Burn piles

Local fire departments and the Division of Forestry burned brush piles at the Cantwell Transfer Station, the result of a free brush disposal program in the Denali Borough. Courtesy DNR-AK Division of Forestry

Denali Borough residents who need help with Covid-related expenses can apply for limited funding through a new Denali Borough program managed by the Healy Valley Lions Club.

The borough has $10,000 in Denali CARES funds, provided to the borough during the Covid pandemic. It wants to share those funds with local residents adversely affected by Covid-19.

“It was right time, right place, right group, right cause,” said Krista Zappone, who leads Healy Valley Lions and also holds a seat on the Denali Borough Assembly.

The Lions Club will evaluate applications and submit recommendations to the assembly for individual funding. Up to 10 people may apply to receive up to $1,000 each, Zappone said. These reimbursable expanses may include heating fuel costs from job-related losses, rental assistance from job loss or reduction in hours, and reimbursement of gas expenses related to Covid-19 or even some medical bills not covered by insurance.

Applications are available on the Denali Borough website at www.denaliborough.org/covid19.

“I’m really proud of our club,” Zappone said.

Mayor Clay Walker encouraged residents to apply for the funds if they need help.

“This is a very allowable usage of that money,” he said. “We are happy to have the Lions Club manage the program.”

Documentation of quarantine or isolation orders will be required, along with the name of the health care provider advising the quarantine due to concerns related to Covid-19.

Deadline to apply is Dec. 15.

Landfill news

The Zero Landfill Initiative, recycling and even Covid-19 travel changes may have contributed to how much the Denali Borough Landfill got used this past year.

Final tonnage reports for 2021 show that the landfill had the lowest acceptance level in many years.

“Since 2008, we have averaged just under 4,000 tons annually,” Borough Mayor Walker said in his October report to the assembly. “This past year, we accepted 2,508 tons.”

This is great news for the lifespan of the facility, he noted, but a little challenging for the balance sheet, where many costs — like well monitoring — are fixed.”

The scrap metal pile at the landfill was hauled away by a salvage company. A pile of soil and metal remains and that has led to some operational changes. The landfill will no longer accept small items, like nuts and bolts.

Recycling cardboard

Recycling trailers at the Healy Transfer Station and Cantwell Transfer Station will be hauled away as soon as they are full. These trailers collected corrugated cardboard for the first time. The program will resume in May.

Brush piles

The borough’s free brush disposal program was heavily used again this past year. Local residents can bring brush from clearing around residential homes to either the Healy Transfer Station or Cantwell Transfer Station.

This year, the borough received a $20,000 grant from AK Division of Forestry to dispose of those piles. A combination of chipping, mulching and burning was employed with the help of the Tri-Valley Volunteer Fire Department, McKinley Volunteer Fire Department, and Forestry.

The brush pile at the Healy Transfer Station could not be burned due to overhead power lines, so it was chipped and mulched. Those chip piles will be available to the public when the program resumes in May. Also, in the future, brush there will be deposited at a different location, the south side of the facility.

The brush piles at the Cantwell Transfer Station were burned, an attempt to help control the invasive spruce bark beetle.

Reach columnist/community editor Kris Capps at kcapps@newsminer.com. Follow her at Twitter.com/FDNMKris.

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