Monthly Archives: July 2011
Bear season is heating up in Sitka. Sitka police logged sixteen bear calls over the weekend, and several more in the previous few days.
Sitka is running off of diesel-generated electric power, again. This time the dry weather is not entirely to blame. Electric Department technicians were tuning the governors at the Green Lake Hydro plant on Wednesday (7-6-11), when a 1980-vintage breaker gave out, taking one of the turbines offline. The work was being done in order to make the plant more efficient in low lake conditions. The department has located an original-equipment replacement for the faulty breaker. It should arrive Friday, and could take a few days to test and install. The electric department fired up one of the four backup diesel generators on Jarvis Street to cover the loss of the Green Lake turbine. Although it will run only during the daytime hours between 6AM and 11PM, the daily cost of diesel fuel is expected to top $13,000. The department advises Sitkans to switch to non-electric forms of heating where possible this week.
Over the past two days, KCAW news has reported on the Pelican’s economic troubles, which center around the closure of its massive cold storage plant, and on how residents feel about some of the community’s struggles. This final installment in our three-part series explores the possibilities for Pelican's future.
Today (Thu 7-7-11) marks the one-year anniversary of the crash of Coast Guard helicopter 6017, on a routine flight between Astoria, Oregon, and its home base at Air Station Sitka.
In the last 10 years, the economy of Pelican faltered and the city lost half its residents. But among many living in Pelican today – 88, according to the Census Bureau – there is a sense of loyalty to the place they call home, and a willingness to persevere through difficult times.
Peggy Wilson says she will find it hard to let go “of her people.” The House 2 Republican has represented Sitka in the Alaska Legislature for ten years. But if a redistricting plan adopted earlier this summer passes legal muster, Wilson’s hometown of Wrangell will join Ketchikan’s legislative district, and she’ll have to run for the seat against Ketchikan incumbent Kyle Johansen. Wilson stands a very good chance in that contest; however, she told the Sitka Chamber of Commerce this afternoon (Wed 7-6-11) that change is hard.
The Chichagof Island city of Pelican has long prided itself on being “closest to the fish.” Its placement in Lisianski Inlet made it an ideal spot for fishermen to drop off their catch and quickly head back out to the fishing grounds. That’s how Pelican started in 1938, when Charlie Raatikainen, aboard the fishing vessel “Pelican,” established a cold storage facility here. But that complex is now closed, and as a result, the local economy has suffered.
For the past two weeks, visiting Aleut/Alutiiq cultural artist and musician, Patrick Lind, taught classes at the Sitka Fine Arts Camp, and demonstrated his art in the gallery of the Sheldon Jackson Museum. He’s been a teacher for 16 years and scours museum archives to learn more about ancient techniques. Lind came from Homer to share his expertise in hopes of passing a little cultural history along to the younger generation.