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Jul 29 2015
Fermentation Revivalist to Lead Workshop in Kodiak
Wednesday, 29 July 2015
sandor_photo.jpgSandor Katz. via Wild Fermentation.com

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Fermentation is a historic method of food preservation that can be found in cultures all over the world, from Korean kimchi, or pickled cabbage, to fermented seal and other marine animals in the Arctic.

Sandor Katz is a fermentation revivalist who will be leading a workshop in Kodiak on Friday, and his passion for the all things fermented arose for the same reason it’s been so vital in the past. Necessity.

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He says it started when he moved from New York City to Tennessee more than twenty years ago and started a garden.

“And the first year that I was gardening, I learned the simple fact that in a garden, all of the cabbage is ready around the same time, all the radishes are ready at around the same time. And so, when I was faced with a row of cabbages ready at the same time, I decided I’d better learn to make sauerkraut,” says Katz.
 
Katz says he discovered when leading a class that many people are afraid of fermentation because of the idea that all bacteria is dangerous. 

“So I just got interested in demystifying fermentation for people,” says Katz. “Taking these ancient practices that people have been doing for literally thousands of years and without which human settlement in most temperate regions would have been utterly impossible.”

Katz says that applies to the northern tier of the Eurasian land-mass as well as many other regions of the world.

“In order to survive through a long winter with no fresh plant food, they would preserve barrels of sauerkraut, kimchi, many other variations on the theme and it was a survival practice,” he says. “People could take the abundance of vegetables that they have in a relatively short period of the year and preserve them so that they could be nourished by them for the rest of the year.”

He says to make sauerkraut we need to create a selective environment and exclude the air that would produce mold. To do that, Katz explains we use salt and then pound or squeeze the vegetable to pull out the juice.

“And then force them into a vessel in such a way that we force the vegetable below their juices and in that way, we protect them from air, and so the lactic acid bacteria will dominate rather than the mold and will develop this beautiful acidity which is what preserves the vegetables and gives them their wonderful flavor.”

Fermentation is also part of the yogurt-making process and Katz says that requires its own selective environment.

“We’re working with thermophilic bacteria that require temperatures above body temperature, so there we have to put it in some sort of an incubator,” he says. “I generally just use a preheated, insulated cooler, but that maintains the temperature around 110 degrees Fahrenheit and enables the bacteria that will turn the milk into yogurt to dominate.”

Katz says he’ll be demonstrating fermentation techniques at the Kodiak Public Library Friday starting at 5:30 p.m. He says after Kodiak, he’ll be leading workshops in Homer, Kenai, and Fairbanks.
 
Jul 28 2015
Pink Harvest Picks Up Monday
Tuesday, 28 July 2015
Jay Barrett/KMXT
Pink salmon deliveries rebounded a bit after a relatively slow weekend in the Kodiak Management Area. According to Fish and Game figures, 299,434 humpies were delivered Monday, bringing the season harvest ever closer to 5-million.

Sockeye deliveries were well over 90,000, bumping the season haul to 1.6-million, while the chum catch yesterday was over 25,000, boosting the harvest total to over 410,000.

There were 4,480 silvers and 46 kings delivered, with season totals of 147,000 and 6,060, respectively.

The all-species harvest to-date is over 7.1-million.
 
Jul 27 2015
A Mystery Set in the Middle of the Dark, Blue Deep
Monday, 27 July 2015

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Kayla Desroches/KMXT
Kodiak is turning out to be a popular setting for novels this summer. The latest is from Kenai author Marilyn Wheeless. She explains that “The Dark Deep Blue” focuses on a man and his recently deceased wife and daughter - except they’re not both as dead as he thinks.

“What would happen if one of the people that he thought he called wasn’t dead?” says Wheeless. “How would that person escape and escape notice and get out of the situation she was in, and then what would her plan be? Would she drop it? Let it go? Or would she have an idea that she could follow through to make sure that he paid?”

The narrative follows several different local characters to get a feel for who they are and what they came to Kodiak for.

“You know, Alaska’s a strange place, we have a lot of people who came here for a lot of different reasons, so some of that I wanted to put into this novel because Kodiak is a small town and you have a variety of people who are there for a variety of reasons,” says Wheeless. “Some of them are hiding, some of them are seeking to better themselves through accumulation. Alaska’s just that way.”

While Wheeless grew up in Southeast and has spent her entire life in small Alaska communities, she had not visited Kodiak when she started the “The Dark Blue Deep,” and so she did some research by calling people in town for tips and fact-checking, including reaching out to the Coast Guard.

“To get information on how they did rescues, whether they would send a chopper out to a fishing boat if there was a dead body, ‘cause normally they don’t. That’s normally the trooper’s function,” says Wheeless. “So, I couldn’t say ‘Well, the coast guard sent a chopper out’ until I knew that they would only do that if the state trooper chopper wasn’t available.”

Given that the novel is set on the Emerald Isle, how did “The Dark Blue Deep” get its name?

“It’s just something fishermen I know have referred to the dark part of the ocean,” says Wheeless. “When you look out from a point where you can see no land, the further out you get, the darker blue it gets. So that was just was a phrase I’d heard over the years from fishermen, the dark blue deep.”

During the lengthy book's process, Wheeless says she had plenty of assistance from fellow writers in the Kenai area.

“I had friends with Central Peninsula Writer’s Group who are always willing to edit for me and proofread and even then you miss something. And I edit myself over and over and over again until I’m so sick of it I can’t wait to publish it.”

“The Dark Blue Deep” is self-published, as are Wheeless' five previous books, which include a young adult novel and fantasy novel. You can find her latest book, set in Kodiak, for sale on Amazon.

 
Jul 27 2015
Drugs, Cash, Firearms Found in Kodiak Residences
Monday, 27 July 2015
Kayla Desroches/KMXT

The Kodiak Police Department with support from the FBI and U.S. Coast Guard served search warrants at three Kodiak residences early Sunday morning and found drugs, cash, and firearms.

According to Chief of Police Ronda Wallace, about 22 police officers, FBI agents, and Coast Guard Investigation Agents conducted the searches starting at around 6 a.m. and continued through most of the morning. She explains the searches were a result of a long-term effort and the FBI flew down from Anchorage to provide assistance that morning.

“Well the FBI, we have a memorandum of understanding with them and that is the Kodiak Safe Streets taskforce that was started in 2014,” says Wallace. “So, because of the level of drugs, weapons, and cash, their involvement is imperative with us because we work in conjunction together by that MOU.”

Wallace adds that the Coast Guard Investigations unit routinely helps the KPD with executing search warrants.

A KPD press release reports that they found 120 grams of heroin, about 146 grams of methamphetamine, as well as $23,000 and nine firearms. Arrested were 36-year-old Virginia Andrewvitch, 36-year-old Wayne Buck, 27-year-old Joseph Garcia, and 33-year-old Danielle Juarez.

“They have varying charges from misconduct involving controlled substance in the second degree clear down to controlled substance in the fourth degree. There’s additionally some weapon charges that are in there,” says Wallace.

Wallace said the individuals arrested would be arraigned today.
 
Jul 27 2015
City Non-Profit Grant Awards Delayed Until August
Monday, 27 July 2015
Jay Barrett/KMXT
Thursday night the Kodiak City Council put off for three weeks approving its yearly grants for local non profit organizations, finding they needed more information from some. 
The four organizations the council would like to interview in person are the Red Cross, Kodiak Public Broadcasting, The Salvation Army and Hope Resources. 
City Manager Aimee Kniaziowski pointed out they are among nearly two dozen applicants asking for city support this year.
“This year the city received 23 applications; they were all complete and on time. The total requested amount is $215,634.60. That is more than $65,000 over the budgeted amount, which is $149,000.”
Kniaziowski explains how the $149,900 available for grants is derived. 
“Each year as you're aware the council provides a grant program available to local non profits. And the grant amount is calculated based on one percent of general fund revenues after all the fund balance appropriations have been made.”
Mayor Pat Branson said representatives from the four groups will be interviewed on August 11, with the non-profit funding resolution coming up again on August 13.
In the interest of full disclosure, Kodiak Public Broadcasting is the owner of KMXT radio.
 
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