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The LegHead Report

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Mar 20 2015
Cannery Consolidation Concerns Brother Francis Director
Friday, 20 March 2015
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Jay Barrett/KMXT
At last night's Kodiak Island Borough Assembly meeting, Brother Francis Shelter Executive Director Monte Hawver talked about the issue of homelessness in Kodiak - something that has been a problem for decades.

"In the late 1980s homeless people in Kodiak were dying from exposure at an alarming rate. There were some temporary shelters ongoing, including the community Baptist Church, but people were determined there was an obvious need for a comprehensive, permane3nt shelter. Local volunteers approached the Catholic Social Services of Anchorage and with concerted effort there was a shelter built and opened in 1991."

The Kodiak Brother Francis Shelter became independent of Catholic Social Services in 2007.

Hawver says there are two distinct groups of homeless in Kodiak.

"The first group is who I call the traditional homeless. They consist of people who have fallen on hard times, either from bad luck, bad choices, many from mental illness, and unfortunately we still see a lot of combat vets. In fact the Gulf War combat vets are becoming homeless quicker than any in history, unfortunately. The second group are itinerant workers who come to Kodiak to find work, and in most cases they don't need very many services other than food and shelter and to just get acclimated to the community."

He said that over the past 20-plus years the shelter has been open many of the canneries in town have successfully hired workers from the shelter. But Hawver was cautious about the recent buying spree on the Kodiak waterfront by one large processor - likely Trident which recently purchased Alaska Fresh and Western Alaska.

"That's not to say there aren't times with problems when people come here, they get hired and then they get fired and then they wind up stuck here. Those folks can easily fall into the crowd of chronic substance abusers and that's problematic. With the expanded business model we see with some of the canneries I think that's a real concern gtoing forward. We'll just have to see how it plays out. I think depending on how it's managed, it's going to make a big difference in our downtown."

Hawver said the Brother Francis Shelter receives substantial community support, and not just from those who still live here.

"It's still amazing to me how people who left Kodiak years or even decades ago continue to support the shelter. We get a substantial amount of money from all over the country. People, whey they leave Kodiak, they never really leave Kodiak."

In response to a question by Assemblywoman Rebecca Skinner, Hawver estimated individual contributions total about $160,000.
 
He also pointed out that the Brother Francis Shelter works to prevent homelessness, and kept 227 families in their homes in fiscal year 2014, while also finding 16 families new housing. 
 
Mar 20 2015
City Council Moves Forward on New Website Design
Friday, 20 March 2015

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Update coming soon. The Kodiak City Council has approved a $20,000 contract for a new website. 

 

Kayla Desroches/KMXT
The City Council discussed re-designs for both their website and the fire house last night at its special council meeting. According to City Manager Aimée Kniaziowski, the city has spent funds to maintain the fire house structure, but it needs a more permanent fix.
 
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“We continue to have problems with the roof leaking. There's mold. We have major plumbing issues. We have a creek running under the building,” she said. “There are just lots of different problems with it. And my biggest concern of course is the risk of any kind of a failure due to a seismic event.”

Kniaziowski, speaking for herself, city engineer Glenn Melvin, and fire chief Jim Mulligan, recommended that the council authorize a professional services contract with Stantec for $99,435. This contract would involve drafting a pre-design for a new fire station to be used when funding becomes available. 

Some council members expressed concern that the draft would be dated by the time funding became available. 

“My concern is that that pre-design and the site selection is going to sit on the shelf someplace the next four, five, or six years and things are gonna change,” said  Councilman John Whiddon.

Several other council members brought up separate issues that bore further discussion. The council therefore moved to postpone the authorization of the fire house pre-design. 

The city council also moved to approve a website redesign from Aha Consulting not to exceed $20,000. That budget also includes training city staff and providing website assistance in the time following the website's completion. 
 
Mar 19 2015
The Alaska Fisheries Report
Thursday, 19 March 2015

6.41 MB | Download MP3 | Open in popup

 

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Coming up this week, Sitka herring is being fished as a co-op this year, Foreign roe technicians can once again get a visa to work the salmon season here, and the sockeye forecast for Upper Cook Inlet appears to be deja vu all over again. All that, and what does it take to not blush when you hear the phrase “fish balls,” coming up on the Alaska Fisheries report. We had help from KCAW's Rachel Waldholz in Sitka, APRN's Liz Ruskin back in D-C, KDLL's Shaylon Cochran in Kenai and KUCB's Lauren Rosenthal in Unalaska.  

 
Mar 19 2015
Knots: From Irish History to the Nautical Past
Thursday, 19 March 2015

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Drew Herman demonstrating one of the first stages of tying a Celtic knot. Kayla Desroches/KMXT photos

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kayla Desroches KMXT

 

For Saint Patrick's Day, many people paid homage to Ireland with meat, drink, and making merry. Some others tapped into their artistic spirit at the Kodiak Public Library where Drew Herman led a class on how to make Celtic knots.

 

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When we say “Celtic knots”, you might imagine intricate designs etched in stone. And you’d be right. But they’re also literally knots. And where you find those, you’ll usually find sailors.
       

Drew Herman, who volunteers with the Coast Guard auxiliary, says that his interest in Celtic knots comes from nautical knots. They were useful in the sea-faring past, but also served as a form of entertainment on ships with otherwise limited resources.

"The only materials you had to work with were whatever was left from operating the ship," Herman says. "So the little pieces of wood, leftover pieces of rope and yarn. They would like to make gifts for their sweethearts back home or things they could trade when they got into port."


Herman led a Celtic knotting class at the Kodiak Public Library on St. Patrick’s day. There were about ten students, most of them adults, and all of them struggled at first with the looping-in and looping-out of the rope.

 

One of the two children at the event, who says her name is Sienna, had this to say at the beginning stages.

“It’s kind of confusing."

 

But, after an hour of practice…


“It’s easy."

 

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A young participant, Sienna, during the second half of the Celtic knotting class.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Adult attendee, Cindy Kloster, agrees with her classmate’s conclusion.


“It was kinda complicated at first," she said. "But once you basically created your first pathway, then it started making sense.”

 
Mar 19 2015
Kodiak Welcomes Second Senior Housing Building
Thursday, 19 March 2015

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Emerald Heights from the front. Kayla Desroches/KMXT photos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

 

There's now a second housing option for Kodiak residents over 55. The Kodiak Island Housing Authority is ready to start accepting rental applications and has started giving tours of Emerald Heights, its new apartment complex on Near Island. Though built and operated by the Housing Authority, it does not have a low-income or Native Alaskan preference like the organization's first senior housing building.

 

2.53 MB | Download MP3 | Open in popup


Kodiak Island Housing Authority's Mindy Pruitt leads the tour, starting in the lobby, dominated by a giant sculpture of dock pilings by local artist Mark Whitteveen. Metal sea creatures cling to the wooden poles and sit on stones placed around the pilings. The top of the sculpture pokes through a square hole in the ceiling and into the floor above.


Beyond are seats, table, and even a virtual fire. I have to admit, I had to look twice.

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Sculpture by Mark Whitteveen in Emerald Heights Lobby.

 

Pruitt then shows me the activity room upstairs. There’s a kitchen area with more tables and chairs. The same artist from the lobby also installed metal salmon swimming around the upper corners of the room. Near a window with an expansive view.

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Activity room sculptures by Mark Whiteeveen.

 

 

 

 

 

Pruitt leads me through wide halls into several different rooms, all with gigantic bathrooms.

 

"Every bathroom in the apartment complex is large," Pruitt says. "Just in anticipation if somebody ever needed a wheelchair or a walker, that they had plenty of room to navigate in their bathrooms, so they’re all very comfortable in size.”

They're also built to be quiet.

 

"All the cupboards are slam resistant," Pruitt says. "So if you’re a drawer slammer, it's gonna be hard to slam here.”

The last apartment Pruitt shows me is the two-bedroom Wheelhouse suite.

 

"This is the largest one. This is the one that is the most unique probably in the property. It’s one thousand eight-three square feet, so it’s large.”

Pruitt says a friend inspired the suite’s name.

“He goes like ‘I feel like I’m in the helm of a big crabber.‘ And so he was like ‘We just need the wheel right here.’ And we came up with the wheelhouse suite.”
   
Priutt says the unit’s price is 2,300 dollars per month. She also says the range for the other apartments she showed me go from 1,550 dollars to 1,850 dollars not including electricity, cable, and landlines. Several apartments fall outside that range.


And Priutt does say that 55 is the lowest minimum age to apply for housing at Emerald Heights.

“There was a feasibility study done in Kodiak and that was one of the needs that was identified was housing for people 55 years of age."

 

You can learn more about Emerald Heights here .

 

 
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