Southeast News

USCGC Maple changes command

IMG_6560The Coast Guard held a change of command ceremony aboard the Cutter Maple in Sitka yesterday morning (06-23-16). Beneath blue skies, Lieutenant Commander Mike Newell transferred command of the 225-buoy tender to Lieutenant Commander Patrick Armstrong.

‘Invasives Week’ efforts still focused on Sitka’s D.vex

D. vex grows in dense colonies. Although each individual is microscopic, together they form a dense mat resembling a sponge. (KCAW photo/Robert Woolsey)It's Invasive Species Awareness Week in Alaska. KCAW’s Robert Woolsey caught up with one of the state’s top invasive-fighters, Tammy Davis, as she coordinated a dive team in Sitka’s Whiting Harbor.

Senate committee talks about Tongass transition

(USDA photo)The plan to transition to second-growth harvest on the Tongass National Forest was discussed during a Senate Energy Committee hearing Thursday morning in Washington, D.C.

Sitka schools catch quarter-million budget break

After months of meetings and wrangling over the 2017 budget, the Sitka School board learned that fiscal year 2016, which ends in a week, will close out with a quarter-million dollar surplus.

Conservator assesses Chief Johnson totem pole

Detail of the Chief Johnson pole when the beak fell off.Conservator Andrew Todd is in Ketchikan this week to assess the condition of the Chief Johnson Totem Pole. Todd was brought up after the beak of the raven figure fell off in early April.

State seeks company to survey Kupreanof road

The Twelve Mile Creek drainage on northeastern Kupreanof Island is the proposed route for a road connection across the island. (KFSK file photo)The Alaska Department of Transportation is looking to hire a company to survey a proposed road on Kupreanof Island near the Southeast communities of Kupreanof, Petersburg and Kake.

Volunteers retrieve injured hiker from Verstovia Trail

39188ef9-f000-4bd9-af73-fb45e77f31a6Early Sunday evening, Sitka Mountain Rescue received word of an injured hiker on the Mt. Verstovia trail. Gregory Raschick of Sitka injured his knee at 1600 feet, while descending the mountain with a group of family and friends. Raschick is a longtime volunteer for Sitka Mountain Rescue, so he knew exactly what to do.

To be or not to be…an organ donor

OrgansToDonate2Signing up to be an organ donor in Alaska is easy. But what does it mean to be an organ donor and what exactly are you agreeing to? Donna Brahaney with Life Alaska Donor Services discussed organ donation during presentations in the First City.

Residents will try for Petersburg pot business vote

Photo from flickrCreative CommonsBrett LevinLEGAL Colorado marijuana growVoters in the Petersburg borough may be weighing in on prohibiting or allowing local marijuana businesses sometime this year after all. Petersburg’s borough assembly earlier this month voted not to put that issue on the October 4th ballot. Residents on Monday asked the assembly to re-consider that decision. Meanwhile, an effort is underway to put some pot business questions to voters, possibly in a special election later this year.

Petersburg starts discussion on addiction solutions

Petersburg school students  met a drug dog and his Juneau handler in 2011. (KFSK file photo)Community members in Petersburg have started up what they hope is a regular, perhaps monthly, discussion on drug abuse in the community and possible solutions. The first meeting this month focused on prosecution of drug dealers and help for those addicted.

Petersburg assembly cuts pot cafes from smoking law rewrite

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPetersburg’s borough assembly Monday took a step toward prohibiting local pot smoking rooms for future retail marijuana businesses. The borough has been moving forward with a change to the local anti-smoking law that would have made an exception for pot smoking rooms at a licensed marijuana business. However, the assembly agreed to drop that language, seeing no need for on-site consumption. They also decided against increasing the town’s current five-foot smoking buffer outside businesses.

Ketchikan swimmer traverses Wrangell Narrows

Fog blankets Britta Adams and Mike Schuler as Adams swims through the Wrangell Narrows.(Photo by Mark Adams)Not too many people like to go for a swim in the chilling open waters of Southeast Alaska. But, Ketchikan’s Britta Adams braved the cold ocean and strong tides recently to swim more than 10 miles of the rocky Wrangell Narrows.

Hoonah Native corporation names new CEO

Russell Dick will take over as Huna Totem CEO this fall. The Native corporation for Hoonah operates the Icy Strait Point tourist attraction. (File photo)Huna Totem Corp. will soon have its first shareholder CEO. Board of Directors Chairman Russell Dick will become the corporation’s CEO and president Oct. 1.

Boro won’t require federal compliance for pot shops

(Creative Commons photo by Brett Levin)In a split vote Monday, the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly rejected an ordinance that would have added more restrictive requirements to marijuana businesses than mandated by the state, including larger buffer zones and a rule that marijuana businesses not violate federal law regarding the transportation of pot.

Grocery mural tells farm-to-table story

13321809_1132783143409836_4054324007516417229_nThe paint is finally dry on a new mural in Sitka. Cara Jane Murray’s new work, Everything Comes to Life, adds a splash of color to the corner of Baranof and Oja Street, encompassing an exterior wall of a local grocery store.

Borough celebrates clean-energy heat for airport

Andrew Haden of Wisewood, Inc., a Portland-based design firm, explains how the Ketchikan Airport's biomass boiler works. (Photo by Leila Kheiry)The new biomass wood-pellet system is whisper-quiet, environmentally friendly and, officials say, will save the Ketchikan Gateway Borough money in the long term.

Relay runs its way to $14,000

Carrie Spackman leads a group of cancer survivors and their caregivers around the bases at last weekend's Relay For Life event (Photo KCAW/Katherine Rose).Last weekend was Relay for Life, an annual fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Despite the misting rains, about 30 Sitkans came together to walk the track around Moller Field and share stories of survival.

Assembly to vote on pot-transportation rules

A 5 percent sales tax on pot is before the Ketchikan City Council tonight. (KRBD file photo)The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly has scheduled a public hearing and second vote for Monday on an ordinance that would amend the borough’s pot regulations, including restrictions on transporting marijuana.

In a flash, Girl Scouts resolve HPR crosswalk issue

Girl Scout Troop 4140 poses for Sentinel photographer James Poulson on Peterson Street. ack row from left to right: Retha Winger, Stan Filler Sr. Sitka CHARR,  John Weitkamp Sitka Rotary Club, Giant Stuffed Duck,, Loyd Platson chair of Police and Fire Commission, Doug Osborne Sitka Community Hospital.
Middle row: Zheng Arce, McDonalds restaurant,  Autumn Dinsmore, Sitka Police Chief Sheldon Schmitt, Margaret Peterson, Amy Bergman Oceanside Therapy Center.
 Front row: Sharon Bergman Sitka Rotary Club, Rianna Bergman, and chiropractor  Besty Decker. (KCAW photo Robert Woolsey)After years of government inertia, the Girls Scouts of Troop 4140 in Sitka have spearheaded the installation of flashing crosswalk signs along some of the busiest state road in town.

City Council: Try again for ADA cab proposals

Welcome Arch Mission Downtown KetchikanThe Ketchikan City Council agreed Thursday to give local taxi companies another chance to submit proposals to operate wheelchair-accessible cabs. The Council also heard an update on Berth 3 repairs, and finalized a 5-percent sales tax on retail marijuana.

Dance group reflects cross-border cultural resurgence

Wayne Carlick, left, and others drum as more than 30 people take the stage during Celebration 2016. The Atlin, British Columbia, group included relates from Juneau. (Photo by Ed Schoenfeld/CoastAlaska News)Southeast Alaska’s Tlingit culture doesn’t stop at the Canadian border. An Inland Tlingit group from up the Taku River has strong connections to Alaska.

Activity fees going up at Petersburg schools

vikingHSlogo2Fees are going up to play sports and other extra-curricular activities at Petersburg schools. Petersburg’s school board approved those changes Tuesday and heard about other changes for school activity participation rules.

Hospital officials: Addition will improve care

HospitalHospital officials hope that the building’s new multi-million-dollar addition will help them attract good employees and keep them. And keeping those employees makes a difference to the service provided.

Former Petersburg fisherman one of two winners on Fox TV show

clarepainterA former Petersburg fisherman and Petersburg Fisheries worker was one of two winners on last week’s (6/9) finale of the Fox TV show “American Grit.” Clare Painter and another contestant with Alaskan ties both take home a prize of 250-thousand dollars for outlasting the other teams through a 10-espisode series of grueling obstacle courses and challenges.

After seven years at sea, avalanche experts stop in Sitka

Jill Fredston, author and avalanche expert, stands aboard her boat docked in Eliason Harbor.You may be surprised to learn that Jill Fredston doesn’t row everywhere. Fredston and her husband Doug Fesler arrived recently in Sitka aboard their yellow cruiser, the Compañera with a pair of rowing shells lashed on deck.

City Council to discuss repairs to damaged dock

The cruise ship Infinity hit Ketchikan's Berth 3 dock June 3rd. (Photo by Ed Schoenfeld)The Ketchikan City Council on Thursday will discuss plans to fix the city’s Berth 3, which was severely damaged on June 3rd when the cruise ship Infinity hit the downtown dock.

Southeast hydro plants have full lakes, falling demand

Petersburg's Crystal Lake hydro plant is one source for the community. (KFSK file photo)The organization that sells hydro-electric power to Ketchikan, Wrangell and Petersburg finds itself in an unusual situation this year, plenty of electricity to sell and a decreasing demand from customers in the three Southeast communities. As Joe Viechnicki reports, a warm, wet winter and lower oil prices are factors.

High lake level complicates Ketchikan dam project

damsurveyorA multi-million dollar project to increase hydro-electric lake storage for three Southeast Alaska communities is underway this month. During the work, the Southeast Alaska Power Agency’s Swan Lake hydro plant near Ketchikan will continue generating power for Wrangell, Petersburg and Ketchikan. Board members of that organization heard this month that the start of the project was threatened by difficulties with lowering the lake level this spring.

Power agency tables vote on Ketchikan hydro operation

Photo courtesy of the Southeast Alaska Power AgencyFrustrations boiled over at a meeting in Petersburg last week of the organization that sells electrical power to Wrangell, Petersburg and Ketchikan. Board members of the Southeast Alaska Power Agency, or SEAPA, ultimately decided to delay a vote on a take-over of operations at the Swan Lake hydro-electric plant near Ketchikan.

Team attaches another tracking buoy to entangled whale

Photo courtesy of NOAA FisheriesWhale stranding experts are again tracking a whale caught in an anchor line and buoy in Southeast. The 40-foot long adult humpback was spotted near Thomas Bay east of Petersburg Sunday afternoon by the motor vessel Catalyst, a boat that offers cruises in Southeast.