After 53 years of continuous service, the turbines at Sitka’s Blue Lake Hydro plant are quiet. Walt Dangel, one of the original powerhouse operators at Blue Lake, threw the switches turning off the plant in a small decommissioning ceremony Monday morning (8-18-14). Dangel was assisted by Frank Rogers, Sitka’s senior plant operator. The two old turbines produce a combined 6 megawatts of power. They’re being replaced by three new turbines that will produce 16 megawatts.
August 19th is primary day in Alaska, and several hard-fought races will come to a head. But in Sitka's Harrigan Centennial Hall, the election came down to this: neighbors chatting, ballots marked with blue ink, kids introduced to the polls for the first time. At not yet six weeks old, Theo Gallin (pictured with his mother, Maggie) took the prize for perhaps the youngest Sitkan to make it into a voting booth today.
After an unprecedented two extensions, the summer king salmon season for trollers in Southeast is over. The Alaska Department of Fish & Game closed the fishery at 11:59 PM Monday, August 18 -- two days later than planned. The target for the three-day opener was 36,000 kings. But on day one it looked like trollers were bringing in about 12 fish per day. During the first opener of the season -- the first week of July -- trollers were landing about 50 kings per day.
Three Sitka defendants are facing drug trafficking charges related to meth and heroin. A Sitka Grand Jury last week indicted 56-year old John M. Laigo on three counts of Misconduct Involving a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree for delivering methamphetamine. 30-year old Crystal D. Brazell faces one count, also for allegedly delivering meth. In an unrelated case, 45-year-old Noriss Sergius Howard is facing three counts of MISCS in the Second Degree for allegedly delivering heroin.
A local Sitka non-profit called Artchange expanded its reach this summer, thanks to the addition of three Yale University interns. ArtChange is a project of a local filmmaker, who asked each student to put a lens on a different aspect of the community -- tourism, transportation and food. But they all shared a common goal: To get to know the people and places of Southeast Alaska.
A multi-million dollar baseball field in Sitka has opened the door to a possible civil rights investigation based on gender discrimination. The US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights notified the Sitka School District in July that it had received a complaint about the new field, and the district’s alleged failure to provide comparable practice and competition facilities for girls’ softball.
Senator Lisa Murkowski visited Sitka last week and spoke to a packed house at the Chamber of Commerce about gridlock in Congress, reproductive rights, and her work with the women of the Senate. And while she wouldn't say who she’s supporting in the Republican Senate primary, it's pretty clear who she won’t be voting for.