Southeast News

PHS science team prepares for statewide competition

Members of Petersburg's Ocean Science Bowl team at practice. From left: Helen Martin, Chauncy Sandhoffer, Tucker Hagerman, Charlie Christensen, Julia Murph, Anders Christensen. Photo/Angela DenningThe high school students are working on two 15-page research papers for a statewide competition. The Alaska Tsunami Bowl, an academic competition, will take place in Seward at the end of February.

Ketchikan Chamber hires new director

ChamberlogoJulie Isom has been named the new executive director of the Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce. Isom accepted the position on Tuesday and will replace outgoing director Chelsea Goucher.

Petersburg officials discuss retaining Coast Guard cutter

The Petersburg-based Coast Guard cutter Anacapa (photo courtesy USCG)Petersburg officials are hoping to discuss ways to keep a Coast Guard cutter stationed in this Southeast community. Petersburg’s borough assembly wants to talk about changes to the waterfront to accommodate newer, larger patrol vessels, and it’s part of a discussion going on up and down Alaska’s coastline.

Tulsequah cleanup won’t restart water treatment

Acid drainage from the Tulsequah Chief Mine discolors a leaking containment pond next to the Tulsequah River in British Columbia in 2013. (Photo courtesy Chris Miller/Trout Unlimited)Canadian regulators say the Tulsequah Chief Project, near Juneau, has agreed to reduce pollution leaking into a nearby river. But the mine won’t have to restart a shuttered water-treatment plant.

Petersburg awaits court’s decision on municipal boundaries

PSGBORsmallThe Alaska Supreme Court may have a decision in the next month or two on the boundaries of the Petersburg borough. The size of the new municipality has been up in the air since it was approved by area residents in December of 2012. That’s because the city and borough Juneau sought to annex some of the same land on the northern end of the proposed Petersburg borough. A superior court ruled in Petersburg’s favor last year and Juneau appealed that ruling to the state’s highest court.

Assembly indefinitely postpones pot excise tax

MarijuanaThe Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly Monday night Monday decided to postpone indefinitely a citizen request to establish at $10 per ounce excise tax on marijuana. The Assembly also heard an annual report from AIDEA.

‘Tis the season for increased phone and internet scams

Photo courtesy of bbb.orgA series of phone, email and internet scams continue to hit residents in Southeast Alaska and beyond. People are particularly vulnerable during the holiday season. Here's information on some of the scams to watch out for.

Petersburg wakes up to mysterious loud booming noise

This map shows the five reports of people seeing a meteor early Saturday morning. Photo/amsmeteors.orgSome think it was thunder and lightning while others say they saw a meteor.

How do you run the ferry system with less money?

The fast ferry Chenega is up on blocks for repairs and maintenance at the Ketchikan Shipyard Feb. 21, 2014. The Alaska Marine Highway, roads, airports and other transportation projects could get a funding boost under Legislation moving in the state House. (Ed Schoenfeld/CoastAlaska News)The Alaska Marine Highway System wants more input into in its long-term planning. It's announced what it’s calling community engagement meetings in six port cities over the next month.

Forest plan: transition to young growth logging to take 16 years

Logs are loaded onto a truck on Kupreanof Island in 2013.The U.S. Forest Service has released a new plan for managing timber lands on the Tongass National Forest in Southeast Alaska. It puts a timeline on the transition from young- to old-growth logging and it attempts to make it easier to develop hydro projects on forest land.

USFS updates Wrangell Island Timber Sale proposal

timber mapThe U.S. Forest Service recently announced it is changing its proposal for a timber sale on Wrangell Island. The Forest Service is proposing a harvest of about 5,300 acres for 73 million board feet of mostly old growth timber.

Mitkof timber sale decision pulled

A tug pulls a log raft down the Wrangell Narrows near Mitkof Island in 2013. (KFSK file photo)The U.S. Forest Service has withdrawn its decision on a proposed timber harvest on Mitkof Island near Petersburg. The proposed logging sparked a lawsuit by a coalition of environmental groups and concerns from the timber industry. The agency plans to take another look at the economics and impacts of logging on Mitkof.

Southeast Alaska humpbacks tagged for annual migration

I humpback whale dives in Frederick Sound near Petersburg. (Photo courtesy of Craig Hayslip, Faculty Research Assistant, OSU Marine Mammal Institute)Researchers from Oregon State University’s Marine Mammal Institute returned to the waters of Frederick Sound and Stephens Passage in Southeast Alaska this month. It’s the second year of a two-year tagging program aimed at finding out more about the timing and nature of the annual migration of humpback whales from Southeast Alaska to the warm waters off Hawaii and Mexico.

Petersburg acting group brings holiday musical to life

Lively elves giggle and sneak around the shoemaker's shop at night making shoes. Photo/Angela DenningMitkof Mummers will be performing "Elves and the Shoemaker" this weekend at the Wright Auditorium in Petersburg.

Wrangell boater found dead

Kenneth Trammel left on the Thalassa Nov. 5.A missing Wrangell boater was found dead Wednesday afternoon, according to a dispatch from the Alaska State Troopers.

Proposed gun shop stirs up opposition from neighbors

gjoastreetsignPetersburg resident Gregg Townsend wants to run a gun repair shop out of his home but neighbors oppose it.

Sm’algyax language revival focus of new group

Haayk Foundation co-founders, from left, Kandi McGilton, Gavin Hudson and David R. Boxley visit the Museum of the North in Prince Rupert, British Columbia. (Photo courtesy David Boxley)Three young Metlakatla residents have started a new non-profit organization with the goal of strengthening their Tsimshian culture. The first task – and it’s a big one – is helping to create a larger pool of fluent speakers of the Tsimshian language, starting with themselves.

Alaska drafts mine agreement with B.C.

British Columbia Mines Minister Bill Bennett, left, and Alaska Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott talk at a dinner at Juneau's Walter Soboleff Center in August. (Photo courtesy of the governor's office)Alaska officials have drafted an agreement with British Columbia aimed at protecting transboundary waters.

British Columbia goes after leaking mine

Acid drainage from the Tulsequah Chief Mine discolors a leaking containment pond next to the Tulsequah River in British Columbia in 2013. (Photo courtesy Chris Miller/Trout Unlimited)British Columbia is telling owners of a leaky mine in the Taku River watershed that it’s time to stop polluting the river, which flows into Alaska.

‘Companion’ Christmas trees from Tongass

Aaron Steuerwald and Steve Hollis found the best available Shore Pine were on the Shoal Cove road system on Revillagigedo island in Southeast Alaska. (USFS photo)This year’s National Christmas Tree is a 74-foot spruce from Alaska’s Chugach National Forest. In addition to the spruce, seven smaller “companion” trees have been selected from the Ketchikan-Misty Fiords Ranger District of the Tongass National Forest.

Search for lost Deer Mountain hiker suspended

The top of Deer Mountain is hidden in clouds Friday morning. (Photo by Leila Kheiry)The search for Justin Nathan has been suspended after five days with no sign of the 22-year-old, missing on Ketchikan’s Deer Mountain after a hike last Wednesday.

Still no sign on 5th day of search for missing hiker

A view of Deer Mountain. (KRBD file photo by Leila Kheiry)Rescue crews and family members of 22-year-old Justin Nathan continued searching for him on Sunday, the fifth day that he has been missing on Deer Mountain, but found no clues.

No luck in 4th day of search for Ketchikan man

The top of Deer Mountain is hidden in clouds Friday morning. (Photo by Leila Kheiry)A 22-year-old Ketchikan man remains missing on Deer Mountain, and rescue crews pulled back search teams Saturday afternoon after another day of snow and rain.

Environmental groups ask B.C. to improve mining laws

8-5-14-Polley-tailings-pond-break-imageEnvironmental groups from Alaska and British Columbia are asking the BC government to implement independent oversight of mines and encourage the use of safer mine-waste technologies. The comments were submitted as part of B.C.’s review of its mining policies in response to the tailings dam spill at the Mount Polley Mine last summer.

Can the ferry system be more reliable?

Two ferries dock at the Ketchikan Shipyard in 2012 while one is drydocked. Four of the marine highway's ships are slated to be tied up for the 2016 season. (Photo by Ed Schoenfeld/CoastAlaska News)Budget cuts and mechanical breakdowns left many of summer 2015’s passengers stranded, dropping destinations or switching to air travel. Local officials want to make sure it doesn't happen again.

USFS proposes fee increase for cabins on Tongass, Chugach

cabinThe U.S. Forest Service is proposing increases to cabin rental fees on Alaska’s national forests. Cabin prices have been the same since the 1990s, and now some fees could more than double over the next three years.

Wrangell fishermen plead guilty to Lacey Act violations

halibutA Wrangell father and son have pleaded guilty to federal charges related to Lacey Act violations while commercial halibut fishing in Alaska waters.

Landless Natives bill gets hearing in Senate committee

murkowskiA bill that would create corporations for five “landless” Native communities in Southeast Alaska had its first hearing in the U.S. Senate Thursday.

Alaska Native Sisterhood celebrates 100th anniversary

ANS president speaksThe Alaska Native Sisterhood is celebrating its 100th anniversary this week in Wrangell—where it was founded—in conjunction with the Alaska Native Brotherhood and sisterhood Grand Camp annual convention. The Native rights group is honoring its past while contemplating its future.

USFS moving forward with Anan dock despite concerns

anan trailA controversial dock project at a popular bear observatory near Wrangell and Ketchikan is moving forward, despite continued opposition from tour operators and a lack of contractors interested in the work. The money for the dock was originally requested by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, and her spokesman now says the U.S. Forest Service’s dock plan is not consistent with its original intent.