On Tuesday (10-7-14), not all the voting in Sitka happened at Harrigan Centennial Hall. Up the street at Sitka High School, students headed to the polls in a mock election. While the student voters may not have completely agreed with the electorate at-large, their opinions were—mostly! —based on thorough research.
With anxiety running high over how Sitka schools will fare under newly-adopted state testing standards this year, the Sitka school board Monday night (10-6-14) seemed pleased to learn that -- under the old standards -- the district has shown significant improvement. But there is also some troubling information in the data.
Quick thinking by an off-duty Sitka firefighter may have prevented a boat fire from becoming a major disaster in a local harbor Friday night. Deputy fire chief Al Stevens says Michelle Snowden, an engineer with the department, had just moved onto a liveaboard in Crescent Harbor when her pager alerted her to the fire on a neighboring vessel. She had it out before the engine arrived.
Silver Bay Seafoods has tendered an offer to buy out the City of Sitka’s industrial park. The processor got its start in Sitka and has since grown into one of the state’s largest seafood operations. Park board members heard details of the sale in a special meeting this week (9-25-14), but took no action. Instead, they decided to hold off a month in order to weigh the offer against a competing proposal from a different company.
High rainfall this month is being blamed for a major landslide near Sitka. The US Forest Service reports that a 100-acre slide came down in the Starrigavan Valley, about ten miles from town. The slide, and water damage to an ATV trail in the valley and other hiking trails elsewhere in Sitka -- all add up to a tough month for the agency.
Sitka will be sales tax-free on November 28 and 29, the Friday and Saturday following Thanksgiving. The assembly also waded into a pair of disputes among neighbors -- and said farewell to one of its own.
Sitka’s public library and centennial building will both be undergoing major renovations over the next couple of years, each growing in size by roughly one-half. But the energy costs to run both buildings will stay the same, thanks to a suite of new technologies that keep heat indoors. The consultant who’s designing the systems says engineers now consider conservation to be a major energy resource in new construction.
Sen. Mark Begich says the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act will not be moving forward without Alaska’s input. He says Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s bill (introduced on September 16) was intended to lay out language important to the Republican’s home state. It won’t necessarily be the final language in the bill.