Monthly Archives: September 2008

Candidate statement: Heidi Raffaele

Heidi Raffaele is a candidate for assembly. The municipal election is Tuesday, October 7.

Candidate statement: Mary Magnuson

Mary Magnuson is a candidate for mayor. The municipal election is Tuesday, October 7.

Candidate statement: Nancy Cavanaugh

Nancy Cavanaugh is a candidate for mayor. The municipal election is Tuesday, October 7.

Southeast hatcheries struggle after low pink salmon returns

While low fish returns are tough on fishermen, they’re also tough on hatcheries, which generate a significant portion of their revenues from “cost recovery”—or harvesting and selling some of their adult fish returns. Southeast’s regional non-profit hatcheries can weather low fish returns because they receive some income from the state’s salmon enhancement tax, (SET) which fishermen pay on all fish caught. But non-regional non-profit hatcheries don’t receive the SET tax so without a cost recovery harvest, they have a much harder time making ends meet.

Candidates discuss the future of Sitka's schools

Candidates for the Sitka school board shared their views on everything from maintaining diverse programs in the face of declining enrollment, to paying for extra-curricular activities, in the first of three municipal election forums sponsored by the Sitka Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday (9-18-08).

Abbott will seek venue change, insanity defense

At a hearing this morning (Tue 9-16-08), defense attorneys for Jason Abbott announced that they will ask to move the 19-year-old’s homicide trial outside of Sitka. They also gave formal notice of a possible insanity defense. Abbott is accused of first degree murder in the stabbing deaths of four family members in a Sitka neighborhood this March.

Last-minute settlement concludes wronful death suit

A wrongful death lawsuit against a Sitka EMS volunteer was settled this morning (Mon 9-15-08), moments before going to trial. The terms of the settlement in the case of the Estate of Molly Ahlgren versus Rich Forst were not disclosed. A lawsuit brought by a third EMS volunteer who survived the boat accident four years ago which claimed Ahlgren’s life was settled last week on similar terms.

Dividends may stress families, jeopardize social programs

Social service agencies in Sitka are concerned that this year’s large permanent fund dividend and energy rebate may create a range of problems for local families. The sudden inflow of money into some families may cause unexpected stress, or jeopardize eligibility for social services. The Sitka Tribe of Alaska has been coordinating a series of meetings among local service providers to prepare for some of the challenges the community may face as this year’s dividend checks begin to appear in local financial institutions. KCAW’s Robert Woolsey met recently with Roxanne Houston and Phil Nielsen in the Tribe’s Education and Employment assistance department, and with Kathy Branch-Gadd of Sitka Counseling and Prevention Services:

Coast Guard suspends search for missing boater

The Coast Guard has suspended the search for Chuck Thompson, 41, missing since Sunday in the vicinity of Necker Bay south of Sitka.

Shaffer: Dividend "relief" may create tax headaches

Alaskans will start seeing permanent fund dividends deposited into the financial institutions of their choice tomorrow (Fri 9-12-08). This is earlier than usual, and also more than usual: besides the actual dividend of $2,069 dollars, Alaskans will receive an additional one-time rebate of $1,200 dollars. While lawmakers refer to the rebate as “energy relief,” for tax purposes, it’s considered the same as any other income. Come tax time next April, Alaskans – including children – will see significantly higher federal tax bills thanks to the combination of the dividend and the rebate. KCAW’s Robert Woolsey recently talked with CPA Brad Shaffer about some of the tax pitfalls of this year’s dividend, and how to avoid them: