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News
Jun 30 2015
Sockeye Catch Low, With Hope for Future Salmon Runs PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 30 June 2015
sockeye_salmo_jimmerman_fish.jpgSockeye salmon. Flickr/Jimmerman Fish

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

This season’s salmon catch numbers are low across the state, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Todd Andersen is an Assistant Area Biologist in Kodiak and says the sockeye salmon catches are less than expected.

“We woulda thought we had a good run coming there, but the fishing has been relatively slow,” says Andersen. “A lot of the fishermen aren’t catching all that much right now, but the short closures that we have had this year have put plenty of fish up-river within our escapement objectives for each of the systems that we manage early in the year here.”

According to the latest department figures, the current sockeye harvest is over 385,000, while the average catch at this point of the season is usually around 600,000.

Andersen says there are many different reasons sockeye catches could be lagging.

“There’s a lot of smaller fish early on, so you could go with a large run, or feeding conditions are a little different. Who knows?” he says. “Various areas in oceans where all these fish go – could be any different area – and there’s certainly migration paths. They’re a little different any given year. I think we’ll have a better picture through the later parts of the run.”
 
Andersen says the numbers could improve.

“The fishing just hasn’t been there yet for a lot of the cape fishermen and the set-netters. That doesn’t mean it will remain that way, though. We’ve got a long season ahead of us and the pink run will dictate how much time and how good the fishing is.”

He says Fish and Game’s automatic pink openers are scheduled for July 6, and the length of the first couple of those openers will be 57 hours due to the lower forecast for this year.
 
Jun 30 2015
Jackson's Park on Agenda at Tonight's Joint Session PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 30 June 2015
Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Jackson’s Mobile Home Park continues to be a point of discussion with local government, and the Kodiak City Council and the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly will tackle it again at a joint work session tonight.

While Borough Manager Bud Cassidy was not available for comment, Bill Roberts is administrative officer for the Kodiak Island Borough and says the central subject at the meeting will be Jackson’s park, which falls under Borough jurisdiction.

“The joint session is basically to talk about what we can do to help the people trying to move their mobile homes out of Jackson’s Mobile Home Park,” says Roberts. “And the Borough’s making some changes in their codes – some temporary changes in their codes – to allow these mobile homes to go to existing parks that may be nonconforming, but that will allow them to go ahead and, if they have an empty space, put it in there.”
    
Roberts says the park’s buyer is giving residents until next May to move their homes.

Since learning about the closure, residents have been active in seeking assistance at both city and borough meetings. Roberts says there’s not much to stop the land’s buyer from turning it into a subdivision.

“I think if it were managed properly, it could be a money-maker as it exists, but you know, somebody buys property, they have a right to do what they want to do with it as long as it meets code, and this definitely meets code,” says Roberts.

City Manager Aimée Kniaziowski says there are two items on the joint session’s agenda.

“One is the review of the steps that the borough has taken to date with the Jackson trailer park and some of the help that the residents of Jackson’s have come forward and requested, so there is a comprehensive packet of information that has been prepared by the borough and we’ll be talking about that,” says Kniaziowski.

She says the other item will be a look at the appointment process for the Building Code Board of Appeals. The joint session will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Kodiak Public Library multipurpose room.
 
Jun 29 2015
'She's My Family' - Security Found in Supreme's Marriage Ruling PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 29 June 2015
0.96 MB | Download MP3 | Open in popup

 
sami-king-and-jori-welchans.jpg
Sami King, left, and wife Jori Welchans. Photo courtesy King-Welchans family. 
 
Jay Barrett/KMXT
On Friday, when the U.S. Supreme Court said it was unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples the right to marry, it came as a great relief for couples across the nation, including here in Alaska. Though already legal in Alaska, if the High Court had ruled otherwise, the state likely would have appealed the lower court ruling that made it legal here.

For couples from states such as Alaska, the High Court's ruling guarantees their marriage - and all the legal rights and responsibilities that carries - will be recognized nationwide.

"It's just good to know that your partner, your wife is in charge if something were to happen. There's just that security to not worry about it," said former Kodiak High School teacher and athletic director Sami King, who now lives in Palmer. She and her wife, Jori Welchans, were married just last month. 

"No one can deny her if I'm sick in the hospital. She can come see me, because she is my next of kin, she is my family. And that's huge," King said. "I guess it probably doesn't seem huge to most people because they already have that. But for someone who doesn't have that, it's tremendous."

King said it's hard to overstate that kind of new-found security.

"It is just literally indescribable. It's just one of those things in the back of your mind you know you don't have the same rights as everyone else," she said. "With the decision, it's like wow, we do now. So it's relief of ... again, you just can't even describe it. It's like you feel safe."

She said the ruling on marriage legality goes beyond security, and signals a new wave of acceptance.

"You know you make those connections and the all of a sudden those barriers, that fear and that misunderstanding is broke down," she said. "So I think this is just bigger than we can even, you know, wrap our arms around right now."

KMXT caught up with King on Friday morning while she was in Fairbanks.
 
Jun 29 2015
Novel "Afognak" Unfolds on Kodiak Island PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 29 June 2015
rains_picture.jpgJames Rains, author of “Afognak.” Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Kodiak is the star of a new novel.

Author James Rains recently released “Afognak” with publisher Beaver’s Pond Press, and the thriller follows a doctor and other survivors after a virus hits the island.

Rains says he worked in Kodiak for a year at the police department and based characters on his coworkers.

“I wanted people to kind of relate to the people here in Kodiak and there was a lot of people who inspired me here,” Rains says. “Especially working at the police department. There’s a lot of great people who work for the police department here in Kodiak. And so I tried to do my very best to take some of the character traits from some of the people I really respected and kind of blend them together to make characters.”

Rains says he combined as much truth as he could with fiction.

“I would write locations. Monk’s Rock. Places that I really enjoyed here in Kodiak. The library. I spent a lot of time there. So, I wrote those things down and I’ve kinda set the plot around those locations and then I try to do my best job to describe them,” says Rains. “For example, I always thought the seminary here is absolutely beautiful. And the church. So, I made sure to try to make that a scene in the book.”

He says he got back home after his time in Alaska and launched into writing “Afognak,” which took six months, although the editing process would go on for another few years.

“I almost got like this fever,” says Rains. “I worked on it 10, 12 hours a day and I just kept writing, and writing, and writing. And it took on a life of its own. Like, everyone says, well, how did you feel to write “Afognak”? It was like, I don’t really remember because it was almost like I wasn’t writing it. It was almost like the story became alive and took on its own maturity after a while.”

Rains can identify several driving themes behind “Afognak” that as a writer he feels compelled to include.

“I love isolation. As a child, isolation terrified me and I think because of that, I love incorporating it into my books,” Rains says. “Fear is also another big thing. Fear of the unknown, which kind of goes hand in hand with isolation. I love when people really don’t know what’s going on, and to see how they react under pressure, that fear of the unknown.”

He says the novel sprang from one idea he had while living in Kodiak.

“I was sitting in a squad car in the parking lot of the hospital and the nuclear power plant was having issues in Japan, there was fear of a tsunami hitting Kodiak because of that, and I remember sitting there and watching a Coast Guard helicopter fly really low to the wind turbines and I just foresaw in my mind one of those just hitting that and that wind turbine exploding and just casting Kodiak into darkness,” says Rains.

He adds that scene did make it into the novel.

Rains says he’s currently teaching at a college in Minnesota and is already working on a sequel. You can buy “Afognak” on Amazon.com or borrow a copy at the library.
 
Jun 27 2015
Coast Guard Remembers Shipmates and Civilian Pilot Lost 20 Years Ago PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 27 June 2015
uscg-crash-monument-1.jpg
 
(Top) Members from Air Station Kodiak pose for a group photo after cleaning up and maintaining a plane crash memorial site on a hillside off Anton Larsen Bay road, June 19, 2015. The plane crash took the lives of three Coast Guardsmen and a civilian pilot, June 30, 1995. Later, Guardsmen make their way toward the memorial site to pay tribute during the 20th anniversary memorial service, June 26, 2015. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lauren Steenson) 
uscg-crash-monument-2.jpg
 
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