Southeast News

Peanut is a “hoot” at Raptor Center

Peanut is a 13-year-old Western Screech Owl currently living at the Alaska Raptor Center. KCAW photo/Vanessa WalkerThere’s a new bird in town, and she’s a little shy. After a long career in education, she doesn’t have a lot of patience for the classroom. But for the right student, she still has plenty to teach. These days, she’s settling into a comfortable retirement, just off Sawmill Creek Road-- at the Alaska Raptor Center.

Draft petition calls for a third city in Ketchikan

Settlers Cove State Park. (KRBD file photo)Consolidation has failed in Ketchikan many times in the past. Now, a group of people in the Ketchikan Gateway Borough’s North End is trying something completely different: They want to create another city in the borough, which would add a fourth local government in a community of about 13,000 people.

Sitkans face heroin related charges

A Sitka grand jury has indicted three people for tampering with physical evidence related to a police investigation into heroin trafficking.

Slippery steps lead to award for damages

0728151043A civil trial this week in Ketchikan ended with a warning to Southeast Alaska homeowners: Make sure your outdoor walkways have a non-slip surface, or you could end up paying thousands of dollars.

Feds ask cruise ships, boats to stay far away from seals

Harbor seals rest on ice near South Sawyer Glacier in 2007. New federal guidelines suggest, but don't require, vessels to stay about 500 yards away from the marine mammals to lessen disturbances. (Photo courtesy NOAA's Alaska Fisheries Science Center)Federal officials want cruise ships, tour boats and kayaks to stay far away from harbor seals in Alaska’s glacial fjords.

Committee recommends no local retail pot ban

(Creative Commons photo by Brett Levin)The Ketchikan Marijuana Advisory Committee voted unanimously Wednesday to recommend that the various municipal governments in the borough not ban the commercial sale of marijuana in Ketchikan, at least not until after the state has completed its regulation process.

WCA celebrates cultural center’s grand opening

wca cultural centerThe Wrangell Cooperative Association cut the ribbon on its cultural center and carving shed Saturday, completing the second phase of the tribe’s three-part Native cultural revival plan. The center will serve as a place for recreating eight sacred totem poles and for teaching Native arts.

The line in the slime: Alaska makes stand against D.vex in Sitka

Alaska is going to war against an invasive species in Sitka, and its weapon is science. With help from the Smithsonian, the state is hoping to eradicate an invasive sea squirt in Sitka’s Whiting Harbor.

Subsistence Board vote makes Saxman rural again

The Saxman Clan House.The Federal Subsistence Board voted during a work session Tuesday in Anchorage to return communities to the status they held before 2007. That’s the year the board decided to make Saxman non-rural, an action that Saxman residents and other Native leaders have fought against ever since.

Sitka Assembly explores taking over Halibut Point Rec

Sunset from Halibut Point State Recreation Area in Sitka. This park -- like others in Sitka -- will transfer into private management on July 1.Sitka will likely take over management of the Halibut Point State Recreation Area. But that doesn’t mean the city is happy about it.

Gravina access, bridges come up at STIP meeting

AirportFirst and Second Waterfall bridges on North Tongass are in line for improvements, but will they last until construction is set to start in summer 2017? And, the Gravina Access EIS is 99 percent done. It just needs the governor to make a decision.

Rescue squad stays ready for the next emergency

A rock face north of Ketchikan where KVRS members train.The Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad was the first group on the scene of a deadly float plane crash in Misty Fjords more than a month ago. The rescue squad didn't disband after that mission, however. They're still training, making sure they’re prepared for the next time someone needs their help. To find out how, reporter Madelyn Beck got a first-hand look at some of their training on a rock wall.

Youth crew cleans Tongass, even under rain

0726151328a (1)The Youth Conservation Corps came to Ketchikan and the surrounding Tongass National Forest this past month to work with a local branch of the U.S Forest Service. That meant helping out timber crews, cleaning up around fisheries and clearing trails -- rain or shine.

Tobacco tax ordinance ready for Assembly vote

(Creative Commons image)The Ketchikan Gateway Borough has completed drafting an ordinance that would impose a $3-per-pack tobacco tax within borough boundaries. The ordinance also would tax other tobacco products – including e-cigarettes – at 75 percent of their wholesale price.

Groups seek halt to POW wolf hunting, logging

POW wolf pupCiting a state study that shows a sharp decline in the wolf population on Prince of Wales Island and surrounding islands, six conservation groups have asked state and federal officials to take steps to help preserve the remaining animals.

Southeast cities ask for fewer ferry cuts

The ferry Taku sails into Juneau’s Auke Bay terminal. It’s tied up for the year, affecting seafood processors who transport their fish via Prince Rupert, British Columbia. (Photo by LCGS Russ/Wikimedia Commons)Southeast Alaska community leaders hope to restore some ferry sailings cut due to state budget reductions.

Sitkans ‘can-do’ in community kitch

Sitka residents learn how to pickle and ferment fruits and vegetables at Sitka Kitch in mid-July. KCAW photo/Vanessa Walker.

Preserving food is an important activity for many Alaskans, but you’ve got to have the space and the know-how to do it safely. The Sitka Kitch opened its doors earlier this year, to give Sitkans access to a large, commercial … more

National Parks to care for state historic sites in Sitka

Castle Hill, in downtown Sitka, is the best place to take in the full measure of the community's "cultural landscape." (Alaska Division of Parks photo)The federal government is stepping in to care for two of Alaska’s most important historic sites, after the legislature cut funding to state parks in Sitka. The city will look after a popular rec area.

No second king opening for Southeast trollers

A forest of trolling poles in Sitka's ANB harbor, July 2015. (Rachel Waldholz/KCAW)After just eight days in early July, the summer king salmon season for Southeast trollers is over. The Alaska Department of Fish & Game announced Friday that there will be no second king opening in August.

2015 Alpine Adventure Run is “wet and wild”

75 runners competed in the 22nd annual Alpine Adventure Run. (Rachel Waldholz, KCAW)Seventy-five runners braved a wet Sitka morning on Saturday (7-18-15) for the 22nd annual Alpine Adventure Run.

NTSB investigates Friday’s plane crash near Juneau

(Creative Commons photo by Matt’ Johnson)Wreckage of a plane that went down Friday afternoon 18 miles west of Juneau was being picked up Sunday for further investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Trial of former Wrangell doctor starts Monday

greg salardThe jury trial of former Wrangell doctor Greg Salard will start Monday at the U.S. District Court in Juneau. He is facing three felony charges related to child pornography.

Wrangell ANS prepares to host 100th anniversary celebration

The Alaska Native Sisterhood was formed 100 years ago in Wrangell, and the community will welcome a few hundred visitors this fall for the ANS centennial celebration.

BC mine to reopen after 2014 disaster

Hazeltine Creek, once a narrow waterway, is filled with mud, silt and logs following August 2014’s tailings dam breach at the nearby Mount Polley Mine. (Photo courtesy Chris Blake/MineWatch Canada).British Columbia will allow the Mount Polley Mine to resume limited operations. The mine's tailings dam broke last year, polluting nearby waterways.

Wildfires also hit Southeast forests

A fire left its mark on this Tongass National Forest tree trunk, as seen in 2008. (Creative Commons photo by Xa’at)Tongass National Forest officials have counted 16 wildfires this season, one more than the regional average for a whole year.

Southeast businesses request more Tongass recreation funding

tongass hikingFifty Southeast Alaska business-owners are asking Congress to give more money to the Tongass National Forest recreation program. Funding for trails, cabins and wildlife-viewing sites has declined in recent years, and tour operators worry the Forest Service won’t be able to maintain the attractions they depend on.

Budget cuts sideline three of Alaska’s 11 ferries

The ferry Taku waits to load in Sitka during the winter of 2012. in Early morning Taku in Sitka. The 370-passenger ship is scheduled to be tied up starting in July. (Ed Schoenfeld/CoastAlaska News)A draft schedule released Friday shows the Taku out for a year and the fast ferries Chenega and Fairweather tied up starting in the early fall.

Red Chris mine gets final environmental permit

red chris mineThe Red Chris copper and gold mine got final approval last week to discharge wastewater in the Stikine River watershed. Some Alaskans are worried the Red Chris and other British Columbia mines will impact salmon in Southeast.

Report lists watersheds, salmon habitat potentially affected by B.C. mines

This map, found in the FNMEC report, shows potential contaminant flow paths from B.C. tailings dams into Southeast Alaska waters.Thousands of miles of salmon habitat and more than 200 communities across Southeast Alaska and British Columbia could be affected if another mine disaster happens near the border. According to a report released this week by a B.C. First Nations group, 35 tailings ponds in the region are drawing more scrutiny after a mine dam collapsed last summer.

Borough Assembly approves waterfront master plan

waterfront master planThe Wrangell Borough Assembly last week approved a plan for developing Wrangell’s downtown waterfront. The Wrangell Waterfront Master Plan would put $14.7 million into improving the waterfront between City Dock and the Marine Service Center.