ITN Staff, Volunteers Take to Tugidak

[listen here]
Brianna Gibbs/KMXT
Clean up on the archipelago’s remote Tugidak Island is now underway. This is the second and final year of Kodiak Island Trails Network’s project to remove marine debris from the island, which is southwest of the southern tip of Kodiak Island.
Tom Pogson is the director of marine programs for Island Trails Network, or ITN, and has been on Tugidak for about two weeks now. He contacted KMXT via satellite phone and said so far this year’s clean up is going well.
“We decided that there was enough debris in the area that we cleaned last year and we re-cleaned that area in almost less than half the time and we’re now I think starting the second day of clean up into the new area.”
Last year ITN collected 130 super sacks worth of marine debris on Tugidak and Pogson said this summer they already have 65 bags after only seven days of clean up. The crew spent the first week on the island setting up camp and making sure everything was in working order, and last week volunteers and members of the Kodiak Wildlife Refuge’s Youth Conservation Corps made the trip south to participate in the first wave of debris removal.
Pogson said the weather so far has been incredible, with only two days of rain in the past two weeks. On Friday a new group of volunteers left for the island, where Pogson said they’ll face a few different habitats and terrains that need cleaning. Continue reading

Talk of the Rock: Isle Bells

[listen here]
Today on Talk of the Rock, we’ll hear from members of the handbell group, Isle Bells. Two ringers, Artistic Director Ella Saltonstall and Treasurer Theresa Miller, recently returned from Oregon where they performed in a regional all start choir.

School Board Appoints New Member, Hires North Star Principal

[listen here]
Jay Barrett/KMXT
At last night’s Kodiak Island Borough School District Board of Education meeting, a contract was approved for a new principal for North Star Elementary School. The board unanimously approved a contract with Patricia Wilson of Virginia for just over $100,000 for the next year.
The district’s Marilyn Davidson explained part of the process used to select Wilson for the position.
“The North Star staff selected three people to be a part of this panel. And then the other three elementary principals joined me for the panel. When we interview we use the same set of questions for all interviews. So if it was the first interviews we did or the last interview we did, we used the same set of questions for every candidate.”
She said a great number of applications were received for the position, and four or five were selected for interviews with the panel.
“They were looking for experience with young children. They were looking for experience with elementary curriculum and instruction. They were looking for experience and background with special education. They were looking for experience with diverse populations, and Patricia Wilson was the candidate who came to us with all those qualifications.”
Earlier in the meeting, Jeff Stewart was appointed as a temporary school board member, replacing Todd Hailey, who has left town. Stewart will serve until the October municipal elections when the seat will be up for grabs for a three-year term.

Council to Hear Pitch Over 2012 Federal Defense Act

[listen here]
Jay Barrett/KMXT
A presentation about the National Defense Act of two years ago is the first item on the agenda at tonight’s Kodiak City Council work session.
Jamie Fagan and Dana Carros, local members of People Against the National Defense Authorization Act, will offer the city a resolution entitled “Restoring Constitutional Governance of Kodiak.”
The National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 contains language members of PANDAA interpret as allowing the federal government to detain or kill American citizens without due process. Others disagree, saying the language in the Act only applies to terrorists.
“This term terrorist is now being applied to anyone the government considers a threat,” says Dan Johnson, founder of the People Against the NDAA. He appeared on KMXT’s Talk of the Rock in May.
“Let’s say you say I’ll never be a threat. I’ll never speak out politically, I’ll never say anything. How many wrong-door swat raids have we had in the United States? Five-thousand last year. What happens when it’s a wrong-door terrorist raid. What happens when it’s you that’s picked up and sent to Guantanamo Bay instead of the person they were going after?,” he said. “See, at one point each of us is going to want to speak up about something. And free speech is a cornerstone of our society. It’s something American has protected. And something we need to continue to protect. And Kodiak needs to continue to protect.”
Fagan and Carros were invited to speak before the Kodiak City Council tonight by Councilmen Rich Walker and Randy Bishop.
The work session starts at 7:30 tonight in the new Kodiak Public Library’s multi-purpose room.

Local Handbell Ringers Perform Out of State

[listen here]
Brianna Gibbs/KMXT
Members of Kodiak’s local handbell choir are putting Kodiak and Alaska on the map these days. Two members of the Isle Bells recently returned from ringing in a regional all star choir in Oregon.
Ella Saltonstall is the artistic director for the Isle Bells and attended a national handbell seminar with the group’s treasurer, Theresa Miller, last year. From there, the two auditioned for and were selected to perform with the regional group.
“So to have two Alaskans be part of this regional all star choir was exciting because it put Alaska on the map. There was only 13 of us and we were a significant chunk of that group.”
Saltonstall said she and Miller only had eight hours to practice with the regional group and the experience was overwhelming and intense, but also rewarding.
“It definitely, like I said, taking us out of our comfort zones. I for instance play some of the bigger bells, I love the base bells. And I learned some things about what those bells are capable of that I probably wouldn’t have experienced for quite a bit longer. So that was valuable. So now I have new things that I can do with our own base bells.”
Continue reading

Reel History: Weirs on the Alaska Fisheries Report

[listen here]
Al Asuncion/KMXT
Hello! I’m Al Asuncion, an intern at KMXT as part of the station’s summer archiving project. Over the past few weeks of my internship, I have been listening to myriad stories from Alaska Fisheries Report, and one of the topics that quite fascinated me was the story of an important tool to Alaska fisheries that aired on October of 1993.
“What’s low tech, low key, low in the water, and one of the most important tools in salmon fisheries management? It’s a weir! ”
Welch explains why weirs are so useful and vital to Alaska fisheries.
“The wooden structures have provided the most reliable data on how many fish are making it upstream to spawn. Weir counts help managers determine when fisheries can occur and provide clues to the strength of future salmon run.”
Larry Nicholson, fish and Game Westward Regional Supervisor, called weirs critical.
“It is the only tool we really have to get access to assessment data. Because of that we have, all of our major systems around the island. There are weirs, not only in Kodiak Island, but throughout the westward region. We have experimented and we do have some systems. We tried sonar and it works through varying degrees, but it certainly not a replacement for a weir.” Continue reading