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News
Mar 12 2014
Archive Facility Closure Could Affect Alaskans PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 12 March 2014

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           On Monday, the National Archive and Records Administration, also known as NARA, announced that it would be closing its facility in Anchorage and shipping all of the records housed there to Seattle.
The decision caused quite a stir across the state and was devastating news to Anjuli Grantham, the curator of collections at the Baranov Museum.
           “And it’s just like the loss of our cultural heritage. It’s inexcusable.”
           The archive administration is charged with caring for federal records in the United States and Grantham said those records are especially important here in Alaska.
            “This is the Bureau of Indian Affairs records, this is Parks Service records, all of Fish and Wildlife Service really the U.S. Coast Guard – all of the federal entities that exist in Alaska and really impact our day-to-day life. The records are housed at this Anchorage facility and they’re open to the public. So any person can go in there and request these records.”
            But now all of Alaska’s federal historical records, more than 12,000 cubic feet of material, will be housed in Seattle, making them extremely difficult for Alaskans to access. Grantham said the news is obviously a huge blow to historians, but should really be concerning the general public, too.  

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Mar 11 2014
School Board Discusses 'Worst-Case' Budget Scenario PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 11 March 2014

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           The Kodiak Island Borough School District’s Board of Education met for a work session last night and heard about a handful of budget scenarios the district might be looking at for FY 2015.
           Basically, the school district doesn’t know how much money will be coming its way from either the state or the borough, so Superintendent Stewart McDonald said any budget before the board is tentative, and subject to a lot more decisions that will be made in the months and weeks to come.
           McDonald presented a proposed budget during the work session – one that he said was a “worst-case scenario.” At most, McDonald said the district could have a $1.69 million deficit for next year, and he proposed cutting a total of 24 positions, ranging from custodians and safety officers to the Kodiak High School athletic director. He said those proposed cuts are far from inevitable, and many will actually be done through attrition, meaning the district won’t hire a new employee to fill the role of a retiring one.
            “Two to three weeks should make a huge difference in what we’re talking about. The books that you will have I believe should just go ahead and represent worst case scenario because you’ve got to prepare for it. And then we’ll make adjustments from there. What I’d like to do is just start with this as the initial proposed prioritized list and where the cuts would come from.”
             McDonald said the hope is that state funding won’t be a worst-case scenario this year. Ideally, as the budget picture becomes clearer, and hopefully more positive, the 24 cuts proposed last night will decrease accordingly. McDonald said the number is already down from 29 cuts that were associated with budget projections in January.
              During the public comment period, Alexus Kwachka said he was concerned about the district’s use of attrition to solve its budget problems.
              “I think that you guys need to be really sensitive to what’s going on, we’re losing a ton of really good people. And yes, there’s always going to be an attrition rate, but what’s going on is alarming to me because our students deserve the best that we can get. And I am really, really concerned about Bryan going away and I’ll speak to that directly. Bryan is a dynamite guy, he’s doing a dynamite job and I’m really concerned about where this goes.”
               Kwachka was referencing Bryan Ferris, the current athletic director at Kodiak High School. Changes to the athletic director role have captured many community members’ attention, especially with news that Ferris’ job might be in jeopardy.  

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Mar 11 2014
Austerman and Stevens Address SWAMC Summit PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 11 March 2014

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Mike Mason/KDLG
    Both of Kodiak’s state legislative delegation spoke at last week’s Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference economic summit in Anchorage. KDLG’s Mike Mason was there and filed this report.

 
Mar 11 2014
North Pacific Fined $205K for Ammonia Dumping PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 11 March 2014

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    A Kodiak seafood processor has been fined over $200,000 after pleading guilty to illegally dumping 40 pounds of ammonia into the city’s sewer system in 2011. That announcement Tuesday from U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler in Anchorage.
    North Pacific Seafoods chief engineer Bill Long is scheduled to be arraigned in state court on Friday on a charge of violating the permit regulated by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.
    The count North Pacific Seafoods pled guilty to was a violation of the federal Clean Water Act. The company is based in Seattle and is a subsidiary of Japanese seafood giant Marubeni.
    The 40-pounds of ammonia, which is used in cooling and ice making in canneries, broke the secondary treatment at the city’s sewer treatment plant, causing a violation of the city’s Clean Water Act permit.
    The dumping was detected November 29, 2011 and was traced by the Kodiak Public Works Department to North Pacific’s APS plant on the Kodiak Waterfront. Long initially said the ammonia dump did not come from his plant, but later admitted to the discharge.
    A joint investigation by the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation determined that the facility had been discharging ammonia into St. Paul Harbor before and after the sewer incident.
    The city of Kodiak will receive $55,000 of $205,000 fine to be used for hazardous wast response training. The terms of probation ordered by Judge Ralph Beistline also require that North Pacific Seafoods provide training for its employees at all five facilities in Alaska regarding proper handling of hazardous wastes and specifically ammonia.

 
Mar 11 2014
City to Consider '64 Earthquake Memorial Plaque PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 11 March 2014

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           After a pair of cancelled work sessions last week, it’s back to business for the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly. The assembly will meet for its rescheduled special work session tonight and review the borough’s 2014 strategic plan as well hear a presentation on social media. Also on tonight’s agenda is a discussion about the assembly’s upcoming trip to Washington D.C. A handful of assembly members recently returned from Juneau where they lobbied to the Alaska Legislature on behalf of Kodiak. The hope is to do something similar in D.C., and make sure Kodiak the radar of Alaska’s congressional delegates.
            Tonight’s work session starts at 6:30 p.m. in the borough assembly chambers.
            The assembly isn’t the only governing body meeting tonight. The City Council will hold a work session of their own at 7:30 p.m. in the borough conference room. On that agenda is a request to install a memorial plaque somewhere in the city that would commemorate victims of the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake. March 27th is the 50th anniversary of that 9.2 magnitude earthquake, which resulted in a tsunami that ravaged Kodiak’s coastline.
Also on the city’s agenda is a presentation from the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board about an urban community plan, as well as a packet review for Thursday’s regular meeting agenda.

 
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