Author Archives: Rachel Waldholz, KCAW

Sitka debates whether to sell GPIP land or keep it public

Selling off the park is within the GPIP board's mission: “Unlike other property owned by the 
municipality, the former Alaska Pulp Corporation mill site was acquired not for governmental 
purposes from the state or federal government, but for economic development and disposal."  (GPIP photo)Should Sitka sell off its remaining land at the Gary Paxton Industrial Park, or keep the land in public hands? That’s the question currently bedeviling the GPIP board. On Thursday night, board members brought the issue to the Sitka Assembly for guidance.

Humpbacks and the Endangered Species Act: A deep dive

A humpback whale shows its fluke. (Photo by Ellen Chenoweth, NOAA Fisheries permit #14122).The secret history of Soviet whaling in the North Pacific, the origins of the Endangered Species Act in the Nixon era, and how many humpback whales are out there, anyway?

Humpback whales: to de-list or not to de-list?

Humpback whales bubblenet feeding. (Photo by Blain and Monique Anderson, NOAA Fisheries permit #14122)As NOAA decides whether to remove humpback whales from the endangered species list, we take a look at the arguments for and against de-listing, and ask, what's at stake, for humpbacks and for us?

The secret history of Soviet whaling

Humpback whales lunge feeding. (Photo by Blain and Monique Anderson, NOAA Fisheries permit #14122)Data hidden in a potato cellar, an archive in eastern Russia -- and how scientists are finally solving the mystery of how many humpbacks there were in the North Pacific before commercial whaling.

Counting humpbacks, fluke by fluke

A page from a humpback whale fluke matching catalog. (Photos by Jan Straley, NOAA Fisheries permit #14122)After forty years of protection, federal officials are considering taking humpback whales off the endangered species list. So we ask, how many humpbacks are out there, anyway?

The origins of the Endangered Species Act

A humpback whale shows its fluke. (Photo by Ellen Chenoweth, NOAA Fisheries permit #14122).Humpback whales may come off the endangered species list soon: federal officials are expected to announce a decision soon. But regardless of the decision, one thing is clear: without whales and other marine mammals, there might not even be an endangered species list.

Assembly votes on heat pumps, bulk water, garden stands

The Sitka Assembly has tentatively approved a heat pump rebate program. Utility Director Chris Brewton said the program is a win-win: the city will increase electricity sales, while residents can lower home-heating costs.

Sitka Community Hospital facing unexpected financial woes

Sitka Community Hospital. (Photo courtesy of the Sitka Community Hospital Foundation)The city-owned Sitka Community Hospital is in worse financial shape than anyone thought -- including its new CEO. The Sitka Assembly was briefed on the hospital’s finances during a closed-door session Tuesday night.

Police intercept $50K package of crystal meth

Police believe they've taken a step toward curbing Sitka’s drug trade. In a press release Friday, the department announced the arrest of a 36-year-old Sitka man on suspicion of dealing methamphetamine.

Nine months in, Orthodox Bishop takes stock

141123_BishopDavid1_waldholzBishop David said he'd like to see the Orthodox Church play a larger role in dealing with the state’s high rates of suicide, alcoholism and domestic violence.