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The LegHead Report

LegHead (ledj-hed) Report
weekdays at 12:20 p.m.

Dog Eared Reads


Galley Tables

Weekdays at 12:20 p.m.
Nov 17 2015
Kodiak Project Update: Pier 3 and Composting Facility Online Soon
Tuesday, 17 November 2015
Jay Barrett/KMXT 
A couple of major city projects are due to be functioning in the next month or so. City Manager Aimee Kniaziowski told the city council at its regular meeting Thursday that the Pier 3 wrap up is about a month away.

“The Pier 3 project continues. The contractors and subs are working on their respective tasks. Electrical work is the issue now while they're getting ready to get everything wired up so they can start working on commissioning that big electric crane,” Kniaziowski said. “ZPMC and Madsen are now expected to have that crane commissioned or operational by mid December. So it's running a little later than we thought but that seems like a reasonable time frame.”

The fly in that ointment is the on-going disputes between the city and general contractor on the job.

“As I mentioned at our last meeting, both staff and the project manager, we continue to work to resolve the disputes,” she said. “We have disputes with the prime contractor. And we’re trying to work through those, and that work continues.”

Meanwhile, Kniaziowski said the city’s new waste water sludge composting facility is due to go online at its location near the bailer facility at the borough landfill on December 9th.

“CH2M Hill will be on hand for training and other operational training and support. And we will accept bio solids at that new facility for processing within the first few days of its opening,” Kniaziowski said. “And the very last batches to be composted at the landfill, I think there'll be just one batch, will be delivered about December 3rd or 4th. And that project is going well, and it will be on schedule for completion very very quickly.”

Also at the meeting, Mayor Pat Branson and several council members congratulated the Kodiak Fire Department on 75 years of service to not just the city, but the entire greater Kodiak road system. There will be a public open house at the fire hall Wednesday (Nov. 18) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with past and present department members on hand to answer questions about the department’s history.

The council also voted to cancel the November 26th and December 24th regular meetings because of the upcoming holidays. 
Nov 17 2015
Seafood Processor Employees Consume Industry Advice & Meals at Training
Tuesday, 17 November 2015
chef_joel.jpgChef Joel prepares crab legs for lunch. Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

For the fifth year in a row, the Alaska Seafood Processor Leadership Institute convened in Kodiak to guide seafood plant employees through the business and technical sides of the seafood processing industry.

Its sponsors through the University of Alaska, including the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, bring in professionals to guide the participants in lectures on everything from marketing to waste elimination. Those sessions are meant to build leadership and management skills, expand participants’ knowledge, and give mid-level managers the tools to succeed in their positions.

2.93 MB | Download MP3 | Open in popup

Local Chef Joel Chenet gives a demonstration of how to prepare fish to a group gathered in the Center’s kitchen. He says, in his experience, people like bones removed.

“And that’s one thing I discovered doing those demonstrations either in supermarkets or different places with people - why people don’t cook fish. You know why? Fish smell. Well, if you do it quickly, you won’t get that smell. If you steam it, you won’t get that smell.”

Chef Joel spoons barbecue sauce made from salmonberries and wild blueberries over two salmon fillets and barbecues them on a flattop grill. As a last touch, he uses a blow torch to caramelize the sauce.

The Leadership Institute training began Monday, and organizers have provided a feast worthy of the fishing industry. Just entering the building, you see bags of salmon jerky on one counter and a separate table with coffee, scones, and other snacks.

And for lunch Chef Joel prepares blackened scallops, barbecued salmon, and king crab legs. Those he cuts length-wise.

This is the last day of the training, and lunch comes after several lectures, including one on equipment different processors use and one from a longtime member of the fishing industry who shares his experiences in Kodiak.

The 23 participants come from all over Alaska and have been tasked with bringing back new skills and ideas to their employers.
Chante Kochuten is based in Anchorage and works as a field office administrator at a community development quota program called the Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association.

“I knew that there were gonna be people who were just starting out in the industry, just like me, in processing industries all around Alaska, and it’s really good to network in the industry because as we move forward, the people that I’m meeting today are gonna be ten years down the line holding management positions in these companies.”

Joshua Maricich is a Quality Assurance Manager at Icicle Seafoods in Larsen Bay and says he comes for the change of pace.
“When you’re working during the salmon season, it’s very hands on, and you’re learning on the job – but this was an opportunity to come and speak with industry experts and be able to learn in the classroom. Projects like microbiology. And there are some wonderful academics here are able to teach us things that we can’t learn during the season in the plants.”

He says the program provides a holistic understanding of the industry by choosing instructors with a wide variety of expertise.  

The training in Kodiak is just one step in the entire program. Next, participants will choose mentors and work on projects through the winter to then present in March at a leadership meeting in Anchorage. The program culminates in Boston at Seafood Expo North America.
Nov 16 2015
City Awards Contract for New Snow Yard
Monday, 16 November 2015
Jay Barrett/KMXT
Though the last couple of winters have been as bereft of snow as this one has so far, the city of Kodiak still has need of a new plan for disposal of snow plowed from city streets. That's because the old plan, dumping it in ocean, is no longer viable. City Manager Aimee Kniaziowski briefed the Kodiak City Council Thursday night.

"There was a citizen's complaint to DEC, the state Environmental Conservation office, complaining that the city as we were removing snow from the streets, we had been dumping that snow into the channel in an effort to be expeditious in our snow removal in the main part of town,” she said. “However, we talked to DEC and came up with a plan. That plan is to build an engineered snow storage. We started on that conversation back in 2012. And these yards do require – they're not just a big vacant lot - they require engineering and specialty drainage."

Kniaziowski said the city received four bids, and the lowest was from Brechan for about $206,000. But, she said the site selected for the snow yard will result in slower snow removal.

"We'll be removing snow from the city streets as we always have, driving through Aleutian Homes up to the water treatment area, where it will be stored, and then managed until it melts,” she said. “So it's going to be slower and certainly not as effective and a little bit more expensive, but it's absolutely necessary. And it's our job to comply with DEC requirements, so we're recommending that you authorize this bid award. And it did come in at a very reasonable rate."

Councilman Charlie Davidson held this project up as an example of why local government can get expensive through no fault of its own.

"Instead of dumping it in the ocean, we have to now truck it to this site, which is going to increase our costs substantially with fuel and extra time doing it. And I just want to point out to the public, this is a prime example why sometime government doesn't seem efficient,” he said. “I guess the reason the DEC is requiring this is because of some of the pollutants that are on the road system and so they don't want that to go into the waterways."

The contract award passed unanimously. 
Nov 16 2015
Lions Club Members Convene for a Weekend of Brainstorming, Networking, and Learning
Monday, 16 November 2015
lecture_workshopping.jpgLions Club conference lecture. Via the Kodiak Lions Club

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Lions Clubs International is a world-wide organization dedicated to providing community service in different communities, from delivering glasses to in-need individuals to fundraising for disaster relief. However, Lions Clubs cast a wide net – different branches serve the needs that arise within their communities.

They also get a chance to hear from elected Lions members like International Director Karla Harris, who flew up from South Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the occasion. She’s one of the 34 Lions Club members from around the world who sit on the group’s Board of Directors.

3.19 MB | Download MP3 | Open in popup

Harris says small town community service groups like the Kodiak Lions Club provide valuable local service.

“It’s one thing to send a check for an activity maybe doing measles shots in Africa. That’s wonderful and it’s so important, but I think doing things right here in Kodiak is key. If you have people who need hats and clubs in winter who can’t afford to buy them - making them and giving them to people. That’s what counts. Doing local things makes a difference.”

Harris says the opportunity to help your neighbor gives community members a reason to join Lions Club.

Recruitment is one of the factors that is important to international director Lewis Quinn, who is based in Anchorage. He says membership is dwindling and one of his reasons for becoming an international director was so that he could help promote the group and rebuild representation.

“The culture in North America after World War II, we were a society of givers, we had a lot of wealth, we were trying to give back to the community, you know part of our towns, bringing up our kids in a different way. It was a society of us. And nowadays, as we’ve migrated with different generations and the culture in the Western civilization, we’ve become a society of me.”
Quinn says Lions Club numbers have been shrinking since the ‘60s and there hasn’t been any growth since the ‘90s, and says the group is working towards being an organization of “we” again.

He says to reach that goal they need all types of volunteers, like episodic members who rally around a common cause, but who don’t meet on a weekly basis.

“For example, the Bethel Winter House was probably one of my favorite projects in Alaska. That’s an episodic club that was designed around members that had the same vision of helping the homeless in the winter in Bethel, Alaska, so they came together to create a club that helps the homeless in the winter. They don’t do anything in the summer right yet. They may, but right now they don’t. But they come together in the winter just to help the people that need to be helped through the winter.”

Quinn says those are the kind of clubs he thinks people will migrate to.

While Lions Clubs International may not be as large as it was after WWII, it still has more than a million members in 195 countries. Around Kodiak, you’ll be able to identify some of those volunteers by their shiny yellow vests trimmed with blue. 

Nov 13 2015
Borough's Options re: Jackson's May be Limited
Friday, 13 November 2015
Kayla Desroches/KMXT
Jackson Mobile Home Park residents have been asking the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly for help since learning about the park’s upcoming closure, but it's becoming clear that the assembly’s options are limited at this late date. That’s according to Bill Roberts, who filled in for the borough manager at the assembly’s work session Thursday night.

Roberts said he checked in with the new owner of Jackson Mobile Home Park for an update on the disposition of some of the structures there.

“He said he had destroyed one unit as of Tuesday, this was. I checked with the building department. Only one permit was issued to move a mobile home from Jackson’s to an existing space in Rasmussen’s,” Roberts said. “The other thing that Kirk Rasmussen immediately got on it to get a conditional use permit to expand his park 29 spaces, but I don’t see anything happening up there.”

Roberts also explained that the borough’s lawyer has looked over several ordinances that are too late to be enacted. For instance, a statute that mandates mobile home park owners need to give more than 270 days eviction notice in the case of a land use change and one allowing a municipality to create a fund to cushion the blow for the evicted residents. 

Roberts furthermore described applications for several multi-year grants which require too much preparation to submit in time before the deadline. 

“One was a block grant through DCRA. Unfortunately that grant closes December 4. It’s a competitive grant. It’s for low and moderate income families,” he said. “And it could’ve been possible maybe to make it work for establishing a mobile home park, but you’d have to have the land already designated for the mobile home park, which means we’d have to do some kind of a land disposal.” 

Roberts said it’s unlikely they could construct a plan that would meet those requirements in time, and, he added, it’s also likely too late to seek federal help.

“It’s a short notice for even a local government to do things, as many meetings as it takes to get the line of action laid out. The biggest problem is, if we’re gonna help, we have to have a place to move the homes, and there is no place to move the homes,” he said. “That’s what I see as the biggest problem.”

During assembly member comments, Rebecca Skinner expressed her concern that the borough is able to complete a grant for fisheries issues, but not for matters like a mobile home park closure.

“I also agree with some of Mel’s (Assemblyman Stephens) comments that I don’t think it is the borough’s responsibility to fix these issues and honestly, I didn’t think we have the resources to fix it,” she said. “But if there’s grants that only municipalities can apply for and we had notice of it well over two months ago, I am concerned that we, or staff, didn’t bring this to our attention earlier and it makes me wonder, could something have been done?”

Roberts said he would get further updates and gather more data from the new owners of the Jackson Mobile Home Park property.
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