Author Archives: Rachel Waldholz, KCAW

Panel hears emotional testimony on halibut bycatch

Simeon Swetsov, Jr., left, the mayor of St. Paul in the Pribilof Islands, choked up as he testified before the NPFMC advisory panel. Beside him is Mateo Paz-Soldan. (Rachel Waldholz/KCAW)Emotions are running high as the North Pacific Fishery Management Council considers a proposal to reduce halibut bycatch in the Bering Sea. The council got a preview of public sentiment during testimony before its advisory panel this week.

North Pacific Council meets in Sitka

Fishermen, scientists, and seafood industry representatives from around Alaska -- and the country -- are in Sitka this week for the meeting of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. The Council regulates all federal fisheries off Alaska, including pollock, cod and flatfish.

North Pacific Council to vote on halibut bycatch limits

Fishermen offload commercially-caught halibut in Juneau. (Flickr photo/Gillphoto)Of the thirty million pounds of halibut caught last year by commercial fishermen statewide, nearly a third was thrown back into the ocean, dead. It was netted accidentally by boats targeting other fish - especially trawlers in the Bering Sea. Now, that may change.

With taxes on the agenda, Assembly meeting heats up

Taxes have dominated the conversation at the Sitka Assembly in recent months. (Photo courtesy of PixabyTaxes have dominated the conversation at the Sitka Assembly recently, as the city struggles to come up with an additional million dollars for schools. This week’s meeting erupted into a heated debate over the issue -- but there were also hints of some long-term solutions.

Sitka raises water, sewer rates by $6 per month

The Sitka Assembly voted Wednesday night to raise water and wastewater rates. The vote will increase monthly water and sewer bills from $86 to $92.

Assembly passes budget with million dollar shortfall

Sitka is still struggling to come up with funding for the School District and Sitka Community Hospital. (Rachel Waldholz/KCAW)The Sitka Assembly passed a budget for the coming year on first reading last night (5-27-15). But that budget still has a million-dollar hole. The shortfall is significantly larger than expected even a week ago.

Coast Guard rescues charter passenger near Peril Strait

Crew members from Air Station Sitka shot this video while rescuing a 68-year-old man from a charter fishing vessel on Sunday. (Image courtesy of Coast Guard 17th District Public Affairs)A Coast Guard helicopter crew rescued a passenger from a charter fishing boat north of Sitka on Sunday night (5-24-15), after he reported chest pains.

Assembly approves lease-to-sell deal at Gary Paxton Industrial Park

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)The Sitka Assembly on Tuesday voted to approve a longterm lease at the city's former pulp mill site with Pat Glaab of Alaska & Pacific Packing, or APP - despite a protest from the site's neighbor, processor Silver Bay Seafoods.

Assembly postpones action on tobacco and summer sales tax

The Sitka Assembly voted this week to raise Sitka’s sales tax cap, but they postponed two other proposals -- one to double the tobacco tax, and another to raise the summer sales tax.

Assembly raises sales tax cap over charter fleet’s objections

Deputy Mayor Matt Hunter and Mayor Mim McConnell during Tuesday night's Sitka Assembly meeting. (Rachel Waldholz/KCAW)The Sitka Assembly voted to increase the sales tax cap from $1500 to $3000 on Tuesday night. The increase is part of an effort to raise an additional million dollars for Sitka’s school system, and came despite passionate objections from charter fishermen.