Assembly approves lease-to-sell deal at Gary Paxton Industrial Park

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)The Sitka Assembly on Tuesday voted to approve a longterm lease at the city's former pulp mill site with Pat Glaab of Alaska & Pacific Packing, or APP - despite a protest from the site's neighbor, processor Silver Bay Seafoods.

Assembly postpones action on tobacco and summer sales tax

The Sitka Assembly voted this week to raise Sitka’s sales tax cap, but they postponed two other proposals -- one to double the tobacco tax, and another to raise the summer sales tax.

Under proposed budget, state parks offices to close

1-IMG_1074At a meeting of the Parks Citizen Advisory Board in Sitka yesterday morning (Tue 5-12-15), regional directors outlined their plan to find new management for the area parks and if no one steps forward, to put the parks into “passive management.” All seven state parks, including Castle Hill and Halibut Point Recreation area, will be affected.

Assembly raises sales tax cap over charter fleet’s objections

Deputy Mayor Matt Hunter and Mayor Mim McConnell during Tuesday night's Sitka Assembly meeting. (Rachel Waldholz/KCAW)The Sitka Assembly voted to increase the sales tax cap from $1500 to $3000 on Tuesday night. The increase is part of an effort to raise an additional million dollars for Sitka’s school system, and came despite passionate objections from charter fishermen.

Budget cuts sideline Taku ferry July-September

A Petersburg fishing boat passes the ferry Taku near the entrance of Wrangell Narrows in August, 2013. Budget cuts will take the ship out of service from July through September. (Photo by Ed Schoenfeld/CoastAlaska News)A budget shuffle means most Alaska ferries will be able to sail their scheduled routes this summer. But one ship, the 600-passenger Taku, will be tied up.

New facility scales up Sitka’s Career & Tech Ed

One half of Sitka's Career & Technical Education center is devoted to auto shop, but there's also room to build a substantial boat. (KCAW photo/Robert Woolsey)The $2.9-million structure encloses a total of 8,500 square feet, and means that Sitka students can fabricate metal, work on cars and boats, or even construct small buildings while never having to step outdoors.

With retirements, City Hall faces a generational shift

Project Manger Dean Orbison addressed the crowd at the Blue Lake hydro project dedication. It was his last day on the job, before retiring. (Emily Kwong, KCAW)Sitka’s City Hall is in the midst of a generational shift, with a spate of retirements among longtime staff. Those who have retired in April and May alone had racked up 93 years of city service between them.

Gov. Walker urges public to pressure lawmakers back to work

Gov. Walker at the Blue Lake Dam dedication ceremony with city administrator Mark Gorman and Mayor Mim McConnell. Walker told reporters, "There's a $3-billion hole in the budget. We need to get on with it." (KCAW photo/Rachel Waldholz)Gov. Walker took a few minutes from his appearance at the Blue Lake Dam dedication in Sitka on Friday (5-8-15) to meet with reporters to discuss the current legislative crisis. Walker’s clearly frustrated by the standstill.

Sitkans indicted on federal drug charges

A federal grand jury in Anchorage has indicted two Sitkans on drug trafficking charges. Luke Roderick Lowe, age 36, and Marguarite Jean Keicher, age 38, were indicted on April 21 for allegedly conspiring to distribute methamphetamine in Ketchikan in January of this year.

Blue Lake project dedicated with champagne, cheers and speeches

Project Manager Dean Orbison (left) and Mayor Mim McConnell smashed a bottle of champagne against one of the new, blue turbines. (Emily Kwong/KCAW)State and local officials, including Gov. Bill Walker, gathered in Sitka on Friday (5-8-15) to formally dedicate the Blue Lake dam. The largest public works project in city history, it’s projected to meet the city’s electricity needs for the next thirty years.