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Jul 07 2014
1 in 10 Kodiak Families in Danger of Becoming Homeless PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 07 July 2014

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    Kodiak’s Brother Francis Shelter for the homeless is receiving a $231,126 grant from the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation. Director Monte Hawver says the shelter has been receiving this yearly grant since the mid-90s.
    “And it’s an over-umbrella grant that basically oversees the entire structure of the shelter. It pays for everything from food to staffing to our homeless prevention program, which is a really important part of what we do here in Kodiak to keep families from becoming homeless.”
    Hawver says the individual homeless rate is fairly stable in Kodiak, but the Brother Francis Shelter also operates a homelessness prevention program, and that a large number of families are at risk.
    “Basically about 1 out of 10 families are struggling here in Kodiak and in danger of becoming homeless.”
    He said the family homelessness problem is growing faster than ever.
    “We started out a number of years ago with out homeless prevention program, which was one of the first in the country. And through the years, I can remember when we helped 50 families. I can remember when we helped 100 families a year, and I thought, ‘My gosh, that’s gotten – it’s crazy.’ Last we helped 243 families. And unfortunately as the economy changes so much, and the fisheries change so much, more and more people get left behind. And it’s just become a terrible situation for quite a few families here in Kodiak.”
    Though grants like the one from the AHFC are vital, Hawver wants the community to remember that their help is important, too.
    “The homeless assistance program grant takes care of the basic needs of the shelter, and the basic programs. But we do rely on individual and organizational local grants in order to take care of all the needs of the families of Kodiak and the individuals.”
    The Brother Francis Shelter is just one of 28 organizations in 13 Alaskan communities to benefit from the AHFC’s grant award, which totals more than $5.9 million.

Jul 03 2014
The Alaska Fisheries Report PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 03 July 2014

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Coming up this week, the feds are recommending more seafood for young children and pregnant women; there’s still no radiation contamination to Alaskan seafood from Fukushima, and a water problem in Emmonak has a ripple effect for processors and fishermen. All that, and an exotic repurposing of a legendary crab boat in Kodiak, all coming up on the Alaska Fisheries Report. We had help from KFSK’s Joe Viechnicki in Petersburg, KDLG’s Mike Mason in Dillingham, KNOM’s Zacharia Hughes in Nome, and KCAW’s Rachel Waldholz in Sitka.

Jul 03 2014
Diplomas Available for those Denied Due to Defunct Exit Exam PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 03 July 2014

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    Around 60 people who attended Kodiak High School in the past dozen years or so that did not receive a diploma at graduation are now eligible for that piece of paper, thanks to the education bill that passed out of the legislature this year. Superintendant Stewart McDonald explains:
    “Because the state had put in place this exit exam component, anybody who completed everything but that, received a certificate of completion, which meant they met the standards for graduation, but didn’t pass all the components of that exam. Those students now that the state has repealed the high school qualifying exit exam are now eligible to receive their high school diploma.”
    McDonald said the school district is actively reaching out to those students:
    “First thing that we did, was locally, we sent out a letter to the last known address to every one of these individuals. And we received a number of them back with return to sender because we don’t have their current address. The state department of education and early development is committed to helping us find those remaining individuals that we were not able to get a hold of. So it’s going to be an effort by both the district and the state to locate everyone and make sure they know they can come and claim their high school diploma.”
    But even if those former students are unable to get back to receive their diploma, McDonald said they can now say they have one.
    “Here’s another way to look at it: If you’ve received a certificate of completion, whether you have your piece of paper or not from us, you can officially declare on any job application that you in fact have a high school diploma. Whether you actually received the actual piece of paper or not, it’s official, you have a diploma.”
    McDonald said he would be happy to do a little more than just toss a diploma in the mail if the former student so desires.
    “Every single one that we’re able to get here in person, if I can have a board member present, we will certainly recognize them with as much pomp and circumstance as we can afford at that moment.”
    Give the Kodiak Island Borough School District central office a call if you didn’t pass the now-defunct state exit exam, because they have a high school diploma waiting for you.

Jul 03 2014
Groundwork Being Laid for New KEA Headquarters PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 03 July 2014

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    If you noticed some heavy equipment working right up to the sidewalk on Mill Bay Road recently, it’s the new headquarters for Kodiak Electric Association. KEA CEO Darron Scott:
    “The board decided in early May to move forward with the new building design we‘ve got going on. It’s right over there by Ardingers on Mill Bay, and it connects up to our operations facility which is on Chichenoff, right behind on Mill Bay. We started breaking ground a few weeks ago, and looking forward to final construction next summer.”
    The public facing side will be along Mill Bay Road, which Scott says should be more convenient for KEA members than the current spot on Marine Way. He said it would also serve to consolidate the co-op’s operations:
    “Well what we got is it’s not going to be just for this one building here. We’ve got facilities where our power generation folks are at, we’ve got facilities in this downtown headquarters and we’ve also got folks stationed out at our operations building. The oldest building is this building right here – the headquart5ers building. It’s a 1960s tin building. We took a look at that and it needed quite a bit of work to get up to par and putting a lot of money into a 1960s building, it was much more cost-effective to look at a new building. Tehn we also looked at our physical assets, so we’re moving everybody together under one roof. And that’ll be at the Mill Bay site, so we’ll have all groups working together under one roof, which will always add to better communication, those type of things as well and lower our future maintenance costs on building infrastructure and those types of things.”
    The project is expected to cost $10-million, but it shouldn’t affect your electric bill.
    “We’re not projecting any rates due to the building at this time,” he said.

Jul 02 2014
Expert: Some Day You'll Get Bed Bugs PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 02 July 2014

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    As we heard on yesterday’s Talk of the Rock, there is a small nuisance in Kodiak that is growing and growing. Not larger, but in number.
    “When they hear ‘bed bugs’ they think it’s only in the bed,” according to B.J. Johnson, a pest control expert in Kodiak. “Well, unfortunately, that’s just not true, because bed bugs will infest your clothing, your linens, your carpet. I’m working on one right now where they will actually travel between the walls. They get through clothing, they’ll climb on books, bed frames, cabinets. Everything.”
    Johnson, who works for American Pest, an Anchorage company with branches in says he saw his first bedbug case eight years ago, and the numbers have just increased.
    “I just feel like it’s just a matter of time – for everybody,” he said. “If you haven’t had them, it’s going to happen. It might not be today or tomorrow, but it will happen. It’s just the nature of the beast right now.”
    The spread of bedbugs is largely connected with travel and staying in an infested hotel somewhere. But Johnson points out you don’t have to travel to New York City to come home with pesky hitchhikers.
    “I have seen people go to an infested home and they throw down their backpack or suitcase or whatever and next thing you know, they go back to their house and – boom, they’ve got bugs,” he said.

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