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Nov 30 2015
School Superintendent and Board President Speak on Proposed Rural School Funding Legislation PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 30 November 2015
Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Some lawmakers in Alaska have proposed legislation that would raise the minimum number of students for a school to be eligible for state funding from 10 to 25. Kodiak Island Borough School District Board of Education President Duncan Fields says it has become a hot topic in the state.

“It sent a shockwave throughout all of rural Alaska. It pits the needs of rural communities against railbelt communities. It would disadvantage numerous school districts as well as the kids that they serve. I hear a rising crescendo of opposition to this in recognition of the needs of rural Alaska and those schools.”

He says, so far, school administrators and public figures are doing what they can to express that opposition.

“At the recent Alaska Association of School Boards, there’s a resolution passed resoundingly in opposition of this concept and there was also an editorial - I think it was published in the Dispatch - signed by our senator and representative here from Kodiak indicating that there’s really very little - comparatively little - economic gain for this initiative.”
Four different legislators including Senator Gary Stevens wrote that article and published it with the Alaska Dispatch News in early November. Fields encourages others to speak up and says the initiative to lower the minimum number of students would do more harm than good.

School District Superintendent Stewart McDonald says communities that could be affected include those in the Kodiak Archipelago.

“Larsen Bay, certainly Karluk, now Danger Bay, Chiniak, and right now, Ahkiok is hitting that mark between 25 and 29, but Ahkiok’s actually could be in line with this ruling as well, if proposed it should pass.”

McDonald says the proposed legislation comes in a package.

“This is being proposed in an omnibus bill that has many other provisions to take a look at. Changes in education funding. And we haven’t had a chance to review all of them, so it’ll be an interesting budget session. I think there’ll be many more things proposed other than this, and when that is available to review, we’ll know more.”

The legislative session will begin mid-January.

KMXT conducted a full interview with McDonald and Fields on Tuesday’s Talk of the Rock. If you want to learn more on this topic and about projects going on in the Kodiak Island Borough School District, you can find the entire segment here.         
Nov 30 2015
The Alutiiq Museum and Archaeological Repository Unveils New Website PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 30 November 2015
alutiiq_museum_website.jpgScreenshot of the Alutiiq Museum's new website. Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Technology is Kodiak’s lifeline to the rest of the world, and that also applies to Kodiak museums.

The Alutiiq Museum and Archaeological Repository has accounts not only on the most popular social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, but also image-sharing sites like Instagram and Pinterest. And recently, it put money from a City of Kodiak nonprofit grant towards making its website more user-friendly.

The museum staff has been working with a Denver-based web designer since last winter to revamp its website, which it unveiled last week.

The Alutiiq Museum’s Director of Research and Publication, Amy Steffian, says an up-to-date website is vital to connecting the museum with its audience.
“The Alutiiq people are spread all over the world. Even in Kodiak we have Alutiiq communities around the island that can’t access the museum, and the way they get to us is through our website and, in the past, our website has had tremendous amounts of traffic and what we’ve noticed in recent years was that the platform was old, it wasn’t keeping up with the technology, the pictures were a little bit dated, and it was losing audience.”

Which is why the museum felt it was time for a change. The new website includes a more accessible design.

“One thing we learned from people who came to our old site was that they had trouble finding information. It was set up like a blog, so you had to click through a lot of different levels to get to the information, so we’ve tried to make this a lot easier to navigate, to make the presentation less confusing and cleaner. And we’ve limited the number of categories up top and then had many different menu items below them to make it easier for people to find what they’re looking for.”

The museum also updated the website’s color scheme.

Steffian says they worked with the four colors named in the Alutiiq language: White, black, red, and blue.

“If you look at traditional artwork, you certainly see the use of those colors predominantly. It’s not that Alutiiq people didn’t recognize other colors. It’s that in their language they have four color words, and those are the terms for colors I just described. And if you want to say a color like yellow, then you have to compare that color to something that is yellow, so you would say, well, that’s the color of oil, for example.”

You can learn more about the four colors, including how Alutiiq people created them as pigments in their art, on the Alutiiq Museum website.
Nov 26 2015
The Alaska Fisheries Report - November 26 PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 26 November 2015

6.41 MB | Download MP3 | Open in popup



Coming up this week, the FDA has given the OK to a fast-growing, gene-spliced Atlantic salmon, something Alaska's fishermen and politicians have been fighting for decades. We hear a Nushagak fisherman lament farmed salmon in song, and, they're training up the next generation of cannery bosses in Kodiak, all coming up on this Thanksgiving week edition of the Alaska Fisheries Report. We had lots of help from APRN's Liz Ruskin back in DC, KUCB's John Ryan reporting from Seattle, and KMXT's Kayla Desroches here in Kodiak. 

Nov 25 2015
Kodiak Provides Multiple Options for Thanksgiving Meals PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 25 November 2015
flickr_turkey.jpgA Thanksgiving turkey. Flickr/Kristie Moser

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Tomorrow is the day of turkey, pie, and overstuffed bellies, and a few nonprofits in Kodiak want to make sure everyone can experience that. There are several opportunities to join a communal meal in town and one food bank will still be open in case feasters need last-minute ingredients, or even turkey.

Alexander Von-Tsurikov says the Kodiak Baptist Mission Food Bank has been active over the last few days providing food to those in need and delivering donations to people restricted to their homes.  

“Monday we were very busy, we worked until 6:30 instead of until 4, but we covered everybody with turkeys. We got some donated from Safeway. The community bought them and told Safeway to hand them out to us. I have some turkeys set up to thaw, but not too many. Maybe just a handful for people who show up last second, and I’ll be open Thursday, see if somebody needs any help.”

Two other nonprofits will provide sit-down meals.

Dana Myers is the Resource Specialist for Brother Francis Shelter and says the organization’s Thanksgiving dinner is open to everybody.

“The Spouse’s Association has been putting that together for us for a long time, and they’re going to do it again this year. It’s a wonderful meal with all the trimmings. There’s usually turkey and ham and pie, of course, and a bunch of side dishes. It kind of varies, because it’s all different volunteers and there should be some stuff from around the country.”

That’s one of the advantages of having Coast Guard families who come from different backgrounds and states. That dinner will begin Thursday at 8:30 p.m. at the Brother Francis Shelter.

Another service organization will provide a community meal prepared by a host of volunteers, although a little earlier in the day. Helen Hartman with the American Legion says the group has been hosting the event for the last 40 years.

“Me and quite a few auxiliary ladies will go in there and do the stuffing and the mashed potatoes and the green beans. A lot of our members and also the community and different organizations donate turkeys to us and hams, so that’s a big part of it. And then the Legion provides the rest of the fixing and the American Legion Auxiliary donates pies.”                 

She says they start preparing the turkey and ham today and cook the other dishes on Thursday. You can taste the results of the group’s hard work at the American Legion Hall between 3 and 6 p.m. tomorrow.

Whether you choose to indulge at one of those community gatherings or conduct your own Thanksgiving, the city of Kodiak will make sure that all eaters end the day well-fed and then some.
Nov 25 2015
Talk of the Rock: Kodiak Island Borough School District PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 25 November 2015
9.64 MB | Download MP3 | Open in popup

Host Kayla Desroches talks with Kodiak Island Borough School District Superintendent Stewart McDonald and Board of Education President Duncan Fields about what's going on in the school district, new projects, and proposed legislation.
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