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KMXT 2015 Bear Crawl Results
 bear_logo.jpg What a day we had at the Bear Crawl. Thanks to all of our sponsors and the volunteers who helped pull this event together. Congratulations to all of the contestants - you were brave, you were fast, you were muddy! You can find all the results here: 2015_bear_crawl_results_corrected
Jun 29 2015
'She's My Family' - Security Found in Supreme's Marriage Ruling
Monday, 29 June 2015
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Sami King, left, and wife Jori Welchans. Photo courtesy King-Welchans family. 
Jay Barrett/KMXT
On Friday, when the U.S. Supreme Court said it was unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples the right to marry, it came as a great relief for couples across the nation, including here in Alaska. Though already legal in Alaska, if the High Court had ruled otherwise, the state likely would have appealed the lower court ruling that made it legal here.

For couples from states such as Alaska, the High Court's ruling guarantees their marriage - and all the legal rights and responsibilities that carries - will be recognized nationwide.

"It's just good to know that your partner, your wife is in charge if something were to happen. There's just that security to not worry about it," said former Kodiak High School teacher and athletic director Sami King, who now lives in Palmer. She and her wife, Jori Welchans, were married just last month. 

"No one can deny her if I'm sick in the hospital. She can come see me, because she is my next of kin, she is my family. And that's huge," King said. "I guess it probably doesn't seem huge to most people because they already have that. But for someone who doesn't have that, it's tremendous."

King said it's hard to overstate that kind of new-found security.

"It is just literally indescribable. It's just one of those things in the back of your mind you know you don't have the same rights as everyone else," she said. "With the decision, it's like wow, we do now. So it's relief of ... again, you just can't even describe it. It's like you feel safe."

She said the ruling on marriage legality goes beyond security, and signals a new wave of acceptance.

"You know you make those connections and the all of a sudden those barriers, that fear and that misunderstanding is broke down," she said. "So I think this is just bigger than we can even, you know, wrap our arms around right now."

KMXT caught up with King on Friday morning while she was in Fairbanks.
Jun 29 2015
Novel "Afognak" Unfolds on Kodiak Island
Monday, 29 June 2015
rains_picture.jpgJames Rains, author of “Afognak.” Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Kodiak is the star of a new novel.

Author James Rains recently released “Afognak” with publisher Beaver’s Pond Press, and the thriller follows a doctor and other survivors after a virus hits the island.

Rains says he worked in Kodiak for a year at the police department and based characters on his coworkers.

“I wanted people to kind of relate to the people here in Kodiak and there was a lot of people who inspired me here,” Rains says. “Especially working at the police department. There’s a lot of great people who work for the police department here in Kodiak. And so I tried to do my very best to take some of the character traits from some of the people I really respected and kind of blend them together to make characters.”

Rains says he combined as much truth as he could with fiction.

“I would write locations. Monk’s Rock. Places that I really enjoyed here in Kodiak. The library. I spent a lot of time there. So, I wrote those things down and I’ve kinda set the plot around those locations and then I try to do my best job to describe them,” says Rains. “For example, I always thought the seminary here is absolutely beautiful. And the church. So, I made sure to try to make that a scene in the book.”

He says he got back home after his time in Alaska and launched into writing “Afognak,” which took six months, although the editing process would go on for another few years.

“I almost got like this fever,” says Rains. “I worked on it 10, 12 hours a day and I just kept writing, and writing, and writing. And it took on a life of its own. Like, everyone says, well, how did you feel to write “Afognak”? It was like, I don’t really remember because it was almost like I wasn’t writing it. It was almost like the story became alive and took on its own maturity after a while.”

Rains can identify several driving themes behind “Afognak” that as a writer he feels compelled to include.

“I love isolation. As a child, isolation terrified me and I think because of that, I love incorporating it into my books,” Rains says. “Fear is also another big thing. Fear of the unknown, which kind of goes hand in hand with isolation. I love when people really don’t know what’s going on, and to see how they react under pressure, that fear of the unknown.”

He says the novel sprang from one idea he had while living in Kodiak.

“I was sitting in a squad car in the parking lot of the hospital and the nuclear power plant was having issues in Japan, there was fear of a tsunami hitting Kodiak because of that, and I remember sitting there and watching a Coast Guard helicopter fly really low to the wind turbines and I just foresaw in my mind one of those just hitting that and that wind turbine exploding and just casting Kodiak into darkness,” says Rains.

He adds that scene did make it into the novel.

Rains says he’s currently teaching at a college in Minnesota and is already working on a sequel. You can buy “Afognak” on Amazon.com or borrow a copy at the library.
Jun 27 2015
Coast Guard Remembers Shipmates and Civilian Pilot Lost 20 Years Ago
Saturday, 27 June 2015
(Top) Members from Air Station Kodiak pose for a group photo after cleaning up and maintaining a plane crash memorial site on a hillside off Anton Larsen Bay road, June 19, 2015. The plane crash took the lives of three Coast Guardsmen and a civilian pilot, June 30, 1995. Later, Guardsmen make their way toward the memorial site to pay tribute during the 20th anniversary memorial service, June 26, 2015. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Lauren Steenson) 
Jun 26 2015
Winter Ferry Schedule Out for Review
Friday, 26 June 2015
Jay Barrett/KMXT
The Alaska Marine Highway System has released its draft operating plan for ferry service this winter and next spring. 

Due to the budget cuts in the state legislature this year, the biggest change for Kodiak will be with the ferry Kennicott, which will be laid up for over three months as a money-saving measure. The largest ship in the fleet will leave service in October until early January when it goes in for its annual overhaul.

The ferry Tustumena will alternate between three and four calls on Kodiak per week from October through late March, four-times-a -week visits to Port Lions and Ouzinkie. 

The Tusty will go in for its overhaul on March 25th, and its route between Homer and Kodiak will be taken over by the Kennicott until May 7th. The ferry is too big for Port Lions and Ouzinkie, but can call on Seldovia, and will, as it travels to and from Homer.

The Marine Highway System is accepting public input on the winter schedule, and will be holding a teleconference in July to hear any concerns.
Jun 26 2015
Icicle Seafoods Broken Up, Sold
Friday, 26 June 2015
Jay Barrett/KMXT
One of Alaska's largest seafood processors has been sold. Icicle Seafoods, which has had the for sale sign out since being acquired by private equity firm, is being broken up and sold to two different companies.

Convergence Holdings will acquire Icicles land-based wild seafood processing and farmed salmon operations, and Dominion Catchers LLC will get Icicles catcher-processors and associated quota. 

SeafoodNews.com reports the two companies will entered into a deal to continue operating as Icicle.

Financial terms were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close in August. 
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