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Mar 26 2015
Port Lions Man Dies in Fire
Thursday, 26 March 2015

Via AP News

 

Alaska State Troopers say a person has died in a residential fire in Port Lions.

Troopers say a deputy fire marshal Monday recovered the remains of what is believed to have been 72-year-old Nicholas Nelson Sr. of Port Lions. Troopers in Kodiak were notified of the fire shortly after midnight Monday.

The single-family home was heavily damaged. According to troopers, the house had smoke detectors installed, but they did not appear to be functioning. Troopers say the remains have been sent to the state medical examiner's office for positive identification and an autopsy.

According to troopers, the fire originated in the crawl space of the home, but the circumstances have not been determined.

 
Mar 25 2015
State May End School Bond Reimbursement
Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

 

School districts across Alaska may see their state reimbursement for new projects and construction drop for the next five years. The Senate Finance Committee advanced legislation Monday to put a hold on the state's assistance in voter-approved bonds between January 1st, 2015 and 2020. On Wednesday, the senate voted 17 to 4 in favor of the bill.

 

Katie Oliver is the president of the Kodiak school board. She says that bonds made before this period will not be affected. This includes bonds for construction and maintenance made in the Kodiak school district.


“The new high school project was approved by the voters several years ago," says Oliver. "I think 2010. that project and the reimbursment of that project which is at the 70% rate is not in jeopardy or would not be impacted by senate bill 64.”


Oliver adds that after the five year period, state reimbursement will most likely drop.


“If the state chooses to reinstate the reimbursement program in 2020, the reimbursement rates will be reduced," Oliver says. "So, new school construction will go from a reimbursement rate of 70% to 50% and maintenance projects will go from 60% to 40%, but that will only impact new bonds, not existing bonds.”

 

The bill will continue from the Senate to the House for further review.

 
Mar 24 2015
Tsunami Test Across Coastal Alaska Wednesday Morning
Tuesday, 24 March 2015
Jay Barrett/KMXT
Wednesday morning, shortly after 10 o'clock, the State will be testing the tsunami warning system around coastal Alaska. The drill, according to the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management's Jeremy Zidek, is part of the state's Tsunami Preparedness week.

“Communities in tsunami-vulnerable areas will receive those warnings through NOAA weather radio, local television and  radio stations. It will be like that normal required monthly test," he said. "It will sound similar to that, except in this particular case we're going to be using those live codes. We want to make sure they work when there's an actual tsunami.”

If all goes as planned, you should hear the message on any radio station you're listening to, and on television, but Zidek says there is one caveat.

“Some television viewers might not hear the audio message if their televisions are turned down. In those cases they will see an actual tsunami warning message The audio will say it is a test message, but if they're not listening and they're only watching,  they may think it's an actual tsunami warning.”

He said the state is trying extra hard to get the word out about the drill in tsunami-prone areas, such as Kodiak and other coastal areas so there it doesn't cause undue concern among residents. City Fire Chief Jim Mullican said Kodiak's tsunami siren drill will be held at its normal time of 2 p.m. on Wednesday, also to keep confusion at a minimum.

Something else Zidek pointed out was that this drill is interactive. 

“We're asking that people go to ready.alaska.gov, fill out a short survey, so we know what station they were listening to, where the3y heard the message. Maybe they didn't hear it, and that's useful information for us as well. We can go back and remedy those problems," he said. "Perhaps the message came through, but they couldn't understand the audio. That's all information that we can take. We'll work with the broadcasters, make the system better.”

The survey will be available after the test happens, but he welcomed visitors to poke around and find out how they can become better prepared for emergencies, both natural and man-made. And that's good advice for anyone living in Kodiak, which has been laid low by volcanic eruption, earthquakes, tsunamis, and oil-spills in its history. 
 
Mar 24 2015
Preschool Changes Potty Training Policy
Tuesday, 24 March 2015

diapers.jpg Diapers hung up to dry. rowdyHarv /Flickr


Kayla Desroches/KMXT

It can be difficult to find licensed preschools for children who have yet to be potty trained. St. Paul Lutheran Preschool and Childcare Center will now accept kids who are not potty trained into their classes.

Katie Joca is the director at St. Paul Preschool. She says the staff hopes to  work with a new set of 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds who are nearly done with potty training. The change in policy will allow those children  to join their classmates while previously they'd have needed to wait.

“They have peer pressure," Joca says. "They get to follow other role models who are kids their age and be like, 'Look, I can do this.' And they also get the help and support from the teachers. And we've found that a lot of kids who are almost potty-trained and then they come into this environment, usually it's within a week. They're done.”

However, the biggest effect of the policy change is that St. Paul will admit 12 students to its new program for 2-year-old children who may not yet be potty trained. Before, they'd only served 3-year-olds and up. The curriculum will include open play, craft time, a once-weekly music class, along with other lessons.

“They will learn simple days of the week," says Joca. "Colors, following direction, what's the weather today, what's the date."

One class of six students will be Mondays and Wednesdays between 9 and 11 a.m., and the other will be held at the same time on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
St. Paul will show their teachers how to guide students through the potty training stage.

“Our teachers will be fully trained on how to sanitize properly, how to work with the child one-on-one, how to create a safe diapering environment," says Joca.

The new program will begin August 24th. Parents can learn out more about the program at the Children's Fair on April 11th at the Kodiak Baptist Mission Heritage Building.

 
Mar 23 2015
Auctioneer, Salesman, Magician
Monday, 23 March 2015

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Duane Hill, auctioneer from the Alaska Auction Company in Anchorage. Kayla Desroches/KMXT photos

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

The auctioneer wore a black suit and top hat and his voice boomed out over the main ball room at the Harbor Convention Center. Duane Hill is from the Alaska Auction Company. Saturday was the 6th time he's flown in from Anchorage to host the Kodiak Arts Council's 25th Annual Arts and Adventure Auction. Hill says that being an auctioneer is more than being the showman that people see behind the pedestal trying to wring every last dollar of value out of the auction items.

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“You need to be good at accounting," says Hill. "You need to be good with numbers. If you're an auctioneer, you know, you gotta get all the stuff organized, you gotta get all the stuff in. You have to be able to move a lot of stuff. You have to be able to lift hundreds of pounds without it bothering you too much.

And he's something of a magician too.

“When I get on an airplane, little kids all the time, you know, they'll say to me, 'Is that a magic hat mister?' And I go 'Yeah, it turns merchandise into money.'”

He says that that transformation is one of the most intriguing aspects of the auction business. He's a salesman. And once you hear him on the stage, you also realize he's an entertainer. Here he is speaking at the auction between bids.

“Back there young lady... and I know you have a serious coffee addiction. You better get this...You know, it's one of the few legal addictions you can have in this country”

Among the objects Hill sold in the outcry auction was a fire engine ride for five, a seat on a 4-hour bear viewing tour, and several original pieces by local artists. One of those artists, Mark Witteveen, is known for his metallic marine sculptures. This year, he contributed a coho salmon. 

 

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Mark Witteveen stands beside his sculpture.

 

“I use big hammers and wheels to stretch and shrink metal to make three dimensional sculpture," says Witteveen. "It's colored just with heat. I use a mixture of oxygen and propane and it just oxides the metal and then I use a little tiny torch to make spots."

Someone else donated a humpback whale of Witteveen's from their collection.

The Arts Council raised more than 30,000 dollars by the end of the night. 

 

 
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