Southeast News

The real Sitka journey of Steinbeck’s ‘Doc Ricketts’

A new collection of essays about one of the most iconic figures in American literature has been published, shedding new light on his connections to Alaska -- and to "Star Wars."

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City acts to avoid 80% power outage


The Sitka Electric Department is concerned about more power failures, due to aging transformers at the Marine Street substation. The Sitka Assembly also voted this week to give regulatory power to the citizen-led Marijuana Advisory Committee.

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Sitka police release operations manual in wake of video

The video of the arrest of 18-year-old Franklin Hoogendorn will be examined by the FBI< along with Sitka's police procedures. (YouTube image capture)

Sitka has released its police department operating manual to the public. The 342-page document was posted on the city’s website after a video of a high school student being tased went viral.

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With sale, seed planted for affordable housing project


Last night (11-24-15), the Sitka Assembly finalized the sale of a portion of the Old City Shops property for an affordable housing project. Though the ordinance passed, Assembly members wondered aloud about how to ensure that neighborhood would be built.

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Ketchikan Chamber hires new director

ChamberlogoJulie Isom has been named the new executive director of the Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce. Isom accepted the position on Tuesday and will replace outgoing director Chelsea Goucher.

‘The Geography of Water': A love story to Southeast


A former ranger in the Tongass National Forest has published her first novel, and the story is set on her old turf. Mary Emerick's The Geography of Water springs from the beaches, coves, and bays of Southeast Alaska.

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Tulsequah cleanup won’t restart water treatment

Acid drainage from the Tulsequah Chief Mine discolors a leaking containment pond next to the Tulsequah River in British Columbia in 2013. (Photo courtesy Chris Miller/Trout Unlimited)Canadian regulators say the Tulsequah Chief Project, near Juneau, has agreed to reduce pollution leaking into a nearby river. But the mine won’t have to restart a shuttered water-treatment plant.

Assembly indefinitely postpones pot excise tax

MarijuanaThe Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly Monday night Monday decided to postpone indefinitely a citizen request to establish at $10 per ounce excise tax on marijuana. The Assembly also heard an annual report from AIDEA.

‘Tis the season for increased phone and internet scams

Photo courtesy of bbb.orgA series of phone, email and internet scams continue to hit residents in Southeast Alaska and beyond. People are particularly vulnerable during the holiday season. Here's information on some of the scams to watch out for.

Sitka students beat state test score average


Results are in from the first year of the Alaska Measures of Progress assessments and students in Sitka did better than expected.

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In letter to FBI, STA concerned about racial bias


On Tuesday (11-17-15), the Sitka Tribe of Alaska wrote a letter to the Anchorage Division of the FBI, regarding a tasing incident of a Native Alaska teenager in the Sitka jail last year. The letter alleges that prejudice exists within the Sitka Police Department and asks the FBI to consult the tribe during the investigation.

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How do you run the ferry system with less money?

The fast ferry Chenega is up on blocks for repairs and maintenance at the Ketchikan Shipyard Feb. 21, 2014. The Alaska Marine Highway, roads, airports and other transportation projects could get a funding boost under Legislation moving in the state House. (Ed Schoenfeld/CoastAlaska News)The Alaska Marine Highway System wants more input into in its long-term planning. It's announced what it’s calling community engagement meetings in six port cities over the next month.

Police search for Harry Race burglary suspect


Harry Race Pharmacy was robbed late Wednesday night (11-18-15) and the Sitka Police are now looking for the suspect.

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USFS updates Wrangell Island Timber Sale proposal

timber mapThe U.S. Forest Service recently announced it is changing its proposal for a timber sale on Wrangell Island. The Forest Service is proposing a harvest of about 5,300 acres for 73 million board feet of mostly old growth timber.

Wrangell boater found dead

Kenneth Trammel left on the Thalassa Nov. 5.A missing Wrangell boater was found dead Wednesday afternoon, according to a dispatch from the Alaska State Troopers.

Museum audit focuses collection


The Sitka Historical Society and Museum has been acquiring objects, documents and photos for more than 50 years. And, like any collector, there comes a time to clean house.

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Sm’algyax language revival focus of new group

Haayk Foundation co-founders, from left, Kandi McGilton, Gavin Hudson and David R. Boxley visit the Museum of the North in Prince Rupert, British Columbia. (Photo courtesy David Boxley)Three young Metlakatla residents have started a new non-profit organization with the goal of strengthening their Tsimshian culture. The first task – and it’s a big one – is helping to create a larger pool of fluent speakers of the Tsimshian language, starting with themselves.

Wild about local foods


Every year, the Sitka Conservation Society hosts a Wild Foods Potluck. It’s an edible celebration of all that can be picked, plucked, hunted, fished, grown, and gathered in Sitka. This year, over 150 people attended and brought dishes to the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall.

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British Columbia goes after leaking mine

Acid drainage from the Tulsequah Chief Mine discolors a leaking containment pond next to the Tulsequah River in British Columbia in 2013. (Photo courtesy Chris Miller/Trout Unlimited)British Columbia is telling owners of a leaky mine in the Taku River watershed that it’s time to stop polluting the river, which flows into Alaska.

‘Companion’ Christmas trees from Tongass

Aaron Steuerwald and Steve Hollis found the best available Shore Pine were on the Shoal Cove road system on Revillagigedo island in Southeast Alaska. (USFS photo)This year’s National Christmas Tree is a 74-foot spruce from Alaska’s Chugach National Forest. In addition to the spruce, seven smaller “companion” trees have been selected from the Ketchikan-Misty Fiords Ranger District of the Tongass National Forest.

Search for lost Deer Mountain hiker suspended

The top of Deer Mountain is hidden in clouds Friday morning. (Photo by Leila Kheiry)The search for Justin Nathan has been suspended after five days with no sign of the 22-year-old, missing on Ketchikan’s Deer Mountain after a hike last Wednesday.

Still no sign on 5th day of search for missing hiker

A view of Deer Mountain. (KRBD file photo by Leila Kheiry)Rescue crews and family members of 22-year-old Justin Nathan continued searching for him on Sunday, the fifth day that he has been missing on Deer Mountain, but found no clues.

No luck in 4th day of search for Ketchikan man

The top of Deer Mountain is hidden in clouds Friday morning. (Photo by Leila Kheiry)A 22-year-old Ketchikan man remains missing on Deer Mountain, and rescue crews pulled back search teams Saturday afternoon after another day of snow and rain.

Environmental groups ask B.C. to improve mining laws

8-5-14-Polley-tailings-pond-break-imageEnvironmental groups from Alaska and British Columbia are asking the BC government to implement independent oversight of mines and encourage the use of safer mine-waste technologies. The comments were submitted as part of B.C.’s review of its mining policies in response to the tailings dam spill at the Mount Polley Mine last summer.

Can the ferry system be more reliable?

Two ferries dock at the Ketchikan Shipyard in 2012 while one is drydocked. Four of the marine highway's ships are slated to be tied up for the 2016 season. (Photo by Ed Schoenfeld/CoastAlaska News)Budget cuts and mechanical breakdowns left many of summer 2015’s passengers stranded, dropping destinations or switching to air travel. Local officials want to make sure it doesn't happen again.

USFS proposes fee increase for cabins on Tongass, Chugach

cabinThe U.S. Forest Service is proposing increases to cabin rental fees on Alaska’s national forests. Cabin prices have been the same since the 1990s, and now some fees could more than double over the next three years.

Wrangell fishermen plead guilty to Lacey Act violations

halibutA Wrangell father and son have pleaded guilty to federal charges related to Lacey Act violations while commercial halibut fishing in Alaska waters.

Landless Natives bill gets hearing in Senate committee

murkowskiA bill that would create corporations for five “landless” Native communities in Southeast Alaska had its first hearing in the U.S. Senate Thursday.

Alaska Native Sisterhood celebrates 100th anniversary

ANS president speaksThe Alaska Native Sisterhood is celebrating its 100th anniversary this week in Wrangell—where it was founded—in conjunction with the Alaska Native Brotherhood and sisterhood Grand Camp annual convention. The Native rights group is honoring its past while contemplating its future.

USFS moving forward with Anan dock despite concerns

anan trailA controversial dock project at a popular bear observatory near Wrangell and Ketchikan is moving forward, despite continued opposition from tour operators and a lack of contractors interested in the work. The money for the dock was originally requested by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, and her spokesman now says the U.S. Forest Service’s dock plan is not consistent with its original intent.