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May 27 2015
Phone Scammers Not Really Kodiak Police
Wednesday, 27 May 2015
Jay Barrett/KMXT
The Kodiak Police Department is reporting that someone somewhere is impersonating the department over the phone and demanding money for missed court dates.

In a release from the department, they say the caller ID is similar to KPD's, and that it is possible for sophisticated scammers to spoof the system.

The department urges anyone who receives such a call to not give the caller any personal or financial information.

The department says the Kodiak Police Department will never demand payment over the phone. 

The scam is similar to one recently where callers have impersonated the IRS, and demanding delinquent tax payments. 
May 27 2015
Crab Makes an Appearance at Crab Fest 2015
Wednesday, 27 May 2015
jeremy_abenaand_crab.jpgJeremy Abena removes crab legs from boiling water. Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

When visitors drop by Crab Fest, they expect to buy, eat, and generally pig out on crab. Any type of crab will do, as long as there IS crab. Well, the crab industry may not be the bustling market of Kodiak yesteryear, but the crustacean still made an appearance at Memorial Day weekend 2015.

3.11 MB | Download MP3 | Open in popup

Jeremy Abena does marketing and sales for Pickled Willys. He says there are a variety of crab types with different flavors, but they’re selling Golden King Crab.

“It’s saltier,” says Abena. “But it’s bigger sections, so people get a little more return on their crack. I would say most people prefer the snow crab, the tanner crab, the bairdi. It’s all the same thing, but different names. Most of the locals prefer that because it’s a sweeter crab. It’s not as salty, but it’s not as big. So, you  gotta take your taste versus your return on your crack.”

Co-owner Barbara Hughes says all they do is re-heat the crab for four minutes and serve it out steamy and warm. With one important side dish.

“Everybody wants butter, tons of butter. Not really any cocktail sauce, just tons of butter,” says Hughes.

Abena says a crab leg weighs about a half pound, and they charge 20 dollars per pound. He says they shipped their weekend supply in from Akutan, where the crab was caught a little more than a week ago.

NOAA crab biologist, Pete Cummiskey, says King Crab fishing used to be a thriving industry in Kodiak.

“At one time, it was called the King Crab capital of the world back in the 60s and into the 70s and then the crab populations around 1982 around Kodiak and all around Alaska kinda crashed and they have not recovered sufficiently in Kodiak to have a crab season since 1982,” says Cummiskey.

He says there are a lot of theories – over fishing, disease – but little evidence for any one reason king Crab numbers shrunk.

“The population went down throughout the entire range of King Crab throughout Alaska and over into Russian waters and down into British Columbia waters which kinda points more to a broad environmental kinda cause or factors that contributed as opposed to localized fishing,” says Cummiskey.

Trevor Brown is the Executive Director of the Kodiak Chamber of Commerce, which organizes Crab Fest. He says a few years ago, the festival relied on St. Mary’s Catholic Parish and School booth for its crab needs.

One local fisherman donated annually before he retired.

“Once he sold out of his shares of crab he obviously wasn’t able to donate that anymore, so we did have one year where we didn’t have crab at Crab Festival, and I believe that was three years ago,” says Brown.

Brown says this year Crab Fest offers not only a booth for King Crab, but also one for Dungeness crab.

Terri and Randy Blondin run Krimson’s Crab, where you can see the crab scuttling around in a tank at the booth.

Randy Blondin is a commercial fisherman and says he does have a preference.

“Actually, I think I like Dungeness better myself,” says Blondin. “Although it’s obviously cheaper than King Crab. It’s half the price that King Crab is.”

The smaller Dungeness crab goes for fifteen dollars each at Krimson’s.

Unless you know someone – or you are someone – who fishes for crab, the festival is one of the few opportunities for residents to grab this particular brand of seafood. And now that commercial outlets are selling at the festival, Kodiak is not as likely to go without crab again.
May 26 2015
Survival Skills Put to Test in Crab Fest Race
Tuesday, 26 May 2015
Jay Barrett/KMXT
The 36th Annual Norm Holm Memorial Survival Suit Race drew a half-dozen teams on Saturday. The Crab Fest staple pits the four-member teams in a race down the Saint Paul Harbor ramp, where the they must all don survival suits and then swim to a life raft tied up to A-Float. The clock doesn't stop until the last team member is on board.

Oscar's Dock and the railing above the tidal grid were lined with cheering throngs as the team “Rescue Swimmers” won handily this year. Made up of team members Dave Burns, Jon Kreslee, Keola Marfil and Justin Munk, they clocked a time of only 1-minute 22-seconds. 

Eighteen-seconds behind in second place were the “Wu Tang for Da Children” team of Celest Beck-Goodell, Carl Burnside, Cole Christiansen, and Axl LeVan, who cleared the water in 1-minute 40-seconds. Right behind them in third-place, at 1-minute 48-seconds, was team “Dirty Deeds,” featuring Robert Frets, Elinore Millstein, Chloe Nelson, and Nathan Schauff.

Rounding out the field were the “Fish and Game Flounders,” “The Refugees,” and boosters of “Kodiak High School Soccer.”

We have full results after the jump. 
May 26 2015
Thomet Sets New Marks in Leading Bears to Region III Title
Tuesday, 26 May 2015
Jay Barrett/KMXT
Rack up another Region III track and field title for the Kodiak High School Bears. Led by distance runner Levi Thomet and thrower Kordell Pillans, the Kodiak boys racked up 154 points to easily outdistance second place, and host, Kenai Central High School.

In his trio of wins, Thomet, a senior, broke Trevor Dunbar's records in the 800-, 1,600-, and 3,200-meter races.

Pillans hurled the 12-pound shot 48-feet 6-inches to capture first place in the shot put by 6-feet 11-inches. Pillans' win in the discus toss was even more impressive, hurling the 1.6-kilo disc 147-feet 9-inches, more than 26-feet farther than second place.

Levi Fried was on the top step of the podium in the 400-meters, narrowly edging out a colony runner by 13-100ths of a second.

Kodiak's 4-by-400 and 4-by-800 relay teams also took gold, and were second in the 4-by-200.

The Kodiak girls were fourth overall, with 75 points. The host Kenai Kardinals took the championship with 153 points. They were led by senior stand-out Allie Ostrander, who swept the 800-, 1,600-, and 3,200-meter distance events.

Lady Bears who had podium finishes include Richelle Walker in second with a 113-foot 6-inch discus throw, Yuri Ahn who was second by just a third of a second in the 300-meter hurdles, and about a second in the 100-meter hurdles. Zoe Bigley was second in the 1,600-meters, and the 4-by-100 relay team, which took third.

The state championships are this weekend at Dimond High School in Anchorage. 
May 26 2015
Crab Fest Food: The Bruin Burger
Tuesday, 26 May 2015
tom_abel_bruin.jpgSno-Bruins volunteer, Tom Abell, recieves customers' orders at Crab Fest 2015. Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Crab Fest hit town this weekend, and one of the stars of the festival was the bruin burger.

2.76 MB | Download MP3 | Open in popup

On the first day of Crab Fest, there’s a line trailing away from the window of the Kodiak Sno-Bruins food cart. The nonprofit fries up the Kodiak staple every year for the festival.

But what is the Bruin Burger? We asked a few people in line.

“It’s basically a flattened out dough with some burger, cheese, a little egg and oil to hold it all together and then they just deep fry it…”

“Meaty and cheesy…”

“Deliciousness, it’s deep, fat friend amazingness…”

“A hot pocket of friend goodness.”

According to a couple of people in line, it sells out fast.

“'Cause sometimes at the end of the crabfest, it’s almost gone, so everybody’s trying to buy it first day of the crab fest,” says one customer.

“Talked to a few people around here and they said, yeah it sells out within Saturday,” says another patron. “People come and get dozens of them and bring them back to the tribe and everything like that. It’s that amazing. I’ve walked around and everything looks so good, but I’ve always learned follow the line. The one longest line is the best one.”

The bruin burger isn’t just a fried guilty pleasure or fairgrounds treat. It’s also fundraising gold.

Inside the Sno-Bruins food cart, volunteers arrange, fry, and package up bruin burgers. The bruin burgers look like square burritos with the ends tucked under, and they fill the table tops.

22-year club member and volunteer, Tom Abell, stands at the window speaking with customers. He takes a break to explain the origins of the Kodiak Sno-Bruins.

“It started out in 1968 and Karen Sayling who passed away this last month was the person that thought of making the bruin burger, just to raise a few dollars for the club to have a banquet at the end of the year, the snowmobile season and etcetera , and it’s bloomed into the people gotta have their bruin burger every year,” says Abell.
Proceeds go toward the Sno-Bruins’ promotion of winter sports, their safety education efforts, and their donations to local nonprofits. A couple of the young people volunteering in the food truck are from groups like the soccer team and the Kodiak branch of Health Occupations Students of America

One person mans the fryer.

According to Abell, that’s the only treatment the bruin burger gets the day of Crab Fest.

“They cook 1100 pounds of the meat one day, which is secret ingredients, I can’t tell you that – it’s just meat – and then the next two days on Saturday and a Sunday, they roll them up, and they bring them in and defrost them and deep fry them and sell them out the window,” says Abel.

Abell says they sold about 2,500 bruin burgers the first day. According to a for mer Sno-Bruins volunteer who stands in the line outside, buying one is a given.

“It’s one of those things that it’s crab fest, go and get a bruin burger,” he says. “I think it’s kinda ‘when it Rome.’”

Especially if it’s your first visit. It’s a rite of passage.
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