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Nov 13 2014
Fiscal Situation 'Beyond Critical,' Says Juneau Lobbyist
Thursday, 13 November 2014

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Brianna Gibbs/KMXT

           With the legislative session quickly approaching, Kodiak’s governing bodies are trying to get the best picture possible for what things might look like in Juneau this year. On Monday night, the City Council heard from its lobbyist, Ray Gillespie, about what’s forecasted for the upcoming session.
           Gillespie said times are tough, and the biggest issue will likely be how to fund public services statewide.
            “When the legislature adjourned last April, their forecast average price per barrel of oil was $105 per barrel. Even at that price they had to authorize a withdrawl form our savings account of $1.4 billion. That’s at $105 per barrel.”   
            Gillespie said the price per barrel on Monday was just over $79 per barrel.
            “What that does is almost doubles that draw that we’re going to have to make from our savings. So if our average price goes to $95 per barrel, we’re going to draw $2.2 billion out of our savings. If it’s at $85 we’re going to draw $2.9 billion out of savings. That’s a huge some of money.”
             He said that is just for last year. If you combine it with the current fiscal year, plus the budget the legislature will be working on during the session, it’s possible the state could spend half of its savings within the next year and a half.
             “That’s $6 billion, we have about $11.5 to $12 billion in our various savings accounts. So the situation is beyond critical.”

Nov 13 2014
Pavlof Volcano Awakens
Thursday, 13 November 2014


Pavlof, with low-level ash emission, viewed from Cold Bay, around 5 pm AST, November 12, 2014. Photo courtesy of Robert Nielson. 


Annie Ropeik/KUCB
    Pavlof Volcano is awake again on the Alaska Peninsula. The Alaska Volcano Observatory reports that Pavlof, quote-”has entered a new phase of eruptive activity.”

    Last night [Wednesday] the volcano was upgraded from ‘normal’ to ‘watch’ status -- the middle tier of their system, indicating heightened unrest.

    The AVO reports that Pavlof is spewing ash up to 9,000 feet above sea level, visible in neighboring Cold Bay. Scientists also saw increased seismic activity at the volcano yesterday [Wednesday] afternoon.

    Pavlof is one of the most active volcanoes in the state -- but it’s been quiet since June, when it erupted for about a week. During that event, Pavlof sent up an ash plume more than 20,000 feet and caused a string of local flight cancellations. There is no word of any flight problems so far from the latest eruption.

    The volcano’s eruptions have been known to escalate quickly, according to the AVO. They can last just a few days, or as long as several weeks. 

Nov 12 2014
Mudslides Slow Traffic on Rezanof, Chiniak Highway
Wednesday, 12 November 2014

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           Rezanof Drive West was reported blocked by a mud slide near Lash Dock in Womens Bay late this afternoon. It's the second slide to hamper traffic on the street today. At about 6:15 this morning a mud slide near Pier 2 blocked the westbound lane for about a half hour.

            Likewise, slides on the Chiniak Highway, near the American River have also been reported and the Department of Transportation is responding.

           With more than three-inches of rain in the past 48 hours, the soil along the hillsides is saturated and more slides are likely. The Kodiak Police Department advised motorists to drive carefully and to watch for heavy equipment clearing the road.

Nov 12 2014
Troopers Release Brief on Underwear Bandit
Wednesday, 12 November 2014

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            During the past week, Alaska State Troopers in Kodiak have received a series of burglary reports, criminal trespass, and theft that they believe are related. The troopers say citizens are returning home to find their residences have been entered and various items, but mostly womens' underwear, have been stolen and or rifled through.
           While investigating these crimes, AST has learned that other citizens in town have encountered similar events in the recent months, but have not reported them to law enforcement.
           One of those is Hannah Clark, a fisherman who lives in Bells Flats. She said she started noticing some of her things were moved around in her home over the summer when she'd come back in from fishing. She said it didn't really sink in until today (Wednesday) that those incidents and her missing underwear were related.
           “I can't believe there is an actual underwear bandit,” she said.
           What makes it worse, Clark said, is she just got a $150 order from Victoria Secrets and they're all gone. Clark said at least the underwear bandit has good taste.
           Troopers are reminding the public not to leave their homes unsecured and to be vigilant of their surroundings, and to report any suspicious activity. The investigation by troopers is ongoing and they're asking anyone with further information regarding this or similar activity, contact them at 486-4121.

Nov 12 2014
City, Boro Team Up on Vessel Discharge Rules
Wednesday, 12 November 2014

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Brianna Gibbs/KMXT

          Both the Kodiak City Council and Borough Assembly are working to extend an Environmental Protection Agency exemption for vessel discharge. As part of the Clean Water Act, the EPA regulates vessel discharge permits for certain vessels, to make sure they are monitoring what water is being put back into the ocean. Commercial fishing and charter vessels have long been exempt from the permit and monitoring process, but that exemption is set to expire December 19.
           Local government officials are working with U.S. Senator Mark Begich to enact legislation to extend that exemption, or even make it permanent.
          During Monday’s city council work session, Councilman Terry Haines said it is a common sense move for fishing vessels, who would have to monitor stuff like dishwater and other things that have little to no environmental impact for the levels they are being discharged.
           “But fishing vessels are being kind of grouped up with vessels that have larger and potentially more harmful discharge and it’s been something that’s sort of been extended along this moratorium for specific vessels of these EPA. And it would be nice if they could make it permanent.”   

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