Monthly Archives: October 2008
The two candidates for legislative seat representing House District 2 in Southeast Alaska met last week (10-17-08) for one of the most intense political forums of the campaign season. Four-term incumbent republican Peggy Wilson of Wrangell, and her challenger, democrat Lily Herwald of Sitka, discussed issues in front of the entire student body of Sitka high school on Friday, October 17th. The half-hour venue was organized and run by students in the Alaska history class.
The Department of Energy says the average age of the scientific work force is over fifty-five and within ten years these baby boomers will be retiring, shrinking the number of scientists in the US to half what it is now. A formal paper written by the office of fusion energy sciences has since alerted other agencies to the issue, and in response, there’s an effort underway to get more kids interested in science and technology, starting at a young age. A recent science show in Sitka called “Totally Electric” aimed to do just that. The Science Education Technology Partnership was sponsored by Homeland Security, office of science and technology, General Atomics, Envisioneering, Shee Atika Corporation and local businesses and teachers.
While everyone’s seen those pictures of Alaska’s brown bears feeding on salmon running up streams, not everyone has seen the real thing up close – and probably no one supplies their own fish. Students at Sitka’s Blatchley Middle School recently held a read-a-thon to raise money to bring Ben Michaelson to town next spring. Michaelson is the author of “Touching the Spirit Bear” and other noted works of natural history writing aimed at kids. As their prize, the eight top fund-raisers last week (10-15-08) visited Sitka’s Fortress of the Bear with some live salmon from a nearby hatchery. The Fortress’s two brown bears were orphaned last summer, and had never learned to fish. KCAW student reporter Ryan Apathy sends this audio postcard from "fishing school" at the Fortress of the Bear.
For much of the state, Alaska Day is just a day. But in Sitka, it takes an entire week to celebrate the formal transfer of Russia’s Alaskan colony to the United States, with food booths, band concerts, a formal ball, a best beard contest, and foot and bike races. The highlight of the festival is the Alaska Day Parade on October 18th and a re-enactment of the 1867 transfer ceremony on Castle Hill. KCAW’s Robert Woolsey sends this audio postcard from the day’s events, which this year celebrated the founding of Alaska’s first newspaper in Sitka 140 years ago. (To watch a slideshow, select "more" then select "Watch slideshow.)
Sitka's Police Chief says it's clear that more people are using bikes for transportation around town, but his department has yet to develop a strategy for enforcement. Chief Schmidt says officers will continue to focus on education for young riders, while adult cyclists may see the occasional ticket.
The Hames Wellness Center will remain open under city management for another year, if the terms can be agreed upon. The Sitka assembly last night (10-14-08) directed the municipal administration to negotiate a new lease for the former Sheldon Jackson PE facility. In the meantime, the city legal and finance departments will prepare ballot language for next October’s election that will ask local voters to consider buying the center outright.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game will soon have a revised edition of its technical bulletin, “Game Transplants in Alaska.” The first edition was printed in 1973, and since that time there have been some interesting challenges and changes to the way the state handles transplanting game in Alaska’s wild.
A bear cub found dead in Sitka’s Starrigavan Valley last week appears to have been killed by another bear. The cub is believed to have been one of a pair of twins who spent the summer feeding with a sow in the estuary adjacent to the campground.
Sitka voters have given seats to a new mayor, Scott McAdams, and one new assembly member, Phyllis Hackett. The race for a second assembly seat has a three-vote margin, and will be settled by absentee counting next week. Mollie Kabler and Tim Fulton won terms on the school board.
Despite the passage of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act last Friday (10-3-08), national and world financial markets have continued to wobble. In the congressional debate leading up to the passage of the $700-billion dollar bailout, voices on both sides of the issue warned that “main street” and taxpayers would bear the brunt of inaction. Now that the US Treasury is due to buy up quantities mortgage-based assets, “main street” is looking for some reassurance that things will improve. Steve Dalquist is a financial advisor in Sitka. He spoke with KCAW’s Robert Woolsey about how ordinary people should view the evolving situation in the financial market.