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Sep 23 2015
Local Artist to Lead Traditional Chinese Painting Workshop
Wednesday, 23 September 2015
janet_bane.jpgJanet Bane. Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

One Kodiak artist will teach a workshop this week at the Kodiak Public Library about an art form she’s been practicing since childhood. 

4.42 MB | Download MP3 | Open in popup

Janet Bane says she grew up in Taiwan, but was born in mainland China.

“The south city … is a southern Confucius hometown, and at the age of 4 we have to run, my family against communist. Taiwan.  Educated there.”

In the 1950s, the same time that the communist People’s Republic of China under Chairman Mao cracked down on art and literature, Bane says she learned Chinese painting in her school in Taiwan. She says unlike in mainland China, Taiwan emphasized traditional ways.

And Bane says every aspect of traditional Chinese painting is stylized, from the materials you use to the way you handle your brush.

“You have to hold like this. You have to. The reason is then you could freely your wrist. When we were little kids, teacher would come over – even writing the same way – see if he could take out of this brush with your hands, and you get all the black ink, so he say you hold it tight. That’s the way.”

She says historically, Chinese painting was a highly valued skill among the upper classes.

"Even in ancient times, you wanted to be a government official, you took examination and then you had to master four things  - music, play Chinese chess, whatever, and then calligraphy and painting. So, so many government officials in the old days were good with art and music. Plus, intelligent, too.”
Subject matter of paintings changed with the times.

“In certain period, they were popular with the portrait… like the emperors, the riches, the farmer. Then, certain dynasty, certain artist have their specialty, but the most popular generally is flowers, birds, and then mountain, water, rocks, like scenery.”

Bane says Chinese paint is water based, but you can’t use watercolors with the paper they would use.

“Regular water paper, after you paint it on this Chinese… they call rice paper. Regular watercolor would not survive with the processing. When you put a framing, stiff it up, they would smear, but as Chinese color, it won’t.”

She says the brushes come in all types.

“Chinese brush is like chopstick, but use bamboo and holding different kinds of hair. Sometimes sheep, sometimes fox, sometimes deer. That’s old fashioned. They have different lengths, different thickness and different degree of the flexibility to express your emotion.”

Even the way of grinding up pigments has a special process. Bane says you need to keep calm and thoughtful.

“In the old fashioned, we have the ink stick, and it’s from a certain kind of tree, like charcoal stuff, you know. And you have ink stick, you grind your ink, you calm yourself down, and you’re thinking also.”

Bane says when at college in Taiwan, she switched her major from business to fine art and then, when she moved to the United States, earned her master’s degree in art education from Louisiana State University. She says around ten years ago, she worked at Kodiak College as a media librarian, and she occasionally taught Chinese painting classes to students.

You can learn more about the history of Chinese art and do some painting yourself Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The workshop is free of charge, but sign up now, as there is limited space.

Sep 23 2015
Special Help Being Sought to Assist Autistic Man Deal With KPD Assault
Wednesday, 23 September 2015
Jay Barrett/KMXT
Ever since his encounter with the Kodiak Police a week ago when he was thrown to the ground, handcuffed and pepper-sprayed for as-yet unknown reasons by three officers, 28-year-old Nick Pletnikoff has been having difficulty dealing with the incident. According to his mother Judy, her son’s autism makes it difficult for him to understand why he was assaulted.

“You know he hasn't slept a night through since then. He's afraid. Definitely afraid of figures of authority and figures in the police. He's definitely changed by it,” Judy Pletnikoff said. “But my biggest concerns is how to get him back to his former considerate, reasonable, happy self.”

Judy Pletnikoff said the family has hired an autism specialist to work with Nick and help him process what happened to him and help speed his emotional recovery. In the meantime however, she said that people from all over town have been very helpful.

“We’ve always been such an intensely private family (and) this has really brought us out into the public view. We’re not comfortable. Nick has gotten a tremendous outpouring of public support. Pizzas and flowers and wonderful ice cream – who knew there was coconut ice cream? I didn’t even know they had that. That’s been really moving,” she said. “I’m sure he just wants to get back to his quiet, every day routine and go to work and come home. Just the simple life that he has. I would imagine that’s his priority.”

Tuesday the Kodiak Police Department issued another short statement again announcing that they will not be commenting on the situation. The department still refuses to release video and audio recordings made by the recorders carried by the three officers involved in the incident, despite multiple requests from the Pletnikoff family, their attorney, and the press.
Sep 22 2015
KIB Assembly Amends Mobile Home Park Code
Tuesday, 22 September 2015
Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Jackson Mobile Home Park once again made it onto the agenda at the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly’s regular meeting last week. These same ordinances have been through two work sessions and a regular meeting, and borough assessor Bill Roberts stood in for the borough manager in explaining the ordinance.

“It is changing some of the title 17 sections on mobile homes to make it less stringent, to lessen some of the impact of making a new mobile home, and also allowing mobile home parks in areas that they weren’t allowed in before, namely R2 and R3.”

The changes in the code include removing the definition of a mobile home as being a “single-story” structure, relaxing restrictions on how much space mobile homes can occupy, and adjusting the required size of play areas.

Assemblyman Dan Rohrer asked about mobile home dimensions.

“In travel mode, it says they need to be 8 feet or more in width and 40 feet or more in length. I just kept thinking about that fact that as we’re looking at evaluating what trailers exist in Jackson Mobile Home Park, there’s at least 3 or 4 that are about 33 feet in length, and that’s how they came from the manufacturers, so you’d need to tell me what impact that would have as we look at moving some of the mobile homes.”

Community Development Director, Bob Pederson, explained that wouldn’t be a problem.

“I think we’ve made it very clear on the record from the get-go and specifically in the non-conforming ordinance that you adopted a month or so ago that we don’t want to in any way impede the folks that are able and can find a place to move their mobile home from Jackson from going elsewhere in the borough either in a lot or in a mobile home park, so under the nonconforming part – they’re covered there.”

The motion carried 6 to 0.  

Roberts also gave a semi-annual update for the assessing department of the borough.

“First of all, what is the basic function of the assessing department? That is to find, to discover, and to catalog all real and pursable, taxable property in the borough, and we do this so that we can value it for ad valorem taxes. We also administer programs like exemption programs that are mandated by the state or any that are mandated by our own local codes.”

He says this year he’s closer to his goal of training staff.

“So, what has that given us? Well, of the three field operatives, the three appraisers, two of them currently are certified by the state of Alaska Association of Assessing Officers. This is an association that’s similar to a lot of fee appraiser associations. They require certain hours in classroom, certain hours of experience, and a proficiency.”

Roberts says they’re also doing well in producing revenue.

“We have increased the assess value of the borough approximately 33 percent. Now, some of that is from natural growth, but quite frankly, since the collapse of the financial markets we haven’t had a lot of growth for new construction here, so a lot of it has been due to the reassessment. What does 33 percent mean? It’s roughly 3.2 million dollars a year in revenue for the borough.”

He says they’re working towards the goal of every assessing department, which is to be 100 percent fair and equitable. The next assembly work session is scheduled for September 24 and the next regular meeting for October 1.
Sep 22 2015
KPD Responds to Allegations of Police Brutality
Tuesday, 22 September 2015
Jay Barrett/KMXT
Late in the business day on Monday the Kodiak Police Department faxed a brief statement to the press in response to allegations of use of excessive force in the case of Nick Pletnikoff. He is the autistic young Kodiak man who last Wednesday was pinned to the ground by three officers and pepper sprayed while handcuffed.

Distributed around 5 p.m. Monday evening, the statement was ostensibly from the chief of police, though Ronda Wallace's name was not on it. Kodiak City Manager Aimee Kniaziowski told KMXT the announcement was faxed from her office in city hall, rather than being e-mailed from the police station, as most announcements from the KPD are. It was not posted to Nixle, the city's public mass e-mailing service.

The statement says "no specific facts will be released at this time," but that the department has already conducted its initial review and it had found the three officers involved acted professionally.

The statement goes on to say that the three officers, who were not named, were not quick in the use of force against Pletnikoff, but when they did, it was "minimal and necessary" to keep the officers and the community safe from him.

The short statement, though it sheds no new light on the incident, closes with an acknowledgment of “the importance of an open and transparent dialogue with the community," and says it will provide “more specific details after completing a more thorough review of the incident.”

KMXT has filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the city to obtain audio and video recordings made by the officer's body recorders and dash cams, which are classified as public records under state law.
Sep 22 2015
Judy Pletnikoff Describes Finding Her Son Handcuffed, Bruised and Bleeding After KPD Encounter
Tuesday, 22 September 2015
Nick Pletnikoff. Photo via Kodiak Tags 
Jay Barrett/KMXT
Last Wednesday evening, a little after 5 o'clock, 28-year-old Nick Pletnikoff went down his street to check the mailbox. As a young man with autism, it's one of the few unsupervised tasks in his day that he's comfortable doing. At some point on his short trip, three as-yet unidentified Kodiak Police officers arrived, and, for as-yet unknown reasons, took him down to the ground and pepper-sprayed him while handcuffed.

Judy Pletnikoff, worried that her son hadn't returned from the mail box, went outside to find a number of emergency vehicles, and found Nick handcuffed, bloodied and bruised. Like any mother, she wanted to know what happened.

“I didn't get any answers, and I asked maybe three or four times who had their hands on his neck,” she said. “But he had been pepper sprayed and he was crying and he said, 'I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry.'”

Judy Pletnikoff demanded the handcuffs be removed and pressed the police officers for an explanation to the situation.

“I said, 'Why did you do this?' And they said, 'He would not answer our questions.' And I said, 'He has autism. He would really struggle to answer your questions. He lives right there,'” she said “And I saw they had his ID and could see where he lived.”

Judy Pletnikoff said a Kodiak Fire Department medic wanted to take Nick to the emergency room in the ambulance, but she didn't want her son to be further traumatized. 

“So I let the medic come in and we got him showered and showered and showered. He was in an extremely large amount of pain,” she said. “He was bleeding, bruised, and thouroughly sprayed. Just bright red and burning. My hands burned just putting my arm around him.”

Kodiak defense attorney Josh Fitzgerald, working with Angstman Law Office of Bethel, has been retained to investigate the incident for the Pletnikoff family.

“We think that these three officers that had him down on the ground and then pepper sprayed him were likely not justified in doing that. We think think that there aren't facts that support that kind of conduct,” Fitzgerald said. “But, we are waiting to see the video, which we understand has been preserved, and audio recordings and things that were at the scene, but we think that this young man did not deserve to be injured at all, and certainly not in the way that he was.”

The Kodiak Police Department issued a brief statement on the incident Monday evening. It is detailed in a separate story.
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