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Sep 24 2015
Dry Summer Causes Low Waters and Blocks Pasagshak Drainage PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 24 September 2015
Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Kodiak residents may have noticed that the Pasagshak River looks a little low recently, and that hasn’t gone unobserved by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Donn Tracy is the Kodiak area management biologist for ADF & G’s sport fishing division and says the river has been low all summer and that it’s blocked off where it drains into the bay.

“It’s basically a result of low water, you know, the dry weather conditions, we’ve had low fresh-water levels in the Pasagshak drainage coupled with a gravel berm built up along the Pasagshack from a series of prevailing on-shore winds, so it’s a combination of dry weather, low water and then a berm of gravel built up on the gravel built on the beach from the waves.”

He says there are two scenarios to remedy the blockage.

“One would be going down and mechanically opening the stream channel with heavy equipment, which has been done in the past with the endorsement of the department of Fish and Game and other agencies. There’s permitting required with that because it is a salmon stream and it’s within Kodiak State Park lands.”

He says the other scenario is to let nature take its course. In other word: rain.

“Once we finally get some significant precipitation here and it raises the water level here in the lake and the remainder of the Pasagshak drainage, it will eventually push through that gravel berm and reopen the channel.”

The blockage has a negative effect on sport fishing, but they could afford to wait for rain a little while longer before stepping in.

“The actual spawning in Pasagshak drainages and other Kodiak road system drainages with the silver salmon runs, the actual spawning doesn’t occur until late October and through the month of November and, as time draws closer to that event and the river mouth continues to be blocked, then it would be even more of a concern than it is now.”

Tracy says the situation is similar through most of Kodiak Island when it comes to the smaller drainages that rely on rainfall for flow rather than melted snow like larger rivers do. That’s the situation with the Olds River.

“With the dry conditions, the water levels are so low, that the Olds River is actually dry a short ways above the highway. The low water levels and the abundance of other spawning salmon, namely pink salmon, lower the dissolved oxygen levels in the stream so that the silver salmon are really unable to get into any of the streams along the Kodiak road system right now.”

But as far as the blocked Pasagashak River goes, Tracy says forecasts for next week bring good tidings.

“We have some very large tides, ten foot tides, which are the largest tides that we’ve had here in a couple of months, and on those ten foot tides, it’s really likely that there’ll be enough water – especially if there’s some on-shore wind – there’ll be enough water breaking over that gravel berm that silver salmon will still be able to get in the drainage.”

Tracy says that even if ADF & G does open up the Pasagashak river mouth manually, the next round of waves could close it back up again. He says Kodiak’s best hope is rain.
Sep 23 2015
Local Artist to Lead Traditional Chinese Painting Workshop PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 23 September 2015
janet_bane.jpgJanet Bane. Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

One Kodiak artist will teach a workshop this week at the Kodiak Public Library about an art form she’s been practicing since childhood. 

4.42 MB | Download MP3 | Open in popup

Janet Bane says she grew up in Taiwan, but was born in mainland China.

“The south city … is a southern Confucius hometown, and at the age of 4 we have to run, my family against communist. Taiwan.  Educated there.”

In the 1950s, the same time that the communist People’s Republic of China under Chairman Mao cracked down on art and literature, Bane says she learned Chinese painting in her school in Taiwan. She says unlike in mainland China, Taiwan emphasized traditional ways.

And Bane says every aspect of traditional Chinese painting is stylized, from the materials you use to the way you handle your brush.

“You have to hold like this. You have to. The reason is then you could freely your wrist. When we were little kids, teacher would come over – even writing the same way – see if he could take out of this brush with your hands, and you get all the black ink, so he say you hold it tight. That’s the way.”

She says historically, Chinese painting was a highly valued skill among the upper classes.

"Even in ancient times, you wanted to be a government official, you took examination and then you had to master four things  - music, play Chinese chess, whatever, and then calligraphy and painting. So, so many government officials in the old days were good with art and music. Plus, intelligent, too.”
Subject matter of paintings changed with the times.

“In certain period, they were popular with the portrait… like the emperors, the riches, the farmer. Then, certain dynasty, certain artist have their specialty, but the most popular generally is flowers, birds, and then mountain, water, rocks, like scenery.”

Bane says Chinese paint is water based, but you can’t use watercolors with the paper they would use.

“Regular water paper, after you paint it on this Chinese… they call rice paper. Regular watercolor would not survive with the processing. When you put a framing, stiff it up, they would smear, but as Chinese color, it won’t.”

She says the brushes come in all types.

“Chinese brush is like chopstick, but use bamboo and holding different kinds of hair. Sometimes sheep, sometimes fox, sometimes deer. That’s old fashioned. They have different lengths, different thickness and different degree of the flexibility to express your emotion.”

Even the way of grinding up pigments has a special process. Bane says you need to keep calm and thoughtful.

“In the old fashioned, we have the ink stick, and it’s from a certain kind of tree, like charcoal stuff, you know. And you have ink stick, you grind your ink, you calm yourself down, and you’re thinking also.”

Bane says when at college in Taiwan, she switched her major from business to fine art and then, when she moved to the United States, earned her master’s degree in art education from Louisiana State University. She says around ten years ago, she worked at Kodiak College as a media librarian, and she occasionally taught Chinese painting classes to students.

You can learn more about the history of Chinese art and do some painting yourself Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The workshop is free of charge, but sign up now, as there is limited space.

Sep 23 2015
Special Help Being Sought to Assist Autistic Man Deal With KPD Assault PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 23 September 2015
Jay Barrett/KMXT
Ever since his encounter with the Kodiak Police a week ago when he was thrown to the ground, handcuffed and pepper-sprayed for as-yet unknown reasons by three officers, 28-year-old Nick Pletnikoff has been having difficulty dealing with the incident. According to his mother Judy, her son’s autism makes it difficult for him to understand why he was assaulted.

“You know he hasn't slept a night through since then. He's afraid. Definitely afraid of figures of authority and figures in the police. He's definitely changed by it,” Judy Pletnikoff said. “But my biggest concerns is how to get him back to his former considerate, reasonable, happy self.”

Judy Pletnikoff said the family has hired an autism specialist to work with Nick and help him process what happened to him and help speed his emotional recovery. In the meantime however, she said that people from all over town have been very helpful.

“We’ve always been such an intensely private family (and) this has really brought us out into the public view. We’re not comfortable. Nick has gotten a tremendous outpouring of public support. Pizzas and flowers and wonderful ice cream – who knew there was coconut ice cream? I didn’t even know they had that. That’s been really moving,” she said. “I’m sure he just wants to get back to his quiet, every day routine and go to work and come home. Just the simple life that he has. I would imagine that’s his priority.”

Tuesday the Kodiak Police Department issued another short statement again announcing that they will not be commenting on the situation. The department still refuses to release video and audio recordings made by the recorders carried by the three officers involved in the incident, despite multiple requests from the Pletnikoff family, their attorney, and the press.
Sep 22 2015
KIB Assembly Amends Mobile Home Park Code PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 22 September 2015
Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Jackson Mobile Home Park once again made it onto the agenda at the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly’s regular meeting last week. These same ordinances have been through two work sessions and a regular meeting, and borough assessor Bill Roberts stood in for the borough manager in explaining the ordinance.

“It is changing some of the title 17 sections on mobile homes to make it less stringent, to lessen some of the impact of making a new mobile home, and also allowing mobile home parks in areas that they weren’t allowed in before, namely R2 and R3.”

The changes in the code include removing the definition of a mobile home as being a “single-story” structure, relaxing restrictions on how much space mobile homes can occupy, and adjusting the required size of play areas.

Assemblyman Dan Rohrer asked about mobile home dimensions.

“In travel mode, it says they need to be 8 feet or more in width and 40 feet or more in length. I just kept thinking about that fact that as we’re looking at evaluating what trailers exist in Jackson Mobile Home Park, there’s at least 3 or 4 that are about 33 feet in length, and that’s how they came from the manufacturers, so you’d need to tell me what impact that would have as we look at moving some of the mobile homes.”

Community Development Director, Bob Pederson, explained that wouldn’t be a problem.

“I think we’ve made it very clear on the record from the get-go and specifically in the non-conforming ordinance that you adopted a month or so ago that we don’t want to in any way impede the folks that are able and can find a place to move their mobile home from Jackson from going elsewhere in the borough either in a lot or in a mobile home park, so under the nonconforming part – they’re covered there.”

The motion carried 6 to 0.  

Roberts also gave a semi-annual update for the assessing department of the borough.

“First of all, what is the basic function of the assessing department? That is to find, to discover, and to catalog all real and pursable, taxable property in the borough, and we do this so that we can value it for ad valorem taxes. We also administer programs like exemption programs that are mandated by the state or any that are mandated by our own local codes.”

He says this year he’s closer to his goal of training staff.

“So, what has that given us? Well, of the three field operatives, the three appraisers, two of them currently are certified by the state of Alaska Association of Assessing Officers. This is an association that’s similar to a lot of fee appraiser associations. They require certain hours in classroom, certain hours of experience, and a proficiency.”

Roberts says they’re also doing well in producing revenue.

“We have increased the assess value of the borough approximately 33 percent. Now, some of that is from natural growth, but quite frankly, since the collapse of the financial markets we haven’t had a lot of growth for new construction here, so a lot of it has been due to the reassessment. What does 33 percent mean? It’s roughly 3.2 million dollars a year in revenue for the borough.”

He says they’re working towards the goal of every assessing department, which is to be 100 percent fair and equitable. The next assembly work session is scheduled for September 24 and the next regular meeting for October 1.
Sep 22 2015
KPD Responds to Allegations of Police Brutality PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 22 September 2015
Jay Barrett/KMXT
Late in the business day on Monday the Kodiak Police Department faxed a brief statement to the press in response to allegations of use of excessive force in the case of Nick Pletnikoff. He is the autistic young Kodiak man who last Wednesday was pinned to the ground by three officers and pepper sprayed while handcuffed.

Distributed around 5 p.m. Monday evening, the statement was ostensibly from the chief of police, though Ronda Wallace's name was not on it. Kodiak City Manager Aimee Kniaziowski told KMXT the announcement was faxed from her office in city hall, rather than being e-mailed from the police station, as most announcements from the KPD are. It was not posted to Nixle, the city's public mass e-mailing service.

The statement says "no specific facts will be released at this time," but that the department has already conducted its initial review and it had found the three officers involved acted professionally.

The statement goes on to say that the three officers, who were not named, were not quick in the use of force against Pletnikoff, but when they did, it was "minimal and necessary" to keep the officers and the community safe from him.

The short statement, though it sheds no new light on the incident, closes with an acknowledgment of “the importance of an open and transparent dialogue with the community," and says it will provide “more specific details after completing a more thorough review of the incident.”

KMXT has filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the city to obtain audio and video recordings made by the officer's body recorders and dash cams, which are classified as public records under state law.
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