Monthly Archives: February 2010
The Island Institute’s humanist-in-residence, Gary Holthaus, has been in Sitka for the last two months conducting interviews with residents on the subject of sustainability. He wanted to know what the long-term prospects are for Sitka. Holthaus eventually will be drafting a report based on the more than 70 interviews he conducted. He spoke with Raven News about some of the things he learned in his conversations. Included in almost every interview was a simple question: How did you get to Sitka?
A spokesman for Sen. Lisa Murkowski says there’s not much chance the senator herself will make it to Southeast Alaska in the near future to hear public testimony on a controversial land selection bill. And the chance of an official field hearing in the next few weeks is equally as slim.
In 2005 the state legislature ended "defined benefit" pensions for public employees, and replaced them with "defined contribution" plans based in stocks. With the crash in the market, many public employees now have little in the way of retirement savings, and by state law, are also excluded from Social Security. Commentary writer Ginny Blackson would like legislators to bring this unfair "experiment" to an end.
Senate Bill 881 would transfer of about 80,000 acres of Tongass National Forest to Sealaska, the regional Native corporation in Southeast Alaska. The land comes from areas outside original boundaries established in 1971. The Assembly passed a resolution last night urging U.S. senators, including the two from Alaska, to come to Sitka and listen to opinions on the bill. As Ed Ronco reports, the Assembly’s request went through significant changes.
With no proposed timber selections around Sitka, more concern about Senate Bill 881 has been focused on the so-called “Native Futures” sites that have been appended to the Sealaska lands selection legislation. These smaller commercial, cultural, and sacred site selections have not received much attention so far in Senate hearings.
Senator Lisa Murkowski delivered a wide-ranging speech on the major issues facing the state, in her annual address to the legislature in Juneau last week. Although the bulk of her remarks covered Alaska’s role in the United States’ evolving energy strategy, she did touch on tourism, fishing, and the timber industry. KCAWs Robert woolsey sought out reaction from stakeholders:
Sealaska says a survey it conducted shows more than half of Southeast Alaskans support a lands-selection bill it’s trying to push through Congress. The poll shows support increasing when residents learn more about the legislation. But opponents say they’ve found out enough to know it’s a bad idea. CoastAlaska’s Ed Schoenfeld reports. Click on this story's title to view the survey results.
"Is some bad music being written?" asks pianist Blair McMillen with a laugh, "Well, not everything is a home run." McMillen plays a selection of traditional and contemporary classical music for solo piano Saturday (2-20-10) 7 PM in the Sitka Performing Arts Center. He joins Alaska Arts Southeast director Roger Schmidt and KCAWs Robert Woolsey for the Morning Edition interview.
Governor Parnell took the occasion of his visit to Sitka to ceremonially sign his first bill into law since taking office last July. Senate Bill 59 allows the use of electric cars on highways in communities of fewer than 35,000 people.
The Sitka School District is getting ready to set its 2011 budget, and it’s facing a financial shortfall. As board members consider possible cuts to programs, parents are fighting to continue a program they feel is threatened.