Monthly Archives: April 2009
Gray whales are making their annual migration up the North American coastline. Several have stopped in Sitka Sound for a few days to rest and feed, and at least two have found some choice dining right below the parking lot of the SeaMart grocery store. KCAW’s Robert Woolsey met with marine mammal biologist Jan Straley to learn more about the gray whales’ detour into Sitka Sound.
Mayor Scott McAdams is bullish on Sitka. McAdams, who was elected to the mayor’s seat on the assembly last October, gave his first “state of the city” address to the Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.
The Sitka assembly approved contributing $5.9 million dollars in city funds toward the school district next year. At this stage in the lengthy school budget process, the vote is usually considered procedural by the assembly. But a couple of assembly members thought that in light of the ongoing national recession, the schools should look for ways to economize.
Raising the height of the Blue Lake dam is expected to solve Sitka’s energy problems for a decade, but the project may create a few problems along the way. The Sitka assembly last night (4-28-09) approved spending $40-thousand dollars on a fisheries consultant to try and avert at least one problem: colder water. John Blum of EES Consulting in Kirkland, Washington, will begin work this summer. Project engineer Dean Orbison explained the temperature issue:
Although the McDowell report on Sitka's economy contained some unexpected good news, at least one industry sector is anticipating a significant deline in 2009. With 221-thousand passengers coming to Sitka, the cruise industry will see its lowest volume since 2001. Fred Reeder, with Cruise Line Agencies of Alaska, and Camille Ferguson, with Sitka Tribal Enterprises, followed McDowell's report with a look at the 2009 visitor season.
Sheldon Jackson College has graduated its last students. The 130-year old Sitka institution closed its doors in 2007, but a handful of students were able to complete their degrees through an arrangement with the University of Alaska. The success is bittersweet. With no more students and no more programs, Alaska’s oldest educational institution is officially gone.
The Secretary of Commerce is taking public comment on a proposed rule that would establish a limited-entry system for the guided sport halibut fleet in Southeast and Southcentral Alaska. The rule was published today (Tue 4-21-09) in the Federal Register. If approved by the Secretary, it will create a permit system for halibut charter boats similar to limited entry permits already in place for Alaska’ commercial fisheries.
With some notable exceptions, the economy of Southeast Alaska may have improved over the last year. In a presentation to the Sitka Economic Development Association on Thursday (4-16-09) Juneau economist Eric McDowell said that the national economic downturn has kept more people living – and working – in Southeast.
A naturally-occurring bacterial infection has delayed the opening of a new coho hatchery in Sitka. The Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association – or NSRAA – says efforts to collect broodstock from a lake on southern Baranof Island have been stymied by the high incidence of bacterial kidney disease. It’s meant a two-year setback for the highly-anticipated project.
The seiner Alice H was instrumental in helping gather and distribute herring eggs when it was owned by Sonny Enloe. Sonny passed on and Steve Demmert bought the boat, named it the Julia Kae, and continues Sonny's legacy, harvesting eggs and distributing them to villages in the region.