit to apply, nor do you need to be a group. But I would hope that you would propose things that are actually going to benefit the community, or, at the very least, vote for proposals that don't favor and promote one type of tourism business over another. Also, I don't know about you, but the KLCL sure looks to me like it's expanding into a soviet/council/quasi-judicial government agency that uses the same M.O. as some other wiseguys I know.

P.S. Happy 100th Birthday to Kenny Lake, Chitina, and the Richardson and Edgerton Highways! We were established in 1910 on the very first roads ever built in Alaska. Isn't it amazing how the organizations irrevocably dedicated to Kenny Lake, the KLCL, the Copper River Development Association and the Copper River Country Chamber of Commerce, all agreed to completely ignore one of the American Businessman's greatest marketing tools, the Centennial Celebration? Too bad there wasn't any grant revenue money available to fund this big event. Every business out here could have made money off it.

Sincerely,
Niki Raapana, Website Content Manager for CampRedington.com and KennyLake.com 2007 to present, artist/creator of "Kenny Lake - Chitina Business Fun Map 2009", manager of The Terrain Depot, on the Wayside, Chitina, Alaska, opening summer 2010

10 comments:

overtheedge said...

Re: the open letter

It get interestinger and interestinger. The agenda posted for the 18 May 2010 board meeting had an entry under new business for:

(sound of trumpets blowing)

Board Insurance.

I would tender the question, "Just what is the board doing that might require insurance to cover their butts?"

Is it reasonable for the community to foot the bill from revenue sharing? And just how does about half of all the past disbursements benefit the community?

Okay, I admit it. I'm not enlightened. Obviously I am just another ignorant rustic.

Anonymous said...

This makes my blood boil. And I don't even live in Alaska. These people are just plain crooks. Like the thousands of others just like them. I've lived in small communities and I've experienced the very same things you write about. I just didn't have the smarts you have to do anything about the scams. Since evil people like this are seldom deterred in their evil exploits it is doubtful they will be stopped. Satan takes care of his own.

the tent lady said...

This letter may be published in the next issue of the Copper River Record. If so, it's the first time a "real" newspaper publishes one of my anti communitarian opinion pieces.

And yes Over, I'm way interested in knowing how many other local residents consider 1/2 the payments as beneficial here. As for board insurance.. WTF? :)

Hello Anon, it makes my blood boil too. I've listened to locals bitch and complain about these wiser people since I arrived. I tried to convince myself that it's not my fight, because, as with Seattle, I'm not a property owner and have no obvious stake in the outcome. But I do live here, I am a resident, I have worked hard since my arrival to promote local business, and I am an American who wants my children to live in the same country I was raised in. What's been happening is so wrong, so corrupt and so un-American that I am compelled to stop everything I'm doing and research and write about their agenda. Seems like every time I say I'm not getting involved I turn around and write something new about the new wiser communitarian morality! Maybe God takes care of his own too?

But yes, the bottom line to everything communitarians do is fraud, hidden behind nice sounding words and lofty bragging. That I have the knowledge and can expose their scam for my neighbors makes me feel bad if I don't at least try to explain it.. again and again.

Plus, this is about REAL JOBS that have been stolen from the people here... this starving rural area where 25% of us live under poverty level. ALL of the WISE guys here come from the government job sector, they've made a lifetime of living off the American taxpayers, and none of them live below poverty level. They couldn't adopt a sustainable/green (DIY gertee) lifestyle if their lives depended on it. We need leaders who know how to responsibly extract and use the resources here, what we have are change agents who know how to establish regional councils that stop all extraction and leave the locals to starve & freeze to death.

I'm completely convinced their goal is to purposely eliminate privately held property and businesses from this entire area. There's a reason why all their businesses use the word "country" instead of "basin" or "valley" like everyone else. Why would they ever honor the real men and women who tamed this wilderness for us? They only honor themselves and their fraudulent ability to seize control and move the "country mice" into the cities with the "urban rats" (APD 2001). They plan to rewild our community for their wealthy ecotourists who want to see the "natural wilderness," as if that is even possible without a civilization that builds roads!

Can you imagine these people living here 100 years ago?

Anonymous said...

I just read your two-part article at News With Views and it's excellent. I sure hope it opens some eyes to the coven that's living among you all.

Lark said...

The steady chronicling of your experiences locally [with these cretins] is very helpful, Niki, as it makes it easier... to serve as a model for what's going on in... other sparsely-populated areas... such as yours.

"Seeing [up close and personal] is in the understanding"... how these similar shenanigans play out... in much larger metropolitan areas... like where I live...

... So I'm happy to see you're so engaged --- perhaps your neighbors will "see it" [one day soon!] that your vision... is far superior to those... who only brand themselves "wise."

Stop Common Purpose said...

This may interest you, Niki: http://nourishingobscurity.com/2010/05/30/community-psy-ops/

Community psy-ops (and Common Purpose) in the UK.

John

the tent lady said...

I was surprised to learn newswithviews published my article about our enlightened local leaders submitted to them last December. But it does deal directly with this latest post/letter so maybe that's why.

And yes, I am using this local research to teach people how to uncover the mess these enlightened people are making all over the world. People used to ask me all the time, "what can I do?" Maybe this research helps them to decide.

Here's an email I just received where the sender wishes to remain anonymous. I did wonder about the KLCL scholarship program, and the whole community well issue is definitely a hot topic around here. There's already a well at the Fairgrounds, it was fixed last year and just needs a pump, but Gay said the community can't be allowed to use it?

And in 2008 the Well Committee got $4000. in CRSP grant funds for "Alternative well location research, New Well House." Who was on that committee? And where are the published results of their grant funded study?

The KLCL just sent out mailers inviting well key holders to a "Well Meeting" June 3. On the agenda is "possible formation of independent organization for the well and how we fit into the big picture of community water issues."

the tent lady said...

Anyway here's the email:

"Dear Niki,

It seems that the Kenny Lake School is a cliche. Guess which 4 kids were given $1,000 each grant money? Four kids whose parents are members of this cliche. My contact says she has tried several times to hire K.L. School kids for summer work but they all refuse. She said that her kids always worked in the summer for their school money. My contact also worked on the school board for years and has seen firsthand the monumental waste of money.

On the other hand there is the Kenny Lake COMMUNITY League who has always been up to no good ever since we’ve been in the Valley, which is only this vicinity. I have always heard rumors of misconduct with the money and when asked to see The Books they are mysteriously secret and hidden from the community of which we are a part. Also, my contact, says the latest thing that is going on with the two league buildings (that I believe Gaye is pushing?) is a free community kitchen and cooking area. For what reason………..? ……………..and why……………? The other mind-boggling thing is that they are going to hire a cook and a food supervisor? Also, I was told that only the Board of Directors for the klCl can vote. The members vote for the board but if there are no notices posted, the good old boys get elected and decide for the Community. I don’t remember voting on any of this. But, I think if you do, then you legitimize their power which they don’t legally have.

I need to bring up my nemesis – the Kenny Lake VOLUNTEER Fire Department. What a bunch of crap is going on there. I would like to know why a grant for a new well on the Old Edgerton was not voted for by members of the KL Well. I was also told by Vicky that the drilling was up for bid with 3 or 4 companies and Vicky’s husband is a driller. I wonder who got this bid and it seems funny that the high bid was 39,000. Did the bidders know and who knew that KLVFD got the 40,000 grant? I would also like to know why the books are so secretive and not by law put out for the Public – although Vicky the treasurer said I could see them. When I asked for a copy of the 2009 expenses and profits, which was in a clipped pile right there on the table when we were there to pick up the new key, I was told that they were only for the fire department fire men. When I told her that by law everything is public when you receive grant money, she grudgingly said here and threw me a copy. Two other men were there, Ron and the dirt guy(Vicky’s husband) and not one introduce themselves or were friendly. What is this all about that they act like this well is their private reserve. Actually, I found out from my contact that they have brainwashed us all – the electricity and water is all paid for by grant money – and yet they keep raising the water prices and try to shut the well down for agriculture and garden uses. What a bunch of crap – they cannot legally do that – to deny water from a Community well is illegal!!!!! And the other thing, this Ron guy is a relatively new comer to the Valley and acts like he owns this water. Again, soaking the people. I used to have fun going to the well to get water and now it’s total tension. My contact says that they are glad that they are no longer part of this fiasco. Criminal as it is. And why is Vicky getting paid when it is a VOLUNTEER fire department? "

Why indeed.

Kevin said...

Niki,

This is very well written.

You live in a small town in the middle of nowhere, and have the same problems that larger cities have--only on a smaller more exposable scale.

I live in Napa, California, with a population of around 70,000. I am just beginning to learn about how our climate-change bureaucrats have partnered with privileged businesses, making it harder for non-privileged businesses to survive, and I don't like it. Claiming to be more green, they are making a lot of green (money) for themselves. I will be following your blog closely to see what kind of impact you can make.

Best of luck Niki

Louis Turner said...

Niki,
I hope all is well and I dearly miss your postings. Sometimes the overwhelming stupidity an actions of Devils Elite in government along with individuals that refuse to learn and understand the violent overthrow in our government tends to drain US to the point of giving up. Never give up! Every one of your posts is a valuable information source for those who need to know what the hell is going on with our government. Your thousands of hours of time put into your Blog is a blessing beyond belief.

I felt led to write this because I have been trying to expose the Masonic evil that has been controlling our government since its birth and I know full well at times it seems like printing the message falls upon deaf ears. Your Blog is a blessing! Never give up! Keep banging away and exposing the communitarian insanity that’s infecting our planet on a global scale. Your writing and your entire Blog is a living testimony to knowledgeable facts that expose many inventions of the New World Order.

God Bless You!
Keep Fighting~