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Sep 29 2015
Milk Run to Support Breastfeeding Mothers and Postpartum Care in Kodiak PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 29 September 2015
Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Several programs around Kodiak offer breastfeeding mothers care and guidance, and one of those – the KANA-affiliated Women, Infants, and Children program - recently received an award for meeting the breastfeeding rates of a government-based public health initiative called Healthy People 2020.    

KANA dietician Shanna Moeder says the federal WIC program focuses on nutrition for children from birth to five years of age as well as pregnant or postpartum mothers, but the recognition for Kodiak is bigger than WIC alone.

“I think it’s a testament to what Kodiak Kindness and WIC are doing together, but definitely with Kodiak Kindness getting to that hospital and seeing those families before they leave and go home with their new babies.”

The Kindness Project is affiliated with Providence Health and Services and helps mothers with babies 18 months and under to ease their way through breastfeeding, formula feeding, and the transition to solid foods.

Both WIC and Kodiak Kindness focus on mothers and their children and contribute to the positive results that Heather Preece, who is a pediatric dietitian and coordinates the Kindness Project, says Healthy People 2020 focuses on.

“Because of the well documented benefits of extended breast-feeding duration rates – it’s really how all mammals are meant to be raised, on their mother’s own milk, and it has a myriad of health benefits that last a person’s lifetime, actually – so, the government and public health measures are trying to help families meet longer and longer breastfeeding duration rates.”

Preece says Kodiak not only met those goals, but exceeded them, and she emphasizes that the Kindness Project is a nonprofit service in the community. It’s one she’s invested in.

“The most exciting or satisfying for me personally is just to see the confidence and relief in the mother’s eyes when you go to their home and support them, answer their questions, that you’re there for them in the middle of the night when they have questions and concerns about their babies.”

And to belatedly celebrate August’s world breastfeeding week and to support the Kindness project, KANA and Providence have joined together to host the 3rd annual Milk Run for children and families this Saturday.

You can choose your mode of transportation, whether walking or pushing a stroller, and even your distance between the starting and finishing point of Near Island’s North End trail the destination of the float plane dock. The entry fee is 10 dollars a person or 20 dollars a family and all funds go to Kodiak Kindness.

And if you still aren’t tempted, participants can indulge in milk and cookies when they finish the run. Registration starts at 9:30 a.m. and the event begins at 10.
Sep 29 2015
City Seeks Water Conservation After Dry Summer PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 29 September 2015
Kayla Desroches/KMXT

It’s been a dry summer for Kodiak, which has lowered bodies of water throughout Kodiak Island, including the Monashka reservoir.

3.76 MB | Download MP3 | Open in popup

According to Rick Thoman the climate science and services manager for the Alaska region of the National Weather Service, it’s one of the driest seasons in Kodiak history.

“Kodiak since June 1 has received just over ten inches of rain. That’s just about half of normal for that time and is the second lowest of record… the only reliable warm kind of time of year was 1941, when there was less than 8 inches of rain through June through September.”

Thoman says areas of south-central Alaska were dry during part of the summer, but have rebounded in September. In fact, he says this month is Anchorage’s fourth wettest September. But Kodiak remains dry.

“The main factor has been that the storm track has been from west to east during the last couple of months. That’s not so unusual for part of the mid and late summer, but typically sometime late August or early September, we expect to see those storms start to move southwest to northeast. That’s happened somewhat, but those storms have been too far east to bring Kodiak much rain.”

Kodiak city public works director Mark Kozak says the lack of snowfall last winter has also contributed to the lowered reservoir. He says Kodiak has consumed a little over half its capacity – although that capacity is still more than it was in the early 2000s.

“In 2003, we raised the Monashka resrervoir and at that time, it pretty much doubled our capacity, so we’re now slightly below the level of the old reservoir, which the city used from 1982 to 2003, and we’re three feet below that old reservoir if it were full.”

Kozak says both the community at large and its seafood processors rely on the Monashka reservoir as a water source.

“When the processors aren’t using water, our daily consumption is about 2 million gallons a day, but when they’re processing here prior to the middle of last week, as a community we were averaging between 7.7 and 8.3 million a day.”

He says at a meeting Friday, the processors agreed to limit their water usage where they can.

“They’ll do all the careful monitoring of excess water usage and turn things off and that. And what we really want to be able to do is support the processing industry so that everybody’s still working and the fishermen are working … so by conserving, we can allow them to continue to operate as long as we’re able.”

Kozak says the pollock season opens October 1 and the processors are in transition at this point, which also affects the water use. He says they’ll have a better idea of what changes processors have been able to make by the end of the week when they reach full production.

He says as for residents, there are a few things you can do, like taking shorter showers and turning the water off when you brush your teeth.

“But also wait until your dishwasher is full. When you’re washing laundry, wait until you have full loads rather than partial loads. Those kinds of things do make a big difference as individual households make those slight changes.”

However, Kodiak may have some more rainfall to look forward to according to Thoman.

“The end of this week and over the weekend, it appears that the winds … will be turning around to be more southerly across the gulf of Alaska and the storm track will shift to west of Kodiak island from the North Pacific and into the Bering sea, and that is exactly where you want storms to go if you’d like a lot of rain in Kodiak.”
That could alleviate Kodiak’s low water-level problems.
Sep 28 2015
Providence Health & Services Presents for Lease Extension PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 28 September 2015
Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Providence Health & Services presented at the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly’s work session last Thursday in a bid to extend its lease with the borough on the Rezanoff Drive medical center – a lease which it established in 1997. Borough assessor Bill Roberts, standing in for the borough manager, introduced the Providence representative.

“As you know, Providence’s lease is coming up here and we’re looking at what we’re gonna do with it. Alaska Native Health Consortium asked if they could give a presentation, which they did about two weeks ago. Providence has asked if they could give a presentation. Mr. Bruce Lamereau, who’s the senior VP and CEO of Providence, is here to give you an informational presentation.”

Lamoureux talked at length about Providence’s patients, employees, and its role in Kodiak.

“Unless the entity that’s operating the Kodiak medical center is creating value for you as a community, then it’s simply vanilla, it’s a commodity, and you can swap out the providers and nothing bad will happen.”

Providence creates significant value according to some members of the public who spoke at the meeting.

“My name is Tom Kouremetis. It’s at the point where I like Providence so well – and that goes all the way back to 1959 when my kids were all born in Fairbanks. If there was a change, and I heard there’s an undertone of KANA getting involved, I seriously would consider moving out of here. At my age and my wife’s age, I would like to continue having care. Good care. And Providence supports that.”

Members of the assembly also expressed approval of Kodiak’s ongoing relationship with Providence. Assemblyman Larry LeDoux is the borough representative to Providence’s advisory committee and, at the work session, said he wanted to make a comment on the committee’s process.

“I’m fascinated and pleased that when I attend those meetings, that the discussions that take place among your leadership team are fully consistent with your vision and mission, that they’re talking service to the community, talking about cost-effectiveness, they’re talking about people and how they can be served. And I just want to mention that. It’s just wonderful to be a part of that.”

The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium also presented to the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly at its September 10 work session. Roald Helgesen is the organization’s Chief Executive Officer and spoke before the assembly that night.

“We represent 229 tribes from across the state of Alaska that have all come together to deliver health services. These 229 tribes represent 150,000 Alaska Native people, many of them living here in the Kodiak area as a matter of fact, but across all of our regions, and in many of our locations at we continue to have dialogue this evening, you’ll find that we serve entire communities.”

The assembly is at the beginning of its process to consider the lease renewal. The issue is not on the agenda for its upcoming regular meeting, which is scheduled for Thursday night.
Sep 28 2015
Water Conservation Measures Requested as City Reservoir Dips Below 50 Percent PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 28 September 2015
Jay Barrett/KMXT
Kodiak Island, while not the rainiest place in Alaska with 77-inches per year, still gets twice the national average. But a wet spring sandwiched between a relatively snowless winter and a dry summer has not been enough to keep the city of Kodiak’s water reservoir full.

On Friday, Kodiak City Manager Aimee Kniaziowski's office issued a request for businesses and residents to conserve water usage because the reservoir has fallen to less than 50-percent full.

She wrote that the persistently mild weather here this summer has limited rainfall, and is not expected to change right away.

At 49 inches of precipitation since January 1st, Kodiak is more than four-inches below normal for this time of year.

Kniaziowski asked citizens to conserve water use in daily routines, such as quick showers, turning off the water when brushing teeth, postponing a car wash, and making sure taps are not dripping. She said conservation efforts must continue until Kodiak receives substantial rainfall.

Meanwhile, the especially dry summer has not caused water levels at Terror Lake, where Kodiak Electric Association generates most of its power, to drop excessively. According to KEA figures online, the water level as of August 26th, the latest measurement posted, was still 128 feet above the minimum water level of 1,280 feet. Dependence on hydro-electric power has dropped three percent so far this year, as the Pillar Mountain wind farm picked up more of the generation load.

Of course, the warm and dry summer also contributed to the Twin Creeks Fire in Chiniak, which, at over 4,000-acres, was one of the largest in the Kodiak Archipelago's history. The entire borough remains under an open fire burn ban.
Sep 28 2015
14th Consecutive Region Title for Kodiak Runners PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 28 September 2015
Jay Barrett/KMXT
It was a pretty good weekend for Kodiak High School athletes.

In the Class 4-A division of the Region III cross country championships at Colony High the Kodiak boys won another team title, led by Michael Parnell edging Keith Osowski by one second, as the pair took first and second. The Bears also had Jack Hannah and Rickie McKinny in sixth and seventh, also separated by one second. Kodiak’s 33 points easily outpaced the other schools, with Wasilla running up 67 in second and host Colony 68. Soldotna, Palmer and Kenai rounded out the field.

The Kodiak girls placed fourth overall with 90 points. Kenai won, with 31, followed by Colony and Soldotna. Palmer and Wasilla brought up the rear.

Two Kodiak sophomores handily won the SoHi Pentathlon, which forces each swimmer to compete in every event – their specialties and the others, and the cumulative low time wins. 

Boys division first place Talon Lindquist was more than five seconds ahead of second place with a combined time of 2-minutes 35 seconds. With two other swimmers in the top 10, Luke James in sixth and Nathan Schauff in ninth, the Bears won the boys team title with 50 points. Soldotna was second with 43, followed by Colony, Homer, Palmer and Wasilla.

Marina Cummiskey beat the field in the girls division by nearly three seconds with a time of 3-minutes 5.6-seconds in winning four of her five races. Hannah Glover placed ninth, and the Kodiak girls were third overall, scoring 36 points. Colony won with 47 points, followed by Soldotna with 37. Palmer and Homer rounded out the field.

The Kodiak volleyball team once again faced off against Dimond High School in the West Spiketacular, and once again, the Lynx edged the Bears. Dimond won 25-16 and 25-23 for its fourth straight title in the state’s biggest high school volleyball tournament.

Kalameli Matutia had seven kills and Richell Walker posted three blocks for the Bears, as Ryana Recustodio recorded 10 digs and Tracy Gatter had a dozen assists.

Kodiak was perfect during day one of the Spiketacular, and wound up 9-and-3 in pool play. Once advancing to the “gold” bracket against the other top teams, the Bears downed South Anchorage 20-25, 25-18 and 15-11 before advancing to face Dimond.

On the gridiron up in Palmer, the Bears fell to the Moose 41-20 on Saturday. Kodiak has a record of 3-and-4 and hosts Barrow in the season finale this weekend.
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