Monthly Archives: February 2008

Total Lunar Eclipse Visible in Alaska

A total eclipse of the moon will occur this evening (2/20). It will be visible to about half the planet, including most of Alaska. Alaskans will be able to view the eclipse while the moon rises low in the eastern sky. In Sitka, moonrise will be at 5:04 this evening. Assuming clear skies, Sitkans will be able to see the moon enter into the total eclipse one hour after moonrise, at 6 PM.

Interview: Reifenstuhl endures on ice cream, latex

Three-time Alaska Ultrasport winner Steve Reifenstuhl was a top contender in this year's Yukon Artic Ultra, a human endurance event along the Yukon Quest Trail. Reifenstuhl, who by day is the 57-year-old operations manager of the Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association in Sitka, was first across the line in the marathon-length and 100-mile portions of the race – which typically covers 320 miles. But this year, extreme temperatures as low as minus 54-degrees led race organizers to keep the thirty runners, bikers, and skiers on a 50-mile loop between Whitehorse and Rivendell for most of the event. Reifenstuhl talks with KCAWs Robert Woolsey about race tactics that depend absolutely on staying dry, and staying fuelled -- with melted ice cream.

Processor to get five-acre waterfront in exchange for repairs

The city of Sitka Friday night (2-15-08) signed off on a deal that will hand over 5-acres of waterfront, tidelands, a warehouse, and dock to a one-year-old startup company. Silver Bay Seafoods began processing pink salmon last summer in Sawmill Cove, the former home of the APC pulp mill. Citing worries over a possible interruption in its operations while the city repaired the old pulp dock and warehouse, Silver Bay has offered to take on the multi-million dollar job itself – in exchange for land and buildings it now leases.

Bear safety advocates unveil proposed trash ordinance

A proposed neighborhood bear ordinance received a favorable reaction from the public at its unveiling Wednesday night (2-13-08) in Sitka. As Leah Mann reports, local, state, and federal agencies believe the time is right to try and control the number of bear fatalities in Sitka.

City signs 3-year contract with electrical workers

The city of Sitka and its electrical union have reached their very first agreement. The Sitka assembly on Tuesday (2-12-08) voted to approve a three-year contract with the local bargaining unit of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Affordable housing project goes to next design stage

The Sitka assembly will allow a non-profit development group to move ahead with plans for an affordable housing complex on the site of the old city shops. The decision gives Trapline-CDI the go-ahead to begin applying for federal tax credits for the 25-unit apartment development, while making continued efforts to refine its conceptual designs.

Hydro shortfall in SE – towns turn to diesel

At about 9 cents per kilowatt hour, Sitka’s hydroelectric energy is some of the cheapest in the state. But hydro power is only as abundant as the water supply, a limitation felt keenly in recent months in Sitka and other parts of Southeast Alaska. Unusually low rainfall this past year, combined with high oil prices driving up the demand for electric energy, has created a hydroelectric shortage and has forced electric departments throughout the region to supplement hydro with diesel.

Mounting snow poses hazards for hikers, birds, and buildings

With a series of Pacific lows battering Southeast over the last three weeks, plus sustained cold temperatures, snow accumulations are significantly more than usual. KCAWs Robert Woolsey spoke with several knowledgeable people in Sitka about how best to cope with all the snow, whether you're a backcountry enthusiast, a bald eagle, or a homeowner.

Testimony: Lodge request draws fire from island neighbors

The Sitka planning department received a petition with the signatures of 218 people opposed to Dove Island's expansion. Many attended Tuesday's (2-5-08) Planning Commission hearing. Here's an excerpt of some of their testimony:

Planning commission pares down controversial lodge request

A Sitka fishing lodge may have to dramatically scale back its operations next season. The Sitka Planning Commission Tuesday night (2-5-08) refused to retroactively grant Dove Island Lodge a conditional use permit for twenty-four guests and a commercial dock. Commissioners found fourteen guests a more acceptable number for the island neighborhood -- and the float plane will have to go.