AK DOC Today

News, Events, and Activities in the Alaska Department of Corrections

Spring Creek Culinary Apprentice Class Caters Prisoner Banquet

Spring Creek Correctional Center recently conducted a banquet for prisoners and their families. It was a huge success as the Culinary Apprenticeship Program created a wonderful assortment of foods with a regional flair ranging from Filipino to traditional American style foods. Program participants and prisoner volunteers helped organize and prepare this event for over 250 people. It was a was a real testament to the efforts of the apprenticeship students and prisoner volunteers who helped with preparing the food, set up and logistics to run this event in concert with the kitchen staff. Of note is Kitchen Steward Robert Saxon whose talent focused on organizing not only this banquet but previous banquets and moving the apprenticeship program forward. He also orchestrated the highly successful “Iron Chef” competition among the culinary students to challenge the skills they learn in the program. The Spring Creek Program currently has 10 prisoners enrolled and it has graduated numerous prisoners with an AvTec Culinary Certificate over the past several years. This is a particularly noteworthy effort as Spring Creek continues to move forward in one of the facility’s missions of promoting rehabilitative programming for its population of long term sentenced felons.

Employee of the Year Honored at Spring Creek

Photo of Amy Komarek and son with Superintendent Clare Sullivan and Director Bryan Brandenburg

Amy Komarek and son with Superintendent Clare Sullivan and Director Bryan Brandenburg

On Friday, June 20, 2014, the Employee Assistance Program at Spring Creek Correctional Center held a luncheon at Peking Restaurant to honor Employee of the Year, Amy Komarek. In attendance were Director Bryan Brandenburg, Criminal Justice Planner Johnnie Wallace and Chaplaincy Program Coordinator Jim Duncan, who graciously drove down to Seward to attend. The luncheon had a large turn-out, with many in attendance bringing their children, lending to a festive family-friendly atmosphere. Director Brandenburg and Superintendent Sullivan both addressed the audience with rousing speeches and Mary Sandy of the Employee Assistance Program presented Amy with her awards.

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at Spring Creek Correctional Center (SCCC) would like to thank everyone who donated gifts this year: Alaska Sealife Center, American Legion Post 5, Apollo Restaurant, Bear Lake Lodgings B&B, Inc., City Express, Petro 49 Inc., Hotel Seward/Gene’s Place, Kenai Fjords Tours, Peking Restaurant, Resurrect Art Coffee House Gallery, Seward Chamber of Commerce, Seward Volunteer Fire Department, Sip N Spin, Stylin’ Stitches, and The Sea Bean Cafe.

— Assistant Superintendent Bobby Lockeby

Spring Creek Honors 25-Year-Plus Veteran Employees

Photo of GCCC SPOT graduates

Electrician Journey Tom Sawyer, Maintenance Foreman Byron Loomis, Correctional Officer III Terry Quiring, Correctional Officer III Carey Quiring. Not pictured: Office Assistant II Patti Johnson and Correctional Officer II Ferdinand Braun

Spring Creek Correctional Center offers its thanks and gratitude to the six dedicated individuals who have been here since the doors opened, or in a few cases, even before they were built. Maintenance Foreman, Byron Loomis, and Electrician Journey, Tom Sawyer, were both integral to the construction of the facility, Loomis as labor foreman and Sawyer as an electrician. They became full time employees of SCCC after construction was finished, and the facility opened in 1988. Braun, Johnson, and the Quirings all started work that same year. Terry Quiring and Carey Quiring (then Fillingim) met at the prison and married in 1994. Thank you for your years of continued service!

— Assistant Superintendent Bobby Lockeby

Spring Creek Names Amy Komarek Employee of the Year

Photo of SCCC 2013 Employee of the Year Amy Komarek

SCCC 2013 EOY Amy Kromarek

Spring Creek Correctional Center is proud to announce that Amy Komarek has been named Employee of the Year for 2013. A graduate of Southern Illinois University, Amy currently hold the title of Administrative Assistant I at SCCC, where she is known for her professionalism and cheerful manner. “Amy Komarek is the kind of ‘go to gal’ that will get things done in a cheerful and compassionate manner,” said Superintendent Clare Sullivan. ” Often times she has to work with difficult and sensitive personnel matters and her attitude is of service for each employee. We’re all fortunate to have such consummate professional who looks to provide the best quality human resource management and services for all at SCCC.” L. Dean Marshall, Superintendent of YKCC, who served as Acting Superintendent at Spring Creek for nearly a year said “Amy maintains a courteous and pleasant demeanor, while juggling a significant workload. She has done a phenomenal job with recruitment and assisting the many out of state applicants with their transition to the Seward community and to the DOC family. She is an awesome person, and it has been a pleasure to work with her!”

16 SCCC Prisoners Graduate with GED Certification

Photo of Dean Marshall presenting Hardy Muasau with his GED

Superintendent L. Dean Marshall presents inmate Hardy Muasau with his GED

Photo of the SCCC graduates

SCCC GED Graduates

Spring Creek Correctional Center held a graduation ceremony Jan. 31st to honor the sixteen graduates of the Education Department’s latest GED program. The ceremony, which was catered by the Culinary Apprenticeship Program, was the culmination of months of hard work and dedication by the graduates. Not only does obtaining their GED represent a personal accomplishment for the inmates, it opens up many educational and employment opportunities. Studies have shown that inmates who earn their GED while incarcerated are significantly less likely to recidivate than those who do not. Lisa Rininger, the Learning Resources Department Head at AVTEC was the Key Note Speaker.

— Superintendent Dean Marshall

Spring Creek Culinary Class Caters Echo Mod Talent Show

Photo of SCCC culinary class

SCCC Culinary Class

Photo of yule log cake

Traditional bûche de Noël

Inmates Jonathon Anderson, Michael Knipe, Jason Coday, Delano Hall, Yosbany Moore, and Zeb Whisler prepare food items for the annual Echo Mod Talent Show, including cookies, cupcakes, appetizers, and a traditional bûche de Noël, or yule log, cake. This catering event was a group project for participants of the Spring Creek Culinary Apprenticeship Program, which teaches inmates food preparation skills through academic study, hands on lessons, and on the job training. Food Service Lead Robert Saxon (pictured second from right) said “This is a valuable program and I enjoy sharing my 36 years of extensive knowledge in the culinary arts field. Their training includes basic kitchen skills, cooking methods and techniques, soups, sauces, baking instruction and presentation.” Inmates also learn necessary sanitation and safe food handling practices. Also pictured is Education Coordinator Michael Clark (end right), who oversees the program.

SCCC Echo Mod Holds Annual Talent Show

Photo of talent show

Photo of talent show

The inmates of Spring Creek Correctional Center’s mental health unit, Echo Mod, held their 2nd Annual Talent Show on December 19. The talent show was the idea of the Echo Mod inmates, and was organized by I/M Aaron Butler, and overseen by Mental Health Clinician III Dennis Perry, Mental Health Clinician II Sharon Smith, and Psychological Counselor Lisa Bildeaux. Featured acts included I/M Kenny Pruitt (harmonica), I/M Joel Brooks (guitar), I/M Steve Blevins (gift giving), I/M Randall Smith (original poetry), I/M Christopher Kevan (juggling), I/M Paul Logan (original song), I/M Mario Paridiso, I/M Carl Fleeman, and I/M Alex Eckhardt (Christmas carols and poem), and I/M Michael Kignak (artwork and harmonica). Inmates in Echo Mod must follow the rules, practice good decision making, and attend community meetings in order to earn certain privileges. Special events, such as the Annual Talent show are a powerful incentive for positive behavior, providing an attainable goal to work towards. Catering for the event was provided by inmates in the Culinary Arts Internship Program.

— Assistant Superintendent Bobby Lockeby

SCCC Staff Assist in Bear Cub Rescue

Photo of rescued bear cub

Bear Cub Bound for Sitka Home

Spring Creek recently welcomed some very unexpected visitors to the facility. It was only a few months ago, that a first year black bear cub captured the attention of people throughout the state, after wandering into the Spring Creek smoke shack. The cub, later named Smokey, had been orphaned along with her two siblings, and was hungry and weak. After much media attention, Fortress of the Bear, a nonprofit in Sitka, agreed to give the bear a home. However this was not the end of the story.

Employees at Spring Creek received a big surprise on the morning of December 10, when another baby black bear cub, almost certainly one of Smokey’s litter mates, was found in the same smoke shack where Smokey was rescued almost two months before. The little girl, only 17 pounds and with porcupine quills protruding from her snout, was severely malnourished and on the brink of starvation. Most black bear cubs her age would be well over 50 pounds, and her survival was not assured.

Recognizing the urgency of the situation, the dedicated employees of Spring Creek jumped to action, contacting Alaska Fish and Game, the Seward Animal Shelter, and Fortress of the Bear. After some light bear wrangling, the little girl was transferred to a kennel and transported to the Anchorage Zoo, where after a successful surgery to remove the porcupine quills, she made her final journey to be reunited with her sister in Sitka.

— Assistant Superintendent Bobby Lockeby

Spring Creek to Begin Certified Carpentry Program

Photo of Don Revels and inmate assistant Alan Burton

L-R Education Coordinator Don Revels, inmate assistant Alan Burton

Spring Creek Education Coordinator Donald Revels and inmate assistant Alan Burton are busy at work, preparing to roll out the new Vocational Education Program in January. The new program, operating with the vision of Criminal Justice Planner Gary Olsen and PO III Clif Simons, will teach inmates valuable skills with real world applications. The first certificate program will be unveiled within the coming weeks, giving inmates the chance to earn their NCCER Carpentry I certification. Such programs not only open up sustainable employment opportunities to inmates upon their release, they also foster a sense of accomplishment and provide motivation for positive change and behavior.

— Lt. Bobby Lockeby