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Aug 14 2015
Kodiak City Council Moves Forward on Pathway Planning PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 14 August 2015
Kayla Desroches/KMXT

The Kodiak City Council talked grants and pathway planning at its regular meeting last night. City Manager Aimée Kniaziowski explained the available funds that the Council had at its disposal when deciding how much money nonprofits should receive.

“This year, that amount is $149,900,” she said. “This year, the city received 23 applications. They were all complete. They were all submitted on time for a total aggregate request of $215,634, which is obviously over the funding amount available.”

Representatives from the Salvation Army and the American Red Cross discussed their grant requests at Tuesday’s work session and, instead of decreasing all nonprofits’ grants by 3 percent at last night’s meeting, the council moved to lower the amount it would give the two organizations. Councilmember John Whiddon explained the decision.

“It became clear in Tuesday night’s work session that the money, or at least a portion of the money, that was being requested was very likely going to leave town, so the reason for this amendment is to ensure that all the money is given local taxpayer dollars remains in town.”

The Council also discussed dedicating money it received from the cruise ship excise tax fund. Kniaziowski said the council would need to set aside the money for a project in order not to lose it.

“The city was awarded a grant for $384,000 dollars from the state legislature for originally, it was part of a larger program,” she said. “We know that that didn’t go anywhere. The pathway just became onerously expensive, so council decided that you wouldn’t move forward with that. But the money remained.”
She said the funds would need to go towards the tourism sector, but the project description could remain general at this stage.

“We didn’t have to be any more specific than to say that we were gonna use it for planning and engineering of a community pathway that would enhance the experience of the cruise ship passengers as well as local folks,” said Kniaziowski.

As currently written, a pedestrian pathway would go from Pier 2 to Near Island and “other points of interest,” a phrase which Whiddon took issue with.

“The point about other points of interest is pretty nonspecific, and we only have $384,000 for planning dollars,” said Whiddon. “So unless the RFP ultimately when it gets written is a little bit more specific, this is so general that it would infer that you could go in any direction.”

Whiddon proposed to strike that wording from the document and the council agreed to omit that section.

The council also recognized an open seat that Councilmember Terry Haines left behind him due his work schedule as a fisherman, which made him unable to attend all meetings. City Clerk Debra Marlar said the city code requires an appointment be made within thirty days of the seat becoming vacant.

“And because the first opportunity to advertise and hold a special meeting is next week and because we will not have a quorum here next week, our attorney has advised that it is permissible to either reappoint Mr. Haines or appoint another person at tonight’s meeting to serve until the October 6 election is certified,” said Marlar.

The council voted Haines back into the position, and Marlar said the two-year seat will be on the ballot for the city of Kodiak municipal election.

The next work session is scheduled for Wednesday, September 9, and the next regular meeting is set for the following day, September 10.
Aug 13 2015
Girl Scouts Program Encourages Girls in Science and Math PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 13 August 2015
Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Part of the effort to get girls interested in science and math is making opportunities available to them. This Friday, the Girl Scouts of Alaska will host a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – or STEM - program at Kodiak College.

Billeen Carlson is the Girl Scouts’ Member Services and Program Specialist for Kodiak, Prince William Sound, and the Kenai Peninsula and says the organization offers a safe and supportive environment for girls to stretch their leadership muscles.

“There’s a lot of unspoken assumptions about gender roles and in those environments, girls have a tendency to hang back and let their male counterparts jump forward in whatever the event is,” says Carlson. “And this isn’t any fault of anyone’s. This is just something that has kinda trickled down in our culture and girls just don’t have a tendency to put themselves forward. Some of them do, but not most of them.”

Carlson says Girl Scouts USA has made a big push to provide STEM programs for girls and engage them in science and math.

“Research shows that girls are more interested in STEM careers if they know how their work is going to help others. Most of the time, we try to get locals who can show what they’re doing and how what they’re doing applies to the girls and the girls’ communities.”

Friday’s program will take place between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. and feature a variety of topics, from geodesic domes to the neuron. One presenter is rising college junior and Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge intern, Leila Pyle, a former girl scout herself.

She’ll lead a salmon dissection and create colorful salmon prints with students.

“I love combining art and science and doing different environmental education through art,” says Pyle. “And I think that art is a really powerful communication tool and that science is very complicated and nebulous and there’s a lot of things that people have a hard time understanding, but art can be used to break through that barrier and give people a sense of wonder about things that are around them and make them want to know more.”

Students will rotate through 45-minute workshops, and the program is open to girls between ages 5 and 17, whether enrolled in Girl Scouts or not. For more information call Billeen Carlson at 907-399-1674 or email her at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Aug 12 2015
Talk of the Rock: Ka'lunek PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 12 August 2015
afr_logo_screen_size.gifHost Kayla Desroches sits down with Alutiiq Museum staff to talk about the organization's new publication, Kal'unek, which focuses on the archaelogical site Karluk One. Exeuctive Director April Laktonen Counceller, Curator of Collections Marnie Leist, and Curator of Archaeology Patrick G. Staltonstall discuss the site's social, archaelogical, and linguistic impact.

4.97 MB | Download MP3 | Open in popup

Aug 12 2015
City Council Hears from Nonprofits on Grant Applications PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 12 August 2015
Kayla Desroches/KMXT

The Kodiak City Council discussed grant money and met with nonprofit representatives at last night’s work session. Two of the organizations present were the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. Councilmembers sat with groups’ grant applications in front of them and asked questions pertaining to the requests.

Bill Morrow from the American Red Cross stepped up first. Councilmember John Whiddon asked about a statement that said part of the requested $10,000 would go towards the salary of the disaster program manager.

“Would that disaster program manager who’s responsible for Kodiak – are they here in Kodiak – or are they in Anchorage?” said Whiddon.

“Actually, that’s me. I’m the one who’s responsible here. I go back and forth between the Mat-Su, Anchorage, and Kodiak.”

“But do you live in Anchorage?”

“No, I live in Wasilla,” said Morrow.

“So, that money would be spent on someone who doesn’t live in Kodiak,” said Whiddon. “I’m just trying to clarify.”

Morrow said the Red Cross has an office in Kodiak and he’s been in the city three times over a few days. He also said there are ten volunteers on the island.

Major Michael Bates from the Salvation Army also spoke. In response to a question about the number of individuals in the transitional housing the organization provides, he explained there have been twenty people who have benefited from the service in the past year. And he described those best fit for transitional housing.

“Meaning they’re gainfully employed – I’d like to sit that - and they have a goal set already. When I talk to them, I determine that, because if they transition to someplace, I don’t want to start from scratch. People who are gonna transition to somewhere, they have to have some idea of where they’re going and how they’re getting there,” said Bates.

He said that most of those who transition leave Kodiak for places like Anchorage, Kenai, or Wasilla.

“With the housing that’s limited in the community of Kodiak, of course we all know it’s very limited, so that’s a tough endeavor all in itself. People don’t want to stay here and move into the community transitioning from our facility. That’s very difficult for them.”

Bates said the branch does not receive support from the Salvation Army as an umbrella organization and draws funds instead from local government grants and community resources like the thrift store.

The council determined it would calculate the overall grant funds and then move forward from there before the next regular meeting, which is scheduled for Thursday, August 13.

In the interest of full disclosure, KMXT is part of Kodiak Public Broadcasting and spoke on its own behalf regarding funding at the work session.
Aug 11 2015
Green City: Kodiak's New Crane Will Be Sustainable PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 11 August 2015
crane_matson.jpgNew crane arriving in Kodiak. Photo by Carl Royall

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

A new gantry crane arriving in Kodiak this week will not only replace its aging predecessor, but also fit into Kodiak’s plan of renewable energy. The majority of Kodiak’s isolated grid system relies on hydroelectricity with support from wind power, and less than 1 percent of that energy comes from diesel.

The new crane will run off flywheel storage systems, wind, and battery. The replacement is courtesy of Matson, which recently acquired Horizon Lines and is responsible for shipping Kodiak’s groceries and other products onto the island.

2.58 MB | Download MP3 | Open in popup

Matson special advisor Marion Davis says, weather permitting, the crane should arrive Thursday morning.

“And it will probably take one to two months to commission it and get the dock finished and start using it, but that should put the city of Kodiak, which is very important seafood wise in the industry, really in excellent shape for the next forty years there in Kodiak,” says Davis.

He says Matson is working with the city and the Kodiak Electric Association to fit the crane into Kodiak’s electric grid.

Darren Scott, KEA’s president and CEO, says the city’s current crane is diesel fueled, whereas the new one will be electrically driven. He says they’ve installed two fly wheel energy storage systems to filter the power needs of the crane.

“They’re large basically spinning masses of energy, and as the crane picks up a box, it would draw a lot of electricity,” says Scott. “It will take that electricity - basically from those spinning masses we’ll have the flywheels - and then as the crane goes out to drop the load onto the vessel, it actually - kind of like a toyota prius with its regenerative breaks – would send power back to the grid. Well, that will help spin the fly-wheels back up, plus a little power from our system as well.”
Scott provides this example of the energy flow.

“Imagine the crane lifting the container off the boat and then imagine a big spring out there. So, the big spring is cocked and loaded and it’s ready to push out, so the crane lifts the container off the boat, the spring then releases to help it do that. And as the crane then goes and drops the container back on the vessel, in some ways, the spring is pushed back in to build up that energy again.”

He says this approach will save the system a lot of strain.

“The big power injections from the crane don’t come out to impact the rest of the system. They will just kind of stay right there with the crane,” says Scott. “And one of the good things from it is these flywheels that we’ve installed, they’ll either work with the crane and when the crane’s not on operation, they’ll actually work with our wind turbines and our battery energy storage system as well.”

 He says KEA is working with a multinational corporation to use its grid stabilizing generator.

“Taking that actual flywheel and putting a bunch of basically fancy electronics on it to work with our electric grid is kind of the next step that ABB took in their device which is called the PowerStore,” Scott says. “And then we’re using that technology to not only work with the crane, but also work with our wind turbines and battery system.”

Scott says the crane will be a good fit for the community, not only because it’s an electric solution, but also because it’s a much larger crane than the current one, which he says will make it more efficient and may help with the cost of shipping in the future.  
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