Daily Archives: January 8, 2014

Set net ban rejected — Department of Law finds proposed initiative would constitute inappropriate allocation of resources

Photo by Joseph Robertia, Redoubt Reporter. With plenty of time on their hands due to the commercial set-net fishing closures imposed by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in July, many set-netters, such as Aaron Kershner, a crewman for a Kasilof set-netter, protested the closure in front of the Fish and Game offices on Kalifornsky Beach Road.

Redoubt Reporter file photos. Aaron Kershner, a crewman for a Kasilof commercial set-netting operation, participates in a protest in front of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game office on Kalifornsky Beach Road in July 2012 during a shutdown of the Upper Cook Inlet set-net fisheries. Alaska Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell announced Monday he would not allow an initiative petition seeking to ban set netting to proceed.

By Jenny Neyman

Redoubt Reporter

A proposed ballot initiative that would ban set-netting in nonsubsistence areas of the state, Cook Inlet chief among them, was snagged from going to the signature-gathering stage by Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, who announced Monday that he was rejecting the initiative on the recommendation of the Alaska Department of Law.

The newly formed Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance submitted the measure Nov. 6 as a conservation effort to protect declining king salmon runs, charging that set netting catches too many kings, even though the gear type targets other species of salmon.

Clark Penney, executive director, said in a release Monday that the rejection is “puzzling” and the alliance is considering appealing the decision. It has 30 days from Monday to do so.

Photos by Joseph Robertia, Redoubt Reporter. Sockeye salmon are known for putting up a good fight. All their twisting and wiggling once caught in a gillnet can lead to a big tangle when trying to get them out.“I struggle to see the logic or the legality of this decision,” he said.

The Division of Elections determined that the initiative proposal does have enough valid sponsors to continue to the step of gathering voter signatures statewide, Treadwell notes in a letter to the AFCA. However, he states that the Department of Law recommended rejection because the effect of the proposal would result in an allocation of resources (in this case, king salmon) prohibited by the Alaska Constitution, based on the 1996 Alaska Supreme Court decision in Pullen v. Ulmer, finding that preferential treatment of certain fisheries over others is an appropriation not allowed by initiative.

“Were this type of initiative permissible, voters could continue to reallocate stocks to any fishery simply by eliminating specific gear or particular means and methods of catching fish — for example, the next initiative might propose to eliminate purse seining, trawling, dip-netting or catch-and-release sport fishing in particular areas to increase harvest opportunity for other types of users. This would ‘prevent … real regulation and careful administration’ of Alaska’s salmon stocks, contrary to the purpose of the prohibition on initiative by appropriation,” according to the Department of Law’s opinion.

The AFCA points out that Alaska’s first ballot initiative regarded banning the use of fish traps as a fishing method, as it was seen as outdated and destructive. Penney also states that the terms of the proposed ban would be applied statewide.

The Department of Law opinion takes a different view — that by banning set netting in all areas of the state without a subsistence designation, the ban would still effectively target Southcentral because other urban areas — such as Juneau and Valdez — don’t have set netting. As such, the ban would allocate kings away from the inlet’s east side set-net fishery to in-river sport and personal-use fisheries, making it an appropriation not allowed by initiative, the Department of Law states.

Penney disagrees.

“This effort is but the latest in a long string of initiatives where Alaskans have exercised their rights to protect fish and wildlife by regulating improper methods and means for harvest,” Penney states, pointing to Texas, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, New York, California, Washington and Oregon as other states that have restricted or banned the use of set nets.

“In the 25 years since the first state took this step, no set nets have been allowed to return. Not one fish processor in these states went out of business after set nets were banned,” Penney states.

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View from Out West: Location familiarization — Differences in the details, home stays in the heart

Photos courtesy of Clark Fair. A sunset in Dillingham in December, which gets 30 minutes more sunlight at winter solstice than the Kenai Peninsula. But at summer solstice, the peninsula gets about 30 more minutes of light.

Photos courtesy of Clark Fair. A sunset in Dillingham in December, which gets 30 minutes more sunlight at winter solstice than the Kenai Peninsula. But at summer solstice, the peninsula gets about 30 more minutes of light.

By Clark Fair, for the Redoubt Reporter

If you were reading this sentence on the central Kenai Peninsula at sunrise on the winter solstice, the time would have been about 10:15 a.m. Nearly 15 minutes later here in Dillingham, about 270 miles west of your location, the sun rose. But don’t worry that I’m receiving a lesser amount of daylight. Although the sun set for you on this day at about 3:55 p.m., I basked in the rays of the sun until it sets here at about 4:40 p.m.

If you’re doing the math, I get 30 minutes more light than you do.

On the summer solstice, however — when there’s plenty of light to go around, anyway — you will receive about 30 minutes more sunlight than I do. On each equinox, things even out. The sun will rise and set in Dillingham on those days about a half hour after it rises and sets on the Kenai.

Does all this matter? Perhaps not, except psychologically, but the numbers did set my brain to percolating. What other statistics and factoids, I wondered, might make for interesting comparisons and contrasts between the central peninsula and western Bristol Bay?

After a dangerously small sampling of research, I discovered some intriguing differences and similarities:

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Common Ground: Duck, duck, loose terminology

Photo courtesy of Christine Cunningham. Scoter? Surf, white-winged or black? Or would that be a yellow nose? Don’t run afoul of waterfowl terminology.

Photo courtesy of Christine Cunningham. Scoter? Surf, white-winged or black? Or would that be a yellow nose? Don’t run afoul of waterfowl terminology.

By Christine Cunningham, for the Redoubt Reporter

An unquestioned law of the waterfowling world requires that any given duck has more than one name.

The descriptions of a particular duck change not because the duck has changed, but depend on the weather, location, time of day and ancestry of those in proximity. New names are often introduced only when a flock is coming into the blind at 30 or more miles per hour and the bird at issue is in range. For the hunter experiencing any first in the duck-hunting arena, indoctrination in new duck names is part of the initiation ritual.

Before I went on my first sea duck hunt, I consulted my bird identification book and waterfowl regulations for the area. I was going to be hunting, among other sea ducks, a large, stocky diving duck commonly called a surf scoter and less commonly called perspicillata.

The still photos were easy to identify. But the real skill in identification of waterfowl comes from boat men who are experienced at shooting drakes only on the wing. These same men are also experts at a game old duck hunters like to play on the book-learned sportsman.

My partner was throwing out a gang line of mallards that were hand-painted by our captain to look like surf scoters and long-tailed ducks. Since I could identify the decoys, I figured I could probably identify the live bird. My hunting partners were seasoned waterfowl veterans who might be happy to fill in the gaps in my understanding. What I should have done, in hindsight, was take my bird identification book with me and agree upon a vocabulary before I became part of a high-seas Abbott and Costello routine.

When we were set up in the boat blind, I could see a flock of black birds coming our way through a screen of camouflage.

“Scoters?” I whispered.

“Those are yellow noses.”

They were getting within range so I mounted my shotgun.

“You don’t want to shoot those,” the captain said.

“We don’t shoot yellow noses?” I asked. But before I could get clarification another group of three black ducks were coming in.

“Yellow noses,” the captain whispered. I didn’t mount my gun.

“Why didn’t you shoot?” he asked.

“I don’t know,” I said. “Are we not shooting yellow noses?”

“Yeah, but those were drakes,” he said.

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Instruments of creativity — Woodworker carves out interest in making music makers

Photos courtesy of Joe Kashi. Tim Gale, of Soldotna, and his handmade didgeridoos, cigar box guitars and wood drums on display at the Kenai Fine Arts Center in December.

Photos courtesy of Joe Kashi. Tim Gale, of Soldotna, and his handmade didgeridoos, cigar box guitars and wood drums on display at the Kenai Fine Arts Center in December.

By Jenny Neyman

Redoubt Reporter

One might assume that a guitar maker is a guitar player. One would be flat wrong. But that doesn’t mean the maker doesn’t know B flat from A major, or lacks interest in the other intricacies of music.

In the case of Tim Gale, of Soldotna, it’s the very broadness of his interest in music that drew him into instrument making — not only an enjoyment of listening to and participating in music, but a fascination with instruments’ history, culture and engineering.

“It’s this worldwide phenomenon of music we as people just need to have. I think that’s the fun part of it,” said Gale, who handcrafts drums, didgeridoos and cigar box instruments. “That’s the fascinating part of it.”

Guitar types of instruments developed in India, China, Spain and elsewhere — with different sounds and designs, but with enough similarities to bridge those cultural divides. Same with drums, which emerged independently in cultures across the globe, but all coming from a universal human desire for rhythm and music. That universality of connection speaks particularly strongly to Gale’s Christian beliefs.

“All these different drums came from these different parts of the world and some of them are similar in how they’re made but the cultures made them completely independently of each other. And yet there’s this ingrained human need for human expression beyond just our voices, whether it’s drums or stringed instruments or something else,” he said.

Clay, ceramics, pottery, sculpture — that’s more Gale’s bailiwick in the arts. He grew up in Illinois, playing trombone in band as a kid and singing in choir through college. He enjoyed music growing up, but wouldn’t consider himself a serious musician and hadn’t ever become familiar with stringed instruments.

But he is familiar with church bands, and the power music can have to unite worshippers. In Colorado, where he and his wife and kids lived before moving to Soldotna in 2010, Gale worked with a multidenominational worldwide mission organization, and now is active at Mo Adim Messianic Fellowship of Kenai. It was participation in worship music that kick-started his interest in the instruments used to create music. He was at a Christian music festival years ago and was enthralled by the hand drumming going on.

“You get in with these different drum circles, and there’s Native American drums, African, Irish, Middle Eastern, all playing together and they sound great together,” he said.

“I was like, ‘These hand drums are awesome. I need to get one of those.’ But they were way too expensive to buy. So I thought, ‘I wonder if I could make one out of clay,’ since I already have clay anyway,” he said.

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Filed under Art Seen, crafts, music

Big brass brings big variety

By Jenny Neyman

Redoubt ReporterUntitled-2

Philadelphia Brass formed in 1988 to pursue members’ common goals — educating the public about the pleasures, subtleties and complexities of chamber music and performing the best of brass quintet literature of all periods and styles.

But when someone says, “all periods and styles,” it’s assumed to have a twinge of hyperbole, right? How diverse could two trumpets, a French horn, trombone and a tuba really be?

Quite, it turns out, as evidenced by the quintet’s program for its upcoming concert Saturday in Soldotna.

The presentation ranges from classical Bach cantatas to the social commentary  “Threepenny Opera Suite” by Kurt Weill and Karl Kramer (with the original musical by German dramatist Bertolt Brecht).

“Ubi Caritas,” back on the classical end of the spectrum, is a church hymn long used in Catholic Mass on Maundy Thursday. What brass music could veer in a completely different direction from a contemplative Gregorian melody? How about a breakneck showstopper showcasing performers’ technical abilities and musicality? “Fire Dance,” by Emmy award-winning composer Anthony DiLorenzo, fits that bill.

Those who enjoy visiting musicians for the chance to hear something brand new to their ears will likely find that in “Many Happy Returns,” a piece in three movements by Paul Salerni commissioned and premiered by Philadelphia Brass in 2012.

Or for audience members who enjoy the famously familiar, the ensemble will perform a suite from the musical “Guys and Dolls” including, “Oldest Established Permanent Crap Game in New York,” “If I Were a Bell,” “I’ve Never Been in Love Before” and “Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat.”

Beyond that, the only base not covered would be something typically, belovedly big and brassy. Enter Duke Ellington. The “Ellington Suite” on the program features “Do Nothin’ Till you Hear From Me,” “In a Sentimental Mood” and “It Don’t Mean and Thing.”

The concert is presented by the Performing Arts Society and features Anthony Cecere on French horn, Robert Gale on trombone, Steven Heitzer on trumpet, Brian Kuszyk on trumpet, and Scott Mendoker on tuba. It will be held at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Church Lutheran Church at the Y in Soldotna. Tickets are $20 for general admission or $10 for students, available in advance at Northcountry Fair and River City Books in Soldotna and Already Read and Country Liquor in Kenai. For more information on Philadelphia Brass, visit www.philadelphiabrass.com.

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Drinking on the Last Frontier: Brew reviews — Take note of standard reviewing procedure

Photo courtesy of Elaine Howell. Brew review do: Keep a notebook handy to record observations.

Photo courtesy of Elaine Howell. Brew review do: Keep a notebook handy to record observations.

By Bill Howell, for the Redoubt Reporter

In almost every human activity, there are two groups of people, separated by an invisible boundary line. On the one side dwell the amateurs, dilettantes and hobbyists. On the other you will find the professionals, fanatics and obsessed. The distribution between each camp varies according to the subject matter, but it’s always there.

In my opinion, when we are talking about craft beer, one of the easiest ways to tell if someone has crossed that line is to ask if they have started keeping records of the beers they have tasted. Perhaps they just record the mere fact that they have tasted a particular brew, like a birdwatcher who adds a species of bird to their Life List. Beer lovers of this sort are known as “tickers,” since they are all about “ticking” another beer off their list.

Then there are the beer chasers who are less interested in quantity than they are in quality. These are the sort of folks who seek out beers, taste them and then write up impressions or tasting notes or reviews, either on paper or online. Once you start writing down notes about how a particular beer tastes and smells to you, even if it’s only on a bar napkin, you have crossed the line. As someone who took that particular fall many years ago, let me be the first to welcome you and offer a few pointers.

If there’s any sort of standard for reviewing beers, it’s one based on the Style Guidelines produced by the Beer Judge Certification Program, or BJCP. The BJCP was created several years ago as a way to train and recognize qualified beer judges for homebrew competitions. As part of this effort, they created descriptive guidelines for the various recognized beer styles in order to give these judges an objective standard to evaluate beers against.

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Night lights shine bright in January

By Andy Veh, for the Redoubt Reporter

The starry sky is now at its best with the most prominent stars being well-placed high in the south — blue Rigel and red Betelgeuse in Orion, Sirius beneath it, Procyon to its left, Pollux and Castor higher up, Capella almost in the Zenith, and Aldebaran and the Pleiades completing the splendor. The Big Dipper starts out close on the Northern horizon, but Cassiopeia, Perseus and Andromeda are close to the zenith.

In the east, Cygnus and Pegasus are about to set while bright Vega, being circumpolar in Alaska, stays close to the horizon. Leo’s Regulus rises in the evening, trailing Gemini and Cancer low in the east.

Several planets are visible in the evening and all night. You can’t miss bright Jupiter as it rises in the northeast in the early evening, moving through the south and setting in the northwest when school starts in the morning. This winter it appears in Gemini, making a nice triangle with Pollux and its fainter twin, Castor.

Jupiter is in retrograde motion this month (an optical illusion caused by Earth’s orbit), seemingly moving from Pollux to the fainter Alhena (one of Gemini’s feet) to its right, being smack in the middle of the twins’ heads on Jupiter’s left and their feet early in the month. That motion continues through January and February. In March and April we will have passed Jupiter enough that we can see its regular motion, back toward Pollux. Look for the full moon right next to the giant planet Jan. 14.

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