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Jan 22 2015
Johnstone Explains Reasons for Rejecting Maw
Thursday, 22 January 2015
2.27 MB | Download MP3 | Open in popup

 
Katarina Sostaric/KSTK
    Alaska Board of Fisheries Chairman Karl Johnstone resigned Tuesday after Governor Bill Walker said he wouldn’t submit his name to the legislature for reappointment. 
    Board of Fisheries Chairman Karl Johnstone’s resignation comes after the board blocked a candidate for Fish and Game commissioner from being interviewed for the position. 
    Governor Walker’s press secretary, Grace Jang, says only one of four candidates was interviewed by the Board of Fisheries and Board of Game. That was acting commissioner Sam Cotten. 
     “Well, Governor Walker was very disappointed that the process wasn’t allowed to play out and that only one name was advanced to him. While he’s very confident that Sam Cotten will make an excellent commissioner and has been doing an excellent job in the past couple of months, he wanted to make sure that the public process was respected.” 
    A candidate rejected by the Board of Fisheries, Roland Maw, may replace Johnstone on the board. Governor Walker nominated Maw to fill the vacancy, but the legislature has to approve the appointment. 
    Johnstone says he voted to reject an interview with Maw because of his history with the Board of Fisheries. He says Maw is part of a lawsuit to put some state-managed salmon fisheries under federal management. 
    “That was a clincher, a deal-killer for me. Because I believe the state should manage its own resources.”
    The Board of Fisheries voted unanimously to not interview Maw. 
    Johnstone says Maw has also been critical of Department of Fish and Game staff and fisheries board members. 
    “And I thought it would be very awkward for him to be involved in a leadership role when he didn’t respect many of the people he was dealing with. And maybe they didn’t respect him as much as they should either. That was my reason. And I gave that reason to the governor.”
    Rather than wait for his term to expire in June, Board Chairman Johnstone says he volunteered to step down this month, to help Governor Walker get a new member on board faster. He says those changes usually happen at the end of a meeting cycle. 
    “This kind of changed things. And it put, I think, the Board of Fisheries in an awkward position where the chairman of the board is not going to be reappointed, and maybe it’s best that the chairman leave pretty quickly to allow a new person to come in and get their feet on the ground, rather than sit in as a lame duck for the next two meetings.”
    Johnstone will officially resign after this week’s board meeting in Wrangell. The board has two more meetings coming up. One is in Sitka next month and the other is in Anchorage in March. 
    Johnstone has served on the Board of Fisheries since 2008. 
 
Jan 21 2015
Two Representatives Call For Sale of Kodiak Launch Complex
Wednesday, 21 January 2015
1.26 MB | Download MP3 | Open in popup

 
Jay Barrett/KMXT
     An Anchorage and a Fairbanks representative have called for Governor Bill Walker to look into selling off the assets of the Kodiak Launch Complex, which would likely result in the dissolution of the Alaska Aerospace Corporation.
     The AAC is already under orders to freeze any new spending, along with five other large projects around the state that the governor is reviewing. But now, Representative Les Gara of Anchorage and Representative Scott Kawasaki of Fairbanks are asking the governor to look into the feasibility of selling the KLC and eliminating any state spending on it. Gara cited the millions of dollars spent on the KLC and compared it to how little it gets used.
     “At a time when you got a $3.5-4 billion  budget deficit, if you want to protect schools and you want to protect the middle class and working families and job opportunities, you've got to find things to cut that aren't doing the state a lot of good,” Gara said. “And you know maybe a private company can run the rocket launch in a better way than losing $60-million over five years. The state's not doing a good job at it.”
     “Representative Gara has never been a supporter of Alaska Aerospace. He's voted against our budget every year I've been involved with the company, so I guess I'm not surprised with his perspective,” said Alaska Aerospace President Craig Campbell. “I don't think that it's probably well thought out just to go ahead and try to sell the Kodiak launch complex. Normally if you're going to sell something, you need to have a value and prospective buyers to make it worth any money. So I think the thought process is just outright selling KLC just needs more study and thought process before you come to that conclusion – if it's a good conclusion at all.”
     Gara doesn't come right out and say Alaska Aerospace needs to be disbanded, but he comes close.
     “They really wouldn't have very much to do at that point. We would save the money of the salaries as well, right?” Gara said. “I mean if you're going to sell the business, you sell the whole operation.”
     According to Campbell, he and Gara's share an outcome, if not a method to reach it.
     “So if the objective is that Rep Gara and others don't want to continue funding Alaska Aerospace, that is actually Alaska Aerospace's goal as well,” Campbell said. “That's why we have the 8-million, 6-million, 4-, 2-million reductions each year. And we're most of the way through that. And if I can accelerate that plan to reduce the state dependency for Alaska aerospace, I want to do that.”
     Gara and Kawasaki, both Democrats, sit on the House Finance Committee, and said they will urge the leadership to scrutinize Alaska Aerospace's finances in the coming months. 
 
Jan 21 2015
KWRCC's Shields Awarded Rasmuson Sabbatical
Wednesday, 21 January 2015
1.3 MB | Download MP3 | Open in popup

 
Jay Barrett/KMXT
     The executive director of the Kodiak Womens Resource and Crisis Center will be getting some well-deserved time off later this year, thanks to Alaska's largest charitable foundations. Through the Rasmuson Foundation's Sabbatical Program, Rebecca Shields will get some meaningful time away from the job.
     "I am just so excited and so grateful for this opportunity. It's an amazing opportunity the Rasmuson Foundation offers and I'm just incredibly honored and excited and I can't wait."
     One of the stipulations of the Sabbatical Program is that a non-profit executive is expected to step completely away from their organizations.
     "That is going to be an incredible challenge. Because the job has been something I've lived and breathed for 23 years. But it is a requirement of the sabbatical, and I think it is a wise requirement and I think it will be good for me. So I am fortunate to have a fantastic team here at the Womens Recourse Center who are very capable and who have been training for a long time to do just this."
     As for her plans, Shields says some international travel is in her future.
     "My husband I are planning on seeing Europe. I have never seen Europe. It is something I've wanted to do my entire life, so we're going to, well, we'll start in New York and head to London and then Paris and then we're going to travel through Italy. So I'll get to see all kinds of things that have been on my bucket list and I'm really looking forward to that."
     During the history of the Rasmuson Foundation's Sabbatical Program, three other Kodiak nonprofit leaders have taken part: Sven Haakenson, Pat Branson and Monte Hawver.
     "I will be proud to be among them. And I think that this is really, again, just an incredible opportunity that the Rasmuson Foundation offers and it's important for people in this line of work to be able to detach and  come back and work even harder."
     Shields is one of seven non-profit leaders in Alaska who were recipients of the sabbatical award this year. Others hail from Kotzebue, Barrow, Anchorage, and Wasilla.  
 
Jan 21 2015
Johnstone Resigns Fish Board Chairmanship
Wednesday, 21 January 2015
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The chairman of the Board of Fisheries has resigned after concerns were raised with the board's process for nominating candidates for Fish and Game commissioner.
    Grace Jang, a spokeswoman for Gov. Bill Walker, says Walker spoke with Karl Johnstone Tuesday. She said Walker shared concerns with the process the board undertook in evaluating candidates and said he wanted new ideas.
    She said Johnstone resigned when Walker told him he wouldn't keep Johnstone on the board when his term expires in June.
    The boards of fisheries and game last week sent the name of one finalist to Walker for consideration as commissioner, that of acting commissioner Sam Cotten.
    While the Board of Game had voted to interview another candidate, the Board of Fisheries declined, raising questions about their selection process. 
 
Jan 19 2015
After a Year in Place, New GED Format Running Smoothly
Monday, 19 January 2015
Jay Barrett/KMXT
    A year ago the tests to receive a General Education Diploma changed. After a year of the new format, we asked Kodiak College Adult Basic Education Coordinator Adelia Myrick how things are going.
    “There are four sections instead of five. So there's math, social studies, reasoning through language arts, which is like reading and writing, and science. But the fact that it's on the computer is actually a positive for a lot of students. Some people come in and say 'I don't even know how to type!' And it's fine; they've passed the GED with no problem. You know, older people who are not part of the computer generation. So I really don't want people to be afraid of the fact that it is on the computer.”
    Myrick said positives abound for students and instructors alike with the new test and new format.
    “It's really challenging us, as instructors, to offer higher level of information to our students, so that people who are passing the GED are more prepared to enter college without having to do developmental classes before they start regular classes. So I think it's a positive thing, definitely”
    Help with studying for the GED, and the testing itself, is available at Kodiak College in the Adult Basic Education department. 
 
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