Local News

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.

Hospital board to consider CEO resignation

Jeff Comer speaking to the Sitka Chamber of Commerce in November 2013, prior to disclosures about the hospital's financial straits. (KCAW Photo/Rachel Waldholz)The Sitka Hospital Board will meet in special session 12 PM Monday, January 5, 2015 to "decide the proposed resignation of the CEO." Jeff Comer took over as CEO of Sitka Community Hospital in October after an extensive search, but reportedly inherited an organization in serious financial jeopardy. The meeting will take place in the hospital classroom on the lower level. The public is welcome to attend.

Assembly to fill vacancy today at 5:30 PM

Four Sitkans have applied to fill the assembly seat vacated last month by Phyllis Hackett. The assembly will hold a special meeting Friday evening (1-2-15) at 5:30 PM in Harrigan Centennial Hall to select someone to serve the remaining 10 months of Phyllis Hackett’s term. Note: the meeting time was erroneously listed as 6pm in previous reports.

Sitka’s 2014: Buckets o’ fun!

Sitka School Board members Jen Robinson, Tim Fulton, Lon Garrison, Cass Pook, Tonia Rioux, and superintendent Mary Wegner take a dunking for ALS. In turn, the board challenged the Kodiak school board, former Sitka superintendent Steve Bradshaw, and the Sitka Native Education Program. (KCAW photo/Robert Woolsey)2014 in Sitka will be remembered for water: Water piling up behind a brand new dam, and water falling from the sky that brought down a mountain and made a major highway construction project nearly impassable. And if that wasn’t enough, there was something about ice buckets.

Mining, timber, elections top 2014 Southeast news

Oxidized rock colors a valley where one of Seabridge Gold’s KSM project’s open pit mines will be dug. (Ed Schoenfeld/ CoastAlaska News)One of 2014’s largest Southeast Alaska issues didn’t even start in the state.

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?