Shooting for luck of the draw — Fish and Game permit system offers hunting opportunity

Redoubt Reporter file photo. Fish and Game’s drawing permit hunt system offers harvest opportunity to the lucky hunters who beat the odds in the lottery.

Redoubt Reporter file photo. Fish and Game’s drawing permit hunt system offers harvest opportunity to the lucky hunters who beat the odds in the lottery.

By Jenny Neyman

Redoubt Reporter

Though the 2015-2016 hunting season doesn’t really start until fall, the third Friday in February is an important precursor for hunters who hope to bag a big game animal in Alaska. It was drawing permit hunt announcement day — otherwise known as Christmas for sportsmen.

“Well for everybody but me, apparently, I didn’t even get coal this year,” said Ken Marsh, wildlife information officer for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

He, along with tens of thousands of other hopefuls, applied for the limited number of drawing permits allocated to hunt big game animals in Alaska for the 2015-2016 season. Unlike general hunts, in which any eligible hunter can participate, many big game species in many game management units of the state are only huntable by those lucky enough to win a randomized computer lottery drawing for the scant number of permits available. The number of permits up for draw each year depends on the numbers and health of the targeted wildlife populations, as determined by Fish and Game surveys. It’s a way to provide harvest opportunities on stocks that can’t support a lot of hunting pressure.

“It’s a sustainability thing. When you have a population of wildlife but it’s not big enough to basically satisfy a general hunt where everybody can go out. Say we can only allow 25 antlerless moose to be taken in a certain area to maintain sustainability of the animals in that area, we would have a draw hunt for 25, rather than just open it to everybody and go over our quota and have some sustainability issues,” Marsh said.

The application period was open from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15, and applications could only be submitted online. There’s a nonrefundable fee to apply for each hunt, in most cases $5, but that can vary depending on the hunt. The money supports the state’s wildlife management operations.

“Those go to the Fish and Game fund and that helps us manage the critters, and do our jobs,” Marsh said.

The first step in applying for drawing permit hunts is to study up on the rules and regulations. There’s a lot of fine print that requires a fine-tooth comb. All required licenses and fees must be taken care of, which vary depending on whether a hunter is an Alaska resident. Applicants may only put in for three hunt numbers per species, or six hunt numbers for moose, though only three may be antlerless. A hunter can only get one drawing permit per species per regulatory year. If you are drawn for a hunt, you’re ineligible to be drawn for it the next year. Confused? You’d better not be, or your application will be disqualified. Six percent of the applications submitted last year were disqualified out for errors.

Success at drawing a permit does not guarantee success at the hunt. If you don’t get your animal, you’re out of luck. Permits are nontransferable, so if you’re drawn for a permit and end up not being able to hunt it, you’re also out of luck. And if you fail to turn in your required hunt report one year, you’re severely out of luck the next.

“Well, you’d shoot yourself in the foot by failing to return a hunt report. So say I got a permit this year to hunt moose and for whatever reason I don’t turn in my hunt report I be would be ineligible the next year to draw for any,” Marsh said. Continue reading

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HEA ready to plug into hydro — Grant Lake project heading on to licensing

Kenai hydro sites WebBy Jenny Neyman

Redoubt Reporter

Homer Electric Assoc-iation generates 91 percent of its energy from natural gas. But as natural gas availability and prices can fluctuate, HEA has decided that 91 percent is too big an egg to lie in that one basket. So it has set an ambitious goal — increase the amount of power generation from renewable sources to 22 percent by 2018.

“That’s a bit of a stretch goal, and we’ll probably have a tough time reaching that, but we’re working on that and we’re evaluating a number of different potentials,” said Mike Salzetti, who manages fuel supply and renewable energy for HEA, in a presentation to the Kenai Chamber of Commerce last week.

Currently, 9 percent of HEA’s power generation portfolio comes from renewables, from its share of the output of the Bradley Lake hydroelectric facility on the south side of Kachemak Bay. Salzetti said that a couple of options are on the table to grow that percentage. HEA has been working with Ocean Renewable Power Company on a small-scale tidal energy project in Cook Inlet, for instance.

“We’re looking at a couple of other things right now, but right now we’re playing our cards close to vest as we evaluate those projects. I think the key to renewable opportunities is being smart about it. There’s a really big difference between intermittent renewables, such as solar and wind, and baseload-type renewable energy projects, such as hydro, geothermal, landfill gas, those types of things.” Salzetti said.

HEA thinks its smartest bet at the moment is constructing a hydro project at Grant Lake in Moose Pass. The possibility of such a project was investigated in the 1980s, and HEA took renewed interest in the idea in the last decade. After six years of scoping, researching, conducting field studies, data crunching, designing and engineering, HEA expects to submit a draft license application to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by the end of March.

The plan is to build an intake structure near the outlet of Grant Lake and divert water down 3,200 feet of a 10-foot-diameter, U-shaped tunnel, through a penstock to a powerhouse with two, 2.5-megawatt turbines, then return the water to the stream, with an off-stream detention pond to provide a storage reserve.

The project will involve two miles of road — one mile from the Seward Highway to the powerhouse, and another mile to the intake structure — and one mile of transmission line from the powerhouse to the existing line along the highway. That proximity is one of the big advantages of the project.

“We have a lot of great renewable energy potential projects in the state of Alaska, but they get squashed — the economics of them get squashed — by the fact that they’re 10 miles or 20 miles away from transmission. At roughly $1 million a mile for transmission, on small-scale projects the economics just don’t pencil out,” Salzetti said.

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Well read — School celebrates love of poetry for Valentine’s Day

Photos courtesy of River City Academy. Dawnie Altman and Amelia Johnson took second place in the middle school division, personal poetry category for their submission, “Fun, Unique, Crazy, Kind Irritation Time,” in River City Academy’s annual Valentine’s Day Poetry Slam on Feb. 13.

Photos courtesy of River City Academy. Dawnie Altman and Amelia Johnson took second place in the middle school division, personal poetry category for their submission, “Fun, Unique, Crazy, Kind Irritation Time,” in River City Academy’s annual Valentine’s Day Poetry Slam on Feb. 13.

By Joseph Robertia

Redoubt Reporter

Leonardo da Vinci once wrote, “Poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” In that spirit, students at River City Academy painted a rich collage of verses Feb. 13 as part of their annual Valentine’s Day Poetry Slam.

This is the fifth year of the event.

“I’ve been very impressed with its evolution. It keeps getting better and better,” said English language arts instructor Tad DeGray.

The school functions on a performance-based standard of progress for students in grades seven through 12. DeGray said that the inception of the poetry slam was trying to come up with an interesting and fun way to engage students while meeting their speaking and listening standards.

“The standard is mostly getting up in front of a group of people and presenting or public speaking. It’s like forensics,” DeGray said, citing a program which involves debate, cross examination, informative and persuasive speaking, and/or oral interpretations of prose or poetry.

“But,” unlike forensics, DeGray added, “they don’t need to have it memorized. They can read from their notes and perform if they choose to.”

The school divides the students up into middle- and high school-aged divisions, and the students may read an original work or present their rendition of an already published piece of poetry.

“The competition is fierce in both divisions and has come a long way. The first year it was a lot of Shel Silverstein (author of ‘The Giving Tree’) and Kenn Nesbitt (author of ‘My Hippo Has Hiccups’),” DeGray said.

The pieces have come to reflect students’ interests and knowledge of more complex issues and literary works.

“Now we’re starting to see Walt Whitman, more from TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) talks, and performance pieces dealing with bullying,” DeGray said. “We’re also seeing a lot less humorous pieces and more of the kids going for dramatic pieces to impact the audience.”

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View from Out West: Mobility mortality — Vehicles stop’n’no go off the road system in Alaska

Photos courtesy of Clark Fair. Vehicles shipped into rural communities off the road system in Alaska don’t often make it back out, like these cars interred in Dillingham.

Photos courtesy of Clark Fair. Vehicles shipped into rural communities off the road system in Alaska don’t often make it back out, like these cars interred in Dillingham.

By Clark Fair, for the Redoubt Reporter

Mainly because of remoteness and expense, Dillingham is a place where vehicles come to die.

One local mechanic, noting the high cost of purchasing a vehicle and barging or flying it into town, recently estimated that fewer than 5 percent of the cars and trucks that arrive here ever leave.

The rest remain, apparently forever, some of them on life support, others in scattered, unmarked graves.

Some of these vehicles — when their drivers tire of them or desire more dependable rides—are sold, often at whatever exorbitant cost the market can bear — by word of mouth, grocery store bulletin-board flyers, or via the Dillingham Trading Post, and then are resold — and resold and resold. Like zombies of the automotive world, they rise repeatedly from the dead, their sometimes battered, rusting hulks latching onto new hosts, who attempt to squeeze out of them the last vestiges of energy and motion.

cf junker cars that saltwater's a bitch 1aOther elapsed vehicles can be found lying where they perished, their engines sputtering final, convulsive, asthmatic breaths, their wheels spinning just long enough to reach a convenient ditch.

And still others are abandoned in front yards or backyards all along the meager local road system. Some of these yards, with cemetery precision, are lined with the fallen — cars and trucks and vans — and usually boats and shipping containers — as if the owners were scrap dealers laying out their wares for public display.

In these yards, over multiple hard winters, vehicles unite with environment. Old rubber tires fracture and release air until the steel wheels draw earthward and sink inexorably into the soil. Lichens attach themselves to undercarriages and make an unhurried but deliberate migration onto body panels, doors and fenders. The elemental quartet of sun and wind and rain and frost fade and discolor, then blister and peel paint from hoods and roofs, allowing the greater incursion of rust.

Vandals smash out windows and headlights. Leaves and other windblown debris plummet into interiors, and moss grows in sagging upholstery eager to release its springs. In these crumbling environs, nimble spiders roam. Wasps build gray paper nests. Beetles burrow. Small birds flitter by for stray seeds or an occasional bug.

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Plugged In: Get high results from lowlight photos

By Joe Kashi, for the Redoubt Reporter

Achieving optimum results when using digital cameras at higher ISO settings requires careful post-processing tailored to the problems generally encountered under lowlight conditions, and that’s our topic this week.

When any image is exposed at higher ISO sensitivities, noise and degraded resolution become noticeable problems. Even high-grade zoom lenses, like the Olympus PRO series, are not at their best optically when used wide open, often necessary in dim light. Many of these problems can be largely corrected with later post-processing.

I first import all RAW image files directly into Adobe Lightroom so I have a basic reference point. I’ll then use Lightroom to identify the most promising images and delete files with uncorrectable problems, like serious motion blurring. When done, I’ll pre-process the remaining RAW files with DXO Optics Pro 10, the best lowlight, noise-reduction and optical correction software of which I’m aware, and then transfer the processed files from DXO back into Lightroom for fine-tuning.

DXO Optics Pro 10 tends to result in highlights that lose some tonal detail and so are slightly underexposed. That’s an advantage in lowlight work because the slightly underexposed file of any bracketed set is usually the file made with the shortest shutter speed, thus the least amount of potential motion blurring. DXO contains many automatic correction capabilities that make sense for automatically processing large quantities of low-grade typical images, such as poorly exposed family vacation snapshots, but exhibition-grade prints require a high degree of individualized correction, something that I’ve found easier with Adobe Lightroom.

For these reasons, I turn off all DXO Optics Pro 10 automatic corrections except for “Prime” noise reduction of RAW files, “chromatic aberration” and “purple fringing” correction, and “DXO lens softness” correction of RAW files. Likewise, I do not further sharpen images with DXO’s “unsharp mask” feature. Basically, I use DXO only to eliminate digital noise and optical flaws in the candidate images.

DXO can be set to export in bulk all processed files directly to Lightroom as separate DNG universal RAW-format files. Using Lightroom’s file comparison feature, you can then decide whether the original RAW file initially imported directly into Lightroom or the DXO-processed file better suits your concept.

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What’s fair for clean air? Bill would ban smoking, e-cigarettes at workplaces statewide

Photo by Jenny Neyman, Redoubt Reporter. Senate Bill 1, sponsored by District O Sen. Peter Micciche, would ban smoking in workplaces statewide, including bars and restaurants.

Photo by Jenny Neyman, Redoubt Reporter. Senate Bill 1, sponsored by District O Sen. Peter Micciche, would ban smoking in workplaces statewide, including bars and restaurants.

By Jenny Neyman

Redoubt Reporter

Jerry Timmons was recently diagnosed with lung cancer. The Fairbanks business owner says he’s never smoked in his life, but worked around smokers through his 20-year career with the Bureau of Land Management in the 1970s and ’80s. He’d like to see younger generations of Alaskans have the freedom to work without being exposed to secondhand smoke.

“My life is severely impacted by secondhand smoke,” he said. “However, with this legislation I truly believe that we can either avoid it or reduce it for many people in the younger workforce that exists now. And in order for them to take a check home, put food on the table, no one should have to work in the secondhand smoke of others.”

Crystal Shonrock, owner of the Forelands Bar in Nikiski, thinks that freedom should lie with business owners to set their own secondhand smoke policies, just like it’s up to individuals whether they smoke, and customers whether they patronize a smoking establishment. She says that her dad lived to 100 and smoked Camels every day.

“So there you go, figure it out. So I just feel it should be up to the bar owners and their patrons to decide what they’re going to do in their establishment, being as how we all pay our taxes and our permits and licenses,” she said.

Where does a smoker’s right end and a bystander’s right begin? Kenai District O Sen. Peter Micciche thinks it’s in workplaces and certain public spaces, and introduced Senate Bill 1 to outlaw smoking in those locations statewide. The bill had its first hearing in the Senate Health and Social Services Committee on Feb. 11.

“There are places in our society where regulation is simply the right thing to do and it’s largely why we are here today,” Micciche said. “As judicial philosopher Zechariah Chaffe said in the Harvard Law Review in 1919, he said, ‘Your right to swing your arm ends just where the other man’s nose begins.’ SSSB1 helps to protect the rights of Alaskans who choose not to smoke.”

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Coat of charms — Production of ‘Joseph’ has colorful treats up its sleeve

Photos by Jenny Neyman, Redoubt Reporter. The Kenai Performers cast of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” rehearse the finale number Monday. The show opens Friday in Kenai.

Photos by Jenny Neyman, Redoubt Reporter. The Kenai Performers cast of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” rehearse the finale number Monday. The show opens Friday in Kenai.

By Jenny Neyman

Redoubt Reporter

Some might be familiar with the Biblical story of Joseph. In a nutshell: His brothers are jealous of his favored relationship with their father and get him shipped off to slavery in Egypt, where his skill at interpreting dreams lands him a position of power with the Pharaoh. Famine drives his brothers to Egypt to seek aid and Joseph must decide whether to help/forgive them. (Spoiler — he does.)

It’s one of the classic Bible lesson stories of the importance of love, responsibility and forgiveness. And dancing camels. And that Elvis was king of more than just rock and roll. And if you want to beg leniency for someone facing execution, do it to a reggae beat. And that subtlety is overrated in a world where neon tie-die and disco music are available.

That’s the Kenai Performers’ interpretation of the story, anyway, as they stage the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” this weekend and next.

“I’ve always loved the show. I thought, in the middle of winter we needed something colorful and warm and sandy. And that’s what we got,” said Terri Zopf-Schoessler, director and choreographer.

Someone not familiar with the show might think a retelling of a Biblical tale set in the desert involving attempted fratricide, exile, slavery and famine might be a depressing affair. Take the hint from “Technicolor” in the title. “Joseph” is an all-in experience — all colors, all styles of music, all singing, all the time.

Joseph holds court in his new role of power in Egypt.

Joseph holds court in his new role of power in Egypt.

“It goes from country western up to jazz to just crazy ’70s kind of music, disco, reggae, and all that stuff,” said Lester Steward, who plays Joseph. “It’s a very good, clean, fun time. It’s a great story, very entertaining, especially for children, it’s got bright colors and it’s really fun singing. Plus it really is a great message, about being confident in yourself. And even though things get you down, you have to believe in yourself, and any dream will do.”

 

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Filed under entertainment, Kenai Performers, theater