Southeast News

Canada OKs KSM mine’s environmental plans

Seabridge Gold's Brent Murphy points to a valley to be dammed to hold tailings from the KSM mine during a July tour. The project just won federal environmental approval. (Ed Schoenfeld/CoastAlaska News)A controversial mine near Southeast Alaska’s border won approval from Canada’s federal government. Critics say it could pollute salmon-bearing rivers.

Silver Bay wins board approval for waterfront purchase

In just eight years, Silver Bay has already acquired a substantial portion of the park, including the plant and dock at lower left, and nearby bunkhouses.A Sitka-based seafood processor has cleared the first hurdle toward a major expansion -- in its hometown. The board of Sitka’s Gary Paxton Industrial Park on Wednesday (12-17-14) approved the sale of a significant portion of park waterfront to Silver Bay Seafoods. Plans for a joint venture in a marine services center remain on hold for the time being.

Petersburg committee opposes Dungeness closures

dungeness crab

Proposals to close commercial Dungeness crabbing in many areas of Southeast Alaska got no support from the Fish and Game Advisory Committee in the commercial fishing town of Petersburg. As … more

940,000 cruise visitors predicted for 2015 season

The Volendam was the first cruise ship to stop in Ketchikan in 2014.More than five months before the 2015 season is due to start, the City of Ketchikan has released a draft of next summer’s cruise ship schedule.

Petersburg Girl Scouts sings Christmas carols downtown

Julie Anderson and girls 2Listen to the Girl Scouts sing Christmas carols at Long Term Care.

Sitka High activities budget: A ‘perfect storm’

fea_soccerThe activities budget for Sitka High School may have reached a tipping point -- and it could force the end of some programs. The Sitka School Board heard a report from activities director LieuDell Goldsberry earlier this month. Between the recent addition of several new activities and a reduction in district spending, most programs have seen a cut of at least 40-percent over two years.

Petersburg’s school superintendent on administrative leave

Lisa-Stroh2-300x300Petersburg’s school superintendent is on administrative leave until early next year. Superintendent Lisa Stroh was not at Tuesday night’s board meeting and board president Jean Ellis made that announcement part way through the meeting.

Regional team recommends new hatchery king release for Kake

KFSK file photoThe small Southeast village of Kake could see a hatchery run of king salmon in the future. The Sitka-based Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association applied for a permit change for a new remote release of up to 200,000 Chinook at Gunnuk Creek in Kake.

Coastline search leads to first residents’ camps

A computer-generated map of Southeast Alaska shows additional land (in brown) beyond today's shoreline. (Courtesy Jim Baichtal)Understanding the rise and fall of Southeast Alaska's landscape is helping scientists learn more about the area’s early human settlements.

Fall brown bear hunts proposed near Petersburg

brown bear at Frederick Point East 2012Some Petersburg residents would like to see a fall brown bear hunt in Unit 3. The Petersburg Fish and Game Advisory Committee has introduced two proposals to expand brown bear hunting near Petersburg.

Capital budget has few Southeast projects

The ferry Malaspina is in drydock and the Columbia is tied up at the Ketchikan Shipyard in this 2012 photo.Southeast projects in Gov. Bill Walker’s pared-down capital budget are mostly road, ferry and bridge work that could be funded by the federal government.

Petersburg School Board to consider budget revisions

School District buildingThe Petersburg School District is proposing to increase its budget to the tune of $216,000. It’s added revenue based on the number of students that are actually enrolled this year.

Forest Service releases review of proposed power line to Kake

From the Kake to Petersburg transmission line draft EISA draft environmental review for a proposed electrical power line between Kake and Petersburg is out this month, a major milestone for the long-discussed project. The document could lead to the selection of a route for the transmission line across Kupreanof Island in central Southeast Alaska.

Residents chime in on Petersburg’s planning process

Photo courtesy of Petersburg Chamber of CommerceAn Anchorage consulting firm spent several days last week gathering input on the future of Petersburg, the community’s challenges and biggest needs. That information will be used to draft two planning documents focusing on land use, development and harbor facilities. The planners are encouraging all residents of the borough to provide their ideas.

Keel-laying marks start of ferry construction

Ketchikan residents chat with shipyard workers after the keel-laying ceremony. One of the keels is seen in the background.On Saturday, Ketchikan celebrated the laying of the keels for Alaska’s two new ferries, which will be built at Ketchikan’s Vigor Alaska shipyard.

ERV and Coast Guard rescue sinking vessel

MH60_EOIR_11Dec14_025828_2 (1)The Coast Guard and the Sitka Fire and Police Departments joined forces last night (12-10-14) to assist a troller that was grounded near Rockwell Lighthouse.

Sealaska land-selection bill passes Congress

Sealaska Plaza is the regional Native corporation's Juneau headquarters. Officials say winter dividends will be paid around Dec. 5. (Heather Bryant/KTOO)A bill transferring 70,000 acres of the Tongass National Forest to Sealaska has passed Congress. It's attached to a defense-spending act, which is on its way to the President’s desk.

Shipyard focuses on training local workforce

Ketchikan's shipyard is seen in 2012. (Photo by Ed Schoenfeld)“Create more jobs” is a mantra in Ketchikan, but the problem with more jobs at the shipyard is, workers there need special skills.

Gasoline spills at Kake Tribal’s tank farm

Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation photoKake Tribal Fuel has reported spilling about 900 gallons of unleaded gasoline at a tank farm in the Southeast Alaska community on Sunday. The company is owned by the village Native corporation for the community of about 600 people on northwestern Kupreanof Island.

Government insurance specialist to visit Petersburg

insuranceIf you don’t have health insurance and want it, now could be the time to sign up. A health insurance specialist is coming to Petersburg and Wrangell to help residents sign up for the federally subsidized Health Insurance Marketplace.

Study: Climate change hurting salmon habitat

10-14 Compressed - The Nature Conservancy's Colin Shanley talks about his research on how climate change's will impact Southeast salmon habitat next to Juneau's Gold Creek.Scientists know climate change is altering rain and snowfall patterns in the Tongass National Forest. A new study details how that could affect salmon and suggests what can be done.

Assembly votes on heat pumps, bulk water, garden stands

The Sitka Assembly has tentatively approved a heat pump rebate program. Utility Director Chris Brewton said the program is a win-win: the city will increase electricity sales, while residents can lower home-heating costs.

Fire Hall replaces Christmas tree lost during SAR

2-IMG_3505The Sitka family that lost their Christmas tree - and, briefly, their father - got a happy ending today (12-10-14), thanks to some local elves.

Sitka Community Hospital facing unexpected financial woes

Sitka Community Hospital. (Photo courtesy of the Sitka Community Hospital Foundation)The city-owned Sitka Community Hospital is in worse financial shape than anyone thought -- including its new CEO. The Sitka Assembly was briefed on the hospital’s finances during a closed-door session Tuesday night.

Gov. Walker, first lady to attend keel-laying

Alaska Class Ferry slideA public laying of the keels is set for the two Alaska Marine Highway System day boats that will be built in Ketchikan. It was announced Wednesday that newly elected Gov. Bill Walker and first lady Donna Walker will attend the ceremony.

Senior care center key to development plan

This drawing shows tentative plans for a senior complex along Revilla Road. The plan includes a senior care facility, condos for seniors, and housing and services for employees of the senior center. (Image from Ward Cove Group development proposal.)A huge part of the Ward Cove Group’s development plan for borough-owned land off Revilla Road is a proposed senior housing complex, close to the intersection of Revilla and North Tongass Highway.

With season cancelled, Yakutat family relocates son to play basketball

Despite their relative isolation, Yakutat's 700 residents have a strong tradition around basketball. (City of Yakutat photo)There will be no boys’ basketball season in Yakutat this year due to low enrollment and a couple of academic ineligibilities. Yakutat has a strong basketball tradition, and at least two families have decided that playing basketball is important enough to enroll their children elsewhere. One family brought their son to Sitka.

Southeast championships feature Alaska’s first girls’ wrestling meet

wrestlingHigh school girls competed in Alaska’s first-ever girls’ wrestling meet during the Southeast Region championship Saturday. Unlike past tournaments, where girls competed with boys, the region finals alternated girls’ and boys’ spotlight matches.

Options needed for homeless families, kids

The City of Ketchikan is seen from the water on a cloudy day.It’s challenging to get exact numbers of how many homeless kids live in Ketchikan, but the number probably is a lot bigger than you think. 360North hosted a recent public forum in Ketchikan that focused on youth and family homelessness.

City Council accepts water compliance order

A view of Ketchikan from the top of the Edmonds Street stairs.The Ketchikan City Council agreed Thursday to accept a compliance order from the state Department of Environmental Conservation over the city’s ongoing water issues.

Eight Southeast cities plan for scrap-metal recycling

Heavy equipment loads junk cars and scrap metal onto a  barge in Ketchikan. (Photo courtesy Ketchikan Gateway Borough)A Ketchikan company will soon begin collecting and recycling scrap metal from Wrangell, Petersburg and six Prince of Wales Island communities.

USFS removes one cabin, adds another in Wrangell Ranger District

The U.S. Forest Service removed one cabin from the Wrangell Ranger District this year and plans to add a new one in a more popular location.

Wrangell assembly to intervene in two more timber lawsuits

big thorneThe Wrangell Borough Assembly voted Wednesday to intervene in two more lawsuits supporting the Big Thorne timber sale on Prince of Wales Island.

Compliance ordered for Ketchikan water supply

Ketchikan from the waterA compliance order from the state Department of Environmental Conservation spells out what the City of Ketchikan is required to do over the next couple of years to address ongoing water concerns.

Wrangell hospital project closes contracts, starts fresh

The City and Borough of Wrangell and the Wrangell Medical Center closed a settlement this month with a company formerly contracted to help finance a new hospital building. After the hospital project stalled in 2012 with more than a million dollars spent on contracts, city and hospital officials are hoping for a fresh start.

Salard’s jury trial set for February

The jury trial of a Wrangell doctor accused of possessing and distributing child pornography has been bumped nearly two months. Doctor Greg Salard’s defense attorney asked for delay until Feb. 23, 2015.

Review of Red Chris Mine finds tailings dam concerns

red chris tailingsAs Southeast Alaskans become more concerned about mine development in British Columbia, a copper and gold mine in the Stikine River watershed is expected to start full operations next month. But an independent review of its tailings facility found issues with the design.

Repatriated Wrangell clan hat arrives in Juneau

frog clan hatA clan hat from an Alaska Native tribe in Wrangell returned to Alaska Thursday. The Khaach.ádi or frog clan of Wrangell signed a repatriation claim in 2008 to get the hat back from a museum in California.

KSM mine critics target investors, B.C. officials

The KSM project's operational phase mine site layout includes pits to access ore, rock storage, a dam and a water treatment plant. (Courtesy KSM environmental assessment certificate application)Transboundary mine critics are trying a new tactic in their opposition to the KSM mine. They’re telling investors it's a bad place to put their money.

Ferry system limits solo travel by kids, teenagers

A marine highway staffer watches as passengers and dogs reboard the ferry Matanuska before departing Wrangell Jan. 16, 2013. (Ed Schoenfeld/CoastAlaska News)The Alaska Marine Highway System will no longer allow children and teenagers under 18 to travel solo. The current rules place no restrictions on 16- and 17-year-olds.