Local News

How to haze an eagle

Wildlife specialist Heather Bauscher, uses a shotgun loaded with pyrotechnic shells to chase eagles off of Sitka's runway.(KCAW photo/by Emily Forman)

At most major airports someone is paid to chase birds off the runway. But at Sitka’s airport that job is especially challenging.
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Legislature to decide fate of Blue Lake loan

Sitka’s last chance to avoid another electric rate hike is in the hands of the Alaska House of Representatives this weekend. The city wants access to a low-cost loan to finance the final portion of the Blue Lake hydroelectric project. But first it needs the approval of the state legislature. more

Gasline chief says in-state project is no pipedream

AGDC president Dan Fauske says the construction of a gasline will create 8,000 direct jobs and be "the largest project in the country." (KCAW photo/Robert Woolsey)

With an oversupply of natural gas in the country, Alaska is exploring the construction of a relatively small, low-pressure gasline within the state’s borders — while still holding out hope for a much larger project should prices improve. Dan Fauske is the president of the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation — or AGDC. He spoke to Sitka’s Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday about when and where Alaskans may see gas. more

Halibut Point Rec rules limit vehicles, not seaweed collection

As Mark Twain would say, reports of the demise of seaweed collecting at Halibut Point Rec have been greatly exaggerated. It turns out that gathering this much-favored garden fertilizer does not require a special use permit. Under a new policy, however, permits are required for anyone who wants to drive a vehicle into the park, for any reason. more

High praise from Assembly for Gorman, Koutchak

City Administrator Mark Gorman and City Attorney Robin Koutchak each received their annual evaluations. Koutchak’s evaluation took place in private executive session; Gorman elected to have his evaluation done in public. more

Teacher evaluations pit student scores against ‘dream building’?

The Sitka School District will pilot the iObservation teacher evaluation tool next year. Board members wondered if it will change the management model in buildings. "You can not be both an evaluator and a mentor," said incoming superintendent Mary Wegner.

A new, state-mandated evaluation system will hold everyone — teachers and administrators — accountable for student performance, beginning next fall. The Sitka School Board Tuesday night (4-15-14) got its first look at web-based software that will follow the progress of teachers over the course of the school year. But how far poor student outcomes can drag down a teacher’s evaluation remains a big question mark. more

Senate candidate Sullivan talks health care — and dolphins

OUTTRO: DaRepublican Dan Sullivan, with his wife Julie Fate Sullivan. Sullivan hopes to challenge incumbent U.S. Senator Mark Begich. (KCAW photo/Rachel Waldholz) n Sullivan is running for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. The primary will be held on August 19. The General Election will be November 4.

Sullivan, the former Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources, is hoping to challenge incumbent Democrat Mark Begich, who is up for reelection this fall. He talked about his role in challenging the President’s healthcare law, the perils of over-regulation – and that time he swam against the Navy’s military dolphins. more

Is there more important funding than schools?

As board member Tonia Rioux looks on, Superintendent Steve Bradshaw told assembly members to "love every kid who walks down our streets." (Image courtesy KSCT-TV

Should the state do more for schools when local governments — like Sitka’s — are not doing all they can? That was the question hanging over a joint work session between the Sitka School Board and Sitka Assembly Thursday night (4-10-14). The board presented a draft budget to the assembly with a modest increase in local support to schools — less than $200,000 — but also delivered a clear message that more was needed. more

Sitka bear task force tackles ‘trash caches’

ADF&G has identified 10 locations around Sitka where bears are taking garbage bags to sort their "loot." This bear was caught in the act in a Sitka neighborhood last summer. (ADF&G photo/Phil Mooney)

The Sitka Bear Task Force has organized work parties to tackle several bear caches — the places around town where brown bears have been dragging garbage bags over the years, to sort through their loot undisturbed. Alaska Department of Fish & Game biologist Phil Mooney says cleaning up these so-called “trash caches” is no small job. “Over the years you’ll get some places where you’ll have 2 and 3 pickup loads of material that’s piled back in there,” he says.
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Artist explores secret-keeping

MacNaughton's portraits will be displayed at Rio's Wine Bar in Sitka through the end of May. (KCAW photo/Rachel Waldholz)

Juneau artist MK MacNaughton asks people about secrets — and then uses their stories to guide her in drawing giant charcoal portraits that express those feelings. About ten of those portraits are now hanging at Rio’s Wine Bar in Sitka. more