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Apr 03 2014
Bear Valley's Last Tee Time May Be This Summer PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 03 April 2014

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    Because of federal budget concerns, two military amenities in Alaska that are also widely enjoyed by civilians are facing an uncertain future. Both are golf courses – the one at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, and Bear Valley here in Kodiak.
    The courses will open this summer, but unless something changes, it will be their last season of operation. But members of the Kodiak Golfers Association are hoping that they can effect some change before the gates are locked for good. Al Shaw is the association’s president:
    “They generate most of their funds now under the congress passed years ago that (they) have to operate under profits that they generate. They don’t get a whole lot of money any more. It used to be deep pockets from the government – used to be just ‘here, let the troops have some fun,’” Shaw said. “It does cost a lot of money to operate both golf courses. The governments really aren’t set up to run the golf courses as a business, so it does tend to lose funds.”
    Shaw, who is a retired Army soldier and Coast Guard civilian employee, has been using the course since it was built in the 1980s.
    “I think it’s a very, very important function out there that does share with the Kodiak community and the Coast Guard. It keeps us close ties and everything else. But you know we’ve got a slate of options how we can run it,” he said. “I haven’t had a meeting yet with MWR people yet how we can keep the golf course open, and our Representative Alan Austerman suggested we set it as a concession to the Coast Guard, where we set up a board and the community will run the operation for the Coast Guard.”
    Steve O’Brien is an avid golfer and was the first course marshal at Bear Valley when he was the athletic director for the Coast Guard back in the 80s. He says the loss of the course would be widely felt through the community.

Apr 02 2014
Beaufort Testifies About Finding Bodies at CommSta in 2012 PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 02 April 2014

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Coast Guardsman who discovered the bodies of two murdered men nearly two years ago says he thought at first they were playing a prank on him.
    Petty Officer Cody Beaufort testified Wednesday in the trial of James Wells, who's charged with shooting to death retired Coast Guardsman Richard Belisle and Petty Officer James Hopkins at Coast Guard Base Kodiak Communication Station.
    Prosecutors say Belisle used a security card to open the Rigger Shop, a satellite building at the communication station, at 7 a.m. April 12, 2012. Hopkins' truck pulled in eight minutes later.
    Beaufort arrived at about 7:30 and found Hopkins lying in a break room. He spoke to Hopkins but received no response.
    Beaufort found the body of Belisle in an office near Belisle's desk. Beaufort returned to the break room to phone for help.
    The trial will continue Thursday at Federal Court in Anchorage.

Apr 02 2014
Stutes Announces State House Run PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 02 April 2014

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    The field is starting to get crowded in the race for House District 32. In an announcement posted online Friday, former Kodiak Island Borough Assemblywoman Louise Stutes stated her intentions to seek the seat currently held by Representative Alan Austerman.
    While HE has not declared his plans for re-election, Austerman’s daughter Carol announced last month her plans to run for his office, too.
    Stutes and Carol Austerman served on the assembly together for several years, and both describe themselves as fiscal conservatives, though Stutes says they weren’t always in agreement:
    “Just suffice it to say that we did not always vote in the same manner, fiscally, when we were both on the assembly at the same time.”
    Stutes left the assembly just over a year ago, and said the time seemed right to run for state house.
    “I had some discussion with Stormy, and it’s an opportune time. I have no children, no job, no children, nothing to hold me back, I can dedicate my full attention to that job. Stormy’s going to retire, and he said, ‘absolutely, I’m on board.’”
    As for her platform, she says it revolves around the sea, the same as the communities in District 32.
    “On thing that comes to mind immediately is the replacement of the Tusty. That’s a huge issue for southwest Alaska. That’s our highway, and we need to make sure that stays on track. That’s one of the many issues. Another issue is protecting our fisheries. That’s huge. Most all the communities of District 32 are affected by the fishing, or are fishing communities.
    The deadline for candidates to file for this year’s elections is June 2nd, and the primary will be held on August 19th.


*Editor's Note: Stutes intended to say she had no children at home.


Apr 02 2014
Kodiak High School Basketball Champs Get Key to City PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 02 April 2014

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    At the last Kodiak City Council meeting the coach and many of the players from the state championship-winning Kodiak High School Bears girls basketball team were in attendance, where they received the key to the city. Mayor Pat Branson praised the team, which went 27-0 while sweeping through the state tournament last month:
    “We are going to look for another decal to go on the street sweeper," Branson said. "We’re very proud of you. So thank you again for coming tonight.”
    Head Coach Amy Fogle thanked the mayor and the city for its support during the season:
    “One of the things I was most excited about going to the state tournament this year was that I don’t think the girls understood what kind of support they were going to get from the community,” Fogle said.
    Fogle pointed out that eight of the teams players were seniors, making their accomplishments that much more important to them:
    “It was just a great weekend. Just total domination by these girls, and their focus and what they wanted to accomplish when they stepped on the court," she said.

    "And it was a great game, and what a wonderful season you had," Branson added. "Thank you again for coming this evening – we’re very proud of you.”
    With a second perfect season and state championship on her resume’, Fogle becomes the first coach in Alaska history to accomplish the feat with both a girls team and a boys team. She was the coach of the Kodiak boys, who were perfect in 2001. Her current assistant coach, Nick Billings was the senior star of that team.

Apr 01 2014
CommSta Murder Trial Underway PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 01 April 2014

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An attorney for the Kodiak man charged with killing two co-workers at Coast Guard Base Kodiak's Communication Station says his client was elsewhere when the fatal gunshots were fired — a Kodiak airport bathroom.
    Federal defender Rich Curtner says James Wells suffered from intestinal issues after gallbladder surgery.
    Curtner says Wells on April 12, 2012, detected a problem with his truck tire but spent 20 minutes in the restroom of a Kodiak air service with chronic diarrhea before going home to change the tire.
    The timing is crucial.
    Federal prosecutors say Wells had a 34-minute time period to commit the murders between times when security cameras recorded him driving toward and away from the facility.
    Wells is charged with killing two of his coworkers at the CommSta, retired Coast Guardsman Richard Belisle and Petty Officer 1st Class James Hopkins.

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