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Have you listened to West Side Stories?

The LegHead Report

legheadreport.jpg LegHead (ledj-hed) Report weekdays at 12:20 p.m.

Dog Eared Reads


Fish Radio with Laine Welch

 Weekdays at 12:20 p.m.

Galley Tables

KODK is back on the air. Thanks to Steve and John at APBI in Anchorage who helped us get a loaner transmitter and to Joe Stevens and Willy who ran up the mountain in this nasty wind after running a bunch of tests to get it ready to do it's thing...90.7 FM is back bringing you spectacular alternative public radio programming in Kodiak.
Apr 02 2015
Wooten Leaving School Board for Juneau Position
Thursday, 02 April 2015
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Norm Wooten. KIBSD photo 
Kayla Desroches/KMXT
One of Kodiak's leaders in education will move to Juneau to work for the Association of Alaska School Boards. The AASB is a non-profit that provides administrative guidance and legislative assistance to Alaska school districts, among other services.
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Norm Wooten will be the new AASB executive director starting May 1. He's served as AASB president twice, been on the Kodiak school board since 1990, and he's the only Alaskan to serve as President of the National School Board Association. 

Wooten says that his focus is on the legislative session.

“With the fiscal reality of the state of having a 3 and a half  billion dollar hole in the budget, obviously we're very concerned about ensuring that education continues to be of primary importance to the legislature,” Wooten said.

The out-going executive director, Joseph Reeves, says that he had a certain set of goals when he took the position and has since achieved them.

“I told my board that I wanted to make a transition and work for two years to help redefine how we do our legislative advocacy work and put our financial resources in a good, solid position for the next executive director,” Reeves said.

He says that he's served the association in different capacities for 17 years and will now retire. He plans to go on a road trip across North America.

Wooten says Kodiak will always be home, and he's saddened to leave, but excited to make the transition from being AASB's Director of School Improvement and Governmental Relations to its executive director. 
Apr 02 2015
ComFish Arrives with Boots, Engines, and Environmental Alerts
Thursday, 02 April 2015


Marc Van Kerkhoven with his company's boot product. Kayla Desroches/KMXT


Kayla Desroches/KMXT


Everyone from marine engine-makers to environmental watchdogs gathered at the Kodiak Harbor Convention Center today for the annual ComFish Alaska fishery trade show. Businesses set out bowls of chocolate that attractedchildren and fishermen alike.


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One vendor flew from Belgium for the three-day occasion. Marc Van Kerkhoven represents the boot-making company, Bekina (beh-kee-nah). He says that their product is a good alternative to the “Alaskan sneaker.”

“We have a better boot for the canaries, for the processing plants, compared to those Xtratuf boots," says Van Kerkhoven. "'Cause it's a much, much lighter boot. They have much more comfort. At the same time, it's a material which is thermal insulating.”

Van Kerkhoven was the lone boot representative on the main floor.

Cook Inletkeeper, a nonprofit group formed to protect the Cook Inlet watershed, manned one of the booths downstairs. Today, you could see pamphlets for the Chuitna Citizens Coalition on the table. The Coalition was founded in 2007 in an effort to protect the Chuitna river 45 miles west of Anchorage from coal mining development.

Kaitlin Vadla,the Central Peninsula Organizer for Inletkeeper says she's concerned about the industry development in that particular area, but also about the long-term effects of its approval.

“If this project goes through, they have leases to a bunch of other  pieces of land and they could develop a whole bunch of wetlands and other salmon spawning areas all over Cook inlet," says Vadla. "Basically it's a precedent setting decision. Alaska has never allowed a company to mine through a salmon stream before."

Forums up the street in the Harbor Room of the Kodiak Inn always attract a good deal of attention. Thursday afternoon Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott, Kodiak Rep. Louise Stutes, and the top two officials from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game were there to talk about State and Federal waters fisheries, and the move to merge the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission into Fish and Game.

Forums continue at 10 Friday morning with presentations from the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, North Pacific Research Board and the Kodiak Regional Aquaculture Association.

ComFish will continue through Saturday. There is a list of the forums and a map of the exhibitors on comfishalaska.com.

Apr 01 2015
Things That Go Vroom: Stock Cars
Wednesday, 01 April 2015


Dirt bike at Kodiak Island Raceway. Kodiak Island Racing Association/Facebook


Kayla Desroches/KMXT


Fans of all things fast and furious may soon see cars competing again at the Kodiak Island Raceway, after a lengthy hiatus.
Racers young and young at heart currently compete on dirt bikes and other off-road vehicles, but the Kodiak Island Racing Association will discuss incorporating stock cars at the meeting tonight, the first of the season.

Member Craig DeHart says he's open to all kinds of racing and wants to see attendance go up. He says, right now, about 20 to 30 spectators come to the races, which happen every other weekend.

“We used to have 60, 70 plus people out there I remember growing up, anyways," says DeHart.

DeHart says that if drivers do step up, the Association needs to do some work on the circle track.  

“There's a retaining wall that goes in front of the grand stands," says DeHart. "Over the years it's deteriorated and is falling down and needs to repaired before we can legally race a car out there.”

But first, they need participants.

Athenas Williamson is the vice-president of the Kodiak Island Racing Association. She says that they'll approve stock car racing if enough drivers express interest.

“We want them to commit to a certain amount of races a year," says Williamson. "And we'll just have to bring the track up to the standards for the cars because there is minor repairs that have to be addressed before we can have cars on the actual race track. But before we do any of that, we want to make sure that we have people committed to doing it.”

If you'd like to volunteer at the raceway for the upcoming season, you can attend the meeting in the Kodiak Electric Association conference room at 6:30 p.m.. Williamson notes that attendees should enter through the building side door.

Apr 01 2015
Commercial Fishing 'Dude' Licenses Now Limited to One Per Year
Wednesday, 01 April 2015
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Jay Barrett/KMXT
There's a change in comercial fishing licenses in Alaska that goes into effect this year - no longer can people buy a series of the so-called commercial "dude" licenses. Those were good for seven days and were designed to allow people to try out commercial fishing, but as Michelle Kaelke, the licensing supervisor at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, tells us, its low cost was being abused.

"The purpose of the Dude License was to allow people to go out and try commercial fishing or to go out and give their buddy a hand for a week commercial fishing. And that was the purpose of the original legislation when sit passed in 1995," she said. "But what we found out what was happening, people were purchasing six, seven, eight of these seven-day licenses. instead of buying an annual license."

A non-resident crew member license costs $250, while a seven-day Dude License is only $30, so even buying two months of the short-term licenses is still a savings.

"About three years ago we started looking at our statistics and we were scratching our heads as to why we had more non-resident commercial crew member than residents," Kaelke said. "And once we started looking down into the weeds, we realized it wasn't more people, it was that they were buying multiple licenses so they were getting counted multiple times."

So last year, the state legislature closed the loophole and the new rules went into effect on January 1st. 

Kaelke says the abuse in the Dude License program was not just cheating Fish and Game out of its fees.

"So the money from the commercial crew licenses also goes and funds the Fishermen's Fund, so that fund was also losing money also," she said. "So they realized that there's a benefit that's going out to commercial crew members yet they're not paying for it because they're getting these seven-day licenses."

Fishermen's Fund, under the Division of Workers' Compensation, provides healthcare insurance for injured fishermen. 
Apr 01 2015
Kodiak 4th in Alaska Health
Wednesday, 01 April 2015

Visualized health outcomes list from Alaska data. Via State of Alaska website


Kayla Desroches/KMXT


Kodiak Island ranked fourth in a recent survey of county health in Alaska. Skagway-Hoonah-Angoon ranked first, the West Aleutian islands second, and Juneau third.

Jayne Andreen works for the Alaska Division of Public Health overseeing community health improvement. She says that a philanthropic organization, the  Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, put together the report in partnership with the University of Wisconsin.

“What they want to do is offer counties the opportunity to look at where they're doing well in terms of their health as well as the areas where there may be some need for improvement and offer that as a way for communities to move forward in improving the health of the community," says Andreen.

Andreen says that the study takes into consideration premature death, length of life, and quality of life.

“So it's looking at what type of access we have to clinical care," says Andreen. "It takes a look at the socio and economic factors that impact our health. Our health behaviors. Those types of things that then lend themselves and contribute to the health outcomes.”

Andreen says the study also factors in people's self-perception through a yearly telephone survey called the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

“They ask people around the state a whole laundry list of questions" Andreen says. "And one of  those, they ask people to report how many days they have experienced poor or fair health. Poor physical health, poor mental health.”

Andreen says that the lowest ranking boroughs tend to be more in Western and Northwest Alaska. But she says that the reports are an opportunity for communities to look at the statistics and see where they can improve. You can read the strategies on the “Healthy Alaskans 2020” page of the State of Alaska website.

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