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


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 When you go shopping this week you can help the women and children at the Kodiak Women's Resource & Crisis Center. KWRCC has a long wish list of items that would help their families in crisis. You can help by purchasing one or more of the items and dropping them off at KMXT, 620 Egan Way by 5pm on Friday - we'll make sure everything gets to the KWRCC for Valentine's Day. Find a copy of the list here:  kwrcc_wish_list_jan_2016 

 
Feb 11 2016
The Alaska Fisheries Report - Feb. 11, 2016
Thursday, 11 February 2016

6.41 MB | Download MP3 | Open in popup

 

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Coming up this week, Ocean Beauty is looking for a few good fishermen, could Alaska's shellfish hatcheries be endangered by ocean acidification, and will they see more herring in the canal? Get it? Sey-mour? Canal? No? Moving on. We had help from KNBA's Johanna Eurich in Anchorage, APRN's Liz Ruskin in Washington D.C., KDLG's Molly Dischner in Dillingham and KFSK's Angela Denning in Petersburg.

 

 
Feb 11 2016
City Council Weighs in on Fisheries Analyst Contract
Thursday, 11 February 2016
Kayla Desroches/KMXT    

The Kodiak City Council is at odds with the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly over the renewal of the contract with its joint fisheries analyst. The contract was originally to extend Heather McCarty’s employment for another year, but the assembly was split at its last regular meeting and amended the contract to a length of six months. The main motion on the contract passed 4-to-1 with Assemblyman Mel Stephens dissenting.

Stephens said he is opposed because McCarty has fallen short of what she promised and contracted to do.

“You will see where Heather McCarty stated and I quote, on a quarterly schedule, I will provide written reports to the borough assembly and city council and make presentations to their joint meetings. She’s had the contract for two years. That’s eight quarterly reports. There have been a number of joint meetings since that time. I can find no quarterly reports.”

The Kodiak City Council discussed the contract at its work session Tuesday night and Councilman John Whiddon, who sits on the Kodiak Fisheries Work Group, said he’s never had issues with McCarty as a contractor. He said those problems should have been brought to the table a long time ago.

“We need to communicate and have a conversation with the borough as to exactly what are their goals and objectives as far as the fisheries analyst goes. What do they expect? I also would like to see us as a city be not secondary to the borough on this. That we both are paying equal amounts for this and having the borough drag the issue I think is wrong.”


Whiddon stressed the importance of Kodiak’s active involvement in issues like bycatch management and the fisheries analyst’s role in that – for instance, McCarty’s representation of Kodiak at North Pacific Fishery Management Council meetings. Whiddon suggested the council go ahead and extend the contract for a minimum of one year and rethink the organization of the fisheries work group should the assembly be unwilling to meet that contract length.

Mayor Pat Branson said the process with the assembly has been frustrating.

“If you have comments or concerns much like what John is saying the borough had with Heather and this contract, it should have come out way before and not on the dais at last week’s meeting. To me that was most inappropriate.”

She stressed the importance of communication between the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly and the Kodiak City Council, and Councilman Gabriel Saravia also said he supports an open line of communication.

“I agree with [the] mayor. I think it’s very important to have a meeting with the borough as soon as possible and clarify what you want to do. And, that way, we know the answer and if we go together it’s better, if we have to go alone, we go alone, but at least we talk and we understand each other.”
 
Branson said if the council wants to move forward on the year-long contract at its next regular meeting, which is tonight, the council and assembly should hold a joint work session to discuss that contract on February 24. Furthermore, the council agreed that staff should touch base with McCarty.

The fisheries analyst contract is on the agenda for the council’s regular meeting tonight, which will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the assembly chambers.
 
Feb 11 2016
Port Lions Gets Federal Funding for Breakwater Project
Thursday, 11 February 2016
Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Port Lions just obtained federal funding for a breakwater construction that will help ease the wear and tear on its harbor. The project will be completed through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which works on the construction and maintenance of water resources and other forms of infrastructure.

Bruce Sexauer is the chief of the civil works branch at the Alaska District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and says additional breakwater is necessary to provide complete protection for Port Lion’s harbor.

“There’s been waves and such that sneak around the existing protective structure and, as they’ve tried to expand their harbor facilities, add in additional docks, they would extend out beyond the protected area and would be subject to wave battering and would break up or have to replaced much more often.”

He says the organization has been investigating possible improvements at Port Lions for a few years now.

“In 2006, the congress authorized a project for construction - that’s the authorization, of course, not the funding for it – and, over the last couple of years, we have been going through a detailed design process for that project.”

He says the Army Corps of Engineers found that Port Lions offers a solid economic incentive for construction.

“We did some additional assessment for Port Lions and looked at the situation of the fisheries out there. The fisheries aren’t diminishing. There are actually is some additional demand for moorage space out in the entire Kodiak area and many vessels identified Port Lions as being a place they would like to utilize.”

The Port Lions project is one of those which will be covered under the Army Civil Works program’s federally funded Fiscal Year 2016 work plan, which it delivered to Congress earlier this week.

Sexauer says the project’s budget is about $10 million and the administration will contribute $8.3 million with Port Lions also setting aside funds.

He says the Army Corps of Engineers will start advertising for contractors to submit bids on the construction this summer and work will begin next year. He said they should complete the project by 2018.
 
Feb 10 2016
Coast Guard Medevacs Two Injured Men
Wednesday, 10 February 2016
Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Tuesday, the crew aboard a cargo ship 220 miles southeast of Kodiak faced rough weather which resulted in multiple injuries and two men being medevac’d off the vessel. A Coast Guard crew that afternoon would report conditions on-site closer to Kodiak to be 18 mph winds and 19-foot seas.

Earlier in the day, a 32-year-old and 28-year-old man suffered a fall and the crew aboard the Cemtex Venture radioed for help. The Coast Guard 17th District watchstanders who received the call suggested to the crew that they sail towards Kodiak Island to get within the range of Coast Guard helicopters.

A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and HC-130 airplane crew met the ship and flew the crewmembers to Kodiak. There, emergency medical services personnel attended to the injured men. One was transferred by LifeMed to Anchorage and the other was brought to Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center.
 
Feb 10 2016
KPD Focuses on Better Training Following Pletnikoff Incident
Wednesday, 10 February 2016
Kayla Desroches/KMXT

The Kodiak Police Department is working to improve its staff’s sensitivity towards people with special needs. That includes new approaches to identifying members of the community affected by autism.

The change comes after an incident in September where three police officers used excessive force in subduing an autistic young man, Nick Pletnikoff, originally accused of trying to enter a vehicle by force.

At the Kodiak City Council work session last night, Chief of Police Ronda Wallace presented an overview of the Kodiak Police Department, after which she responded to questions – including this one from Mayor Pat Branson.

“I know the September 16 incident – that new training procedures have been put into place and that’s been publicly stated, but could you go over that for us again as to what kind of training measures have been put into place since that incident?”

Wallace said Kodiak police officers would receive extra training which will give them the tools to recognize individuals with autism and described a KPD initiative which will support that effort.

“I’m working on what we’ll call our Kodiak Cares Program. That will be a volunteer program with the special needs community where we have questionnaires that could be filled out on a volunteer basis to provide us with the information about somebody’s loved one, their child, or a vulnerable adult.”
     
She said they’ll put that information into the KPD system and only law enforcement and dispatchers will be able to access it.

“Additionally, there are photos taken that go along with those forms. That gets put into the system and a booklet gets built for officers with pictures and names, so if they encounter individuals out in the street and they recognize them, they can contact dispatch, dispatch can relay some of the information that may be on the forms about triggers for individuals.”
 
She said that will better prepare officers to assist them.

“We’re working on those things. It’s a process and it’s gonna take us a little bit of time, but in that time we’re getting the officers additional online training. Been in contact with Krista McGuyer at Special Services from the high school who’s offered her services in bringing this training to our department. So, we’re working real hard on that.”

In addition to hearing from the Kodiak Police Department – and alongside other items on the agenda - the council discussed extending its contract with the fisheries analyst it shares with the borough. Tune into KMXT’s evening report a little after 5 p.m. to hear more on that topic.
 
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