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Apr 29 2014
City Adds New Fees to Different Facilities PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 29 April 2014

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           Next winter folks will have to pay a small fee to use the ice rink at Baranof Park. That was one of a handful of fee changes and additions the Kodiak City Council discussed during its regular meeting last week. City Manager Aimee Kniaziowski said the fee will be similar, if not identical, to what people are charged at the swimming pool meaning $1-$2 depending on someone’s age.
            Kniaziowski said the rink is a very labor intensive facility that the city has to operate, and the suggested fees will help cover its operating costs.
            Another fee heading to the city this year is what Kniaziowski called a “visitor card” for the public library. 
            “Which would be you know, someone who doesn’t live here who would like access to the library, it would be a $10 fee for that.”
             She said the rates for the use of the library’s multipurpose room will be increasing to offset costs of wear and tear in the new building.
             The city council held a public hearing on the proposed fee changes during the regular meeting. While no one commented on the fees that were being suggested, Judi Kidder did suggest adding another to the list. She said some sort of enforcement fee in the community might help off set the cost of having to remove junk items from public property.
             “I think it’s a very important thing in light of the trash being dumped out in the community.”
             The council voted unanimously in favor of the fee changes.

Apr 29 2014
Bike Clinic Will Educate Local Riders PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 29 April 2014

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            As the temperature hopefully starts warming up in the next few weeks, some folks might take to Kodiak’s roads on two wheels, rather than four. For those looking to get some biking in this year, be it recreationally, or simply to get from point A to point B, there will be a community bike clinic on Saturday at Bayside Fire Station.
           Sandra West is a certified bike instructor from the League of American Bicyclists and said Saturday’s workshop will help the island’s cycling enthusiasts in all matters of the sport.
            “Choosing a bike, fitting a bike to you, so that you are more comfortable riding your bike. We’re going to go over some basics mechanics and maintenance. We’re going to talk about how to change a tire, which is the most common maintenance need.”
             The clinic will also provide tips and tricks for handling bikes on different terrain, including roads with lots of pot holes – something we here in Kodiak are all too familiar with.
             “These little tricks probably mountain bikers know, but more than half of all bicycle crashes are due to pot holes or hazards on the road and these handling techniques are really cool for avoiding hazards on the road. Very helpful.”
             The clinic will also cover traffic rules for bikers, including how to change lanes on the road and make themselves more visible to vehicles.
             Tom Pogson is also a certified bike instructor and said the event costs $20 and will run from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.
             “It’s a fabulous amount of knowledge and it’s exciting and fun and there’s some really cool maneuvers to do out in the parking lot and just some things that you never imagined you could do on a bike that are pretty easy if you know the right techniques.”
             The same course costs $50 in Anchorage, and West joked that folks are getting the Kodiak discount by participating on Saturday. People will need to bring their own bike, lunch, water, rain gear and a notepad if they’d like.
             A similar workshop will be held for kids 14-years-old and younger on May 31 in conjunction with the Bike Rodeo. West said those who participate on Saturday and then help out with the rodeo next month will get their $20 fee reimbursed.

Apr 28 2014
Bears Sweep Mariners in NLC Action PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 28 April 2014

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    The Kodiak High School Bears baseball team swept arch-rival Homer over the weekend at Baranof Park.
    On Friday, the Bears racked up 10 runs in the first one-and-a-third inning on the way to a 17-0 blanking of the Mariners. Austin Frick had four runs on three-for-three hitting. Jakob Arnold no-hit Homer in the mercy-rule-shortened four-inning game.
    On Saturday, Frick had two more runs, as did Myles Wilson, Sam Kirkenslager and Joe Schactler to lead the Bears to a 10-5 victory.
    Joe Levan got the win for Kodiak, giving up two unearned runs while striking out nine.
    Kodiak moved to 5-4 overall and 2-0 in the NLC. 

Apr 25 2014
Nicola Belisle Speaks Out on Guilty Verdict in CommSta Murders PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 25 April 2014

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    Now that the jury has returned a guilty verdict against James Wells in the Coast Guard CommSta murder trial, Nicola Belisle, the widow of retired Chief Petty Officer Richard Belisle, said she finally felt free to comment on the shooting deaths of her husband and co-worker Petty Officer First Class James Hopkins on April 12, 2012. She spoke with KMXT’s Jay Barrett Friday afternoon.

Apr 25 2014
Jury Deliberates Just One Day in CommSta Murder Trial PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 25 April 2014

The Associated Press/Jay Barrett/KMXT    A federal jury in Anchorage today (Friday) convicted James Wells of murder in the shooting deaths of two of his co-workers at Coast Guard communications station Kodiak two years ago.
    Wells, 62, was charged in the 2012 shooting deaths of Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class James Hopkins and retired Chief Petty Officer Richard Belisle. Wells did not testify at his trial.
    Jurors began deliberating yesterday (Thursday) afternoon, and a day later, found Wells guilty of two counts each of first-degree murder, murder of an officer or employee of the United States, and possession of a firearm in a crime of violence.
    Outside the courtroom, Hopkins' widow, Deborah, said she was satisfied with the verdict and now her husband could rest. She said the guilty verdict will help with closure, but not completely.
    Federal prosecutors earlier said they would not seek the death penalty if Wells was convicted. He faces life in prison, and his sentencing was set for July 8.
    Federal public defender Rich Curtner had no comment on the verdict.
    The victims were found in the morning of April 12, 2012, in the CommSta rigging shop, where antennas are built and repaired. Hopkins, 41, was an electronics technician from Vergennes, Vermont. Belisle, 51, was a former chief petty officer who continued service to the Coast Guard as a civilian employee.
    Prosecutors contended Wells, also a retired Coast Guardsman employed as a civilian technician, resented the growing influence of Belisle and Hopkins in the shop where he had been a nationally recognized antenna expert. Prosecutors said Wells meticulously planned an alibi, sneaked onto the communications station and gunned the two men down.
    According to the government's theory, after the shootings, Wells went back home and called Hopkins' work phone, leaving a message saying he would be late for work because of a flat tire. Prosecutors say the flat tire was a ruse to give him a cover story for committing the murders.
    According to authorities, Wells told the FBI he started driving to work, detected a soft tire, stopped at a hotel near the Kodiak airport entrance, checked the tire and returned home to change it.
    A security camera at the nearby Coast Guard main gate recorded his truck heading for the communication station shortly before 7 a.m. and driving in the opposite direction toward his home 34 minutes later.
    Wells' wife was out of town the day of the shooting, and her blue SUV was parked at the Kodiak airport not far from the communications station. Investigators believe a blue vehicle seen in blurry security footage belonged to Wells' wife and concluded he switched cars, waited for Hopkins to drive by, followed him to the communications station and shot him and Belisle.
    Curtner and defense attorney Peter Offenbecher of Seattle contended authorities too quickly focused on Wells and ignored other possible suspects. They said prosecutors had no eyewitnesses, no confession, no murder weapon and no physical evidence linking Wells to the homicides.

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