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News
Sep 17 2014
Oct. 2nd PFD at Near-Record $1,884 PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 17 September 2014
Associated Press
    Most Alaskans will receive $1,884 for this year's share of the state's oil wealth. The amount of the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend was announced this morning (Wednesday). The payout set for Oct. 2 is more than double the amount of last year's $900 checks, but short of the record payout of $2,069 in 2008.
    The amount of each person's check is based on a five-year rolling average of worldwide markets, which included the recession years that were more widely felt outside Alaska. Last year's average included 2009, a recession year that dropped off from the 2014 equation.
 
Sep 17 2014
City Construction Projects Continue Apace PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 17 September 2014

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    At Thursday’s Kodiak City Council meeting, city manager Aimee Kniaziowski gave brief updates on various maintenance and construction projects around town. Some are coming along quicker than scheduled, such as the latest phase of water and sewer upgrades in Aleutian Homes.
    “The curb and gutter is complete. Multiple retaining walls are under construction, the D-1, sidewalks and street pavements are schedule to start in two weeks, and traffic will be limited to local access only. And we expect the contractor, Brechan, to be done by the end of this month, which is way early. We really appreciate it; the project’s gone very well.”)
    She said Ohno Construction is doing some repairs to the Baranof Park football field around the mascot logo in the center of the field, and has extending the warranty on work done on the baseball field:
    “Last spring and winter we had a problem with standing water on that field. They’ve agreed to extend the warranty and give it another year. What we think that happened was the ground was frozen underneath, not allowing the water to drain through. And we haven’t seen that back up. They want to observe it some more before they start tearing up that turf.”
    Kniaziowski noted the asphalt milling and repaving going on along Mill Bay Road. Work at the intersection of Birch has already been done.
    “They’re working on three other segments that in are chronic drainage areas, problem areas. Benny Benson, Bancroft, and kind of right in front of King Fisher Air. So hopefully, they’ll mill that, replace it and increase the crown of the road, and hopefully we can nurse that along a little bit and make that road hold together for a longer time.”
    Mill Bay Road was completely resurfaced about five years ago, but ruts and potholes developed over the last few years.
    Down on the waterfront, Kniaziowski said Harbormaster Lon White is working with the state to facilitate the Pier 1 replacement project:
    “They’re going to be starting on that here this month. Pacific Pile and Marine is the contractor, and they’ll begin pulling down the old Pier 1, which is an old timber-pile dock, and replacing it. The ferry and the state, they’re looking for options for ferry office space and a construction office. Initially we thought maybe they would come to Pier 2, but it looks like they’re looking around. They’re going to try some other things.”
    She also informed the council that a Parks and Recreation department crew has been trying to clean up around the Mall, and tended to the trees and flower beds there as well.

 
Sep 17 2014
Perennial Homer Candidate Vondersaar, Deat at 64 PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 17 September 2014

frank_vondersaar_trib_bw.jpgFrank Vondersaar poses for a photo in 2010. Vondersaar was a veteran and candidate for Congress. He passed away Sept. 12. HOMER TRIBUNE/file photo

Homer Tribune staff
    Longtime Homer resident, Frank J. Vondersaar, 64, died Friday, Sept. 12, 2014, at Alaska Regional Hospital in Anchorage.
    Mr. Vondersaar served in the U.S. Air Force from 1972 to 1985, where he received various commendations for meritorious service. He lived in Homer since 1989 and received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Dayton that same year. He worked as an attorney and engineer. Mr. Vondersaar was a member of the Homer Community Emergency Response Team.
    As a perennial candidate for Congress, Mr. Vondersaar, a well-known Democrat, conducted 11 campaigns against Sens. Ted Stevens and others in Alaska's congressional delegation. He began running for congress in 1992, and every two years, he continued to throw his hat into the ring. Most recently he was a candidate for the Democratic nomination in this year's primary election, hoping to run against Republican Rep. Don Young in the general election. He called Young, “one of the most corrupt congressmen in the U.S. House.”
    Mr. Vondersaar also took issue against the culture of corruption in Washington and economic matters where one percent of the country’s wealthy hold the power. He wanted to protect Social Security and Medicare-Medicaid.
    Mr. Vondersaar was also a regular writer of letters to the editor to the Homer Tribune, and served on the board of directors of KBBI public radio, where he was a long-time volunteer.
    A visitation will be held from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014, at the Homer Funeral Home. Funeral Services will follow the next day at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 19, 2014 at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Homer.
    Mr. Vondersaar will be buried following the services at the Hickerson Cemetery on Diamond Ridge Road. A potluck will follow at the Salvation Army Church on the Sterling Highway.
    Arrangements are with Homer Funeral Home & Cremation Services. Family and friends will submit a longer obituary at a later date.

 
Sep 17 2014
Rescued Seal Pup Returns to Kodiak Waters Today PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 17 September 2014

seal_pup_everest.jpgJay Barrett/KMXT
    A harbor seal pup that was found near Kodiak abandoned and injured in early June is scheduled to be released after three months of rehab at the Alaska Sea Life Center in Seward.
    The pup, now a healthy 25 kilos, or 55 pounds, will be released by NOAA Fisheries officers and personnel from the Sea Life Center at 11:30 this morning at Mayflower Beach.
    The pup, named Mount Everest, was rescued on June 3rd, with multiple puncture wounds on the beach of an island off the coast of Kodiak. NMFS officers and a local veterinarian cared for the animal before it was transported to the Sea Life Center for rehabilitation.
    There, Everest’s wounds were treated and healed within a month, and he was trained to chase small salmon in a pool he shared with other rescued seals.

 
Sep 16 2014
No Timeline for Declaring Narrow Cape Fit for Man or Beast PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 16 September 2014

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    Work continues to pick up the pieces of the failed U.S. Army rocket that exploded moments after launch from Narrow Cape three weeks ago, and the rocket range remains off-limits to the public. In fact, according to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation’s Jade Gamble, not even state inspectors have been allowed in to determine the environmental impact or to issue any sort of update.
    “No there hasn’t been. We don’t have a lot of information on it at this point. It’s been a fairly low public health risk to this point, so we just haven’t put out any type of sit-rep for it.”
    “Sit-Rep” is short for situation report, which the DEC issues for pretty much every incident that could affect the environment, including fuel spills. And though it was fuel that did scatter around the Kodiak Launch Complex, it is very different than the standard diesel fuel spill that DEC regularly reports on.
    “Right now they’re working on collecting that material and dealing with that material, and we don’t have an estimated time at this point. It may take a bit to do the sampling and get a work plan in place. So this is something a little bit unique to deal with on Kodiak.”
    Dozens of square miles of tundra, grassland and wetlands used by humans, bison and cattle are closed off. Berry-picking especially is a common traditional use on the rolling hills surrounding the KLC, but Gamble said it’s not known yet how any residue from the solid rocket fuel will affect the area.

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