Southeast News

Hearing held on stay request for boro lawsuit

Arguments were heard in Ketchikan Superior Court on Friday on a request for a stay by the State of Alaska in the ruling on Ketchikan Gateway Borough’s education funding lawsuit.

Southeast crab seasons set to start up in February

Photo courtesy ADF&GTwo Southeast Alaska commercial crab fisheries are set to open next month. Seasons for Tanner crab and golden king crab are scheduled to open on Friday, February 13th at noon. The start of the opening can be delayed by bad weather like it was last year for two days.

Innovation Summit looks outside the box

Armelle Solelhac croppedMore than 200 business leaders, researchers and policy-makers gather in Juneau this week for the 2015 Innovation Summit.

AMHS to close ferry bar service this winter

The ferry Taku sails into the Wrangell Narrows on its way south in 2013. It's part of an aging fleet needing repair or replacement. (Ed Schoenfeld/CoastAlaska News)The Alaska Marine Highway is closing bars on state ferries, a move that state Department of Transportation officials say will save about $750,000 a year.

Walker says Prince Rupert terminal will be rebuilt

Prince Rupert Ferry Terminal July 2014 1 croppedGov. Bill Walker says he’ll continue pushing for construction of a new ferry terminal in Prince Rupert, British Columbia.

Assembly member proposes ban on retail pot

National Public Radio image.The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly on Monday will consider a proposal to move forward with a ban on commercial cultivation, processing, manufacturing and sale of marijuana within the boundaries of the borough.

Commission recommends boost in coast-wide halibut catch

sporthalibut_pbangsThe International Pacific Halibut Commission Friday voted to recommend a 1.7-million pound increase in the coast-wide catch of halibut. The joint U.S. and Canadian body oversees management of the highly prized bottom fish from California to Alaska. The commission held its annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia this week.

PHS senior accepted into Coast Guard and Merchant Marine Academies

Ben Zarlengo is a senior at Petersburg High School.Petersburg high school senior, Ben Zarlengo, has been accepted into the U.S. Coast Academy and the Merchant Marine Academy.

Ketchikan artist awarded Joan Mitchell grant

Donald Varnell works on a carving. (Photo from Varnell's Facebook page, used with permission)

Donald Varnell works on a carving. (Photo from Varnell’s Facebook page, used with permission)

Ketchikan artist Donald Varnell recently was awarded a prestigious Joan Mitchell Foundation grant. He’s the first Alaskan to receive one since the New York-based foundation started … more

State to appeal education funding lawsuit ruling

Flag of AlaskaThe State of Alaska announced Wednesday that it will appeal a final ruling by Superior Court Judge William Carey in favor of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough’s long-held argument that the state’s required local contribution for public education violates Alaska’s Constitution.

Ketchikan nurse contract talks enter mediation

Barbara Lander sent us this shot from Sunday morning's informational picket. She says about 50 people picketed Saturday, 60 showed up on Sunday, and about 30 demonstrated Monday morning.Ketchikan nurses were picketing over the weekend as contract negotiations with PeaceHealth enter mediation this week.

State board closes two areas to commercial Dungeness crab fleet

dungeness crabAlaska’s Board of Fish this month for the most part voted down proposed closures for commercial Dungeness crabbing around Southeast. However, the board during a meeting in Wrangell did support closed areas around Angoon and Hoonah.

Flu shots, hand hygiene encouraged to avoid winter illness

flushotLocal health care providers are encouraging people to get a flu shot if they haven’t already and to practice good hygiene in the midst of wintertime cold and flu season.

State to close bars on ferries

The Columbia is one of the ferries closing down its bar.The State of Alaska is closing down bars on state ferries this spring as a way to save money. The Alaska Department of Transportation made the announcement today.

Tongass advisory committee meeting location changes

looking up forest trees-DenningThe Tongass Advisory Committee has moved its next meeting place from Petersburg to Juneau. The meeting set for February 17-19 was changed to Juneau to allow for more meeting time and participation by a full quorum of TAC members.

Petersburg expects new visits for 2015 tourist season

Photo from en.ponant.comPetersburg could see a little busier cruise ship and visitor season this summer. The community will see stops from a larger French cruise ship during the warmer months and plans to offer tours for the passengers. Mitkof Island will also see a new ferry connection with Prince of Wales Island starting in May.

Board of Fish changes some shrimp pot reporting requirements

The Alaska Board of Fisheries Saturday changed reporting requirements for shrimp pot fishermen in Southeast. All shrimp pot catcher-processor vessels in Registration Area A will have to submit a logbook to the Department of Fish and Game at the end of a shrimp fishery.

Public meetings set on TLMP amendment

The Tongass National Forest makes up most of Southeast Alaska (Courtesy U.S. Forest Service)The U.S. Forest Service has scheduled three public meetings in Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan to update the public on the proposed Tongass Land and Resource Management Plan Amendment.

Family worried about missing Ketchikan man

10924776_663160590460453_5110478167486218101_nA Ketchikan man has been missing for nearly a month, with no evidence that he left the island.

Website ranks two Petersburg schools best in the state

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA website has ranked two of Petersburg’s schools as the best in the state. The site,, rates cities, schools, universities and neighborhoods and has ranked Rae C. Stedman as the number one elementary school in Alaska and Mitkof Middle as the number one middle school.

Board of Fisheries keeps Dungeness management plan in place

The Alaska Board of Fisheries voted Thursday to keep the Southeast commercial Dungeness crab management plan in place, while changing Dungeness season start times from noon to 8 a.m.

Scientific societies oppose old-growth logging

DominickDellaSala_0More scientists have joined a campaign to stop old-growth logging in Southeast Alaska’s Tongass National Forest.

Judge rules in Petersburg’s favor on demolished house

takendownhouseA judge has ruled in the Petersburg borough’s favor in a court appeal over a home deemed as a dangerous house. The piling foundation failed for the home on Wrangell Avenue in 2009 and the borough sought to have the owners demolish the structure, which they did last year.

Board of Fisheries chairman resigns

Alaska Board of Fisheries Chairman Karl Johnstone resigned Tuesday after Gov. Bill Walker said he would not submit his name to the legislature for reappointment. His resignation came after the Board of Fisheries blocked a candidate for Fish and Game commissioner from being interviewed for the position.

Rep. Kito: Fund the basics, fix what’s broken

Rep. Sam Kito III poses at his desk in the Capitol Jan. 7, 2015. This is the Juneau Democrat’s first full session. He was appointed last February to fill the seat vacated by Beth Kerttula. (Ed Schoenfeld/CoastAlaska News)Southeast state Rep. Sam Kito III is worried about the impacts of shrinking state budgets on schools, police and basic services.

Wrangell Port Commission talks rate changes for boat yard

marine service centerThe Wrangell Port Commission Tuesday continued discussing a possible rate increase for work space in the Marine Service Center. The increased rates could help hire an additional boat lift operator and increase efficiency in the boat yard.

Rough weather stops some Southeast ferry sailings

Part of Southeast Alaska faces weather-related transportation delays. Juneau and Haines lost a ferry sailing for the second time in three days. Skagway also lost one sailing.

USFS proposes floating dock at Anan Observatory

anan trailThe U.S. Forest Service is taking public comments on a proposal to build a floating dock at the Anan Wildlife Observatory, with the goal of improving safety for visitors.

2014: Year in review

boat liftIn 2014, Wrangell saw the addition of a 300-ton boat lift, the arrest of a doctor, and the election of a new state representative.

Southeast championships feature Alaska’s first girls’ wrestling meet

wrestlingHigh school girls competed in Alaska’s first-ever girls’ wrestling meet during the Southeast Region championship Saturday. Unlike past tournaments, where girls competed with boys, the region finals alternated girls’ and boys’ spotlight matches.