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Galley Tables

Oct 14 2014
Students Get Hands on Learning With Earthquake Forecasting PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 14 October 2014

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          Some of Kodiak’s local students are getting hands on experience in real world research these days. The Kodiak Island Borough School District has recently partnered with NASA and other organizations to help monitor earthquake forecasting sensors with the hopes of someday being able to predict when and where earthquakes might occur.
            Early Friday morning, a group of four eager Kodiak High School students sit in front of lap tops in the Kodiak Island Borough School District’s conference room.  Strewn around them are engineering sketches, designs, and scribbled numbers and notes. They aren’t skipping class – in fact, due to a district-wide teacher in-service, school wasn’t even scheduled that day, or the two days prior. And while many of their classmates were probably still sleeping in, these four were hard at work, on their own time, communicating with NASA scientists and workin g to make earthquake forecasting a feasible reality for Kodiak, and the world. 
             “We’re doing this for school, but we’re also doing this for the scientific community. And it’s like real contributions – it’s not just like a science project that somebody’s already done. We’re actually innovating, we’re actually putting forth results and things that people can use that can help the world.”   
              That’s Junior Richie McKinney, one of the four lead students partaking in Trillium Learning’s American Bridge Project – an initiative that promotes real time, real world projects with big name partners and school districts around the country. In this case, KIBSD is working with NASA’s Ames Research Center in California, Intelesense Technologies and the European Space Agency to help collect data from the world’s first two Global Earthquake Forecasting System Sensing Platforms, which were placed on the island last month. One platform was put in Old Harbor Village, and the second one is visible on the roof of the Gerald C. Wilson Auditorium in Kodiak.

Oct 13 2014
Kodiak PTSA Formed to Facilitate Communication PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 13 October 2014

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    The founders of the Kodiak District Parent-Teacher-Student Association, or PTSA, will be on KMXT’s Talk of the Rock Tuesday  afternoon discussing their organization and what they hope to accomplish through the Kodiak Community Education Alliance.
    Ron Gibbs, himself a retired teacher, is the vice-president of the Kodiak Community Education Alliance, which is formed as a 501(c)3 nonprofit. He says a Parent Teacher Student Association differs from a PTA, in that it’s area of concern is the entire school district, and not just individual schools.
    “There’s been a lot of changes come down the pipes with education, and that’s where there’s a lot of frustration and confusion and questions about the new grading system, evaluation process. A lto of these are coming as mandates from the state or the legislature and so as the district works to incorporate those changes, there’s been some gaps in that communication where people have question and they don’t necessarially know where to get answers, and that’s where we’re trying to help out with that.”
    Eric Linscheid, president of the Kodiak Community Education Alliance, is also a retired teacher. He outlined the five goals the group has at this point.
    “When we started talking to the community it kind of boiled down to a couple different things. There are five things. One is that there is just communication with everybody in the community, along with the school board and central office. And then the second is how we support school board communications – that was another concern. And then, a culture of trust, and that’s number three, number four is understanding the grading system, and number five is promoting teamwork.”
    In regards to goal number 1, Gibbs said the policy regarding free communication between the public and the school board members is already being address.
    “We brought that up as a concern, and so the board, they way they work with that is they have a policy review committee. And they did a rewrite on it. This process has been going on for eight months. And they did a rewrite, and really put to rest most of those concerns. It was a good rewrite. It went from the beginning opening draft saying, “Staff members, parents and community members should submit comments to board through the superintendant. And vice versa. Now, it’s, “Individual communication between board members and community are expected.”
     Linscheid and Gibbs both see the new language as an improvement, but they would like to see it have a better defined protocol for when and to whom private communication to a school board member are shared. In that vein, Gibbs says he’s asking for a postponement on adopting the policy.
    “We are also requesting that the board defer action on this until next month, so that the new board member has a chance to come up to speed and learn about that and hear what’s going on. It’s been going on for eight months, so it would be helpful to let him have a chance to assimilate that, too.”
    You can hear the complete conversation with Gibbs and Linscheid on this week’s Talk of the Rock.

Oct 13 2014
Alaska's Gay Marriage Ban Overturned PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 13 October 2014

Matt Smith/KNOM
    A federal judge struck down Alaska’s ban on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional, overturning a 1998 citizens’ vote that defined marriage as between “one man and one woman.”
    The lawsuit known as “Hamby versus Parnell” was filed in May by five same-sex couples who alleged the state’s constitutional definition of marriage violated their rights.
    In an order released Sunday, U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess ruled “Alaska’s ban on same-sex marriage and refusal to recognize same sex marriages lawfully entered in other states is unconstitutional as a deprivation of basic due process and equal protection principles under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”
    In an emailed statement Governor Sean Parnell says the state is appealing the ruling. Parnell writes that has “a duty to defend and uphold the law and the Alaska Constitution,” adding that “the status of … the law in general in this area is in flux.”
    The “flux” Parnell refers to is the decision last week by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that reviews decisions made by West Coast states, including Alaska. Caitlin Shortell is the attorney representing the five Alaska couples in the lawsuit.
    “The 9th Circuit struck down marriage bans that were identical to Alaska’s in Idaho and Nevada. The 9th Circuit Court ruling controls our judge. It told him what standard to apply to analyze our case. And it told him a marriage ban identical to Alaska’s in two other states was unconstitutional.”
    She says she’s confident Judge Burgess’ ruling will stand should the state’s appeal go before the 9th Circuit Court. But she says Governor Parnell could choose to go a different route.   
    “The governor has discretion to decide that it is not worth state resources to defend a law that was ruled unconstitutional that is certain will be upheld by the appellate court.”
    As the state pursues its appeal, a permanent injunction on the enforcement of marriage laws in Alaska is in place. That means the state must recognize same-sex marriages from other states, and same-sex couples are able to apply for a marriage license in Alaska—as early as today [Monday].   
    “The state has announced that they will be prepared to accept applications for marriage licenses this week. So they are complying with the ruling, and the law, even as they have said they are appealing the case.”
    A 3-day waiting period for marriage license in Alaska remains in place. Shortell says two of her clients— Courtney Lamb and Stephanie Pearson, the only couple of the five involved in the suit against the state who had not been married elsewhere in the country—will be at the Anchorage court house this morning [Monday] to apply for their marriage license.

Oct 13 2014
Run the Rock Marks Marathoner's 350th PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 13 October 2014

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          The sun had yet to rise Saturday morning when nine runners toed the line at Rotary Park on Near Island for KMXT’s Annual Run the Rock marathon. By 8:20 a.m., when the first runner was rounding the corner at Dead Man’s, deep pink hues had begun to fill the sky. Minutes after, when second and third place passed, bright golden rays streaked the horizon. By 8:45 a.m., when the ninth competitor ran by, the sun had fully crested and was radiating over the water. With those first signs of sunlight and only about 2.5 of the 26.2 miles complete, the day just beginning.
           Run the Rock is a buffet of distances – ranging from a traditional 5k to the grueling full marathon, which takes runners from Near Island to the very end of Anton Larsen Bay Road, where then turn around and race for the finish at Bear Valley Golf Course. Saturday’s nine runners included seasoned locals, but also brought some out of town visitors to Alaska’s Emerald Isle. One of those latter competitors was Richard Decample.
            The 69-year-old runner from Seattle flew into Kodiak solely for Run the Rock, and when he crossed the finish line Saturday afternoon, it marked his 350th marathon.
            “This was the kind of marathon I wanted for my 350th.”   

Oct 10 2014
Fossil Beach Now Open to Public PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 10 October 2014

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             A press release from Alaska Aerospace Corporation said Pasagshak Road is now fully open, including access to the popular Fossil Beach. According to the release a temporary safety exclusion zone has been created east of the road, limiting public access in that area. That area is expected to remain closed until it is cleared of any potential hazards.

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