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Feb 13 2014
City to Discuss Reinstating a Cooperative Extension Agent
Thursday, 13 February 2014

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           It’s a double feature in terms of municipal government meetings tonight. The city council will hold a regular meeting starting at 7:30 p.m. and the borough assembly will hold a work session at the same time.
           Starting with the city’s agenda, council members will take a look at their 2015 budget goals, and consider bringing a fulltime cooperative extension agent to Kodiak from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Kodiak had an agent from 1980 until1999, but members from the local Farm Bureau and Soil and Water Conservation District are hoping to bring one back.
           Joe Dinnocenzo is the local manager of the Soil and Water Conservation District and spoke during the January 23 council meeting about the need for someone to help Kodiak growers year round.
           “A cooperative extension agent is a lot like a marine advisory agent. It’s a person that can funnel how to information about agriculture and gardening and agribusiness to people in Kodiak. Right now there’s a real need for, there’s a lot of people trying to get started in horticulture and high tunnels and there’s a lot of people interested in gardening that weren’t a few years ago. Most of these people are new to agriculture and to gardening and need a lot of help. A person funneling university accumulated knowledge to folks in Kodiak would be a big benefit to the community and help promote agriculture in Kodiak.”
           Dinnocenzo said an agent would also help the local 4-H program and Kodiak State Fair. 
           The borough assembly adopted a resolution to reinstate an extension agent during its January 16 meeting. If the council chooses to adopt its own resolution tonight it will be forwarded to the state. Any decisions will also need the approval of the University of Alaska Board of Regents.
           Switching over to the borough’s work session tonight, the assembly will continue its strategic planning during discussions. The goal is to hear the plan for borough governance and revisit other strategic planning topics like economic development, animal control and fire protection services. It will also hear updates from the solid waste advisory board, planning and zoning commission and parks and recreation committee.
           The assembly will also discuss non-profit funding, including the application process that non-profits will need to go through in order to receive borough funds.
           The city's regular meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. in the borough chambers. The assembly will meet at the same time, downstairs in the borough conference room.

 
Feb 12 2014
State-Waters Pot Cod Fishery Set to Open
Wednesday, 12 February 2014

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    Some of Kodiak’s pot cod fishermen will be shifting gears in the coming week. The National Marine Fisheries Service announced yesterday (Tuesday) that the Central Gulf of Alaska A-Season would close at noon today (Wednesday).
    Therefore, according to an announcement from Kodiak Fish and Game, the Kodiak area state-waters p-cod pot gear season will open at noon next Thursday (Feb. 20).
    The guideline harvest level for both pot and jig fishermen is 14.63-million pounds, with 7.32-million pounds set aside for pot sector. Of that, vessels greater than 58 feet overall are limited to 3.66 million pounds.
    In the announcement Fish and Game reminds vessel operators participating in the parallel fishery that they may store open and unbaited pots during the seven days between now and the opening of the state-waters season. Additionally, only 60 pots per boat may be fished in the state season.

 
Feb 12 2014
State Looking to Donate 6K Cases of Pinks to Philippines
Wednesday, 12 February 2014

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    The State of Alaska is looking for someone to supply over 6,000 cases of pink salmon to be donated to disaster relief efforts in the Philippines. That adds up to nearly 150,000 15-ounce cans.
    In an announcement this week, the State Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development, is soliciting bids for the purchase and shipment of the salmon to Cebu.
    The state did not give an estimate of what the salmon and shipping might cost, but they did specify it must be Alaskan.
    Interested parties can contact the Division of Administrative Services for more information and necessary documents. Bids will be opened on February 19th.

 
Feb 12 2014
Additions to USCG Bill Benefits Fishermen
Wednesday, 12 February 2014

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    Several provisions to the Coast Guard Reauthorization Act added by Alaska Congressman Don Young could have direct implications in Kodiak.
    One would give the Coast Guard commandant the discretion to approve leases of submerged or tidal land for longer than the current term of five years. He cited such unused land in Womens Bay, which could be freed up for long-term leasing if the act passes. Young said the current limitations inhibit future economic development.
    Additional language in the bill would require the Coast Guard to determine if it’s feasible to refurbish the ice-breaker Polar Sea, which is currently out of service. If the ship is not worth putting back in service, the Coast Guard would also be tasked to look at leasing or purchasing new icebreakers. Only two icebreakers are currently in the U.S. fleet.
    The Maritime Lien Reform Act is included in the reauthorization bill. It would prohibit creditors from placing a lien on commercial fishing permits. State law already prohibits such liens, but the practice is allowable under federal admiralty law.
    Also of interest to commercial fishermen, the act would permanently exempt fishing vessels and other small commercial vessels from having to obtain EPA permits before discharging such rain water runoff, air conditioner condensate, and bilge water from their vessels.

 
Feb 12 2014
McDonald Weighs in on Education Legislation
Wednesday, 12 February 2014

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           There’s a lot of moving and shaking in the Alaska legislature this year, especially when it comes to education. Last month Governor Sean Parnell introduced his omnibus education bill, which proposed a handful of changes to different aspects of the state’s education system.
            One of the biggest changes Parnell proposed was repealing the high school exit exam. In order for any student in Alaska to get their high school diploma, they must pass this test. The legislature has heard testimony over the past few weeks from parents and educators in support of repealing the exam, and many referred to it as an unnecessary obstacle to graduation.
             Kodiak’s Superintendent Stewart McDonald spoke on KMXT’s Talk of the Rock last week and touched briefly on the subject.
             “If removing the exit exam means our students can receive a diploma for completing a program without that exit exam, I’m all for that. If we really want to educate all children we need to find a way to make sure all of our children who complete programs get a diploma whether they’re in special education or otherwise.”

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