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Jan 30 2014
Warm Weather Restricts Roads in Kodiak PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 30 January 2014

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          This month's unusually warm weather is starting to affect local roads these days. This week the Alaska Department of Transportation implemented emergency weight restrictions on the Chiniak Highway and a portion of Rezanof Drive because unseasonal freezing and thawing is making the ground slightly unstable beneath roadways.
          Jill Reese is the media liaison for the DOT’s central region and said the weight restrictions are 75 percent of the legal axle loads.  
           “Unfortunately until further notice.”
           Reese said the weight limits won’t affect the average driver, and are intended more for commercial vehicles. 
           “It’s not the normal car, that’s no problem. This is commercial vehicles who register through our own weights and measures department here. So it’s commercial trucks who carry real heavy loads.”
           A-1 Timber uses the Chiniak Highway multiple times daily to carry logging loads to from Chiniak to Womans Bay, but a spokesperson for A-1 declined to comment on how the weight restrictions might be affecting the company’s daily operations.
           Reese said the freeze and thaw going on in Kodiak also might be affecting the general condition of some roads, which she said the department recognizes are already in poor shape.    
           “There is going to be some road work being done in the spring on several of the roads in Kodiak, so we realize that there are many roads that need repair, need upgrading, and the warm weather is just not doing them any favors.”
            The weight restrictions are in place for the entire length of the Chiniak Highway and Rezanof Drive from the end at milepost 13.75 to the Coast Guard Base, milepost 10.1.

Jan 29 2014
Committee Begins Hearings on Reading Bill PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 29 January 2014

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Senate Education Committee plans to hear a bill that would require school districts to have a strategy in place for addressing reading deficiencies in students in kindergarten through third grade.
    Districts under the bill authored by Sen. Gary Stevens are also to provide reachable goals for students so they can reach grade level expectations.
    “What we really find out is if our children, if they can read at a third-grade level, then the world is open to them,” he told KMXT radio. “They can go on and improve their reading skills and be good contributing members of our society and well-educated folks.”
    SB107 also lays out a system for parental involvement in deciding whether a student in kindergarten through third grade, who has significant reading deficiencies, should move on to the next grade.

Jan 29 2014
Sen. Stevens Optimistic Over Governor's Education Bill PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 29 January 2014

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    Governor Sean Parnell spoke at length about education during his state of the state address last week. As chair of the Senate Education Committee, Kodiak Senator Gary Stevens will deal directly with some or all of the governor’s education agenda.
    In the days after the Governor’s address, there was confusion over what sounded like a quid-pro-quo that in exchange for increased per-student funding for public schools the legislature would allow funding for private and religious schools. Stevens said he was confused by that too, but said Parnell has cleared that issue up.
    Speaking of allowing public funds to pay for religious and private schools, a bill introduced last year by Sen. John Coghill was not scheduled for a hearing in Senate Education. Stevens says it’s currently languishing elsewhere.
    Another item in Parnell’s omnibus education bill would do away with the current high school exit exam. That’s an item that Stevens had already introduced.
    Stevens points out that even if the exit exam is done away with in this year’s legislature, the change won’t be seen by high school students until next year.

Jan 29 2014
KDM Editor Sets Sights on New Opportunities PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 29 January 2014

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           After about three years with the Kodiak Daily Mirror, James Brooks is saying his goodbyes. The editor of Kodiak’s only daily print publication recently accepted a job with the Capital City Weekly in Juneau, and will be relocating there next month.
           Brooks said he applied for the job after a friend in Juneau called him and told him about the opening.
            “It’s never something I would have thought of on my own, but she called me up and said ‘hey I think you’d be a great fit for this job.’ And I said sure I’d put in for it, because I’m happy here, but low and behold it came up. And it took me weeks to think about this and say do I really want to do this because I’m happy here, I like Kodiak and I want to stay to stay in Kodiak. But you know, you always wonder what if. And whenever an opportunity comes up, there are so many trite sayings out there to grab every opportunity you can to see something new. And I think if I didn’t try something different I’d always wonder what if.”
             Brooks said he will be assistant editing the Juneau Empire when needed, in addition to editing the Capital City Weekly.
             Before Brooks came to Kodiak three years ago he was working for the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. He said it was fun to come to a smaller town and focus on local news and different industries than those in the interior.

Jan 28 2014
NOAA Extends Deadline on Underwater Acoustics Document PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 28 January 2014

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           The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has extended the public comment period for an acoustic noise study released last month. On December 27 the administration began soliciting comments on a study that examines how acoustic noise affects marine mammals. The comment period was initially supposed to end yesterday, but on Thursday NOAA announced the deadline would be extended until March.
            Bree Witteveen is a marine mammal specialist and said the study is basically a review of all the literature and studies done over several years compiled into a single document. She said that document was peer-reviewed by researchers in the marine mammal world who specialize in acoustics.   
            “And so NOAA is requesting feedback from the public, which they always do when they release a document like this, just to see if there’s any other insights or any other areas that they might be more inclined to look into.”
            Witteveen said the draft includes a list of marine mammals, what type of hearing they have and how they might be affected by different noises, either man-made or naturally occurring. Basically, the document identifies what noise levels are considered harassment to different animals.
            Once the public comment period closes, Witteveen said the document will probably used to draft guidelines or regulations for man-made noises in the marine environment. 

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