Southeast News

All safe after Sitka tour vessel founders

The St. Michael took the stricken St. Tatiana's passengers aboard. (Flickr photo/Michael Fitzhugh)69 passengers and 5 crew members are safe after being evacuated from a tour boat Thursday afternoon (5-21-15) in Sitka.

A seller’s market at Sitka’s industrial park

White says there are now 43 full-time jobs at GPIP, and 380 seasonal jobs. When the APC Mill closed in 1993, Sitka lost over 400 full-time jobs. White says his board has been working under a 20-year strategy to develop the site.It’s a seller’s market at Sitka’s Gary Paxton Industrial Park. Although much of the uplands in the former mill site remains on the market, park director Garry White told the Sitka Chamber of Commerce this week (5-20-15) that the waterfront continues to attract suitors.

Arctic adviser: Rigid regs worsen climate change impacts

Craig Fleener, Gov. Walker's Arctic policy adviser, addresses the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society at Juneau's Centennial Hall on Wedensday. (Photo by Ed Schoenfeld/CoastAlaska News)Craig Fleener, the governor's Arctic policy head, says communities could better adjust to climate change if hunting and fishing rules become more flexible.

Centennial Hall declared asbestos-free

Harrigan Centennial Hall was re-opened this afternoon (Wed 5-20-15), after an asbestos scare forced an emergency closure on Tuesday. Building Manager Don Kluting said a gray substance was found on spare door and a sample sent to a lab in Washington state, with negative results.

We’re Number 2! Slayers roll to second-place in state tourney

According to Newhouse, the Slayers treat each other like family. "We want to be competitive, but competition will never replace fun." (Sitka Sound Slayers photo)Sitka has the number-two roller derby team in the state. The Sitka Sound Slayers lost only two games in the state roller derby tournament over the weekend (May 16-17) -- both to the Rage City Rollergirls from Anchorage.

With an eye on legislature, Sitka schools move ahead with hires

The Sitka school board wants to develop a more strategic budgeting process in the next couple of years -- assuming the state government is functioning and lawmakers fund education.

Student glacier survey reports little change at LeConte

Kyle Hagerman, Skipper Erickson, Ian Fleming, Shalie Dahl, Aaron Murph and Chauncey Sandhofer surveyed the LeConte Glacier this month. (Photo courtesy of Victor Trautman)A team of student surveyors from Petersburg High School just completed an annual visit to the LeConte Glacier on the mainland near Petersburg. This is the 32nd year for the program to record the position of the terminus of the southernmost tidewater glacier in North America. The students have found little change in the location of ice face, no big retreat or advance again this year. They were able to verify their work for the first time using a satellite image.

Hyder border to reopen for 24-hour access

Hyder signSen. Lisa Murkowski’s office announced today that after many discussions with her office, the Canadian government has agreed to work with U.S. officials to open the gate -- and keep it open, all the time.

Lightning causes power outage in Petersburg

powerpole4A rare thunder and lightning display caused a brief power outage in Petersburg Tuesday afternoon. Petersburg Power and Light superintendent Joe Nelson reported that lightning hit a tree along with a transmission line and distribution line for the local electric utility.

Trooper shoots aggressive brown bear in Starrigavan campground

This picture of the bear was taken a few days before a trooper killed the animal as it charged. (ADF&G photo)Law enforcement officers killed a young brown bear in a Sitka campground over the weekend, after the animal had become aggressive.

Book, exhibit recall 1980’s fishing ‘gold rush’ in Sitka

The Lualda's decks go awash during a halibut opener in Sitka Sound in 1987. (Jana Suchy photo)It may be the next best thing to time travel, for the hook-and-line crowd. An author and photojournalist who worked as a deckhand in Sitka in the 1980s has rediscovered some of her early work, and published it in a new book.

Critics question Sealaska Corp.’s finances

sealaska-annual-report-2015-graphCould Sealaska make more money, pay higher dividends and make better use of its land? Yes, say some shareholders critical of the Southeast regional Native corporation’s management.

Petersburg assembly approves Chautauqua camping

Sandy Beach Park low tidePetersburg’s borough assembly approved camping at Sandy Beach next month for a group of performers, educators and chefs planning to visit. The New Old Time Chautauqua may be bringing up to 55 people to Petersburg and other Southeast towns this summer. They’ll be performing while they’re in town and holding workshops.

Governor Walker disappointed over legislative inaction

govdedicate2Alaska’s Governor Bill Walker on Saturday expressed disappointment with legislative inaction over three issues he wanted addressed this month in a special session. The state budget is still up in the air, a little over a month away from the end of the fiscal year leaving school districts, municipal governments and state agencies wondering about funding levels for the year ahead.

Delta touches down in Sitka

3-IMG_1209Look out Alaska Airlines. Delta announced last fall it would begin operating non-stop flights from Seattle to Sitka for the summer season. And at 7:25 last Friday (05-15-15), the first flight landed. Delta also began operating one daily flight from Seattle to Ketchikan. The season will end on September 7th.

Dignitaries open Petersburg drive down dock

Vice mayor Cindi Lagoudakis, Governor Bill Walker, mayor Mark Jensen and Lieutenant governor Byron Mallot pose for with Little Norway festival valkyries at the drive down dock Saturday.Alaska’s governor and lieutenant governor helped celebrate a new vehicle-accessible dock under sunny skies on the Petersburg waterfront Saturday. The borough-owned, state-funded dock opened this spring and is another option for boats to load and unload gear and supplies in this busy fishing town.

Planners to recommend zoning throughout Petersburg borough

Final Petersburg Borough Map Illustration (742x1024)A consulting company drafting Petersburg’s comprehensive plan will be recommending the new borough exercise zoning and sub-division authority throughout its municipal boundaries, not just within the limits of the old city of Petersburg. The planners visited Petersburg last week and offered a sneak peak of draft planning documents that are expected out later this month.

Climate change, subsistence on Native group’s agenda

NAFWSThe Native American Fish and Wildlife Society meets in Juneau May 20-22. Tribal experts will discuss climate change, subsistence and Arctic policy.

Climate change, subsistence on Native group’s agenda

NAFWSThe Native American Fish and Wildlife Society meets in Juneau May 20-22. Tribal experts will discuss climate change, subsistence and Arctic policy.

Ortiz returns, asks constituents for input

Rep. Dan Ortiz talks during a town-hall-style meeting Thursday at the White Cliff building.After a quick trip to Juneau early this week that didn't result in any action by the Legislature, House District 36 Rep. Dan Ortiz returned to Ketchikan for a town-hall-style meeting with constituents Thursday evening.

Petersburg school district considers grading changes

Petersburg High School signPetersburg’s school district is considering some changes to the grading system in the high school for next year. The school board Tuesday heard about some proposed changes that have been controversial in the past. Board members also heard about costs of implementing a random drug testing program for students in sports and other activities.

New Tongass Forest Supervisor on the job

EarlStewartThe new Tongass National Forest Supervisor Earl Stewart has worked for the U.S. Forest Service since 1991, moving through various forests. But, he says, he’s always wanted to live and work in Alaska.

Petersburg pedometer challenge leaders log over a million steps

Some of the participants in the pedometer challenge gathered for an awards ceremony at the public library Tuesday.The winner of a walking challenge in Petersburg this spring recorded over a million steps in six weeks, the equivalent of over 500 miles. The competition ended last week and winners Tuesday picked out prizes ranging from plane tickets to gift certicates.

Petersburg airport paving in third month

pavingequipPaving work at Petersburg’s James A. Johnson airport is in it’s third month and should be completed by next month. The nearly three-million-dollar project started in March and will mean new pavement for the taxiways and apron where planes taxi and are parked between the terminal buildings and the runway.

Male cat nurtures litter of abandoned kittens

Henry and kittenHenry’s strong mothering instinct is a surprise, and it’s also a gift, because he could make all the difference to whether the kittens survive.

Ammonia leak prompts temporary evacuation

EC PhillipsAn ammonia leak led to a compressor shut-down at a Ketchikan fish processing plant Tuesday night, and prompted an evacuation of the surrounding area.

AK, B.C. promise more input into mine decisions

Alaska Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott discusses the Xat’sull people’s traditional fishing on the Fraser River with tribal council official Jacinda Mack on May 6, 2015. The Xat'sull live in the area damaged by August's Mount Polley Mine tailings dam collapse. They’re concerned about reopening plans. (Photo courtesy Office of the Governor)The Walker-Mallott administration will include transboundary mine critics’ concerns in its negotiations with British Columbia.

Bill would add layer to subsistence redesignation

Saxman Totem Park and Clan House.Citing the City of Saxman’s decade-long fight to regain its residents’ subsistence rights, Sen. Lisa Murkowski introduced a measure on Monday that would require congressional approval before a community’s rural designation could be removed in the future.

MAC hears about proposed state pot regs

(Creative Commons photo by Brett Levin)The first set of regulations will cover local control options, and should be available for public review by the end of the week. A second set later on will deal with products, and the last set will cover licensing requirements. The state needs to have regulations in place by Nov. 24.

Ortiz says he’s ready to negotiate ASAP

ortizHouse District 36 Rep. Dan Ortiz is headed back to Juneau on Monday to complete work on the state budget, but there probably won’t be much work taking place.