Southeast News

Borough to consider using two recycling programs

Petersburg is planning to purchase blue recycling bins for household customers, to replace blue plastic bags currently used for curbside collection.The Petersburg Borough Assembly is set to consider a resolution that would run two curbside recycling programs at the same time, one for blue recycling bags and one for carts.

Injunction denial met with pleasure, disappointment

This image is from the cover of the Big Thorne Timber Sale Environmental Impact Study. (U.S. Forest Service photo)Thursday’s Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling against an emergency motion for an injunction to delay the Big Thorne Timber Sale was greeted with pleasure or disappointment, depending on who you talk to.

Closing after 65 years, Brenner women look to the future

IMG_7918The doors of one of the oldest family-owned stores in Sitka closed last month. Brenner’s Fine Clothing and Gifts has been a staple on Lincoln Street for the past 65 years.

Petersburg hosts state’s first co-ed roller derby bout

PRR group photoCompetitive roller derby returns to Petersburg this weekend with two bouts hosted by Petersburg’s Ragnarok Rollers.

9th Circuit denies Big Thorne injunction

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied an emergency motion for an injunction that would have delayed the Big Thorne Timber Sale pending an appeal of a lower-court ruling.

Ortiz hears concerns as session end nears

House District 36 MapWith only a few days left in regular session for the Alaska Legislature, House District 36 Rep. Dan Ortiz held a teleconference Wednesday evening with constituents in Wrangell and Ketchikan to answer questions and hear concerns.

Petersburg School District anxiously awaits state budget

dollar bills closeupPetersburg School District could lose about $425,000 in state funding if things stay where they are.

Petersburg Public Health informs residents about STDs

Public Health Nurse Erin Michael holds a box of condoms at the Public Health Office in Petersburg.April is National STD Awareness month. The Public Health Office in Petersburg is trying to get the word out to the public of the importance of testing for sexually transmitted diseases.

POW airport equipment outages spark debate

POW map BWNational Weather Service-run equipment at the Klawock Airport on Prince of Wales Island has been a subject of debate recently.

Harrigan Centennial Hall renovation will go out to bid

A rendering of what the new lobby would look like after the renovation of Harrigan Centennial Hall. (Image courtesy of McCool Carlson Green)The Assembly voted Tuesday night to put the Centennial Hall renewal project out to bid. The renovation will expand the building’s meeting and convention spaces and create a new, second entrance on the waterfront. Assembly members stressed that the project is being paid for entirely with state grants -- not with city money.

Assembly postpones discussion of electric rates

The Assembly put off a discussion of whether to raise electric rates until a special meeting on April 23. And while assembly members expressed support for finding an additional $1-million for Sitka schools, they couldn’t muster much enthusiasm for any of the specific proposals before them.

9th Circuit considering Big Thorne injunction request

Big Thorne cropA coalition of conservation groups that seeks to stop the Big Thorne Timber Sale on Prince of Wales Island has filed an emergency motion for an injunction with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals pending resolution of two appeals filed this spring with that court.

Public media cuts could end local programming

8-16-13 KFSK buildingSome Alaska public broadcasters would have to give up local programming if the state Senate’s budget cuts go through.

Dozens of PHS students head to Music Fest

The PHS clarinet ensemble will be performing at Music Fest. Photo/Rosa LopezFifty-eight high school students along with their music director, Matt Lenhard, will be attending Southeast Alaska High School Music Fest this year. They leave today for Juneau.

Federal agency reviewing yellow cedar for protection

An aerial shot of a yellow cedar stand. (U.S. Forest Service photo)Based on a petition submitted about a year ago by a coalition of conservation groups, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced last week that protection for the Alaska yellow cedar tree might be warranted under the federal Endangered Species Act.

School board to consider staff contracts

School District buildingPetersburg’s School Board will be getting an update on state funding and the kitchen remodeling project at a regular meeting tonight.

House approves Hyder crossing resolution

Hyder signThe Alaska House of Representatives unanimously approved a resolution Monday urging the Canadian government to resume 24-hour operations at the border crossing between Hyder, Alaska, and nearby Stewart, British Columbia.

Coast Guard rescues hiker on Chichagof Island

A map identifying Gull Cove, on the north end of Chichagof Island, as shown on the Gull Cove Lodge website.A Coast Guard helicopter crew rescued a hiker early Saturday morning (4-11-15) after she went missing from a lodge on Chichagof Island.

Chautauqua ferrying the Inside Passage this year

An old-time Chautauqua in Odebolt, Iowa. (National Parks Service photo)The Pacific Northwest-based New Old Time Chautauqua last brought its mix of vaudeville shows, music performances and workshops to the Inside Passage in the early 1990s. They’re coming back this summer, stopping first in Alaska’s First City.

Petersburg School District begins testing on-line

KITE testingPaper and pencil testing are becoming products of the past. Petersburg School District has implemented a new testing method that puts annual state testing all on-line.

Petersburg beats its warm winter record

Low snow can be seen at Crystal Lake Mountain.If you thought this past winter was warmer, wetter, and grayer than normal…well, you’re right. It was THE warmest winter on record for Petersburg. And it was one of the lowest snow years on record as well.

Assembly to consider additional $1-million for schools

The Sitka School Board and Assembly met for a budget work session on April 9, 2015. (Rachel Waldholz/KCAW)The Sitka School Board's budget assumes the city will increase its funding by $1-million this year. Now, the Assembly is considering where that money might come from. Options range from eliminating sales tax exemptions to cutting library hours to putting a tax increase on the October ballot.

PSP: With new lab, STA takes a gamble on shellfish testing

Geoducks-for-sale.-Alaska-Department-of-Fish-and-Game-photo.Despite the risk of paralytic shellfish poisoning -- or PSP -- Southeast Alaska has a robust dive fishery that includes geoduck clams. The entire industry hinges on weekly testing results from the Department of Environmental Conservation laboratory in Anchorage. This scenario could change in the not-too-distant future, as Sitka Tribe of Alaska seeks to open an independent testing lab for Southeast.

Southeast state forest plan out for public comment

KFSK file photoThe state of Alaska this month is taking public comment on a draft plan for managing the newly created 48-thousand acre Southeast state forest. It’s the third state forest in Alaska and much smaller than the other two state forests in the Tanana Valley and near Haines. The Southeast forest lands were set aside by the state legislature in 2010 and acreage was added the following year.

Juneau acting group brings Henry V to Petersburg

Henry V and Company are introduced by the play's Chorus. Photo courtesy of Carl BrodersenA Juneau theater group is coming to Petersburg this weekend to bring Shakespeare’s Henry V to the stage. Theater in the Rough will perform the play on Friday and Saturday nights at 7 p.m. at the Wright Auditorium.

SARDFA director details industry’s challenges

A slide from Phil Doherty's presentation shows a drawing of a diver harvesting geoduck clams. The clams bury themselves in the ocean floor, with their long necks sticking up to feed.During a presentation this week to the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce, Southeast Alaska Regional Dive Fisheries Association Executive Director Phil Doherty touched on some of the challenges the industry faces, such as new testing demands from mainland China, and the bane of shellfish fishermen: Sea otters.

Capital budget cuts spare Southeast projects

140708_Crescent_Harbor-KCAW 300x225The state Senate’s capital budget for fiscal year 2016 includes new harbor and energy projects for Southeast Alaska. But there are no funds for Petersburg or Wrangell.

Sitka’s first land trust home attracts a buyer — finally

The 3-bedroom home will sell for around $250,000, far below the average sale price for homes in Sitka. (KCAW photo/Robert Woolsey)It may be the cheapest route into a brand new family home in Sitka. It will have two-stories, three bedrooms, a yard, and off--street parking. It has just about everything, in fact, except a long list of people eager to buy it.

DOT considers cutting Sitka Airport hours

An Alaska Airlines jet touches down in Sitka. Both runway approaches are over ocean. (Flickr photo/Pat Groves)The state Department of Transportation has told city officials that budget cuts may mean shorter hours for Sitka’s Rocky Gutierrez Airport. The airport is currently staffed 24 hours a day. DOT is considering cutting one staff member, perhaps reducing operating hours to 18 or 20 hours a day.

Latest cut means $900K hit to Ketchikan schools

Schoenbar Middle SchoolThe Alaska Legislature continues to wrestle with a deficit of billions as lawmakers try to come up with a budget. Education funding got a big cut last week by a Senate committee, and the Ketchikan School District is keeping its own budget flexible in the face of ever-changing funding levels.