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Oct 21 2015
Kodiak to Discuss Community Issues and Goals at Planning Day this Winter PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 21 October 2015
Kayla Desroches/KMXT

An event this winter will bring Kodiak community members together to collaborate and brainstorm on issues it would like to solve and improve upon within the community.

Kodiak Strong Planning Day is organized through Healthy Tomorrows, a grant-funded group governed by a steering committee with members from organizations around town. Its Community Wellness Coordinator, Merissa Koller-Williams, says this is the first time Kodiak will host a planning day like this one and it’s meant to be organic for those involved.

“They share their ideas about what sort of citizen driven healthy initiatives can help improve the community and then their ideas are split into different categories, so nutrition, physical activity, protective factors, and then there’s kinda like a group of random ideas, and those groups break out and they talk about their ideas. And then the large group comes back together and everyone has 30 or 40 seconds to pitch the idea to the group.”

She says the large group will have a facilitator, and she’s scouting for facilitators for the individual groups too. She says they will serve as guides and will need to be neutral.
“To not put your own spin or your own initiatives or the plan. Keep things moving and keep things positive is a really strong trait in a facilitator that’s probably gonna be necessary here. They don’t get to vote, they don’t get to provide any explanations, they are just literally there to help people make a plan that can be completed in the next 365 days.”

Koller-Williams says the facilitator for the large group, Doug Osborne, comes from the initiative Kodiak Strong Planning Day is modeled after: the Sitka Health Summit’s Planning Day. She says she and a member of the Healthy Tomorrows steering committee visited Sitka to attend its Planning Day about two weeks ago.

“It was one of the most positive community experiences I’ve ever been a part of, and Doug does a really great job of not only keeping things moving, but really keeping things positive and reminding people we’re here to improve them, improve us, improve quality of life in Sitka, and I’m hoping that we’re able to bring that to this event.”

She says it will be called Kodiak Strong Planning Day in part to distinguish it from its Sitka-based inspiration.
“The Sitka Health Summit is actually the organization that puts on their community planning day, so somehow it got sort of translated here that we were gonna have our own health summit, but it’s technically a planning day as put on by Healthy Tomorrow. So, we wanted to give the event a name that explained it, but also gave it an inspirational undertone.”

Koller-Williams says the Planning Day also went through a date change.

“Originally the event was going to be November 12, but after visiting the Sitka Health Summit, we found that the college would be the best venue. It offers a large room where the whole group can gather and it has all the audio-visual components that we’ll need, and it also offers break-up space for smaller groups.”    

She says it was not available on the desired date, and they were reluctant to schedule the Planning Day for November 11 since it’s Veteran’s Day, so they settled on Wednesday, December 2 as the next date that worked for those involved.
Koller-Williams says the event will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Kodiak College and they’re capping the event at 50 people, so she says those interested should pre-register.

Go to the Healthy Tomorrows Facebook page for more information.
Oct 21 2015
Mayor Pat Branson Makes Statement on Pletnikoff Case PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 21 October 2015
Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Last night at the Kodiak City Council work session, mayor Pat Branson started off the meeting by reading a statement on the case of Nick Pletnikoff, an autistic 28-year-old Kodiak man who was beaten and pepper sprayed by three Kodiak police officers over a month ago.

“I understand that some members of our community are frustrated and upset by the lack of information from the city regarding the incident that occurred on September 16 involving an individual and the police. I want to take this opportunity to assure the Kodiak community that the city council, myself, and the city administration are treating this matter as one of utmost importance and are confident that the city will respond to the public’s concern and take steps to protect all citizens. We all want to know the facts and what happened.

“The city hired an independent, third party private investigator to conduct a thorough review of the details and circumstances regarding this case. While we have an obligation to be responsive to community requests, since this is a legal matter, we have a greater obligation to preserve the confidentiality of the documents and records and protect the rights of all individuals during this investigation, even if protecting the records from disclosure during the investigation results in criticism.

“Thorough investigations take time to complete. They involve policy and internal records reviews, reviews of video and audio recordings, individual interviews and compilation of findings and recommendations. Upon completion of investigation, the city will release many of the records that are currently protected from disclosure due to the current investigation.

“We request your patience and want to reiterate that we are committed to obtaining all the facts and being responsive to the community and its concerns, as well as being transparent in our governance. We also want to consider and support the men and women of our Kodiak Police Department who protect and serve our community 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and continue to provide for the safety of each of us.”
Several members of the community spoke up during public comments.

One of those speakers, Betty MacTavish, brought up questions about the actions following the incident and the mystery surrounding them.

“At this point the officers have not been identified. Are they on administrative leave? Have they been terminated? There’s supposed to be an independent investigation. Who’s conducting that investigation and what is their timeline? What about that pesky little freedom of information act? What steps are being taken to assure the public that this incident will not be tolerated within the culture of our city police department?”

So far, these questions remain unaddressed.
When KMXT last spoke with the Pletnikoff family’s attorney, they were considering legal action. You can find more information on the family’s response here.
Oct 20 2015
Talk of the Rock: Threshold Services PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 20 October 2015
5.61 MB | Download MP3 | Open in popup

Host Kayla Desroches talks recycling with Threshold Services Director, Ken Reinke and two members of the Threshold board, president Chris Lynch and secretary Gretchen Wing. They discuss community invovlment, employing people with disabilitie, the importance of recycling, and how they reach out to community members.
Oct 20 2015
Marine Debris Waiting in Seattle PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 20 October 2015
marine_debris_usda_flickr.jpgAn example of marine debris on a beach. Via USDA Forest Service Alaska Region/Flickr

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

A barge that picked up marine debris along coastlines in Alaska and British Columbia this summer has delivered its cargo to Seattle, but organizers are waiting for a variance to go through before they can sort the debris.

Chris Pallister is the president of Gulf of Alaska Keeper, a nonprofit involved in tsunami debris cleanup and one of the main organizations behind the removal, and he says they’re working with a group called Parley for the Oceans, which focuses on the sustainability of the world’s seas.

“Parley for the Oceans wants to sort it all and then recycle a lot of it and use a lot of it themselves in some of the proprietary processes they have for spinning yarn and things like that. They make designer clothing out of it. Any plastic that they can use in their process. I think they’re gonna take all the nets and lines and then they get it all and run it through their process and come up with a fiber at the end of it.”

They can do that once they’re able to go through the debris. Robin Freedman is the Senior Communications Manager at Waste Management and explains through email that the group has been working to get a seperate permit for more than a year and cannot apply for further permits until they obtain those permissions. However, in order to sort the marine debris, Waste Management has applied for a variance from the City of Seattle Department of Ecology and Department of Public Health and is currently waiting for its approval.

Pallister says he doesn’t know when they will get those permissions or how long it usually takes.

“Waste Management’s doing their very best to get it sorted out, and they really, truly want to recycle this stuff, so they’re going to the extra mile to make it happen and they’re providing their yard free of charge and the rest of it, and Parley’s putting money into building containment facilities and things like that, so everybody’s trying really hard to get this done.”

Pallister says this is the first time they’ve gone through this proces and that there’s a lot they can learn and improve upon for the next time around.

Correction 10/23: A former version of this article was vague with regards to the type of document Waste Management is applying for and from who.
Oct 19 2015
Haines Faces Last Week as Councilman PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 19 October 2015
Jay Barrett/KMXT
Thursday will be the last meeting for Kodiak City Councilman Terry Haines. A commercial fisherman, Haines felt he might miss too many meetings because of work and become a burden to his fellow councilmen.
“It's always a problem with fishermen. Your schedule is always going to be in flux. And of course the folks that I fish with have really helped me out when it was possible to change a day or two of timing and then they've allowed me to go and do my duties as a city council member, too, at times,” Haines said. “But there are just times when you have to make those meetings. You know it doesn't matter how caught up you are in the issues or even if you went to the work sessions, you to to be there at that meeting to cast that vote. It's a very essential part of the job.”
Haines says modern technology is making it easier for council members to obtain meeting packets, even while at sea, and he'd like to see the opportunity to attend meetings remotely.
“It would be nice if you could attend these meetings from afar. You know, telecommunicate in some way. I think that would make it helpful for a lot of people who tend to be out of town,” he said. “You know that's one thing about living on an island – you fly away. You're not even close to the darn meeting. You know, that's the one thing I've heard people talk about the most.”
Haines says he will miss serving on the council.
“The more you know about what's happening in the city and the more you know about the issues and concerns and it's ever-evolving and always changing. It's like a story that you're able to participate in,” he said. “And I think serving on a body like the Kodiak City Council is very rewarding, because the people I've had the pleasure of serving with have had the city's best interest in mind, have been people who are able to express their own opinion, but yet listen to other people. And in the end, we've always been able to put the business of the people first and our own concerns second.”
There are two years left on Haines' current term, which will be filled by Laura Arboleda, who ran unopposed during the October 6th municipal election.
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