Legislature(2009 - 2010)BUTROVICH 205

03/01/2010 03:30 PM Senate RESOURCES

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Heard & Held
Heard & Held
          SB 274-WILLIAM JACK HERNANDEZ FISH HATCHERY                                                                       
3:43:23 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  BILL  WIELECHOWSKI  announced  SB  274  to  be  up  for                                                               
3:43:36 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  FRED DYSON,  sponsor of  SB 274,  thanked the  chair for                                                               
hearing  this  bill. He  explained  that  a very  effective  fish                                                               
hatchery  on Elmendorf  Air Force  Base  is being  reconstructed.                                                               
Folks who  are very familiar  with the existing hatchery  and its                                                               
history have asked that new  hatchery be named after William Jack                                                               
Hernandez.  He  was  an  extraordinary person  who  served  as  a                                                               
civilian contractor  on Wake  Island building  fortifications for                                                               
the Marine  Corps when the  Japanese attacked. They had  a 16-day                                                               
fight in  which he participated  and then was taken  prisoner for                                                               
three-plus years;  he escaped  once and  was recaptured.  He came                                                               
back  and enlisted  in  the  U.S. Army  and  transferred to  Fort                                                               
Richardson in 1956  as an NCO (non-commissioned  officer) and was                                                               
assigned to  be the fish  and wildlife conservation NCO;  his job                                                               
was to rehabilitate the lakes and streams on the Post.                                                                          
In 1957  the Secretary of  Army approved a  cooperative agreement                                                               
with the  Territorial Fish  and Game  Department. Waste  heat was                                                               
used from the  power plant and the operation  was very successful                                                               
for a  long time.  He said  that Mr.  Hernandez retired  from the                                                               
Army and was  given a commendation. He then went  to work for the                                                               
Alaska Department of  Fish and Game (ADF&G) and  returned to Fort                                                               
Richardson to manage the hatchery.                                                                                              
SENATOR  DYSON said  the  History Channel  ran  a special  called                                                               
"Wake  Island: the  Alamo of  the Pacific"  and a  book has  been                                                               
written that  largely centered on  his life and Wake  Island. The                                                               
effort to get his name attached  to the hatchery has largely come                                                               
from people who  had worked with him and after  him and seen what                                                               
he accomplished.                                                                                                                
3:47:10 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR DYSON  said the existing  hatchery is  being disassembled                                                               
and people  might be confused by  thinking that is the  one being                                                               
named for him,  but an amendment clarifies in the  title that the                                                               
new one is being named after Mr. Hernandez.                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR WIELECHOWSKI offered Amendment 1 labeled 26-LS1449\A.2.                                                                
                          AMENDMENT 1                                                                                       
     OFFERED IN THE SENATE                     BY SENATOR DYSON                                                                 
       Page 1, line 1, following the first occurrence of                                                                        
          Insert "new"                                                                                                        
     Page 1, line 5, following "Sec. 35.40.225.":                                                                             
          Insert "William Jack Hernandez Sport Fish                                                                           
     Page 1, line 5:                                                                                                            
          Delete "located"                                                                                                      
          Insert "under construction"                                                                                           
     Page 1, line 6, following "Anchorage":                                                                                     
         Insert "scheduled to be completed in May 2011"                                                                         
There were no  objections and Amendment 1 was  adopted. He opened                                                               
public testimony.                                                                                                               
3:48:22 PM                                                                                                                    
IRVIN  BROCK,  representing  himself,  said he  worked  with  Mr.                                                               
Hernandez for several  years at the beginning of  his career with                                                               
the department.  He said,  "I can  see no  one more  deserving of                                                               
having  that facility  named after  him.  He was  the first  fish                                                               
culturist  hired  by the  State  of  Alaska  to manage  the  Fort                                                               
Richardson Hatchery." He  was a friend and mentor  to many future                                                               
state hatchery employees. He was  also the "consummate gentleman"                                                               
and  called   everyone  "Sir"  no   matter  what  their   age  or                                                               
experience. "It  would be a great  thing to put his  name on part                                                               
of what he started."                                                                                                            
3:50:14 PM                                                                                                                    
TOM  NAMTVEDT,  representing  himself,  Wasilla,  said  he  is  a                                                               
retired  fisheries biologist  and is  a commercial  fisherman. He                                                               
thanked Senator  Dyson for  sponsoring this  bill. He  added that                                                               
Mr. Hernandez, an E6, referred to  him, an E4, as "kind Sir." Mr.                                                               
Namtvedt  said, "Bill  took every  death of  a fish  personally."                                                               
When Mr.  Hernandez retired in 1968  he took over his  duties and                                                               
quickly learned that  he left huge accomplishments.  He said that                                                               
Mr.  Hernandez died  of  cancer  in 2003  and  he  lived at  Lake                                                               
Susitna and fished commercially in Bristol Bay.                                                                                 
3:53:51 PM                                                                                                                    
GARY WALL, representing himself, Anchorage,  said he lived in the                                                               
Sand Lake area  and supported naming the new  fish hatchery after                                                               
Mr. Hernandez. Mr. Wall said he  arrived in 1973 and was assigned                                                               
to the fish hatchery and Bill  took him under his wing and helped                                                               
him out  in every  way. He  worked with  Bill through  his entire                                                               
career. He  was a  great guy  and a real  gentleman who  knew his                                                               
fish and was dedicated to the hatchery programs.                                                                                
3:54:45 PM                                                                                                                    
MICHAEL FALLON, representing himself, said  he is a retired ADF&G                                                               
fish  culturist and  assistance  manager at  Fort Richardson.  He                                                               
stated,  "It  was  quite  an  honor to  work  with  Bill  at  the                                                               
beginning of my  career as Irv did. I can't  think of anybody who                                                               
has  come  through the  fish  culture  program  that has  made  a                                                               
difference like Bill  has for all of us."   He was well respected                                                               
by  everybody  in  the  fish  culture  program  as  well  as  the                                                               
MR. FALLON said  another person, Jesse Wilson,  was also suitable                                                               
for  a recommendation.  He operated  the power  plant and  worked                                                               
closely with Bill.                                                                                                              
3:57:02 PM                                                                                                                    
FRED WILLIAMS, representing himself, Copper  Center, said he is a                                                               
retired  fisheries  biologist,  and   supported  naming  the  new                                                               
hatchery after  Mr. Hernandez  saying he  was the  most dedicated                                                               
fisheries biologist  he had ever  met. He read  every publication                                                               
he could get his hands on.                                                                                                      
3:58:35 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR WIELECHOWSKI  closed public  testimony and held  SB 274.                                                               
There being no further business  to come before the committee, he                                                               
adjourned the meeting at 3:58 p.m.                                                                                              

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