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Mar 27 2015
Senate Subcommittee Zeroes Out Public Broadcasting Funds
Friday, 27 March 2015
Alexandra Gutierrez/APRN
Earlier this month, public broadcasting survived an effort in the House to slash its state funding by half. Now, a subcommittee in the Senate has axed the appropriation entirely. 
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Mat-Su Republican Mike Dunleavy chairs the Department of Administration subcommittee, and he warned the cuts would be deep before announcing them at a Thursday meeting. 

“There’s going to be a lot of good programs across the board that may not be funded,” Dunleavy said. “And as we go through this, it’s not necessarily a judgment on those programs, but it has to do with the fact that we may not have the money to pay for everything.”

Juneau Democrat Dennis Egan attempted to restore $5 million in funding to the budget proposal. 

“I am a 45-year private sector broadcaster. I programmed, managed, and owned a bunch of private stations here in Southeast Alaska and in Anchorage,” Egan said. “And here I am, speaking up for public broadcasting, because I am not sure everyone realizes how much is going to be lost.”

Egan noted that the cuts would cause stations in Kodiak, Homer, Petersburg, Valdez, Haines, Ketchikan, Wrangell and Kenai to also lose their federal funding. He said rural communities could lose their emergency alert system, and that public television coverage of the Legislature would be threatened. 

Egan's amendment failed three to one, with all the Republican members voting against it. 

The department budget will now be sent to the full Senate Finance Committee. If the cut holds there, the House will have to approve it or a compromise will have to be hammered out in a conference committee. 
Mar 27 2015
'Choose Respect' March on Saturday in Kodiak
Friday, 27 March 2015
Kayla Desroches/KMXT
You may see a group of people marching downtown on Saturday. And you may want to join them. 
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The Kodiak Women's Resource and Crisis Center has scheduled its annual Choose Respect march for 11am that morning. Part-time Outreach Coordinator, Lauren Humphrey, describes the goal of the event.

“To bring awareness to domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, bullying, any kind of violence in our community and to get people to stand up and support preventative tactics and education to prevent this in our community.

Marchers will begin with a short walk downtown starting from the Sun'naq Tribal Center and then circling back around. An assembly will follow where attendees will hear several speeches, eat cake, and view related art. 

Outreach Coordinator Sandra Wilkins says the march and the organization are both inclusive.

“We're hoping also to raise awareness about the type of people that we serve. It's not just for women. I know the name is a little deceiving, but we want to make sure that male community members feel supported by us as well.”

To learn more about the Kodiak Women's Resource and Crisis Center, you can go to kwrcc.org or call them, 486-6171. 
Mar 27 2015
Alaska's Fishiest Artist Coming to Kodiak
Friday, 27 March 2015
Kayla Desroches/KMXT
If the name Ray Troll doesn't sound familiar, you're likely brand new to Alaska, though you've probably still seen his artwork on t-shirts, sweatshirts, calendars, posters, postcards, art galleries, in books, and elsewhere. 
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The Ketchikan artist, who will be conducting workshops in Kodiak next month, is known for his luminescent scenes of fish, science and humor. 

“Let's see, how to describe my art style, Well, there's a lot of fish. That's pretty much the first thing a lot of people notice," Troll said. "But themes. The great themes. … And then also silly humor. It really goes from the sublime to the ridiculous or from the slime to the ridiculous. And all kinds of puns throughout, wordplay and that kind of stuff, lotta what I do.”

The Kodiak Public Library, the Kodiak Public Library Association and the Kodiak Reading Council have banded together to fly Troll into town. Library Director Katie Baxter says Troll's illustrated books are a great jumping off point to engage young readers.

“They're so engaging and playful and that's why I'm so excited to invite Ray to come and just be playful with all things fish and just stir up the imagination with language and art techniques,” Baxter said

While here in early April, Troll will have a busy schedule with students, public presentations and workshops.

“So I'm going to be doing a  presentation there, a public talk and slide show and all the crazy things I do," Troll said. "And that's going to be Friday evening, and then Friday during the day – that's in a couple weeks here, I'll be at a couple different schools, the junior high school and the high school, and likewise doing kind of a slideshow, one about sharks to the middle school and one about my career to the high school kids and a thing to the general public on Friday night. And then on Saturday I'm doing a bunch of drawing workshops.”

The first class will be for ages 7 to 13 from 10 a.m. to noon. The second class will be for ages 14 and up from 2 to 4:30 p.m. There will be a $25 fee for materials.
Mar 27 2015
Kids Set to Walk and Roll
Friday, 27 March 2015
Jay Barrett/KMXT
Getting kids up and about is becoming a little harder every year as smart phones, video games and social media tend to root them in place. But a program by the Island Trails Network for middle school and elementary students is aimed at getting them on their walking OR rolling to or from school, or, as Tom Pogson tells us, really anywhere.
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Pogson says there will be gatherings at the schools for the classes with the top walkers and that teachers will help keep track of the kids' activity.

Island Trails organized a Walk and Roll to School last fall when school was getting underway, and it proved successful enough that it was brought back by popular demand.

The Spring Walk and Roll to School begins on April 2nd, and ends on the 17th. Parents can get more information from their kids' teachers, or at IslandTrails.org. 
Mar 26 2015
Kodiak 4th in Alaska Health
Thursday, 26 March 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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