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Walker and Mallott Join Forces Against Parnell

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Matthew Smith/KNOM, Steve Heimel/APRN
Alaska’s three-way race for governor is now a two-ticket contest after Democratic candidate Byron Mallott and Independent Bill Walker declared they’ll run together.
Today [Tuesday] is the last day for changes to the November ballot, and that deadline kept the Mallott and Walker campaigns negotiating until late last night — before announcing the two men will run together—Walker as the gubernatorial candidate and Mallott as the lieutenant gubernatorial candidate on the “Alaska First Unity Party” ticket. Walker says the decision of who should ultimately be the man to run for governor under the “unity” ticket was simply driven by data.
“We’ve seen a number of polls over the last few months, and so we’ve seen how things are coming out, and in a head-to-head poll, we just took right after the primary, had me about 4 or 5 points ahead of Governor Parnell,” he said. “So, the numbers really drove that decision.”
It was a decision endorsed by the Democratic Party’s central committee on a vote of 89 to 2 Monday night for the switch to an independent ticket. Democratic Party spokesman Zack Fields says Democrats believe the state is in trouble under Sean Parnell’s leadership and Walker and Mallott share similar beliefs about how to address the state’s problems. Continue reading

28-Year-Old Abercrombie XC Record Left in the Dust

Jay Barrett/KMXT
One of the longest-standing sports records in the state was wiped from the record books on Friday. The girls’ cross country mark of 18-minutes 48-seconds, set by Kristi Klinnert, now Waythomas, in 1986, fell during the Kodiak Invitational at Fort Abercrombie. Two-time defending state champion Allie Ostrander of Kenai Central High School bested the record with a time of 17-minutes 34-seconds – a full minute-14 faster than Waythomas.
Needless to say, Ostrander, a Kardinal senior, won the race handily, crossing the finish line more than two-and-a-half minutes ahead of the second-place runner. And though it’s comparing apples to oranges, Ostrander’s time was faster than all the competitors in the boys’ race, save the top nine.
Speaking of the boys, Kodiak’s Levi Thomet had a likewise easy win, finishing nearly a minute ahead of second place. Thomet was just three-seconds short of Trevor Dunbar’s course record.
West Anchorage won the girls’ team title and Kodiak the boys, both with scores of 35. The Kodiak girls were 4th with 87 points.
We’ve got full results after the jump. Continue reading

Kodiak Swimmers Douse SoHi

Jay Barrett/KMXT
It was another dominating weekend for the Kodiak High School swimming and diving team at home, with both the girls and boys swamping the Soldotna Stars.
Led by Tahna Lindquist with eight first-places between relay and individual races, the Kodiak girls won by a score Friday of 164 to SoHi’s 116, and on Saturday 157 to 128. Kodiak swimmers Ila Hughes and Marina Cummiskey each had six individual and relay wins.
The KODIAK boys won 191-111 on Friday and 185-112 on Saturday. They were led by Talon Lindquist, who, like his sister, had eight first-place finishes.
We’ve got the weekend’s full results after the jump. Continue reading

Council Narrowly Rejects PANDAA Request

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Jay Barrett/KMXT
The vote over the controversial resolution asking the Kodiak City Council to declare a federal law unconstitutional had to go to a mayoral tie-breaker last night. The resolution, suggested by local followers of the group “People Against the National Defense Authorization Act,” or PANDAA, was tied three-three on the six-man council, forcing Mayor Pat Branson to cast the deciding vote.
“I am going to give you the reasons why I’m going to vote no on this. I think the PANDAA group has been very passionate. It’s not that I disagree with some of the things they brought up. Originally when this was passed in 2011, I was kind of shaking my fist at Congress, saying, ‘what the heck are you doing?’ I think Congressman Young has stated that as well. However, it’s up to congress to change this.”
Branson suggested the PANDAA group put their campaign against the National Defense Authorization Act to a vote of the people of the entire borough, or perhaps even to the state legislature.
“It’s not that I disagree with some of the points that have been raised. I think probably every council member agrees with that. But I think if you want to make this more meaningful for a community, you need to take it outside the city limits.”
Mayor Branson’s no-vote joined the no votes of councilmen Charlie Davidson, Gabriel Saravia and John Whiddon. Councilmen Terry Haines, Rich Walker and Randy Bishop voted in favor of passage.
We’ll have a follow up story next week with the reasons the councilmen voted the way they did.

Gubernatorial Candidates Talk Fish in Kodiak

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[Listen to the entire two-hour debate here]

Gubernatorial candidates Bill Walker, Sean Parnell and Byron Mallott in Kodiak Thursday night debating fisheries issues. Pam Foreman/KMXT photo

Gubernatorial candidates Bill Walker, Sean Parnell and Byron Mallott in Kodiak Thursday night debating fisheries issues. Pam Foreman/KMXT photo

Brianna Gibbs/KMXT
The three primary candidates running for governor this year convened at Kodiak’s Gerald C. Wilson Auditorium last night for a debate focused solely on topics related to the seafood industry. Incumbent Sean Parnell, Democrat Byron Mallott and Independent candidate Bill Walker fielded dozens of questions from a media panel, audience members and even each other during the event that was broadcast around the state.
One question posed by an audience member dealt with the Fish and Game and the department’s declining budgets in recent years.
Parnell said the state is getting a pretty good return on investment when you consider it is spending about $200 million on a $6 to $10 billion industry.
“The underlying premise of the question about cuts to Fish and Game – I can tell you that with this legislature we have championed putting more dollars into research when it comes to our fisheries. We have now over 100 people working on getting information as to why fisheries are declining – the salmon in particular – in the marine environment, with 36 projects on going. That is incredibly necessary to sustain our fisheries for the years to come. So bottom line is we’re going to continue making that investment – not just into research, but into management of our fisheries, as well as to the marketing aspects as well.”    Continue reading

Submarine Will Bring Student Science to Sea

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Brianna Gibbs/KMXT
A retired Coast Guard Captain made a sizeable donation to the Ocean Exploration group of the Alaska Chapter of the Explorers Club. Last week Richard Waddell donated his private submarine, which will be used for deep sea science and technical programs for youth. KMXT’s Brianna Gibbs has more.

 submarine.jpg Retired Coast Guard Captain Richard Waddell donated his private submarine to the Alaska Chapter of the Explorers Club. Club Chair, Michelle Ridgeway, accepted the submarine last week. Photo Courtesy of Michelle Ridgeway

Retired Coast Guard Captain Richard Waddell donated his private submarine to the Alaska Chapter of the Explorers Club. Club Chair, Michelle Ridgeway, accepted the submarine last week. Photo Courtesy of Michelle Ridgeway

Continue reading