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Galley Tables

Feb 25 2015
Wasilla Legislator Proposes Slashing Public Broadcasting Funds in Half PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 25 February 2015
Alexandra Gutierrez/APRN 
    The Legislature is considering halving the amount of funding available for public broadcasting. 
    Rep. Lynn Gattis, a Wasilla Republican who chairs the Department of Administration finance subcommittee, introduced the cuts by saying the group was focused on essential needs. 
    “In this fiscal climate, the state should focus on mission critical services, reduce its footprint, and take this opportunity to get out of business that it doesn’t need to be in,” she said. “This has truly been an opportunity to evaluate the wants versus the needs of state government.”
    Between operations and infrastructure, public radio and television were granted $5 million in state funds in the last budget. With the proposal offered by the House Finance subcommittee, funding would be reduced to $2.5 million. 
    Tyson Gallagher, an aide for Gattis, explained that the cuts would be focused on outlets that have other broadcasting options in their service area. That includes commercial radio stations. 
    “With the advancements in technology and the development of other broadcast sources, there’s less of a need to maintain public service programming at comparable levels to prior years,” he said.
    State grants contribute more than half a million dollars to Alaska Public Media’s $6 million budget, which includes APRN and the Southcentral stations KSKA and KAKM. KTOO, the Juneau public radio station, now gets 10 percent of its $2 million budget from state grants. KUAC, which is operated by the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, receives nearly $250,000. Because of the station’s position within the university, it was targeted for cuts when the school was experiencing its own shortfall. 
    Locally, Kodiak Public Broadcasting will receive a total of $137,334 in the current fiscal year.
    The changes will now be sent to the full House Finance Committee for consideration. 
Feb 24 2015
Police Seek Man Missing Since Early Sunday PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 24 February 2015
Jay Barrett/KMXT
    The Kodiak Police is seeking assistance in locating missing 27-year-old man. Mihay Kalugin was last seen downtown in the early morning hours Sunday.
    He is six-feet tall, 195-pounds, light colored hair, a heavy beard and hazel eyes. 
    If you've seen him or know his whereabouts, call the Kodiak Police Department at 486-8000, or, if you wish to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at (907) 486-3113. 
Feb 24 2015
Wild Alaskan Owners Indicted on Improper Waste Disposal, Falsifying Records PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 24 February 2015
Jay Barrett/KMXT
    The owners of The Wild Alaskan, the now-closed Kodiak exotic night club anchored offshore of Kodiak City, have been indicted on three counts of discharging their effluent into the channel, in violation of state law, and of lying to the U.S. Coast Guard.
    The violation of the Refuse Act carries a penalty of up to a year in jail and a $25,000 per day fine for each day the act was violated. The false statement charge carries a penalty of up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
    Darren Byler was arraigned yesterday (Feb. 23) in Anchorage Federal Court, while Kimberly Byler is not yet in custody, according to U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler.
    According to the indictment, the Bylers are accused of pumping the toilets straight into the water between Kodiak's harbors, and telling Coast Guard investigators two different stories about how they are handling the waste. Kimberly Byler is alleged to have told them it was being stored in a 5,000 gallon tank on board the Wild Alaska then disposed of shore-side by a commercial company. Darren Byler is alleged to have told the Coast Guard it was being pumped out at Pier 2, or transported beyond the three-mile limit to be dumped into the ocean.
    The Wild Alaskan has been the target of the city police and Coast Guard attention since almost the day it opened, with several raids and undercover investigations conducted since they opened in June 2014. 
Feb 24 2015
Rep. Stutes Wary of Funding Private School Vouchers PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 24 February 2015
1.02 MB | Download MP3 | Open in popup

Jay Barrett/KMXT
    Yesterday (Monday) morning in the Alaska State House, a resolution was passed seeking to designate a week in January as "Alaska School Choice Week," but it turned into a floor debate over public schools and vouchers to use public money to pay for private schools.
    The resolution referenced National School Choice Week, which has been connected with a nationwide, corporate-backed, anti-union movement challenging public schools.
    Republican Rep. Lynn Gattis, the resolution's sponsor, said the measure is about empowering parents, but Democratic Rep. Les Gara, saying there are already plenty of choices for education, suggested the intent was to have lawmakers show support for private school vouchers. 
    That was also the concern of Republican Rep. Louise Stutes of Kodiak.
    "It could obligate public funds for voucher schools. And in the district I represent, I don't think it's prudent. If it had been a little more clear I certainly would have supported it. I'm all for education. It's important. Our kids are our future, and there's no question about that. But it concerns me if we are going to publicly fund private schools."
    Stutes voted against the resolution, but said that break from voting along party lines should not get her in trouble with House leadership.
    "You know, I've had conversations with them, and they all understood it and they weren't sure which way they were going to go. You know I'm going to vote what's good for my district, first and foremost. That's kind of what I consider my job to be. is to come down here and vote what's best for the district."
     The measure passed 21-14, with Stutes the only Republican voting no. Several Democrats who caucus with the Republican majority voted yes. 
Feb 24 2015
Stevens Says Legislature Moving Forward with Legislation on Pot Legalization Day PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 24 February 2015
0.89 MB | Download MP3 | Open in popup

Jay Barrett/KMXT
    Today (Tuesday) is Day One for legalized marijuana in Alaska. Though Alaskans have for years been allowed to have pot in their own homes for private use, now Alaskans can have it pretty much everywhere. 
    "Well, you know, first it passed by a very big vote in Kodiak. Folks wanted to see that legislation passed."
    It seems residents here and statewide might be moving faster than the state. Kodiak Senator Gary Stevens says the state legislature yet hasn't caught up with the voter initiative which unilaterally legalized the weed, so there's a lot of confusion and gray area still surrounding possession, use and especially commercialization.
    "Those details we haven't quite figured out yet. We're struggling with it. There are so many issues that deal with commercialization. Banks can't accept funds that aren't legal on a federal level. We're concerned about things kids can get a hold of, Gummi Bears and that sort of things. So there's a lot of little specific issues about commercialization. But it is definitely moving ahead on decriminalizing it."
    And until the commercialization details are worked out, there can be no pot stores or dispensaries, and it would still be ill-advised to show up at work under the influence.
    "It  doesn't change the rights of the employer to decide, to say whether you can drink on the job or whether you can use drugs on the job. That's not going to change that at all. I think it's moving ahead I think we're a little concerned about making a mistake and having to clod back at a later date."
    Not only is today the first day of legalized marijuana, Alaskans in November also voted to raise the minimum wage by one dollar effective today.
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