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Denali Commission eNewsletter


August 2010 A Message from Federal Co-Chair, Joel Neimeyer Dear Friends of the Denali Commission, [Portrait]

It has been some time since our last eNewsletter so we have much to share with you this month. Fall is soon upon us and with it comes a new wave of activity at the Denali Commission (Commission).
In 2005, Congress passed H.R. 3 - the Safe, Accountable Flexible Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). This Act has provided the Commission with annual funding for its transportation program, which includes both roads and waterfront projects. Funding is expected to continue into 2012, or until such time as the Highway Reauthorization occurs. The Commission's transportation program provides an opportunity to address some of the unique challenges faced by our rural residents. Funds for this program can be used for: roads, streets, board roads, roads between rural communities, roads to access resource development, dust control, access to boat launch sites for commercial and subsistence fisheries, access to barge landings, storm evacuation roads and ATV hardened trails. The FY11 Transportation Nomination Process is now open. The deadline for project nominations is November 3, 2010. See our website for the Transportation Program FY11 Roads and Waterfront Project Nomination Form and the instructions for nominations.
The Commission has recently completed an interim report titled: Sustainable Rural Communities. This important report was requested by the Alaska Delegation and focuses on the barriers to sustainable rural communities in Alaska. The collective goal for the federal agencies that participated in this project, was to identify barriers that federal agencies can address. We are now asking for additional comment on this report from our non-federal partners. Please comment by September 17, 2010 both on the barriers already discussed, and on any barriers we may have missed. We need feedback on the interim report and have an end goal of either adding an addendum to this existing report or rewriting the report with the newly added suggestions incorporated. We look forward to your valuable input in this important project. With your help we can, as partners, look at the barriers to creating Sustainable Rural Communities. Specific questions on this project can be directed to Sharon Lind on my staff.
The Denali Commission FY10 Work Plan was signed by the Secretary of Commerce in July 2010. The Denali Commission determines its own basic operating principles and funding criteria on an annual federal fiscal year (October 1 to September 30) basis. The Commission outlines these priorities and funding recommendations in our annual Work Plan, which is adopted annually. Approval of this plan allows the Commission to enter into grant agreements and obligate federal funds. The Commission is hard at work issuing the grant agreements outlined in the FY10 Work Plan. We look forward to collaborating with our numerous partners on the projects outlined in this Plan in the coming months.
I look forward to talking with you as we move into fall. Denali Commission staff will be on hand at the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) Convention in Fairbanks. This year's AFN convention theme: Village Survival is a Commission priority and we look forward to outcomes at this year's convention. Please stop by our booth and say hello.

Best Wishes,
Joel Neimeyer,
Federal Co-Chair

Calendar August 3 - November 3, 2010 - The Denali Commission Transportation Program Nomination Process is open. See our website for details.

August 15, 2010 - The 5th Annual Renewable Energy Fair will be hosted and held at the Chena Hot Springs Resort from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

August 26, 2010 - Deadline for Denali Commission Primary Care Clinic and Behavioral Health project business plan submissions. See our home page for details.

August 28 - 31, 2010 - The National Association of Development Organizations Annual Training Conference will be held at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina.

September 6, 2010 - Denali Commission offices closed in observance of Labor Day.

September 17, 2010 - Deadline for comments on the interim Sustainable Rural Communities report.

September 28 - 29, 2010 - The Denali Commission Transportation Advisory Committee to meet. Watch our website for location and times.

September 29 - October 1, 2010 - Philanthropy Northwest will hold their Annual Conference at the Semiahmoo Resort on the northwest coast of Washington.

October 11, 2010 - Denali Commission offices closed in observance of Columbus Day.

October 21 - 23, 2010 - The Alaska Federation of Natives Annual Convention will be held in Fairbanks at the Carlson Center. Watch for the Denali Commission booth at this event.

Get the latest information on Denali Commission program activities on the Monthly Program Update of our website.

USDA High Energy Cost Grant Program Agriculture Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager today announced that USDA is accepting applications for the High Energy Cost Grant program.
Grants ranging from $75,000 to $5 million will be awarded to businesses, non-profit entities, states, local governments, and federally recognized Indian tribes. These grants will be used for on-grid and off-grid renewable energy projects serving eligible communities. USDA will award approximately 20 grants with the $15.5 million provided through this notice of funding availability.
The application guide and more information on this program can be found at http://www.usda.gov/rus/electric/hecgp/index.htm or the August 9, 2010 Federal Register. Applications are due September 8, 2010. Funding for recipients is contingent upon their meeting the conditions of the grant agreement.

Announcements Denali Commission Transportation Program Accepts Project Nominations
The Denali Commission is accepting project nominations for road, port, harbor and barge landing projects. Nomination forms and instructions are available on the Commission's website, or by contacting Ms. Adison Smith, Program Assistant, at (907) 271-1640.

Sustainable Rural Communities
The Denali Commission is charged with a role of improving governmental effectiveness. The Commission has been working on a collaborative project that seeks to identify barriers to sustainable rural communities. Phase one of this project involved the federal partners in Alaska and the development of the Sustainable Rural Communities report. Phase two involves participation and input from the State of Alaska, partners of the Commission and the general public. See our website for details and ways to contribute to this project. The deadline for comments on this interim report is September 17, 2010. We look forward to hearing from you.

The Denali Commission FY10 Work Plan is Approved
The Denali Commission is an independent federal agency based on an innovative federal-state partnership designed to provide critical utilities, infrastructure and support for economic development and training in Alaska by delivering federal services in the most cost effective manner possible. The Commission outlines funding priorities in an annual Work Plan that is adopted annually after a public comment process and signed off on by Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke. The FY10 Work Plan was approved July 15, 2010. See that plan now on our website.

Denali Commission Transportation Program In Action... Denali Commission Transportation Program In Action... Cargo docks and small boat basins like these in Bethel, serve as critical transportation links for Alaska's rural communities. This Denali Commission Transportation Program project improved structural integrity and safety at the dock and reconstructed approaches and ramps at the small boat harbor. By partnering with local governments and other organizations, the Commission is improving transportation systems serving rural communities.

The Denali Commission FY11 Transportation Program Project Nomination Process is now open. See our website for a nomination form, instructions and information on this process. Complete nominations must be received by November 3, 2010.

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