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Governor Parnell Announces Appointments to Boards and Commissions: August 4, 2014


August 4, 2014, Anchorage, Alaska – Governor Sean Parnell today announced appointments to the Alaska Health Care Commission, Alaska Commission on Aging, Serve Alaska, Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education, and State Historical Records Advisory Board.

Alaska Health Care Commission

Governor Parnell appointed Susan Yeager to the Alaska Health Care Commission. The commission recommends and develops a statewide plan to address the quality, accessibility, and availability of health care for all residents of Alaska.

Yeager, of Anchorage, has worked for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in health care for the past 32 years. She is currently the health care systems director for the VA. Yeager has been recognized by the National Indian Health Board for her work in advancing American Indian and Alaska Native health. She has also been awarded the AstraZeneca-Partnership Award from the National Managed Health Care Congress. Yeager received a bachelor’s degree in health science from the University of California and a master’s degree in health facilities administration from California State University. She is appointed to a seat representing the VA health care industry.

Alaska Commission on Aging

Governor Parnell appointed David Blacketer to the Alaska Commission on Aging. The commission approves a comprehensive statewide plan that identifies the concerns and needs of older Alaskans and prepares an annual analysis of the services that are provided to older Alaskans.

Blacketer, of Kodiak, is the chaplain for the City of Kodiak. He is retired from Safeway Inc., and an active community volunteer. Blacketer serves with the Salvation Army Corps, Senior Citizens of Kodiak, Inc., and is the on-call chaplain for Providence Kodiak Island Memorial Center. He received a bachelor’s degree in Christian education and an associate degree in accounting. Blacketer is appointed to a public seat.

Serve Alaska

Governor Parnell appointed Dana Applebee and reappointed Kirstin Vesel, Dawn Grossman, Justin Fantasia, and Kathryn Abbott to Serve Alaska. The commission aims to engage Alaskans of all ages and backgrounds in community-based service and volunteerism as a means of community and state problem solving, and promotes participation in the AmeriCorps and Learn and Serve America programs.

Applebee, of Anchorage, is the statewide marketing coordinator for Subway of Alaska. In 2012, she was the recipient of the Alaska Journal of Commerce Top 40 Under 40 Award. Applebee is active in many volunteer organizations, including as co-chair of the Mayor’s Charity Ball, Making Strikes Against Breast Cancer, Beans Café, and The Children’s Lunchbox. She received a bachelor’s degree in political science and women’s studies from the University of Delaware. Applebee is appointed to represent a community-based organization.

Vesel, of Seward, is the president of The Vesel Group, LLC and the former public works superintendent for the City of Seward. She received a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and natural resource management from Alaska Pacific University, a master’s degree in environmental quality engineering, and a second master’s degree in public administration from the University of Alaska. She is reappointed to represent a community-based organization.

Grossman, of Delta Junction, is the station supervisor and certified weather observer at Ibex Weather, Allen Army Airfield Fort Greely. She is a former councilwoman for the City of Delta Junction and currently serves on the Local Emergency Preparedness Committee and Interior Alaska Hospital Foundation. Grossman holds a Master Gardener Certification from the University of Alaska Cooperative Extension and an associate degree in Christian education from Central Bible College. She is reappointed to a local government seat.

Fantasia, of Juneau, is the construction manager for Southeast Alaska Guidance Association, a program that coordinates national volunteers. He is a licensed Alaska general contractor and certified in building energy efficiency standards. Fantasia volunteers as a wilderness first responder. He received a bachelor’s degree in environmental biology from the University of Massachusetts. He is reappointed to represent a national volunteer program.

Abbott, of Anchorage, is the outreach and training manager for the University of Alaska Center for Economic Development where she oversees the AmeriCorps VISTA program. She spent two years as an AmeriCorps volunteer in Alaska, and previously served as an international security program intern with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC. Abbott received a bachelor’s degree in economics with a minor in political science from the College of Charleston in South Carolina. She is reappointed to the Domestic Volunteer Service Act seat.

Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education

Governor Parnell reappointed Rebecca Huggins to the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education. The 14-member commission administers state student loan programs, and authorizes new facilities and programs for higher education in Alaska.

Huggins, of Wasilla, is the principal of American Charter Academy. She has held a number of positions in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District (MSBDSD), including as originator and principal for MidValley High School, initial team for seeUonline, MSBSD's first online opportunity, as well as a successful grant writer. Huggins served 14 years in the U.S. Army as a helicopter pilot and commander. She received a bachelor’s degree in education from Kearney State College in Nebraska, a master’s degree in educational leadership at the University of Alaska Anchorage, and graduated from the Officer Advanced Course in the Army Air Defense Artillery School. Huggins is reappointed to a public seat.

State Historical Records Advisory Board

Governor Parnell reappointed Laura Samuelson to the State Historical Records Advisory Board. The board reviews project requests and grant applications, and conducts reviews and planning for statewide needs relating to records management and historical documents.

Samuelson, of Nome, is the director of the Carrie M. McLain Memorial Museum. She is a board member for the Alaska Historical Society and the Nome Historical Foundation. She has formerly been involved with the American Association for State and Local History, the National Trust Forum, American Association of Museums, and the Western Museums Association. Samuelson holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Western Illinois University. She is reappointed to a public seat reserved for an individual who has professional experience with historical records. 

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