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 When you go shopping this week you can help the women and children at the Kodiak Women's Resource & Crisis Center. KWRCC has a long wish list of items that would help their families in crisis. You can help by purchasing one or more of the items and dropping them off at KMXT, 620 Egan Way by 5pm on Friday - we'll make sure everything gets to the KWRCC for Valentine's Day. Find a copy of the list here:  kwrcc_wish_list_jan_2016 

 
Oct 22 2015
Random Website Ranking May Not Be Best Way to Judge Kodiak's Safety
Thursday, 22 October 2015
Jay Barrett/KMXT
You may have seen this, along with a little debate on Facebook, or on the front page in the Kodiak Daily Mirror, but either way, folks have been talking this week about a survey that showed the City of Kodiak is the second most dangerous city in Alaska.

The website “Road Snacks dot net” of Durham, North Carolina, says they only used one source for the listing – three years of data mined from the FBI's Uniform Crime Report. According to that data, a Kodiak resident has a 1-in-75 chance of being a victim of violence and a 1-in-23 chance of being a victim of a property crime.

Road Snacks dot net's methodology did not sit well with Chastity McCarthy, who, as the executive director of Discover Kodiak, is paid to be the community's top cheerleader.

“If you go on to Road Snacks 'About Me' section, it literally says the mission is to '... try to paint a picture of what’s happening in a region based on 'Friday Night Science' — how’d you argue at a bar,'” she said.

The survey, done with figures found online by the Road Snacks crew, has also recently had posts titled, “The 10 Dumbest Cities in Ohio,” “The 10 Most Ghetto Cities in California,” and “The 10 Fattest Cities in Wisconsin.”

The study included Alaska cities of 2,500 people or more, but they only list Kodiak City's population of about 6,500, not including the road system's equal number of residents, which likely would have lowered the community's danger score. 

McCarthy thinks that's only one example of how incomplete their data is.

“I think that Road Snacks is just incomplete, and they kind of tort the information the way they want it to be torted, basically. So they put population 6,564. Well, source: it states there Wikipedia – not correct," she said. "I just think that they basically tailored the information to sell the headline.”

And while Road Snacks dot net may have been trying to be helpful, McCarthy said a negative post like that could wind up doing the opposite.

“I haven't had anyone contact me yet, but I have a few people in town on my Facebook who've shared it, and then I've seen their relatives from out of state be like, 'Wow, I used to really promote or want to go to Kodiak, and now I don't know about that.' So it's definitely going to have an impact,” she said.

In response, McCarthy has posted to Facebook several updated sources for data on Kodiak's crime statistics and general livability.

“I just posted some factual web sites that actually provide real gathered data. So, the FBI statistical report, Bureau of Justice, Uniform Crime Reporting, the Alaska State Crime Reporting, America's Health United Foundation reporting," she said. "I think that those provide actually gathered statistical data.”

The most dangerous city in Alaska, according to Road Snacks dot net is Kotzebue. After Kodiak comes Homer, Wasilla, Anchorage, Fairbanks, Soldotna, Bethel, Juneau and Kenai.
 
Oct 22 2015
Altered Books, Turning One Form of Art Into Another
Thursday, 22 October 2015
jacqueline_madsen_book_art.jpgAn example of altered book art by Jacqueline Madsen. Photo by Jacqueline Madsen

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Writers create images between the covers of books that only your mind’s eye can see, but some artists also create literal images in those same pages.  

This weekend, a local artist will lead an altered book workshop sponsored by the Kodiak Public Library Association. Jacqueline Madsen, who works in mixed media, says she’ll introduce student to a number of different techniques.

“Making cut-outs or using old books as art journals, three dimensional design, sort of using a book as your canvas if you will and some easy ways to dissemble a book, so if you just want to use the cover, so you could take the guts out and maybe use them for a different project.”

She says she’s worked with books as a medium in her own art.

“One of the pieces I have, it’s 3-D and I basically used paper like tissue paper, sort of like you would do papier-mâché, and I’ve also done sort of a shadow box piece where I actually made a little three dimensional sculpture inside of the book, one I cut out the pages, and another one I just took the pages out altogether and made a little diorama inside.”

Madsen says students can use books that have seen better days.

“Old dictionaries and encyclopedias are great because nobody has use for them anymore, and they tend to have a lot of really cool illustrations that you can use in the design of your piece. But any hardcover book really lends itself well. Old textbooks, really great old vintage books are fun to use because again they have some great illustrations.”

Madsen says she’s not suggesting students use valuable books. The way she describes the craft makes it seem like a form of recycling for unloved paperbacks and hardcovers.

“I think it’s a great way to repurpose something and turn it into a work of art that is no longer of use to anyone. An outdated textbook from the 70s or even the 60s is likely going to end up in the landfill. Thousands and thousands of books every year get sent to the landfill and shredded.”

Madsen says the workshop will take place Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Kodiak Public Library and the entry fee is $75, which includes the tools and materials Madsen will provide.
 
Oct 21 2015
Four Mobile Home Codes Under Consideration
Wednesday, 21 October 2015
Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Codes to relax limitations around mobile homes and mobile home parks are in motion in light of the Jackson Mobile Home Park closure, and the Kodiak Island Borough Planning and Zoning Commission is examining a few new codes it could change.

At the Kodiak City Council work session last night, community development director Bob Pederson went through the code changes P&Z is considering. He said the first code has gone through one P&Z public hearing and is set for a second one.

“The recreational parks, again similar to the mobile home parks, [are]  looking at easing those regulatory standards to make it a little easier for folks to start a recreational vehicle park in the community. [There]… is occasionally some talk about those as another tool in the box to address affordable or work force housing or temporary  housing for construction workers up here in the summer season or so forth.”

He said the second code is one P&Z has yet to discuss. According to Pederson’s memorandum to the city, it would “allow accessory dwelling units on residentially zoned properties.” Examples of this would be an apartment over a garage or a basement apartment.

“Two we’ve got a first work session on. That’s accessory dwelling units. It’s a land use movement that’s sort of been sweeping the country. Mother-in-law apartments created in the flats traditionally called to allow these in residential properties under certain standards being that they’re subordinate to the main dwelling.”

He said P&Z will continue to refine that in its November work session. Pederson also presented the first draft of a code that would create a new zoning district for single-family dwelling units on smaller lots which could accommodate a standard size home, a mobile home, or even a tiny home as part of the movement where people live in compact spaces.

“As drafted, it’s an entirely new zoning category. So, if you had four acres at the end of XYZ street and were interested in pursuing that type of development, you could come in and apply for a rezone of that property and go through that public process and then if it were indeed rezoned, then you could develop it with smaller lots than the current minimum lot size.”

Pederson said lastly, P&Z is talking about the concept of planned unit developments, which would allow more flexibility in development standards not allowed by conventional zoning regulations.

“That’s a planning tool that’s been around for decades and decades. It often involves clustering houses, say on one piece of the property with smaller lot sizes. If you’re trying to avoid wetlands on another piece of property would be just one example that leaps to mind. And you keep the density whole, but you’re not impacting the wetlands. So, that’s another tool that’s not in our code currently.”
     
Following the P&Z review on the code changes, they will be sent to the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly for legislative action. The next P&Z work session is scheduled for November 11 and its next regular meeting for November 18.    
 
Oct 21 2015
Kodiak to Discuss Community Issues and Goals at Planning Day this Winter
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
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.
 
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