Monthly Archives: May 2008

Benchlands plat raises questions about costs, social policy

The Sitka assembly took a first look at some innovative options for development on the benchlands at its regular meeting last night (Tue 5-13-08), but struggled with how to fund them.

Sitka officials celebrate summer ferry schedule

The fast ferry Fairweather pulled into port at 12:30 PM Monday (5/12), and Sitka dignitaries were there to meet it. They turned out to celebrate the Alaska Marine Highway’s summer schedule – being hailed as the best the city has seen in years. And the star of the schedule is the Fairweather, which will sail between Sitka and Juneau 5 days a week.

Sitka officials: draft winter ferry schedule a "new low in service"

The City of Sitka is hoping the Alaska Marine Highway will re-think its draft fall-winter-spring schedule. Officials are calling the schedule “a new low in service to Sitka”. As it now stands, travel to and from Sitka will require layovers of up to a week. Sitka will see four vessels a week until March. The fast ferry Fairweather will connect Sitka to Juneau on Mondays and Fridays, the mainliners Taku and Columbia will make stops on Tuesdays, the Taku traveling northbound and the Columbia southbound. Beginning in March, the Fairweather will be put into drydock and Sitka service will be down to the two mainliners once a week.

Iyoutug timber sale would log 42-million board feet

The Forest Service is opening up a number of small and large timber sales in the Iyouktug (eye-YOU-tug) area on northeast Chichagof Island – about 12 miles east-southeast of the small village of Hoonah. Over the course of about ten years, the agency expects to log close to 42-million board feet of timber, or about 33-hundred acres. The agency released the Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision for the Iyouktug (eye-YOU-tug) timber sales on May 3rd. As Melissa Marconi Wentzel reports, the controversial project is one of the largest the region has seen in recent years,

Rutkowski: Sustaining public transit in Sitka

Charlie Rutkowski believes public transit is here to stay in Sitka. Rutkowski is the assistant director of the Community Transportation Association in Washington, DC. He first came to Sitka ten years ago to help establish the “Community Ride”; he was back last week (5-6-08) to help institutionalize it. Rutkowski says that, having added a third fixed route, the Community Ride is beyond the tipping point between experiment and acceptance, and is now looking at sustainability. KCAWs Robert Woolsey spoke with Rutkowski about how small-to-mid-range transit systems like Sitka’s keep themselves going.

Giant Asia map tours Alaska's schools

Alaska kids are walking across Asia. Well, they’re actually walking across a very large map of Asia. National Geographic’s “Traveling Map of Asia” has come to Alaska, and it’s touring the state’s schools. It’s a hands- and feet-on approach to geography, and its visit is just about over. Melissa Marconi Wentzel stopped by Sitka’s Blatchley Middle School, where 7th graders were using the map to explore some complex ideas.

Timeline set for sale of Sheldon Jackson's core campus

The Sheldon Jackson Board of Trustees has set a 90-day deadline to identify a purchaser for the core campus, the college’s most valuable piece of real estate. If no buyer is found, the Board could consider subdividing the property for sale.

SJ tax appeal: College still striving to educate

Sheldon Jackson's unsuccessful tax appeal was based on two assumptions: the first that, although there are no students on campus, a "teach-out" and administration remain in place for thirteen students studying elsewhere. Second, many of the buildings on the core campus are being rented out for community purposes like a childcare and wellness center. An excerpt of college president David Dobler's defense before the board of equalization.

Sheldon Jackson campus subject to property taxes

Sheldon Jackson College is going on the Sitka tax rolls. The $22-million dollar campus traditionally has operated under an educational exemption in state law. According to Sitka’s tax assessor, Jim Corak, that ended last summer when the college closed its doors and subsequently lost its accreditation from the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education. The Sitka assembly, acting as a board of equalization, delivered the bad news to college officials near the conclusion of a four-hour hearing Monday night (5-5-08). The financially-strapped institution – barring any successful court appeals – will have to come up with $129-thousand dollars to pay its 2008 property tax bill. An excerpt of Jim Corak's view of the college's position.

Audio postcard: Sheldon Jackson Teach-Out students graduate

Former Sheldon Jackson College students, completing their credits through the University of Alaska, graduated this weekend (5/2-5/3). The final graduating class of the defunct historic college received their degrees at a number of UA institutions, including UAS's Sitka campus. Melissa Marconi Wentzel has this audio postcard from the ceremony.