Southeast News

Hydro challenges: Permitting, money, terrain

Artist rendering of the Susitna-Watana project. (Alaska Energy Authority image)The Alaska Power Association met last week in Ketchikan, and among the topics covered was hydroelectric power projects in the state.

Governor declares disaster in Sitka, freeing up relief funds

150818_slides_Waldholz_01On Friday, Governor Bill Walker issued a disaster declaration for Sitka, in response to seven landslides on August 18th. In a letter to the legislature, Walker said he would cap relief at $1 million for the moment, but that the incident is ongoing and total recovery costs are unknown. According to Gorman, the cost of emergency response alone is estimated to be over half a million dollars. Individual assistance and family grants are also available, at a cap of $16,450 per household.

Source of large oil spill in ANB Harbor identified

IMG_2990The Coast Guard has determined the source of a large diesel spill that spread from Sitka Sound into ANB harbor yesterday morning (08-31-15). The source was a commercial vessel south of ANB Harbor, Since the spill wasn’t reported for several hours, the size could have been anywhere from 50 gallons to 300 gallons. That made clean-up difficult.

Heavy rainfall damages fish weir and road on POW

Sandy Beach Road near Coffman Cove on Prince of Wales Island eroded from recent rainfall. Photo courtesy of U.S. Forest ServiceA forest service road eight miles South of Coffman Cove is closed indefinitely due to erosion.

Heavy rain sets daily records in Petersburg, Southeast

raindropsPetersburg and other parts of Southeast set some daily rainfall records last week. Petersburg recorded over three and a half inches of rain, 3.55 to be exact on Saturday, August 29th, the highest total for that date in National Weather Service records dating back to the 1940s.

Petersburg, Wrangell priest stays mostly silent for a month

The Catholic priest who ministers in Petersburg and Wrangell spent a month of his summer at a Jesuit retreat center studying Ignatian spirituality in Los Altos, California. The retreat involved not speaking to anyone except a spiritual director for one month.

New Petersburg sculpture nearly set for installation

Photo courtesy of Eric LarsonA new public sculpture is nearly completed for downtown Petersburg. Artist Eric Larson is putting the finishing touches on a bronze, aluminum and concrete piece that will be installed at the Buschmann Park next to the municipal building on main street.

Are tailings dams safe? B.C. mines chief says ‘yes’

B.C. Minister of Mines Bill Bennett, left, discusses his trip up the Taku River with Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott in the Walter Soboleff Center lobby Aug. 24 in Juneau. (Photo by Ed Schoenfeld/CoastAlaska News)British Columbia Mines Minister Bill Bennett says tailings dams can be a safe part of his province's mines.

Rep. Ortiz encouraged by BC mines minister visit

ortizHouse District 36 Rep. Dan Ortiz gives an update on current activities, including transboundary mines talks, the Medicaid expansion lawsuit and the upcoming session's most pressing topic: The budget.

The Cannery Tales: Nichelle Stanfield

DSCN5471Today we meet Nichelle Stanfield, a 29 year old graphic design student from California. She spoke with Joe Sykes about disability, depression and coping with death. But first she recounted her encounter with one of Alaska’s most famous residents.

Public comments on POW subsistence wolf harvest

Alaska Department of Fish and Game photo.The Office of Subsistence Management heard Thursday from the public – some from out of state – about whether to allow a subsistence wolf harvest on Prince of Wales Island and adjacent islands.

Sitka organizations offer free counseling in aftermath of slides

From left, John Raasch, of Youth Advocates of Sitka; Marita Bailey, Amy Zanuzoski and Carol Berge, of Sitka Counseling and Prevention Services; and Parcae Soule, of SEARHC, spoke about counseling resources available to Sitkans. (Rachel Waldholz, KCAW)As the city continues to cope with the aftermath of last week’s landslides, Sitka's emergency responders had one key message on Thursday: take care of yourself, and make sure to ask for help if you need it.

Nine days in, landslide response starts to scale back

City crews continued to focus Thursday on removing debris from the Kramer Avenue landslide site, working on a cleanup that officials estimate could take a month or more.

Cross Country to open school sports year this weekend

27 students are on the Sitka High 2015 Cross Country team. (KCAW photo/Charles Bingham)The Sitka and Mt. Edgecumbe high school cross-country running teams will hit the trails this weekend when they host their only home meet of the season.

Veteran teachers to lead Sitka’s high schools

Mandy Summer (l.) and Lyle Sparrowgrove have decades of combined experience in the classroom. (KCAW photo/Robert Woolsey)Both of Sitka’s high schools have new principals -- and both are familiar faces with a lot of teaching experience.

BC mines minister talks transboundary issues

Alaska Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott, left, and BC Minister of Mines Bill Bennett address the Alaska Power Association Thursday morning in Ketchikan. They later talked to the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce. (Photo by Leila Kheiry)British Columbia’s Minister of Mines Bill Bennett was in Ketchikan on Thursday, part of a diplomatic and fact-finding trip to Southeast Alaska related to the issue of transboundary mines.

Chamber of Commerce likely to take over Sitka visitor services

A screenshot of the Sitka Convention and Visitors Bureau website. The assembly has voted to dissolve the bureau. (Screenshot June 24, 2015)The saga of Sitka’s Convention and Visitors Bureau continued Tuesday night, as the assembly moved one step closer to fully dissolving the bureau and hiring an outside contractor to do its work -- likely the Sitka Chamber of Commerce.

City still investigating cause of diesel spill

The diesel from the Jarvis Street Power Plant leaked into Sitka Sound through this storm water drain at Eagle Beach. (Rachel Waldholz, KCAW)The Sitka Assembly received an update on last week’s diesel spill at the city’s Jarvis Street Power Plant.

Speaking at Assembly, officials say: Thank you, Sitka

Sitka Police Lt. Lance Ewers speaks to volunteers and friends and family of the missing men at Grace Harbor Church on August 19, the day after Sitka was hit by a series of landslides. (Rachel Waldholz, KCAW)At the first meeting of the Sitka Assembly since last week’s landslides, city officials spoke emotionally about the loss of three local men -- and said they had been overwhelmed by the response of city staff, volunteers, and ordinary citizens.

Sixteen file for Petersburg’s October ballot

boroughsealThe deadline has passed and sixteen people have filed paperwork to get their names on the Petersburg borough ballot for the October 6th election. That means voters will be filling 15 of the 21 open seats on the ballot this October.

State ferry system raising cancellation fees

8-20-13 Fairweather drawing by Issac Taylor @ Petersburg Ferry TerminalThe state ferry system will soon charge more for canceling reservations. Fee increases begin Oct. 1, the same day the winter ferry schedule begins.

Oso battalion chief: Sitka slide is ‘déjà vu’

Among all the expertise imported by Sitka to aid in the recovery operation at the Kramer Avenue slide, one man finds this disaster hits very close to home.

B.C. minister: Tulsequah mine leak should be fixed

B.C. Mines Minister Bill Bennett answers reporters' questions Monday after touring the Taku River area. (Photo by Ed Schoenfeld/CoastAlaska News)British Columbia’s top mine official says the province needs to address pollution pouring out of the Tulsequah Chief Mine near Juneau.

New ferry to start up Friday in Southeast

Photo from rainforestislandsferry.comAfter months of delays, a new ferry in Southeast Alaska is planning to start up service this Friday, August 28. The Rainforest Islands Ferry will offer four-day a week service connecting Petersburg, Wrangell and Coffman Cove on Prince of Wales Island.

State pot official details cannabis regs timeline

(Creative Commons photo by Brett Levin)The Alaska Municipal League met in Ketchikan last week to talk about issues of shared interest throughout the state. One of those issues is marijuana legalization, and one of the speakers was Cynthia Franklin, director of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board and the newly formed Marijuana Control Board.

Southeast troll fleet numbers drop for coho, chum fishing

Troll-caught coho on ice (Photo courtesy of Matt Lichtenstein)After this summer’s one-and-only opening for king salmon, many Southeast commercial trollers have found something else to do, instead of fishing for coho or chums. King fishing was open for eight days in July and the fleet landed just over 165,000 Chinook during that time.

British Columbia mine chief heads to Ketchikan, Juneau

Alaska Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott, center, holds a press conference May 4 with B.C. Mines Minister Bill Bennett and Environment Minister Mary Polak. (Photo courtesy B.C. government)British Columbia officials travel to Southeast Alaska Aug. 24-27 to discuss concerns about transboundary mines.

Man in custody for Ketchikan stabbing

Ketchikan's state courthouse in downtown.Zachariah Willard is charged with second-degree murder for the fatal stabbing of 33-year-old Wayne Nathan on the morning of Aug. 10.

State sets POW wolf harvest quota at 9

Alaska Department of Fish and Game image.A wolf harvest quota has been set for Game Management Unit 2, which is Prince of Wales Island and surrounding islands. According to a joint news release from the U.S. Forest Service and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, biologists have set the state harvest at nine wolves.

One up, one down for Petersburg assembly seats

nancystrand2015One incumbent on the Petersburg borough assembly is running for re-election; another is holding fast to his decision to step down. Nancy Strand will seek her second term on the borough assembly, while John Havrilek says he won’t seek a second term.