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May 05 2014
Wildfire Danger High Until Green Up PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 05 May 2014

Jay Barrett/KMXT/The AP
    Though rain is in Kodiak’s forecast for much of this week, fire officials are projecting "above normal" early summer wildfire danger in much of Alaska.
    Several small wildfires had to be put out along the Kodiak road system over the weekend, including on Spruce Cape and in Pasagshak. In several instances, illegal use of fireworks is suspected to be the culprit. Officials say May fires are largely preventable, unlike mid-summer when most blazes on the Alaska mainland are caused by lightning strikes.
    A warm April and thin snowpack are contributing to the higher-than-normal risk. There's also early melt-off in many areas. Those two factors boost fire danger in May.

May 05 2014
Middle School Repair Contract Approved PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 05 May 2014

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    The Kodiak Middle School will see some upgrades in the near future. During Thursday’s borough assembly meeting the assembly voted in favor of a contract for phase 2 of a concrete repair project at the school. Borough Manager Bud Cassidy said the repairs will be made to the side walks and walls.
    “They are in desperate need of repair, just go over there and take a look.”
    Cassidy said money for the work was approved in 2004 with an approval by voters.
    “It’s really the last 2004 bond project left. It was previously bid and the bids came in over budget.”
    He said the scope was changed and the project was re advertised. Two bidders came forward for the contract.   
    “We’re recommending awarding the contract to S&S Enterprise Kodiak Lawn Care  in the amount of $403,263.”
    The assembly voted unanimously in favor of awarding the contract. Cassidy didn’t specify when the repair work might begin. 

May 02 2014
Assembly Advances Compensation Ordinance PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 02 May 2014

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           Last night the assembly approved an ordinance that would adopt and implement a new employee classification and compensation plan. The plan was actually the result of a study done by Fox Lawson and Associates last May, but it took a year to make its way back to the assembly for a vote.
           Bill Roberts works for the borough’s assessing office and said the plan had to go through a quorum of the personnel advisory board.
           “That was a problem, we finally got it in November. There was some people that had questions. Couldn’t re-meet with that board until I think February or March, so now you have this thing instead of being before you in August, you have it before you now.”
            That wouldn’t be a problem, except for the study found some borough employees were underpaid, and part of the implementation would bring their salaries in line with similar jobs around the nation.
            The ordinance was amended during last night’s meeting to implement the plan as of January 1, 2014, meaning borough employees that were underpaid according to the study would be retroactively paid for the past five months.
            While that amendment was ultimately approved, Assemblyman Tuck Bonney voiced objection to the retroactive pay.
             “I do support the study. It gives Bud the tools he needs to hire people. But like I said before I can’t support the retro. And somebody said to me, we have a responsibility to borough employees. Well I have a responsibility to the community of Kodiak, and that overrides everything. And I don’t think quarter million dollars in bonus money is in the best interest of this community.”
              Assemblywoman Carol Austerman said she didn’t feel like borough employees should be punished by the borough process when it was known more than a year ago that certain positions were underpaid.
              “And it’s the reason that the assembly implemented the salary study however many years ago now at this point because it took an awful long time to get the original salary study done. So I think that we have drug our feet knowing full well that we’ve underpaid some of our employees for a very long time.”
             If it had gone through faster, Austerman said the money would have gone to the employees anyway.
             The assembly voted 5-2 on the first reading of the classification and compensation ordinance. It will now move to a public hearing and second vote at the assembly’s next regular meeting.  

May 02 2014
Unalaska Delta Western Unionization Ceretified PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 02 May 2014

Annie Ropeik/KUCB
    It’s official: Delta Western fuel supply workers in Unalaska are unionized. The National Labor Relations Board certified the workers’ vote to join the Inland Boatmen’s Union last week, according to an IBU statement.
    The workers had voted by an eight to 15 margin to join the union in early April. An NLRB representative oversaw the election.
    The next step will be to negotiate a contract for the workers. The IBU will head up that process.
    The road to unionizing began in February, when Delta Western workers walked off the job in
protest of alleged workplace mistreatment. They went on strike again in March and filed a federal complaint with the NLRB, saying their managers were using illegal methods to punish them for striking and to keep them from organizing.
    The group petitioned to join the IBU soon after. They’re now the only unionized Delta Western terminal in Alaska.

May 01 2014
The Alaska Fisheries Report PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 01 May 2014

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Coming up this week, Togiak herring season is open, but there’s something less than a mad rush to get nets in the water; winter king trolling has wrapped up in Southeast, and the possibility of a herring transplant. We had help from KDLG’s Mike Mason in Dillingham, KCAW’s Robert Woolsey and Emily Foreman in Sitka, and KFSK’s Joe Viechnicki in Petersburg.

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