Local News

Assembly votes down heat pump rebate

By the end of its meeting Tuesday night, the assembly had decided not to offer rebates for homeowners who install energy-efficient heat pump systems in their homes. But their path to that decision had less to do with heat pumps than with concerns about the city’s long-term electricity use. more

After disaster, the long road to recovery

Former KCAW general manager Barnaby Dow has worked the last eleven years for King County in Seattle. (KCAW photo/Robert Woolsey)

President Obama’s visit to the landslide in Oso, Washington, this week (Tue Apr 22) was timed to refocus the nation’s attention on this disaster, long after the headlines have moved elsewhere. Former Sitkan Barnaby Dow is the external affairs manager in the King County Office of Emergency Management in Seattle. more

Gorman: Managing ‘conflicting expectations’ in Sitka

Mark Gorman. (KCAW photo/Robert Woolsey)

6 months into his tenure as municipal administrator, Mark Gorman says Sitka is going to become more self-reliant — through a combination of increasing local revenues and exploiting economic opportunities. Gorman spoke to the Sitka Chamber of Commerce Wednesday afternoon (4-23-13). He discussed the unrealistic expectations Sitkans may have about the community’s relatively low tax rates, as more and more of the burden of paying for services shifts to local taxpayers. But Gorman also pointed out opportunities for efficiency and growth. more

Ford-Slack steps down from Sitka High School

PJ_Ford-SlackSitka’s high school principal has resigned. PJ Ford-Slack met briefly with district superintendent Steve Bradshaw and his successor, Mary Wegner, before Monday night’s school board meeting and indicated that she would not sign her contract for next year. Tuesday morning it became official. more

Middle school Home Ec, Shop may fall to budget cuts

Blatchley Middle School Principal Ben White staffs the Sitka booth at the Seattle teaching fair. (KCAW photo/Ed Ronco)

The Sitka school district will not lay off any teachers next fall, but at least two programs — Home Ec and shop in Blatchley Middle School — could be cut. The Sitka school board Monday night (4-22-14) passed its final budget for the coming year, with conservative assumptions on enrollment and state and federal revenue. But it’s not likely that any of the cut programs would be restored, should additional funding come in. more

Assembly approves Centennial Hall design

An architect's rendering of the renovated Harrigan Centennial Hall (Courtesy of McCool Carlson Green)

The assembly voted 7-0 to approve the architects’ full plan, which includes a new space for the Sitka Historical Museum, larger meeting rooms, and an ambitious overhaul of the building’s exterior, including new landscaping on the hall’s south side. more

Sitka Tribal Council welcomes new GM

Sitka tribal council welcomes new STA General Manager Lawrence Spottedbird. (KCAW photo/by Emily Forman)

The Sitka Tribe of Alaska welcomed a new general manager last week. Lawrence Spottedbird replaced Ted Wright after a lengthy search. Council members and the public formally welcomed Spottedbird at the Tribe’s monthly meeting last Wednesday (4-16-14). more

Two rescued as troller goes aground in heavy surf

SMR captain Don Kluting describes sea conditions at Low Island Monday morning as "a bit sporty." Crew members left the Mirage on foot, once the tide ebbed. (SMR photo/Don Kluting)

Two crewmen were rescued safely after their troller ran aground in heavy seas in Sitka Sound early this morning (Mon 4-21-14). The 52-foot steel-hulled troller Mirage radioed a distress call at about 3:30 AM. The boat had gone aground on the southern shore of Low Island, in surf and strong southerly winds. more

JKT: “I’m all of 25, but I’ve never seen anything like it”

In the Senate gallery, an emotional Rep. Charisse Millett holds hands with Liz Medicine Crow while Senators debate the fate of the bill. The legislation, which passed moments later, makes 20 Alaska Native languages official state languages alongside English. (Photo by Skip Gray/Gavel Alaska)

When the Alaska Senate passed House Bill 216 just after 3 a.m. Monday, nobody was more thrilled than its primary sponsor: Sitka Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins. Kreiss-Tomkins introduced the bill, which makes 20 Alaska Native languages official state languages. On Easter Sunday, supporters staged a 15-hour sit-in at the Capitol to demand it get a vote. more

Blue Lake loan authorization in limbo

As state lawmakers extended their session past its Sunday deadline, one issue of particular importance to Sitka remained in limbo: a loan to complete the Blue Lake dam expansion. more