Author: Erin McKinstry, KCAW

For the youngest member of Sitka’s planning commission, affordable housing is a top priority

Katie Riley, 28, grew up in Sitka. After leaving for college and working abroad, she returned to her hometown and decided to get involved. She’s the youngest member of the Sitka Planning Commission and has a passion for addressing Sitka’s affordable housing crisis. KCAW’s Erin McKinstry spoke with Riley about the problem and possible solutions as part of a special “Building Solutions” series.

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For one Sitkan, a dream of debt-free home ownership came in the form of a trailer

When people think of trailer homes, many envision shoddy construction and unhealthy living conditions, but in places like Sitka where construction costs are high and land availability is low, they’re an important affordable housing alternative. For one Sitkan, renovating a trailer provided a path to debt-free home ownership, and this resident is not the only one looking beyond the stigma of trailer living.

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Special rate could help some rural Southeast communities afford heat pumps

Many Southeast Alaska homeowners are converting to electric heat pumps as a way to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and improve air quality. But in some of Southeast’s smallest communities, the high cost of electricity makes operating them unaffordable. A recent study found that offering a special rate for heat pumps in the Kupreanof Island village of Kake and other remote communities could help the electric utility, the environment and the consumer.

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Enrollment open for Wooch.een Preschool

School is just letting out for the summer, so it may seem early to think about fall preschool. But enrollment is already open for children ages 3 to 5 for Sitka's Wooch.een Preschool. Kari Sagel and Kelly Peranto joined KCAW's Peter Apathy to talk about the benefits of preschool and how to register.

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Sitka Trail Works offers full schedule of summer hikes

As summer approaches, Sitka is coming alive. The Tongass is abuzz with birds and insects. Flowers are blooming, and the forest floor is blanketed with green. Sitka Trail Works is gearing up for a full summer season of hiking trips. Lee House and Lynne Brandon joined KCAW's Erin Fulton to talk about summer hike offerings, Sitka Trail Works' projects including the Cross Trail expansion, and a look toward the future.

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A year after Sitka made space for tiny homes, no one is building them

Tiny homes have gained traction in recent years as an affordable housing alternative, but building them legally poses challenges in many communities. Sitka was one of the first cities in the country to introduce a set of tiny home friendly code changes last year. But, a year after passing the groundbreaking ordinance, no one is building them.

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Tongass Tiny Home finds a home in Juneau

The Tongass Tiny Home project, a six-year collaboration between the Sitka Conservation Society and Sitka High School, has finally come to an end. The student-built tiny house was sold to a buyer in Juneau this spring. As part of KCAW’s Building Solutions series about affordable housing, Sitka Conservation Society’s Chandler O’Connell spoke with KCAW’s Erin McKinstry about lessons learned and the possibilities tiny homes hold for Sitka.

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Man arrested following car crash

One man was arrested following a car accident early Tuesday morning on Halibut Point Road. Sitka Police Department spokesperson Serena Wild said a man allegedly hit an unoccupied Dodge Dakota and then reported the accident to the police just after 4 in the morning.

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