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News
Mar 24 2015
Preschool Changes Potty Training Policy PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 24 March 2015

diapers.jpg Diapers hung up to dry. rowdyHarv /Flickr


Kayla Desroches/KMXT

It can be difficult to find licensed preschools for children who have yet to be potty trained. St. Paul Lutheran Preschool and Childcare Center will now accept kids who are not potty trained into their classes.

Katie Joca is the director at St. Paul Preschool. She says the staff hopes to  work with a new set of 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds who are nearly done with potty training. The change in policy will allow those children  to join their classmates while previously they'd have needed to wait.

“They have peer pressure," Joca says. "They get to follow other role models who are kids their age and be like, 'Look, I can do this.' And they also get the help and support from the teachers. And we've found that a lot of kids who are almost potty-trained and then they come into this environment, usually it's within a week. They're done.”

However, the biggest effect of the policy change is that St. Paul will admit 12 students to its new program for 2-year-old children who may not yet be potty trained. Before, they'd only served 3-year-olds and up. The curriculum will include open play, craft time, a once-weekly music class, along with other lessons.

“They will learn simple days of the week," says Joca. "Colors, following direction, what's the weather today, what's the date."

One class of six students will be Mondays and Wednesdays between 9 and 11 a.m., and the other will be held at the same time on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
St. Paul will show their teachers how to guide students through the potty training stage.

“Our teachers will be fully trained on how to sanitize properly, how to work with the child one-on-one, how to create a safe diapering environment," says Joca.

The new program will begin August 24th. Parents can learn out more about the program at the Children's Fair on April 11th at the Kodiak Baptist Mission Heritage Building.

 
Mar 23 2015
Auctioneer, Salesman, Magician PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 23 March 2015

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Duane Hill, auctioneer from the Alaska Auction Company in Anchorage. Kayla Desroches/KMXT photos

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

The auctioneer wore a black suit and top hat and his voice boomed out over the main ball room at the Harbor Convention Center. Duane Hill is from the Alaska Auction Company. Saturday was the 6th time he's flown in from Anchorage to host the Kodiak Arts Council's 25th Annual Arts and Adventure Auction. Hill says that being an auctioneer is more than being the showman that people see behind the pedestal trying to wring every last dollar of value out of the auction items.

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“You need to be good at accounting," says Hill. "You need to be good with numbers. If you're an auctioneer, you know, you gotta get all the stuff organized, you gotta get all the stuff in. You have to be able to move a lot of stuff. You have to be able to lift hundreds of pounds without it bothering you too much.

And he's something of a magician too.

“When I get on an airplane, little kids all the time, you know, they'll say to me, 'Is that a magic hat mister?' And I go 'Yeah, it turns merchandise into money.'”

He says that that transformation is one of the most intriguing aspects of the auction business. He's a salesman. And once you hear him on the stage, you also realize he's an entertainer. Here he is speaking at the auction between bids.

“Back there young lady... and I know you have a serious coffee addiction. You better get this...You know, it's one of the few legal addictions you can have in this country”

Among the objects Hill sold in the outcry auction was a fire engine ride for five, a seat on a 4-hour bear viewing tour, and several original pieces by local artists. One of those artists, Mark Witteveen, is known for his metallic marine sculptures. This year, he contributed a coho salmon. 

 

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Mark Witteveen stands beside his sculpture.

 

“I use big hammers and wheels to stretch and shrink metal to make three dimensional sculpture," says Witteveen. "It's colored just with heat. I use a mixture of oxygen and propane and it just oxides the metal and then I use a little tiny torch to make spots."

Someone else donated a humpback whale of Witteveen's from their collection.

The Arts Council raised more than 30,000 dollars by the end of the night. 

 

 
Mar 23 2015
Local Charter Operator Indicted on Federal Charges PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 23 March 2015
Jay Barrett/KMXT
The Kodiak man accused of sneaking onto Coast Guard Base Kodiak and allegedly assaulting a civilian there was indicted by a federal grand jury on Friday.

Michael Ensley, age 55, was indicted on one count of unlawfully entering Coast Guard property and one count of assault. 

The alleged trespass and assault occurred last month, and resulted in a manhunt on base involving Coast Guard Military Police and Alaska State Troopers, as Ensley avoided capture for several hours. The victim of the assault was reported to have been severely injured.

Ensley faces 10-years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.

Ensley is the owner-operator of Happy Hooker fishing charters in Kodiak, whose catamaran Reel Fun is a common sight on the Kodiak waterfront.  
 
Mar 20 2015
Cannery Consolidation Concerns Brother Francis Director PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 20 March 2015
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Jay Barrett/KMXT
At last night's Kodiak Island Borough Assembly meeting, Brother Francis Shelter Executive Director Monte Hawver talked about the issue of homelessness in Kodiak - something that has been a problem for decades.

"In the late 1980s homeless people in Kodiak were dying from exposure at an alarming rate. There were some temporary shelters ongoing, including the community Baptist Church, but people were determined there was an obvious need for a comprehensive, permane3nt shelter. Local volunteers approached the Catholic Social Services of Anchorage and with concerted effort there was a shelter built and opened in 1991."

The Kodiak Brother Francis Shelter became independent of Catholic Social Services in 2007.

Hawver says there are two distinct groups of homeless in Kodiak.

"The first group is who I call the traditional homeless. They consist of people who have fallen on hard times, either from bad luck, bad choices, many from mental illness, and unfortunately we still see a lot of combat vets. In fact the Gulf War combat vets are becoming homeless quicker than any in history, unfortunately. The second group are itinerant workers who come to Kodiak to find work, and in most cases they don't need very many services other than food and shelter and to just get acclimated to the community."

He said that over the past 20-plus years the shelter has been open many of the canneries in town have successfully hired workers from the shelter. But Hawver was cautious about the recent buying spree on the Kodiak waterfront by one large processor - likely Trident which recently purchased Alaska Fresh and Western Alaska.

"That's not to say there aren't times with problems when people come here, they get hired and then they get fired and then they wind up stuck here. Those folks can easily fall into the crowd of chronic substance abusers and that's problematic. With the expanded business model we see with some of the canneries I think that's a real concern gtoing forward. We'll just have to see how it plays out. I think depending on how it's managed, it's going to make a big difference in our downtown."

Hawver said the Brother Francis Shelter receives substantial community support, and not just from those who still live here.

"It's still amazing to me how people who left Kodiak years or even decades ago continue to support the shelter. We get a substantial amount of money from all over the country. People, whey they leave Kodiak, they never really leave Kodiak."

In response to a question by Assemblywoman Rebecca Skinner, Hawver estimated individual contributions total about $160,000.
 
He also pointed out that the Brother Francis Shelter works to prevent homelessness, and kept 227 families in their homes in fiscal year 2014, while also finding 16 families new housing. 
 
Mar 20 2015
City Council Moves Forward on New Website Design PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 20 March 2015

city_of_kodiak_website.png

Update coming soon. The Kodiak City Council has approved a $20,000 contract for a new website. 

 

Kayla Desroches/KMXT
The City Council discussed re-designs for both their website and the fire house last night at its special council meeting. According to City Manager Aimée Kniaziowski, the city has spent funds to maintain the fire house structure, but it needs a more permanent fix.
 
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“We continue to have problems with the roof leaking. There's mold. We have major plumbing issues. We have a creek running under the building,” she said. “There are just lots of different problems with it. And my biggest concern of course is the risk of any kind of a failure due to a seismic event.”

Kniaziowski, speaking for herself, city engineer Glenn Melvin, and fire chief Jim Mulligan, recommended that the council authorize a professional services contract with Stantec for $99,435. This contract would involve drafting a pre-design for a new fire station to be used when funding becomes available. 

Some council members expressed concern that the draft would be dated by the time funding became available. 

“My concern is that that pre-design and the site selection is going to sit on the shelf someplace the next four, five, or six years and things are gonna change,” said  Councilman John Whiddon.

Several other council members brought up separate issues that bore further discussion. The council therefore moved to postpone the authorization of the fire house pre-design. 

The city council also moved to approve a website redesign from Aha Consulting not to exceed $20,000. That budget also includes training city staff and providing website assistance in the time following the website's completion. 
 
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