Monthly Archives: March 2008

Herring Rock blessing helps community heal after murders

Sitkans celebrated the annual Blessing of the Herring Rock Sunday (3/30) afternoon. Tlingit clan leaders gathered outside the Sheet’ka Kwaan Naa Kahidi to welcome in the herring and celebrate the Tribe’s long cultural history. According to Tlingit tradition, each year herring return to the Rock to spawn. The event marks the beginning of spring and the community’s annual harvest of traditional foods. Blessing the Rock ensures that this cycle will continue. This year, the ceremony represented more than just seasonal renewal. Five days previous, a young man brutally murdered four people in Sitka, three of whom were family members. The homicide shocked the community. The Herring Rock Blessing served as an opportunity for Sitkans, both Native and non-Native, to come together and seek healing from that trauma.

Cruise wastewater: No progress without high standards (pt 2)

Alaska Cruise Initiative co-sponsor Gershon Cohen says major polluters must be compelled to clean up their acts. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation has given the industry two years to meet discharge permit standards. Cohen says Alaska voters recognized in 2006 that major industry rarely develops cleaner technologies without regulatory pressure.

Cruise wastewater: Ships say bar too high (pt 1)

The cruise industry says Alaska's new wastewater discharge permit sets standards that are unattainable. In a news release, the Alaska Cruise Association claims that the DEC's first Large Commercial Passenger Vessel Wastewater General Permit imposes limits on some trace metals so stringent that not even Alaska's land-based wastewater facilities can meet them. An excerpt from an address to the Sitka Chamber of Commerce (on 3-26-08) by Don Habeger, vice president of Royal Carribean Cruises

Sitkans bless the fleet

Close to 100 Sitkans gathered Sunday afternoon for the annual Blessing of the Fleet. The spring ritual honors those who earn their living upon the seas and pays tribute to mariners who have died over the past year.

Assembly clamps down on lodge permit

After lengthy testimony and deliberation Thursday night (3-27-08), the Sitka assembly granted Dove Island lodge a conditional use permit for 8 guests, possibly bringing an end to a multi-year dispute over the lodge’s reportedly unregulated growth. The lodge – and its legal counsel – did not take the restriction lying down.

Victims ID'd in Sitka stabbings

Law enforcement officials have released the identities of the four victims in a multiple murder which took place in Sitka on Tuesday. Dead are 69-year old John Abbot, his wife 68-year old Alice Abbot, their daughter 40-year old Elizabeth Abbot, and her boyfriend 37-year old Charles Tate. Tate was not a Sitka resident. Authorities list his birthplace as Nome. Unofficial sources report that a fifth victim of the attack, Mary Ricketts, a daughter of one of the deceased, is in stable condition at Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital.

Sitka youth arraigned on multiple murder charges

Eighteen-year-old Jason Abbot was arraigned in Sitka Superior Court Wednesday morning, March 26, on four counts of first-degree murder, and one count of attempted murder in the first degree, following a homicidal rampage in his family's home on Tuesday.

Sitka drops objections to Sealaska selections — for now

The city of Sitka is dropping its objections to proposed Sealaska land selections – for now. The Sitka assembly last night (Tue 3-25-08) failed to pass a resolution opposing three of the regional Native corporation’s selections on the grounds that Sealaska has made a good faith effort to choose less controversial sites.

Mary Emerick: Wilderness Stewardship Challenge (pt 2)

Sitka wilderness manager Mary Emerick chairs the Forest Service's national Wilderness Advisory Group. She speaks with KCAW's Robert Woolsey about how forest users can help ensure that wilderness continues to serve the purposes it is intended for.

Seiner, humpback tangle over herring set

A humpback whale became entangled in a herring seine during test fishing Tuesday morning (3-25-08) in Sitka. The vessel's skipper notified ADF&G, who notified NMFS, who dispatched local whale biologist Jan Straley to the rescue.