Local stories syndicated regionally to all CoastAlaska stations.

Sitkans consider pros and cons of a property tax raise

In Sitka, voters are considering raising the cap on property taxes from 6 to 8 mills. The Assembly put the question on the ballot at the direction of a Citizens' Task Force. (Emily Kwong/KCAW photo)To raise or to not raise the cap? That is the question before Sitka voters today (10-04-16). Proposition 1 asks if Sitka should raise the local limit on property taxes from 6 mills to 8 mills. If the ballot question passes, $1 million of that money would go towards the Electric Fund to help pay off the Blue Lake Dam.

Kennicott ferry fills in while Columbia is repaired

The M/V Columbia, recently re-powered, is not one of the three ships which could possibly be retired soon. (Flickr/Gillfoto)Alaska’s largest ferry will be down for repairs longer than expected. Another ship will fill in, but it’s smaller and some travelers will have to make other arrangements.

Marijuana fees could fund student travel

Sitka High freshman David Wilcox blazes across the finish line Saturday morning (9-28-13). Faced with its largest projected budget deficit in recent memory, the Sitka School Board may consider dramatic cuts to sports and activities programs in 2016. (KCAW photo/Robert Woolsey)During their regular meeting last Tuesday night (09-27-16), the Assembly approved - on first reading - a dedicated fund for student activity travel using marijuana fees. They also set aside money for landslide mitigation and received a half a million dollar check from Sitka Community Hospital.

How the Blue Lake Dam is costing Sitka

“One of the dangers there, as oil prices continue to go up, is that people will start to shift over to electricity, and all that additional capacity that you’ve gained by raising the dam will just go into existing inefficient buildings, or into new inefficient buildings," says Jon Heller. (Blue Lake Expansion photo/Desiree Brandis)The city of Sitka is struggling to pay off the Blue Lake Dam in a big way. The project was largely funded through bond proceeds. But due to a major decline in electric usage by Sitka customers, the city doesn’t have enough money to meet the bond payment.

Forest Service adds to Admiralty Island wilderness

Logged lands at the head of Lake Kathleen, on Admiralty Island, are among those Shee Atiká has sold to the Forest Service to add to its Kootznoowoo Wilderness Area. (Photo courtesy U.S. Forest Service.)About 4,500 acres of heavily-logged forest will return to wilderness under a deal involving the federal government and a Southeast Alaska Native corporation.

Consultant: Sitka hospital must unite with SEARHC to survive

Kennedy told the board that "comprehensive integration" would keep all current staff employed by both institutions, and mean an end to Native hiring preference at SEARHC. (ECG image)Sitka Community Hospital must integrate operations with the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium, or risk closing within three years.

Searchers suspect hiker fell to his death

The body of a missing hiker was found by searchers in Sitka on Friday afternoon (09-23-16). SAR captain Lance Ewers believes Hansen slipped while hiking off-trail on his way down Mt. Verstovia.

UPDATE: Body of missing hiker found

Michael Hansen was last seen leaving his apartment at 10:30 a.m. Monday. His vehicle was found at the trailhead, off Sawmill Creek Road, at noon today , 9-20-16. (Courtesy Sitka Search and Rescue)The body of Michael Hansen was found by searchers earlier today (09/23/16). Hansen’s family has been notified of his death and the investigation is ongoing.

Three apply for school board vacancy

Brent Edwards, Jennifer Carter and Dionne Brady-Howard have applied to fill a vacancy on the Sitka School Board.

Kentucky man mauled by brown bear on Admiralty Island

Adkins and his Juneau-based guide were hunting in Chaik Bay near Angoon, about 35 miles northeast of Sitka.Mauling victim Douglas Adkins and his Juneau-based guide were hunting in Chaik Bay near Angoon, about 35 miles northeast of Sitka.