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Apr 21 2015
Tusty Delayed in Ketchikan Shipyard - Will Miss First Scheduled Unalaska Run PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 21 April 2015
The Alaska State Ferry Tustumena pulls into its homeport of Kodiak in this KMXT file photo.
Lauren Rosenthal/KUCB
Kodiak and Alaska Peninsula residents will have to wait a little longer for the Tustumena ferry to make its return to the region.

The Tusty's first trips in May -- including a run down to the Aleutian Chain -- have been canceled due to delays in shipyard.

The vessel was only supposed to undergo minor repairs in Ketchikan this winter. But Department of Transportation spokesperson Jeremy Woodrow says the aging ferry needed some extra help.

“The work that they're doing is focused on some hull structures in areas around the car deck,” he said. “Not significant items, but they are items that need to be repaired before the vessel can be certified by the Coast Guard.”

Woodrow says Coast Guard personnel will be checking in over the next few weeks to make sure the work meets their standards. He expects the vessel to return to service by May 12.

In the meantime, affected passengers will be contacted by the Alaska Marine Highway System to set up new reservations. 
Apr 21 2015
NOAA Proposes to Remove Ten Whale Population Segments from Endangered Species List PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 21 April 2015
humpback_whale_noaa.jpgHumpback whale. Via Wikipedia

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Humpback whales have had protection under the Endangered Species Act since 1970, after whaling threatened their existence. Now, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration proposes to categorize the humpback whale into 14 distinct population segments, or DPSs, and take 10 off the list of endangered or threatened animals.

Kate Wynne is a UAF Marine Mammal Specialist with the Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center. She says biologists use feeding and breeding areas as two ways to distinguish between population segments. In the case of this proposal, Wynne says biologists put more emphasis on breeding grounds and genetic makeup when defining the DPSs.

Wynne says it’s a good idea from a biological perspective, but it could get complicated from a management perspective because not all whales from one breeding ground consistently go to one feeding ground.

“You don’t know in the middle of the Southeast Alaska humpbacks, where that humpback came from because they mix on the feeding grounds,” says Wynne.

The 220-page proposal states the “high fidelity” of whales’ winter and summer feeding grounds, but it also acknowledges the possible shifts in those patterns. Bree Witteveen, another Marine Mammal Specialist at the Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center, says there’s a lot more intermixing than biologists originally anticipated.
“Folks assumed that all the whales that fed in Alaska would migrate down to Hawaii to breed and all the whales that fed in California would migrate down to Mexico to breed and the more that we studied the whales, the more we understood that it wasn’t nearly as simple as that,” says Witteveen. “And so, you get animals that are breeding in Mexico for example and you might find some of those animals feeding off of California or off Kodiak or even into the Aleutian islands.”)

Witteveen says the people who will be the most affected are regional fishing groups, some of which petitioned NOAA to reevaluate humpback whales as an endangered species.

“The whole reason that NOOAA went through and reevaluated humpback whales is because they were petitioned by certain groups to reevaluate their status as an endangered species,” Whitteveen says. “And one of these groups was for example a fishing group in Hawaii who felt they shouldn’t be designated as an endangered species anymore. And so it generally could result in more fishing areas being opened up or less restrictions on where they can fish and interact with whale habitat for example.”

NOAA proposes to keep four DPSs on the list, two of which enter US waters: the Central America segment and the Western North Pacific segment, which would both be labeled as threatened. The other two would remain on the endangered list and are in the Arabian Sea and off Cape Verde Island off Northwest Africa.

NOAA has opened a 90 day public comment period on the delisting and welcomes feedback on the proposal, which you can read here.

    Electronic Submissions : Submit electronic comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go here, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. (Note: Comment button not currently active.)
    Mail: Submit written comments to Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910.
Apr 20 2015
Exploring Medieval Cookery: Andalusian Stuffed Eggs PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 20 April 2015


Amateur food historian and SCA Arts and Sciences Officer, Jennifer Hansen (far right), with her two young assistants in the St. James the Fisherman Episcopal Church kitchen. Kayla Desroches/KMXT


Kayla Desroches/KMXT


The Kodiak branch of the Society for Creative Anachronism held a festival on Saturday. Members demonstrated their craftsmanship and fencing prowess at lessons that continued between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The group also held a medieval potluck for lunch. 


2.73 MB | Download MP3 | Open in popup



Jennifer Hansen is SCA’s Arts and an amateur historical cook and arranged the potluck. She keeps medieval spices like long-pepper, galingale, and powder forte on her shelf at all times alongside cookbooks with recipes from the Middle Ages. 


She turned to her library once again for SCA’s Saturday potluck and settled on Andalusian stuffed eggs, the equivalent to devilled eggs in 13th century Spain.


“You hard cook your eggs and you cut them in half and then you take the yolks out – all this sound familiar – then they want you to put in some cilantro juice, onion juice, pepper, coriander, and then something called murray,” says Hansen. “And this is where go 'Goodness, what’s murray?' Someone had figured out how to  make something that tastes almost exactly like mild soy sauce.”


For the sake of convenience, Hansen uses actual soy sauce for her recipe.


She and her assistants serve the eggs in halves, but she says people would have eaten the entire egg in the thirteenth century. In one go.


“Back then, chickens were smaller, their eggs were smaller, and to make a neat mouthful, you’d want to put the egg back together. Just BOOP, like that. And it would be a nice, neat little mouthful,” says Hansen. “Well, now we look at this go 'An entire hard-boiled egg? Are you kidding?' Well, they’d never seen an egg that big.”


Also on the menu are pasternacks in potage, or stew, and rolls alongside butter and hummus. Hansen says not all common medieval condiments and ingredients are easy to find.


She says the root galingale became popular in the Middle Ages after traders reached the East. She says it’s still common in India, but less so in Kodiak.


“It’s used to add depth to savory dishes,” says Hansen. “It’s a little bitter, kind of earthy. I asked around locally and the only people who even knew what it was were at the health food store and they sold it at that time as a medicine, but it’s all over cookbooks from Europe from 500, 600 years ago.”


Hansen says until the renaissance, cookbooks served as memory aids for professional cooks.


“They wouldn’t be using measuring cups and spoons, or thermometer, or anything like that, or timers,” Hansen says. “They would remember having seen someone else do it, that that’s the color of the chicken when it’s done, and this is what it smells like and so forth. So you’ll have lots of stuff here where it just says, ‘Cook it till it be enough.’”


Luckily for ambitious food historians like Hansen, many modern cookbooks have adapted medieval recipes to include measurements.


Hansen says she hopes to offer a series of classes this summer in medieval skills.              


She asks people from the community to offer up their talents and lead a class. If anyone uses natural dyes, sews, or has another unique skill, you can reach Hansen at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it    

Apr 20 2015
KHS Change Orders Explained, Project Updated PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 20 April 2015
Jay Barrett/KMXT
The members of the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly got an update on the high school renovation and construction project on Thursday night. Matt Gandel from the borough's projects office first walked the assembly through what has already been completed.
1.97 MB | Download MP3 | Open in popup

"The completed areas include paving of the Upper Mill Bay Parking lot, renovation of the gym, basement locker rooms, new boiler plant and new four-story tower, parking lot between the high school and the borough building and widening and paving of a portion of Egan Way,” Gandel said.

He then went over the phases of the project yet to be finished.

"Underway right now is Phase 6. Phase 6 is referred to as Area B, and it's what you see when driving by on Rezanof. It's where the new cafeteria, culinary arts classrooms and staff offices and special needs classrooms will be in that area. And that's scheduled to be complete by October 1st of this year. Phase 8 is the new main entrance and parking lot. The first part of that phase is the demolition of the eastern half of the Learning Center out here. And once that's gone, they'll start working on that main parking lot entry, and that's schedule to be done by the end of August of this year,” he said. “Phase 7 is the vocational education wing, which includes the auto shop, construction, design, welding, natural resources. That's most of the green area. And that's supposed to start when school ends and be complete by the end of the summer so those classrooms are ready when school starts in the fall."

Gandel also updated the assembly on the number of change orders requested by the contractors during the project, but first Borough Manager Bud Cassidy had a few words of explanation for the assembly members, saying change orders are routine, but the projects office tries to keep them to a minimum. 
Apr 20 2015
KATS to Expand Public Bus Service PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 20 April 2015
new_kats_bus.jpgPicture of new KATS bus used for current service. Via Senior Citizens of Kodiak

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Kodiak may soon get an extended public bus service.

Senior Citizens of Kodiak, which administers the Kodiak Area Transit System, conducted a survey from 250 businesses and organizations and received a lot of input and desire for extended service.

There has been a public route for an hour in the early morning and an hour in the evening, but according to the press release, respondents' transportation priorities are getting to work and shopping, which would require a wider range of times.

KATS currently provides transportation for 15 different local nonprofits. Jonathan Strong, the project specialist with Senior Citizens of Kodiak, says the new developments won't influence that.

“The big change is gonna be adding more hours and stops and hopefully having a bus dedicated to public service," says Strong.

Strong says they're still working out details, but that the fare would be two dollars each way with a goal to replace cash with tickets.
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