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Have you listened to West Side Stories?

The LegHead Report

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

Dog Eared Reads


Fish Radio with Laine Welch

 Weekdays at 12:20 p.m.

Galley Tables

KODK is back on the air. Thanks to Steve and John at APBI in Anchorage who helped us get a loaner transmitter and to Joe Stevens and Willy who ran up the mountain in this nasty wind after running a bunch of tests to get it ready to do it's thing...90.7 FM is back bringing you spectacular alternative public radio programming in Kodiak.
Aug 12 2015
City Council Hears from Nonprofits on Grant Applications
Wednesday, 12 August 2015
Kayla Desroches/KMXT

The Kodiak City Council discussed grant money and met with nonprofit representatives at last night’s work session. Two of the organizations present were the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. Councilmembers sat with groups’ grant applications in front of them and asked questions pertaining to the requests.

Bill Morrow from the American Red Cross stepped up first. Councilmember John Whiddon asked about a statement that said part of the requested $10,000 would go towards the salary of the disaster program manager.

“Would that disaster program manager who’s responsible for Kodiak – are they here in Kodiak – or are they in Anchorage?” said Whiddon.

“Actually, that’s me. I’m the one who’s responsible here. I go back and forth between the Mat-Su, Anchorage, and Kodiak.”

“But do you live in Anchorage?”

“No, I live in Wasilla,” said Morrow.

“So, that money would be spent on someone who doesn’t live in Kodiak,” said Whiddon. “I’m just trying to clarify.”

Morrow said the Red Cross has an office in Kodiak and he’s been in the city three times over a few days. He also said there are ten volunteers on the island.

Major Michael Bates from the Salvation Army also spoke. In response to a question about the number of individuals in the transitional housing the organization provides, he explained there have been twenty people who have benefited from the service in the past year. And he described those best fit for transitional housing.

“Meaning they’re gainfully employed – I’d like to sit that - and they have a goal set already. When I talk to them, I determine that, because if they transition to someplace, I don’t want to start from scratch. People who are gonna transition to somewhere, they have to have some idea of where they’re going and how they’re getting there,” said Bates.

He said that most of those who transition leave Kodiak for places like Anchorage, Kenai, or Wasilla.

“With the housing that’s limited in the community of Kodiak, of course we all know it’s very limited, so that’s a tough endeavor all in itself. People don’t want to stay here and move into the community transitioning from our facility. That’s very difficult for them.”

Bates said the branch does not receive support from the Salvation Army as an umbrella organization and draws funds instead from local government grants and community resources like the thrift store.

The council determined it would calculate the overall grant funds and then move forward from there before the next regular meeting, which is scheduled for Thursday, August 13.

In the interest of full disclosure, KMXT is part of Kodiak Public Broadcasting and spoke on its own behalf regarding funding at the work session.
Aug 11 2015
Green City: Kodiak's New Crane Will Be Sustainable
Tuesday, 11 August 2015
crane_matson.jpgNew crane arriving in Kodiak. Photo by Carl Royall

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

A new gantry crane arriving in Kodiak this week will not only replace its aging predecessor, but also fit into Kodiak’s plan of renewable energy. The majority of Kodiak’s isolated grid system relies on hydroelectricity with support from wind power, and less than 1 percent of that energy comes from diesel.

The new crane will run off flywheel storage systems, wind, and battery. The replacement is courtesy of Matson, which recently acquired Horizon Lines and is responsible for shipping Kodiak’s groceries and other products onto the island.

2.58 MB | Download MP3 | Open in popup

Matson special advisor Marion Davis says, weather permitting, the crane should arrive Thursday morning.

“And it will probably take one to two months to commission it and get the dock finished and start using it, but that should put the city of Kodiak, which is very important seafood wise in the industry, really in excellent shape for the next forty years there in Kodiak,” says Davis.

He says Matson is working with the city and the Kodiak Electric Association to fit the crane into Kodiak’s electric grid.

Darren Scott, KEA’s president and CEO, says the city’s current crane is diesel fueled, whereas the new one will be electrically driven. He says they’ve installed two fly wheel energy storage systems to filter the power needs of the crane.

“They’re large basically spinning masses of energy, and as the crane picks up a box, it would draw a lot of electricity,” says Scott. “It will take that electricity - basically from those spinning masses we’ll have the flywheels - and then as the crane goes out to drop the load onto the vessel, it actually - kind of like a toyota prius with its regenerative breaks – would send power back to the grid. Well, that will help spin the fly-wheels back up, plus a little power from our system as well.”
Scott provides this example of the energy flow.

“Imagine the crane lifting the container off the boat and then imagine a big spring out there. So, the big spring is cocked and loaded and it’s ready to push out, so the crane lifts the container off the boat, the spring then releases to help it do that. And as the crane then goes and drops the container back on the vessel, in some ways, the spring is pushed back in to build up that energy again.”

He says this approach will save the system a lot of strain.

“The big power injections from the crane don’t come out to impact the rest of the system. They will just kind of stay right there with the crane,” says Scott. “And one of the good things from it is these flywheels that we’ve installed, they’ll either work with the crane and when the crane’s not on operation, they’ll actually work with our wind turbines and our battery energy storage system as well.”

 He says KEA is working with a multinational corporation to use its grid stabilizing generator.

“Taking that actual flywheel and putting a bunch of basically fancy electronics on it to work with our electric grid is kind of the next step that ABB took in their device which is called the PowerStore,” Scott says. “And then we’re using that technology to not only work with the crane, but also work with our wind turbines and battery system.”

Scott says the crane will be a good fit for the community, not only because it’s an electric solution, but also because it’s a much larger crane than the current one, which he says will make it more efficient and may help with the cost of shipping in the future.  
Aug 10 2015
Assembly Clarifies Subsistence and Rural Status Act
Monday, 10 August 2015
Kayla Desroches/KMXT

A bill that would leave the final word on rural versus urban status up to Congress has been bouncing around the Kodiak Island Borough and the Kodiak City Council this summer.

Senator Lisa Murkowski introduced the Subsistence Access Management Act of 2015, and many different groups have expressed concern that it would remove power from a local level. As such, both the assembly and council have postponed decisions on it at past meetings.

Mayor Jerrol Friend brought up the act again at the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly regular meeting last Thursday and says he and others joined Senator Murkowski in a teleconference two weeks ago. He says she and her colleagues explained the act more thoroughly.

“The process that happens now is gonna stay the same process,” says Friend. “And right now I guess some of the secretaries of interior or somebody up there big in Washington D.C. actually makes the determination on whether you’re rural or not. If you are rural right now, and these guys say you’re not rural, the way this legislation says, they can’t do that. Only congress can knock you back.”

He says that the only time Congress steps in is if someone tries to make a community non-rural. City manager Aimée Kniaziowski made the same point at a Kodiak City Council regular meeting in June, when she referred to an email she received from a D.C. lobbyist.

“The intent was never to eliminate local control, but simply to reinforce what they’d been hearing from the Kodiak community, that it would take a great deal to change, take away, the status of rural for the purposes of subsistence.”

Mayor Friend says he told those at the teleconference that people have been concerned about the act.

“What they said is they were asking Bud [Cassidy] and I [to] give names. They’re trying to get meetings set up similar to what we had with the city and try to get this information out to everybody,” says Friend. “It has been a communication issue, so hopefully we’re gonna hear a little more about that. But that kinda relieved a lot of the concerns I had personally as to how that works.”

It remains to be seen if local committees and governing bodies will come to a consensus as to whether the act is a protection or a restriction.

Aug 07 2015
Assembly Moves Forward on Mobile Home Ordinances
Friday, 07 August 2015
Kayla Desroches/KMXT

The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly moved forward on several ordinances to assist Jackson Mobile Home Park residents in moving their trailers by the park’s closing date. One issue that residents face is where to store their homes until they relocate or find another option.

The first ordinance on the agenda addressed the issue of storage. Borough Community Development Director Bob Pederson says it would extend the number of districts open to that kind of arrangement from just business and industrial districts to public lands and conservation zoning districts. He says it would be up to the discretion of the property owner as to what the terms would be for storage.

“Do they want to do that through a lease? Through a contract?” says Pederson. “Whatever conditions they wish to attach to that regarding bonding, security, fencing. All of those sorts of things, we wanted to leave that to a landlord-tenant relationship with the mobile home owner and the property owner because different property owners might have different ideas of how to handle those issues.”

The ordinance carried 7 to 0.

The next item on the agenda was a change of code that would allow nonconforming mobile home parks to open spaces to displaced trailers from Jackson Park. As of now, says Pederson, only Rasmussen’s Mobile Home Park is fully conforming.  

“As long as they’re a mobile home park,” he says. “We didn’t see a public harm in letting additional mobile homes locate in those parks provided they meet the basic safety requirements of the separation of structures under the fire code and the building code. The building officials will require GFIs and proper utility hook-ups for those mobile homes.”

Pederson adds that the Kodiak City Council and borough assembly are discussing whether to waive the fees associated with moving the trailers.

Assemblyman Dan Rohrer calls the ordinance a win-win.

“Not only for the people in Jackson’s, but also some of the owners,” he says. “I’m excited about adopting this tonight for multiple different reasons. I think it’ll be beneficial to those trailer park owners – for those noncomplying ones – to have some additional income to hopefully be able to improve those parks beyond what they’ve been able to currently.”

The assembly accepted the code change.

Later in the agenda, members discussed an ordinance to establish a new Kodiak Island Borough lands committee, which they would advance to the next regular meeting. Mayor Jerrol Friend says seven members would sit on the board: two assembly members, two Planning and Zoning Commission members, an Alaska Native organization representative, a Coast Guard ex-officio, and a member of the public.

“I feel that it helps staff,” he says. “We’re gonna get a new resource manager hopefully here before too long and work with that person to get more property out and available so we can get some cost-effective property out on the market so people can afford to build and live here and stay here, so that’s the big push of what I’m trying to do with this.”

Assemblyman Larry LeDoux says it’s one of the most significant actions he’s seen take place since he’s been on the assembly.

“I think it’s very, very important that affordable land become available to the community of Kodiak because from affordable land comes affordable housing, and part of the problem with Jackson’s is that there is no affordable housing for people to move into and there’s not land that people can buy to their move trailers on if they could.”

Assemblywoman Chris Lynch says she’s not confident about adding another committee.  

“While I think it’s a great idea to get these different identities together to discuss property and availability, I feel that by adding another layer, we’re deepening bureaucracy,” she says. “Because you will have this new lands committee, then you will have still to go through P & Z and you’ll still have to go through the assembly process, so I still have concerns, and I’m not convinced this is our saving grace, but I will move this forward.”

The assembly will discuss the ordinance at its next regular meeting, which is scheduled for August 20.
Aug 06 2015
The Alaska Fisheries Report
Thursday, 06 August 2015
12.82 MB | Download MP3 | Open in popup

Coming up this week, Bristol Bay attracts floods of people from all over the world with its promise of sockeye salmon – but one beach remains a homebase for a local fishing family. And it's science against sea squirts when a journalist joins divers to discover how they're trying to get rid of an invasive species called “D-vex.” That and more coming up on the Alaska Fisheries Report.
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