Local News

Video: Two rescued in skiff grounding at Kanga Bay

An Air Station Sitka helicopter trains over Gastineau Channel in Juneau in 2008. (Coast Guard News photo)The Coast Guard rescued a man and woman after their 17-foot skiff ran aground in Kanga Bay near Sitka on Saturday (12-27-14). The Sitka Fire Department relayed information from a 9-1-1 call to the Coast Guard, that a man and woman had been thrown out of a skiff when it struck the shore Saturday evening. The man reportedly had suffered injuries to his head and face in the spill.

Sitka heads ‘Back to the Future’ on gravel roads

Anna_DriveSitka has torn up what is likely the first of many paved city streets and returned it to gravel. The community has wrestled for years with how to pay to replace pavement put down during the heyday of the state’s oil wealth in the 1980s. And so far, no one’s come up with a plan for local funding that’s acceptable to residents.

The secret history of Soviet whaling

Humpback whales lunge feeding. (Photo by Blain and Monique Anderson, NOAA Fisheries permit #14122)Data hidden in a potato cellar, an archive in eastern Russia -- and how scientists are finally solving the mystery of how many humpbacks there were in the North Pacific before commercial whaling.

Sitkans cool holiday fever in annual Polar Dip

Sitkans take to the water in the 2014 Dip. (KCAW photo/Rich McClear)If you’ve got Holiday Fever, Sitka’s National Honor Society has a remedy for you: An icy cold dip in the ocean. Several dozen die-hard Sitkans turned out on a cold, wet solstice weekend (12-20-14) to cool their heels – and many other body parts – in the community’s annual Polar Dip.

$1-million loan to buy Sitka hospital ‘breathing room’

Hospital staffers participate in the Alaska Day Parade. (SCH photo)Sitka Community Hospital will get a $1-million infusion of cash from the Sitka assembly, in order to meet short-term expenses. A long-term solution for the hospital’s cash woes is still on the horizon.

Counting humpbacks, fluke by fluke

A page from a humpback whale fluke matching catalog. (Photos by Jan Straley, NOAA Fisheries permit #14122)After forty years of protection, federal officials are considering taking humpback whales off the endangered species list. So we ask, how many humpbacks are out there, anyway?

Hackett hands in assembly resignation

HackettThe Sitka Assembly last night (12-23-14) formally accepted the resignation of fellow member Phyllis Hackett. Hackett submitted a letter to the municipal clerk on December 19, citing personal matters that left her “unable to devote the attention and dedication my position on the Assembly deserves.”

As Sitka’s hospital stumbles, officials look to new ‘healthcare landscape’

Sitka Community Hospital. (Photo courtesy of the Sitka Community Hospital Foundation)Sitka’s local hospital is in trouble. Deep financial losses that have only just become apparent have shaken the institution, and have cost the chief financial officer his job. Sitka Community Hospital will ask the Sitka assembly for a $1-million loan this week, but city officials are not calling the emergency infusion of cash a fix.

The origins of the Endangered Species Act

A humpback whale shows its fluke. (Photo by Ellen Chenoweth, NOAA Fisheries permit #14122).Humpback whales may come off the endangered species list soon: federal officials are expected to announce a decision soon. But regardless of the decision, one thing is clear: without whales and other marine mammals, there might not even be an endangered species list.

Silver Bay wins board approval for waterfront purchase

In just eight years, Silver Bay has already acquired a substantial portion of the park, including the plant and dock at lower left, and nearby bunkhouses.A Sitka-based seafood processor has cleared the first hurdle toward a major expansion -- in its hometown. The board of Sitka’s Gary Paxton Industrial Park on Wednesday (12-17-14) approved the sale of a significant portion of park waterfront to Silver Bay Seafoods. Plans for a joint venture in a marine services center remain on hold for the time being.