Monthly Archives: June 2011

Looking for solutions to Sitka's sea squirt invasion

Researchers from several state and national organizations have stepped up their efforts to contain an invasive sea squirt that has colonized Sitka’s Whiting Harbor. “D-vex,” as the organism is commonly called, coats both the sea floor and man-made structures in a thick mat that is inhospitable to any life caught below it. An oyster farm in Whiting has been particularly hard hit.

Rehabbed owl, Lumi, wings north on AK Airlines

Another snow bird is departing Sitka, but this time for a colder climate. Lumi, a snowy owl, was found along the roadside in Yakutat last November. It’s believed she was electrocuted and one of her talons was almost burnt completely off. Early this week, she was released in Barrow- a breeding ground for snowy owls. KCAW’s Emily Bender joined Lumi’s caregivers at the Alaskan Raptor Center as they were preparing Lumi for the long flight home.

Blue Lake Hydro expansion survives governor's veto

Considering the recent past, when the previous administration vetoed almost all of Sitka’s capital projects, the community this year will benefit from significant capital spending. Most notably, $28-million dollars budgeted for the Blue Lake Hydro expansion survived.

Kumbaya! Assembly reconciled over non-profit funding

Sitka non-profits interested in obtaining municipal grant funds will now have an application procedure to follow. The application package was the result of committee work by Mayor Westover, Larry Crews, and Phyllis Hackett. The attitude toward the revised document was a striking contrast to acrimonious debate over the topic two weeks ago.

Water rate deliberations turn to dioxin testing

Water rates are going up in Sitka: the third annual increase in three years, with two more years of rate hikes planned after that. The Sitka assembly last night (Tue 6-28-11) approved the 14-percent bump after lengthy discussion, much of which was focused on citizen concerns about the quality of the community’s water supply.

Training, PFDs critical to small-boat fishing safety

The death of two Yakutat residents last week (6-20-11) brings to seven the number of commercial fishermen killed this year in Alaska – and the season is just getting started. The fact that all seven lost their lives in open boats – and all were wearing life jackets -- has caught the attention of agencies involved in marine safety. There is consensus that it’s time for renewed focus on safety training for the small-boat fleet.

Kake artillery shell recalls historic bombardment

An explosives team from Elmendorf Air Force Base traveled to the Southeast community of Kake this week (Thu 6-24-11) to examine an unexploded artillery shell. The bomb is not of recent origin. In fact, experts believe it is a Civil War-era device fired at the village from a US Navy warship in 1869.

Extended audio: Joel Curtis

Joel Curtis is the Warning and Coordination Meteorologist at the National Weather Service's Juneau Forecast Office.

Forecaster's graphics make weather-watching a breeze

The National Weather Service’s forecast office in Juneau has introduced some new tools on its website that provide unprecedented detail on what’s happening with the weather around Southeast. But the new features are not just bells and whistles. Meteorologists themselves are relying more and more on graphic tools to generate the forecasts that we read in the paper or hear on the radio every day.

Songs, regalia mark cultural center protest

The National Park Service and the Southeast Alaska Indian Cultural Center may have come to terms over a dispute that led the two organizations to part company after 42 years. During a rally this afternoon (6-23-11) at the park, representatives of the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Alaska Native Sisterhood voiced their objections to the cultural center’s planned ouster from the park’s visitor center. Park officials would not comment on a rumored reconciliation, except to say that the organizations were preparing a joint news release. KCAW’s Emily Bender spoke with demonstrators while they sang, held signs, and awaited official word on the cultural center’s reinstatement: