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Oct 09 2013
Monashka Pumphouse, E911 Equipment Top City's CIP List
Wednesday, 09 October 2013

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            As far as capital wish lists go, the city has a relatively small one. The four item capital improvement projects list was one of many topics of conversation during last night’s city council work session. Kodiak’s Representative Alan Austerman and Senator Gary Stevens were also present during the work session and offered legislative insights on the city’s proposed projects.
            Before the group got down to discussing each item, Austerman helped paint a rough picture of what the state’s budget might look like this year.
            “I’m anticipating, the governor’s got a five year reduction plan in the budget. And we’re waiting to see what that reduction plan this coming year. Last year was his first stab at it I guess you could say, would it be his first year of holding line on the budget from there. There are rumors out there, and I can’t confirm them yet, that we’ll take a billion dollars out of the budget next year, compared to this year. So we will reduce the size of government this second time around. The state of Alaska is no different from the federal government in trying to maintain in control our spending versus our income.”
             As for the city’s CIP list, the number one item is replacing the Monashka pumphouse. The city is asking $2.5 million from the state to put toward the $6.8 million project. The current pumphouse is more than 40 years old and operates four pumps from the 1940s.
            The second item on the list is a $400,000 request to help replace the E911 equipment, which City Manager Aimee Kniaziowski said requires constant maintenance and desperately needs to be replaced.

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Oct 08 2013
Assembly Express Concerns With Landfill Change Orders
Tuesday, 08 October 2013

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            Last week the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly approved another in a long and expensive series of change orders for the landfill expansion project.
           The order included four big changes, including relocating the leachate collection line. Borough Manager Bud Cassidy said the line was originally designed to be under cell two of the landfill, but it will be relocated into what is called the proposed perimeter road. Cassidy said the change order also addresses additional water that is flowing onto the site. He said they will be widening an existing ditch and controlling flow of the water into a wetland, which will require an Army Corps of Engineers permit.
           Those changes come at cost of almost $1.2 million, which frustrated Assemblyman Mel Stephens.
           “There’s got to be a limit to some of these costs. The landfill project strikes me as being completely out of control with one change order after another coming up and with the assembly basically being told and concluding, what is probably true, gee, do we have any choice, because we need a new landfill.”

           Assemblyman Aaron Griffin was also bothered by having to relocate the leachate collection line. CH2M  Hill designed the original line plan, which according to Borough Engineer Dave Conrad, didn’t make a lot sense. Conrad explained why during the assembly’s September 26 work session.
           “I’ve been doing maintenance for most of my adult life and I’ve been in sewers and everything else in the world and it seems very counter intuitive to me to stack 20 years of garbage on top of a pipe that you can’t get to. SO this change order moves this pipe into this road corridor and provides manhole access.”
            Griffin questioned CH2M Hill’s engineering quality, and the fact that errors and oversights in the company’s landfill designs have resulted in a slew of change orders for the project.

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Oct 08 2013
City Considers Capital Projects Tonight
Tuesday, 08 October 2013

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            It will be a busy night for the Kodiak City Council. The council will discuss a number of topics during tonight’s work session, including its capital improvement projects list and composting.
            Like the borough, the city submits an annual wish list to the governor and state legislature. The hope is to get a share of the state’s capital funding to put toward local projects included on the CIP list. The council invited Kodiak’s Juneau delegation, Senator Gary Stevens and Representative Alan Austerman, to tonight’s discussion to help paint a realistic picture of legislative funding this year.
           Also on tonight’s eight-item agenda is a discussion of the Maritime Museum’s Thelma C project. For the past few years the museum worked to restore the fishing vessel Thelma C, and hopes to make it a permanent fixture in the downtown area.
           Composting will also be a topic of conversation tonight, with a couple council members and the city manager providing an update about a recent trip to Washington state and Idaho. The group toured composting facilities to help generate ideas for the one the city hopes to build in Kodiak.
          Other points of discussion tonight will be the Monashka pumphouse design, a memorandum of agreement for the ferry dock terminal and an update from the harbormaster about a consultant for Horizon Lines contracts.
          The work session starts at 7:30 p.m. in the borough conference room.

 
Oct 07 2013
Local Woman Helps Bring Trigeminal Neuralgia Awareness to Kodiak, World
Monday, 07 October 2013

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            Today is International Trigeminal Neuralgia Awareness Day, but many folks in Kodiak may not know what it is. That’s because only one in 25,000 people are diagnosed with it, statistically meaning less than half a person in Kodiak would have it. However, there is one.
            “It’s an extremely painful , chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal nerve.”
            That’s Katie Anderson, who was diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia in 2009.
            “I went undiagnosed for a long time. I went from doctor to doctor. In fact I even saw a neurologist, I had specialists look at my MRI and nothing showed up and it wasn’t until I was referred to a neurosurgeon  at University of Washington, where he found the mass of blood vessels in my brain.”

            Anderson said the condition affects the trigeminal nerve, which starts at your temple and branches into the forehead and eye area, along the cheek and sinus and toward your teeth and lower jaw.
            “If you have trigeminal neuralgia even a mild stimulation of your face, like brushing your teeth, putting on make up, may trigger a jolt of extremely, extremely excruciating pain.”

            The pain is so bad trigeminal neuralgia is often referred to as the suicide disease.  
            “In fact 25 percent of people still end up do committing suicide from the pain.”

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Oct 04 2013
Assembly Favors Road Improvements on CIP List
Friday, 04 October 2013

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            Last night the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly passed its state legislative capital improvement projects priority list for the 2014 legislative session, but it was a different list than the assembly saw two weeks ago. During assembly discussion Assemblyman Mel Stephens moved to amend the list, bumping the number six item to number three, and letting the other items change accordingly.
            Number six asks the state for $5 million to put toward service area road paving and improvements.
            “I make that motion because I basically agree with the comments of Scott Arndt and Dennis Symmons concerning the priorities here. I think service area road and paving improvements should be a higher priority than they have been in the past. I think they benefit a greater portion of the people than some of the other items that were above number six on this list.”
            One of those items asks for $500,000 to look at extending public utilities to swampy acres. The project would be a public/private partnership and cater to the possibility that additional Coast Guard housing could be built in that area, which currently has no water or sewer lines. Stevens said he is against that project, which was originally number three on the CIP list.
            Assemblyman Aaron Griffin, however, said that should remain on the list because it is intended to help offset some of the housing problems here in Kodiak. He said the one complaint he hears consistently from Kodiak community members is the high cost of housing.

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