Archive for the ‘Big Ray's – Fairbanks’ Category

Eagle: Rebuilding Master Plan Coming Together…

July 31, 2009

eagle house

It’s working!

Jul 31, 2009

Good news from Eagle! Residents. working side-by-side with volunteers from around the country, are well on their way toward meeting the goal of building thirteen log homes in Eagle by September 12 to replace homes that were washed away in the ice flood last spring.

As we pause to provide an update we bid farewell to eleven Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) volunteer builders and welcome 14 fresh recruits. Lessons learned by the first crew will be passed on by three MDS volunteers that will be staying on, and by residents of Eagle who have been working side-by-side with the MDS volunteers.

In two weeks time the exterior walls are nearing completion on three homes, and roof trusses are beginning to take shape on one. The start of a fourth home and delivery of the logs for two additional homes coincided with the arrival of the new crew.  We are well on our way towards meeting the goal of building thirteen log homes in Eagle by September 12.

Other groups pitching in have been Samaritan’s Purse, LightShine Ministies and the Boy Scouts.

The Bureau of Land Management waived fees at beautiful Ft. Egbert campground and individuals are helping out while camping out.

Christina Young, a pilot spending her fourth summer flying throughout Alaska,  dropped in to help and a canoeist, paddling the Yukon River, stopped and volunteered for couple of days – just a couple of the many individuals donating their time and energy to the rebuilding frenzy.

It seems like the gravel and log home kits are making it to Eagle in time – an amazing example of bureaucracy and community working together.

But these are not Lincoln log homes that fit together perfectly. Those assembling the kits still need hardware and tools.

Eagle’s website has a list of needed items so I asked Eagle’s Volunteer Coordinator, Rob Paire, what the best address to send flat rate boxes of smaller items would be.

We are really working on two fronts, the first front is demolition of the old houses, the second is construction of new houses. Both fronts are going well at the moment.

Also I have not had time to update the needs list for quite some time, and I have received many donations so sorry. The most helpful thing for us to deal with is cash donations.

Look at the list. It seems like someone at the state or federal level should have realized you can’t rebuild a town without nails, ladders, saw horses and levels and had all these items in place when the kit homes arrived.

While the former governor was conducting a farewell tour and picnic series, private citizens were sending battery operated drills and nails to Eagle.

We can only hope that the next administration is  better equipped to address the challenges that face rural Alaskans.

* * *

The Warm Hearts Fund, set up by Big Ray’s in Fairbanks, is collecting monetary donations to help Eagle residents replace winter survival gear that was lost in the flood. This is a convenient way to make sure our neighbors are snug both inside and outside their new homes next winter.

Yukonbushgrma: Eagle Gets Gravel, Salmon

July 14, 2009


Jul 14, 2009

Being in Miami, I miss most of the late night activity on the Alaska blogs so it’s nice to wake up to a note like this in my inbox!

Hey Jane!

I thought I should write you first – because I’m a bit bewildered about how this thing all came about ….

A few days ago, I heard that our Disaster Center here in Eagle was going to receive over 400 pounds of king salmon – from Emmonak!  The Center got a phone call from Sen. Albert Kookesh’s office (he is the state senator for Eagle) asking if they wanted the salmon (duh – of course!), and it went from there.  The air freight and truck transport were all paid to get it to Eagle.  I’m assuming the Senator’s office handled the details.

So – 400+ pounds of beautiful salmon arrived in Eagle, and it was all distributed or used by the disaster kitchen.  (They baked 5 of them that night in the kitchen – mmmmmm, good!)

But we do not know who IN EMMONAK was responsible for this, or who to thank!

If you can help us out with this, that would be great …… it’s a mystery to us.  All we know is that Sen. Kookesh’s office arranged to have the salmon sent from Emmonak.

I would like to send a special and personal thanks via Anon Bloggers, as I know it would be appreciated there.

best –

Anyone have an answer to this mystery?

And there’s more good news from Eagle Village!

Yesterday lovemydogs posted this on Mudflat’s open thread:

My husband spoke with Andy Bassich in Eagle today and the word is they “think” they will have the gravel to start on pads for foundations tomorrow–yay! Apparently there has been a lot of bureaucratic red tape/paperwork with the state that had to be worked through.

They have enough skilled carpenters to start on the cabins as soon as the gravel is moved.

Yukonbushgrma thinks the state had been giving them the run-around but FEMA came in and negotiated a contract for the gravel and it’s a done deal.

And some not so good news…

YBG goes on to explain that it’s not all good news. Some of the homes that were destroyed were second homes and, because they are considered vacation homes, they are not eligible for relief funds.

She is particularly sad to see one person who has done so much for the Eagle relief effort slip through the cracks. Andy Bassich has been the driving force behind this disaster recovery success story…

Andy has been our saving grace since breakup began ….. he had the idea to build these cabins, and the idea grew into a vision that was embraced by both state and federal governments! This has never, ever been done before in the history of the US! Eagle is making history here, using local knowledge and know-how to decide how to best recover from a disaster.

Andy deserves a gold medal. But guess what? He is getting nothing. He is getting paid for his work right now, but getting nothing from the State of Alaska or FEMA. Because he has a small cabin (primary residence) in Eagle, and his cabin downriver, although it is his place of business (mushing and subsistence tourism), doesn’t qualify for any disaster assistance.

Andy Bassich deserves help from somewhere! This guy came up with the idea to get Eagle’s homeless people through the coming winter, and he has been there every day to coordinate the new volunteers and make sure the work is getting done every day. And …… he’s had to worry about the gravel.

Please, help me figure out how to help Andy!

Any ideas?

~ Jane

Big Ray’s  is offering a 20% discount to Eagle Village residents and distributing gift cards to those who need them most. Gift cards are $10 – increase the quantity to donate more.

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Eagle Village: Funds Coming for Homes, Need Gravel to Put Them On!!

July 4, 2009


After the ice flood in Eagle Village

Jul 4, 2009

It looks like FEMA dollars could be in the hands of Eagle residents and log homes put on order as early as next week! Eagle Village resident Andy Bassich has much good news to share in his latest report.

Money is starting to arrive and volunteers are on hand to begin rebuilding Eagle Village but there’s one big problem – the Department of Transportation is dragging its feet in making gravel available for the pads the homes will be built on.

Anybody with ideas or connections to the DOT, please let us know what we can do or who we should nag.


Here’s Andy’s report:

Andy Bassich
Eagle, Alaska

Bassich has been the coordinator of the Eagle Rebuilding Construction Team. Here’s the message he sent to reporters:

A good day here in Eagle today. FEMA leadership came to Eagle today and met with all of the 13 home owners that are in need of having a new home built and gave the go ahead on funding and settling personal claims. The monies to cover the rebuild effort should go out to people later this week and we should be able to begin to make orders for the log home kits by early next week.

Monies are to be sent to the private homeowners, and they will work with myself and Eagle Tribal Council Donna Westphal and Chief Joyce Roberts to place the orders.

Bassich’s dogs, the day of the flood

We have also received a commitment from the National organization MDS Mennonite Disaster Service, who has committed two skilled working crews to lead on the rebuilding of the cabins. They have an impeccable reputation of highly skilled workers, and top quality

Samaritans Purse has made a tremendous commitment of additional funds to help bring the standard of the homes up. and to run and maintain the Volunteer camp. They will also provide a core group to assist in co-ordination of funding and materials in Eagle. In addition they will be providing a crew of trained carpenters to Eagle to tackle the multitude of jobs which need to be accomplished by our deadline of
Sept. 15.

Still a lot to do here and this is the beginning but smiles came to the folks that lost everything today for the first time since May 3-4.

Now I need your help to light a fire under the Governor and DOT to get off their @#$%^&*() and get the gravel pit pushed and make gravel available to us to put down the pads for the homes. This has been a frustrating experience to deal with DOT they have provide ZERO help to us in terms of Roads maintenance and any type of fast tracking in our disaster. I have not witnessed such total incompetence and Waste in any agency ever. Everything hinges now on getting gravel to the home site and every day we wait is making it difficult to achieve our goal. we have Volunteers ready to move in to help us. but we must have the pads down before home kits can be delivered.

… We are on the verge of making something happen here which few if any have ever experienced with FEMA and we want to provide them with a big “Gold Star” for the efforts they and the state have made to assist us. …

Andy Bassich is an Eagle resident and has been the coordinator of the Eagle Rebuilding Construction Team.

Donate to Eagle Village Warm Hearts Fund *UPDATE*

July 2, 2009



2011 – This post is now outdated,  so the donation links have been removed.   We are very thankful to Big Ray’s in Fairbanks, and all who helped Eagle residents rebuild their homes through generosity of spirit, labor or goods.

Jul 2, 2009

Remember this from our update on Eagle Village a few days ago?

To date our Warm Hearts Fund is not doing very well. I’d encourage folks to do a little surfing on the web and check out what interior Alaska is like in the winter. Folks here don’t dress for fashion…but for survival. Good quality winter gear is hard to come by at a reasonable cost. Getting outfitted is expensive and those who lost everything can expect to pay about $800 to get one set of gear, that does not include long johns, multiple types of socks and the variety of foot gear needed. PLEASE seriously consider helping with this fund. You can contribute by calling BIG RAYS in Fairbanks, Alaska at 907.452.3458 and purchasing a winter clothing gift card.

big rays

Big Ray’s is offering a 20% discount to Eagle Village residents and distributing gift cards to those who need them most.

This long-time Fairbanks business has a long history in Alaska and we appreciate their help in keeping Eagle Village residents warm this winter!

A special thanks to Angela for making this happen!!

~ Jane