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The LegHead Report

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 Weekdays at 12:20 p.m.
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Sep 04 2015
Pink Harvest Slowing, Exceeds 31-Million
Friday, 04 September 2015
Jay Barrett/KMXT
The Kodiak area pink salmon catch is definitely on the downswing. 

Sunday, 800,000 pinks were harvested, putting the season catch over the 30-million mark, while over a half-million were taken on Monday.

But the deliveries are clearly tapering off. Tuesday, about 115,000 humpies were brought in, followed by almost 36,000 Wednesday, and nearly 90,000 yesterday. 

According to Fish and Game figures released this morning, the pink harvest stands at 31,195,303. That far out-strips the pre-season estimate range of 9.8–million to 19.5-million for the Kodiak Management Area.

The all-species harvest is 34,894,748 as of yesterday's harvest reports. That includes about 2.7-million reds, 735,000 chum, 301,000 silvers and 7,600 kings. 
 
Sep 04 2015
Assembly Reviews Tax Exemption Case, Amends Mobile Home Park Code
Friday, 04 September 2015
Kayla Desroches/KMXT

At its regular meeting last night, the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly discussed an ongoing court case and heard a coding ordinance passed on from the Planning and Zoning Commission. As community development director Bob Pederson explained, the ordinance updates the mobile home park chapter of the borough code and lessens some of the regulatory requirements on construction or expansion of those parks.

“The key change is adding mobile home parks as a conditional use in the R2 zoning district, and some of the details include eliminating the requirements for the mobile home park owner to provide storage areas for the tenants’ personal property. It either reduces or eliminates the requirements for play areas within mobile home parks. The analogy - when we looked at the code, we don’t require that in another other districts or development types.”

Pederson said this is one in a series of ordinances that the Planning and Zoning Commission has initiated after the announcement of the Jackson Mobile Home Park closure, and three or four more are still to come. The assembly passed the ordinance to amend the code.

It also held a conversation with its attorney, Joe Levesque, about a long-term court case. As Levesque explained, Jerry Markham has brought three different cases to court challenging the Kodiak Island Borough Board of Equalization’s denial of his senior citizen tax exemption.

“In each of those cases, Mr. Markham was asked or will be asked to provide two things. Either proof that he received the permanent fund dividend or proof that, if he had applied to the permanent fund dividend, he would have been eligible. And Mr. Markham is especially challenging the need to have to prove his eligibility for the senior tax exemption.”

Levesque said the case is bigger than this one individual’s claim.

“Mr. Markham is not only suggesting that he deserves this senior tax exemption. He’s also suggesting that everybody else that’s similarly situated also falls in the same category.”

Levesque said the burden is on the tax-payer to prove eligibility.

“And if the borough doesn’t have a way to make the tax-payer prove the eligibility, then nobody has to prove it, and anybody that is 65 or a disabled veteran, whether or not they live in the home and don’t get the PFD, would all be entitled to that senior citizen tax or disabled veteran tax exemption.”

The assembly discussed issuing a non-participation notice at the Supreme Court level. Assemblyman Dan Rohrer said if they lose, it just means they need to reevaluate their procedures and policies.

“To make sure we tighten up any holes that may have existed and make sure we don’t lose it next time. For me, I’m ready to say right now for the Supreme Court, that I don’t want to see us participate at all in that and just let them rule on it, decide what they want to decide, and go from there.”

The assembly directed Levesque to file a notice of nonparticipation in the 2013 case.

The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly’s next work session is scheduled for September 10 and its next regular meeting for the 17th.
 
Sep 03 2015
Alaska Fisheries Report
Thursday, 03 September 2015

12.82 MB | Download MP3 | Open in popup

 

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Coming up this week, our President is visited the home of sockeye – and of your host - this week; a water problem hampered coho processing in Unalakleet, and we meet another unsung cannery worker in Petersburg, all coming up on the Alaska Fisheries Report. We had help this week from KDLG's Dave Bendinger in Dillingham, KNOM's Emily Russell in Nome, KFSK's Joe Sykes in Petersburg and KSTK's Katarina Sostaric in Wrangell.  

 
Sep 03 2015
'Human-Caused' Wildfire Could Mean Many Things
Thursday, 03 September 2015
Jay Barrett/KMXT
The Alaska Dispatch News is reporting that the Twin Creeks Fire in Chiniak was “human-caused,” but the facts are more nuanced than that, according to a Alaska Division of Forestry spokesman.

The ADN quotes from a daily situation report that the cause of the fire was “ignited by humans,” but Jim Schwarber clarified to KMXT that “human-caused” does not imply intent. 

He said the classification can include anything that is human-made that ignites a fire, including an escaped vehicle fire. It would also include a downed powerline or an electrical transformer damaged in a high wind storm, much like the one last Thursday night when the fire started.

Schwarber said the cause of the Chiniak Fire is under active investigation, and the official release of the specific cause may not take place for awhile. 
 
Sep 03 2015
Twin Creeks Fire at 50 Percent Containment
Thursday, 03 September 2015
Kayla Desroches/KMXT

The Twin Creeks fire crews are making steady progress on containment. On Monday, firefighters had reached 10 percent containment, on Tuesday 20 percent, and on Wednesday 30 percent. Today, the fire is at 50 percent containment.

State Division of Forestry information officer, Jim Schwarber, says a containment line is a section of the fire boundary that the fire managers are confident is secure and that the fire will not escape. He says right now they’re “mopping up” behind the residences in Chiniak.  

“Where the edge of the fire stopped burning, the crews will walk in anywhere from 5 to 10 feet apart in a line and walk back and forth 300 feet deep into the fire burned area and feel actually with the back of their bare hands above the ground to sense any remaining heat from the fire.”

He says they’re making sure the remaining fuels don’t have a chance to reignite due to leftovers from that fire. He says they have three type II crews that are working towards each other to complete the containment.

“They were assigned different portions of the fire to continue extending the fire line that’s been constructed so far in regards to mopping up and securing the fire perimeter. The Yukon crew will be transported and will be driving actually through the fire on the road system to the far south side of the fire and start working that edge back towards the other two crews.”

Schwarber says they have about 93 firefighters not including additional assistance, but they did have one less crewmember starting Tuesday.

“There was a non-emergency transport of a firefighter who badly sprained his knee while on the fire line and was in pain, so we made arrangements to get him medical help and transported him to Kodiak for that. It was a minor injury, though it’s possible that he may not be returning to the fire line. It was a fairly severe sprain.”

Schwarber says it’s unclear how the firefighter hurt himself.

“The country out here is pretty rugged and footing is always important. That was our safety message for the morning brief was, be very careful out there, especially if it starts raining today. With fiber soles on firefighting boots, those do not give good traction on wet logs. So, we were encouraged ‘no walking on the top of logs, step over things.’”

Schwarber asks that people remain cautious of hazard trees in the Chiniak area. Fire can weaken roots and cause trees to fall over.   
 
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