Southeast News

Sitka lab issues shellfish advisory across Southeast

The STA Environmental Research Lab believes that the toxins detected in butter clams at Starrigavan this week may be residual from last summer. A new bloom of alexandrium, which produces the Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning toxin, was recently observed in the area. (Flickr photo/Walter Lin)Shellfish in Southeast are showing a high risk for biotoxins, specifically those that cause PSP. On Monday (5-25-16), the Sitka Tribe of Alaska's Environmental Research Lab (STAERL) found elevated levels of toxins at beaches in Sitka, Petersburg, Klawock, and Craig.

Grumman Goose may have found a home

Historic signs and photos on the walls of the Goose hangar.Since 1992, volunteers with Ketchikan’s “Save the Goose” project have been working to restore a historic amphibious plane. The Grumman Goose restoration is about 85 percent complete and now those involved are trying to find a permanent home for the plane. They believe they may have found the right place.

ANILCA change opens up USFS job opportunities

birdUntil now, local residents have been preferred for certain positions, because of their local knowledge. But they weren’t able to transition into permanent jobs with the U.S. Forest Service.

Volunteers progress on Goose restoration

From left to right: Don Dawson, Rick Garner, Arnie Enright and Randy Harris (and the Goose).For the past 20 years, a group of Ketchikan volunteers has been working to restore one of the Ellis Airlines Grumman Goose planes, in hopes of putting it on display.

Retirees honored by Ketchikan School Board

kayhiSuperintendent Robert Boyle recognized David Boyd from the district’s maintenance department, Kayhi custodian Larry Mestas, and teachers Cheryl Elliott and Roxanne Abajian.

Assembly explores utility assistance program

10157436313_ea1c09dec4_zThe centerpiece of Tuesday night's (5-24-16) Assembly meeting was the cost of living in Sitka. Specifically, how some Sitkans are struggling to pay their utility bills and whether the city should provide assistance. Two Assembly members propose a subsidization program.

Alaska-Virgin merger will expand opportunities

A detail of a slide from Scott Habberstad's presentation to the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce.An Alaska Airlines executive gave some details during Wednesday’s Chamber of Commerce lunch about the company’s recently announced merger with Virgin Air.

KRBD celebrates 40th birthday with on-air party

Tom Miller was the first voice heard on KRBD, on May 22, 1976.KRBD Rainbird Community Radio in Ketchikan celebrated its 40th birthday over the weekend. The party incorporated the station’s annual “Live Day,” a day where everything is read or performed live on the air.

Bear attack survivor: ‘Grace was extended to me’

The survivor of a brown bear mauling near Yakutat 10 days ago says the animal was startled, and attacked instinctively. Ken Steck is recovering from his wounds. He spoke recently with KCAW.

Post-crisis, hospital works to pay back city

4880041665_bb70aca673_zThe financial picture at Sitka Community Hospital is like the tortoise: slow and steady, but determined. The city-owned hospital is still recovering from the discovery of a cash flow problem in 2014, but will begin paying down its $1 million debt to the city this coming fiscal year.

Library director headed to southern Michigan

Ketchikan Public Library. (KRBD file photo)Ketchikan’s Library Director Linda Lyshol is moving on to a new job as library director of the Branch District Library in southern Michigan, starting in just a few weeks.

Ferry sailings down 7 percent next fiscal year

The ferries Matanuska, right, and Fairweather, left, tie up at Juneau's Auke Bay Ferry Terminal May 19, 2016. (Photo by Ed Schoenfeld/CoastAlaska News)Next winter’s ferry schedule will be leaner than this year’s, and that one was pretty lean. It’s the result of budget cuts, which could lead to the sale of the ferry Taku.

Sitka upgrades to silver level for bicycle friendly streets

DougOsborneCharlesBinghamSitkaBFCAward05172016On Wednesday (5-18-16), the League of American Bicyclists designated Sitka a “Silver Level” Bicycle Friendly Community. Only 73 other communities in the United States have earned this honor, including Anchorage.

Meeting federal regs, Sitka treats water with UV light

160519_UVPlant_woolseySome of the best drinking water anywhere may be just a little bit better now. Sitka officials on Thursday (5-19-16) cut the ribbon on a new, $8-million dollar ultraviolet disinfection plant for the town’s water supply.

School board approves $300,000 English curriculum purchase

Nat_Geo_ReachThe Sitka School Board has authorized the purchase of nearly $300,000-worth of new reading and writing curriculum for the elementary grades.

State, Southeast group to reconsider ferry system

5-19-16 Squarer - Walker, White shake hands after MOU is signedThe state and a regional development group are combining forces to develop a new business and management plan for the Alaska Marine Highway System.

City Council moves ahead with 5% pot tax

(U.S. Fish and Wildlife photo)During Council discussion of the pot tax, there was general agreement on a 5-percent tax – not graduated – with proceeds going into the general fund. The Council directed city management to come back with an ordinance to that effect for the next regular meeting.

Students name new ferries Tazlina and Hubbard

A conceptual drawing show what the Alaska Class ferries will look like. (Image courtesy state Department of Transportation)The winners of Alaska’s name-the-new-ferry contest didn’t know about it until they got a call from Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott.

Term limits, dropped incumbent on Sealaska ballot

A resolution calling for term limits is before Sealaska's 22,000 shareholders.Sealaska shareholders are deciding whether to impose term limits on the corporation’s board. They're also considering nine candidates for four board seats.

Coast Guard rescues two fishermen near Sitka

IMG_4519 (1)A Coast Guard crew rescued two Sitka-based commercial fishermen from a sinking boat near the Fairweather fishing grounds early this morning (Tue 5-17-16).

Wrangell will finish rules before allowing pot biz

marijuanaWrangell won’t approve its first commercial pot operation until it has a better handle on where such businesses will be allowed.

Can Alaska learn from other ferry systems?

The Steamship Authority ferry Eagle sails between Hyannis and Nantucket, southeast of Boston. (Photo courtesy The Steamship Authority)Should the Alaska Marine Highway System be managed differently? That’s a question being asked by ferry advocates as they cope with smaller budgets and reduced schedules.

Weather played a role in Admiralty plane crash

Rescuers work at the site of a crashed small plane on Admiralty Island on Friday. (Photo courtesy Sitka Mountain Rescue)Weather may have been a factor in the April 8 plane crash on Admiralty Island, which killed the pilot and two passengers and badly injured another person on board.

Update: NTSB recovers wreckage from crash that killed three

Rescuers work at the site of a crashed small plane on Admiralty Island on Friday. (Photo courtesy Sitka Mountain Rescue)National Transportation Safety Board investigators have begun the work of determining why a Wrangell plane crashed Friday morning on Admiralty Island.

Traveling artists, Wrangell residents share observations of climate change

A group of artists is traveling through Alaska with the Sitka-based Island Institute to explore how people are navigating climate change in Alaska. The Tidelines Ferry Tour arrived in Wrangell on Monday and started a discussion with residents about changes they’ve seen in the natural world.

Mariculture initiative could boost shellfish farms

Brenda Bryan, left, and Jackie Whitmore clean shellfish at the Moss Island Oyster Farm in Peterson Bay, across from Homer. (Photo by Ron Bader/Moss Island Oyster Farm)Alaska shellfish farmers hope a new state mariculture initiative will help boost their businesses. But they warn it’s not an easy industry to expand.

BC officials introduce mine law changes in response to Mount Polley

This aerial image shows the Aug. 5, 2014, Mount Polley Mine tailings dam break and some of the damage downstream. The mine just won permission to reopen on a limited basis. (Photo courtesy Cariboo Regional District Emergency Operations Centre)British Columbia officials introduced law changes last week that would strengthen its ability to enforce mining laws in response to the Mount Polley tailings dam disaster of 2014. But critics in Alaska aren’t convinced the B.C. government would use those penalties to protect watersheds in Southeast.

Open house kicks off Wrangell’s plan to repurpose old mill for marine industry

millAs Wrangell continues to focus on marine trades as an economic driver, the borough is considering purchasing a former mill site six miles south of town to provide more room for the marine services industry.

SEAPA’s Swan Lake expansion on track for completion this fall

swan lake spillwayThe Southeast Alaska Power Agency (SEAPA) is on track to complete an expansion of its hydro storage capacity by October 2016.

U.S. prosecutors recommend 20 years in prison for Salard

Salard102814bFederal prosecutors are recommending a 20-year prison term followed by a lifetime of supervised release for former Wrangell doctor Greg Salard ahead of his sentencing hearing next week.