Local News

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.

School safety moves beyond the lockdown

A memorial to the victims of the 2006 shooting at Dawson College, Montreal. One person was killed and 18 wounded in Canada's third school shooting. (Flickr photo/Doug)Researchers are developing new strategies to counter shootings at schools and other public places, and they’re not what you might expect. The Sitka School Board at it’s regular meeting this week (1-6-15) heard a presentation on the ALICE program, which represents a radical departure for personal safety in life-threatening situations.

Allen offered interim hospital CEO post

Rob_Allen_crop Sitka businessman Rob Allen has been offered the job of interim CEO of Sitka Community Hospital. Allen, who currently lives in Deerfield, Massachusetts, is still considering the offer. He originally applied for the position when it became open last summer, and was the second choice behind Jeff Comer.

State game board to review deer seasons, limits for Sitka

A proposed delay in the start of "doe season" is meant to protect fawns -- but may not make sense biologically. (KCAW file photo)The State Board of Game meets this weekend (Jan 9-13) in Juneau to consider a number of proposed changes to Southeast hunting regulations -- including some rules important to Sitka hunters of deer, mountain goat, and bear.

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?

Sitka hospital cuts ties with former CEO, moves toward transition

The hospital classroom fills for the board's noon meeting. Staffers urged  transparency as the board moves forward. "A lot of what's happened has been a mystery to us," said one. (KCAW photo/Robert Woolsey)Sitka's hospital board named Chief Nursing Officer Raine Clarke as interim CEO at a special meeting on Monday (1-5-15). Contrary to rumor, former CEO Jeff Comer will not be receiving anything more than his paycheck for his work through last Friday, as Sitka’s embattled hospital struggles to balance its books and find direction.

Teen safe after icy slide down Mt. Verstovia

In summertime, the Mt. Verstovia bowl is a popular hiking trail. (Flickr photo/German Parra)A 16-year-old Sitka girl escaped with minor injuries after losing her footing on Mt. Verstovia Sunday afternoon (1-4-15), and sliding partway down a bowl. The Sitka Fire Department received a call shortly after 4 PM from the girl’s 24-year-old brother. The pair had safely climbed to the summit of “Picnic Rock,” but discovered on the return trip that the route had turned into wind-scoured ice.

Hospital CEO alleges assault, leaves Sitka

A scheduled discussion on hospital issues with CEO Jeff Comer Friday night (1-2-15) was sidetracked when Comer didn’t appear. Instead, he sent hospital board president Celeste Tydingco to read a statement describing an alleged assault, and his intention to leave Sitka immediately.

Gender, experience weighed in Sitka assembly appointment

Michelle Putz is Sitka’s newest assembly member. Putz was appointed by the assembly in a special meeting Friday evening (1-2-15), to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Phyllis Hackett. Members considered Putz’s previous experience on the assembly in making the appointment, and also her gender.

Putz wins assembly appointment

Michelle Putz takes the oath of office from deputy municipal clerk Sara Peterson. (KCAW photo/Robert Woolsey)The Sitka Assembly tonight (1-2-15) name Michelle Putz to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Phyllis Hackett last month. Putz was elected on the second ballot by members Tristan Guevin, Ben Miyasato, Mayor Mim McConnell, and Steven Eisenbeisz. Runner-up in balloting was former three-term assembly member Thor Christianson.