Monthly Archives: December 2008
Temperatures in the twenties, and a brisk north wind once again failed to deter more than two-hundred Sitkans from taking the plunge this Saturday (12-20-08) at the annual Polar Dip. With much skin showing, the enthusiastic herd thundered down the ramp at the UAS campus at high noon, into ocean water of a little over 40 degrees. Although many dippers submerged entirely, most got wet-to-the-chest, to qualify for a “certificate of temporary insanity” issued by qualified mental health professionals. KCAW student reporter Caitlin Woolsey has this audio postcard from the day. (To watch a slideshow, select "more," then select "watch slideshow.")
The Fish and Game Advisory Board took comment last night [Thursday] on proposals related to herring in Sitka Sound that will be considered by the Board of Fish in February. One of those proposals from Sitka Tribe of Alaska, to increase the subsistence egg harvest quota levels, was met with considerable discussion
The Anchorage Daily News will stop shipping to most Southeast communities later this month. Fairbanks, Juneau, Valdez and Prudhoe Bay will continue getting daily delivery. So will towns where the paper can be trucked. But other communities, including Sitka, who depend on air shipments will have to rely on direct-mail or online subscriptions. For one Sitka Mom, it means the end of a small business.
Both the state and federal governments have shutdown the trapping season for marten on Kuiu Island – indefinitely. Studies conducted over the last two years indicate that the marten population on Kuiu is now among the lowest in Southeast Alaska. Biologists are concerned that trapping pressure, combined with natural mortality, could lead to even greater declines.
The Sitka Historical Society has asked the assembly to double its financial support for the organization. The society’s municipal funding this year is $53-thousand dollars. The Society would like to see that boosted to $120-thousand dollars annually. Historical Society board members and the assembly met in a work session last Tuesday (12-9-08) to discuss the issue.
The Sitka assembly’s triennial debate over purchasing new police cars took a new turn this year. The Sitka assembly Tuesday night (12-9-08) steered clear of its usual discussion of whether the community was over-patrolled or under-served, and instead discussed whether the time was right to try out hybrid patrol cars.
While the Sitka Police Department is hesitant to replace its fleet with hybrids, other law enforcement organizations are giving them a try. An internet search of “hybrid police cars” turns up numerous police departments in this country and abroad that have turned to hybrids. One of the most successful hybrid programs is at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, sixty miles west of Chicago. Bill Finucane is the transportation manager for NIU. Five years ago he bought the school’s first Toyota Prius hybrid for the campus motor pool. A year later, the first Prius entered the campus police fleet. Since then, Finucane has replaced almost every standard sedan on campus with the Prius. Currently, four of the school’s six police squad cars are Priuses. By next year, campus police will be driving hybrids exclusively, including two Ford Escape hybrid SUV’s. KCAW’s Robert Woolsey spoke with Finucane about NIU’s transition to the police hybrid:
Local officials in Sitka will ask the state to take over the campus of the former Sheldon Jackson College as a vocational educational center. At last night’s (Tuesday 12-9-08) assembly meeting, a group calling itself the SJC Campus Redevelopment Task Force said that the idle campus in downtown Sitka could help train the next generation of workers to build the gas line.
Using military-style ammunition to hunt big game will no longer be legal in Alaska, following action expected this spring by the state board of game. At its meeting last November, the board amended a proposal to ban .223 full metal jacket bullets in Southeast Alaska to include the entire state. Extending the prohibition to include all calibers of full metal jacket bullets remains on the table for the board’s spring meeting.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has announced it’s preliminary Guideline Harvest levels for the 2009 Sitka Sound Sac Roe Herring fishery. The 15,308 ton quota is about 800 tons more than last year. Sitka Tribe of Alaska says it will affect the subsistence harvest.