Ed Ronco, KCAW - Sitka
Ed Ronco is a reporter at KCAW in Sitka.
In Southeast Alaska, the last cruise ship visit is as much a signal of the season’s changing as the weather. And in Sitka, the residents have created something of a ritual to mark the season’s end.
Alaskans decided on mayors, assembly members and school board candidates in local elections across the state yesterday.
State officials are learning as much as they can about an invasive species of sea squirt living in Sitka’s Whiting Harbor. It was discovered in 2010 by citizen volunteers. The hope is to eventually wipe it out.
Baranof Elementary School in Sitka has more kindergarteners than it planned for this year. As a result, district officials hired an extra teacher, just five days before the start of school. They say the scramble was worth it, as the first days of school are among the most important in a student’s education.
Sitka’s Blue Lake dam expansion will move forward. The Assembly on Tuesday unanimously awarded a $92.9 million contract to Montana-based Barnard Construction. With extra money built in for contingencies, the total cost comes out to $96.7 million.
Officials in Sitka are looking to offload two pieces of vacant city property. And they’re hoping the land can be used to develop affordable housing. The city will seek proposals for land along Halibut Point Road that it calls “The Old City Shops” property. Voters in 2006 approved the land for affordable housing, but there’s been little movement on the plans so far.
The head of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was in Sitka over the weekend to hear concerns about sea otters.
A Democratic hopeful for Congress made his way through Southeast this week, including a stop in Sitka. Matt Moore is a 52-year-old former North Slope worker who now manages medical practices.
The fishing vessel Evening Star will stay at the bottom of Slocum Arm. That’s the word from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation about the vessel that sank in the western Chichagof Island waters earlier this month.
A fishing boat that sank earlier this month north of Sitka appears to be tangled in its own seine net. The Evening Star, a 50-foot seiner, is now in nearly 400 feet of water.
A response team is in Slocum Arm, north of Sitka, tending to oil leaking from a seine boat. The 50-foot Evening Star sank while fishing on August 2nd. The vessel is about 40 miles northwest of Sitka, along the southwestern part of Chichagof Island. The vessel reportedly had 1,000 gallons of diesel aboard.
State fishery managers on Tuesday spotted a mile-long oil sheen coming from a seine boat that sank north of Sitka. The 50-foot Evening Star sank while fishing on Aug. 2. The vessel is in Solcum Arm, about 40 miles northwest of Sitka, along the western coast of Chichagof Island. The vessel reportedly had 1,000 gallons of diesel aboard.
Teachers are doing a good job, students are eager to succeed and parents are invested in what’s going on. But the Sitka School District needs to make sure all three of those groups are on the same page when it comes to math education. That’s the finding of an audit on the way Sitka teaches math. The $18,000 project was commissioned by the Sitka School District last year. Results were presented to the school board Monday.
A Sitka-based seafood processor is taking heat from locals after purchasing trawl-caught fish. Silver Bay Seafoods bought rockfish from two trawlers delivering to the company’s plant in Sitka. Southeast waters are closed to trawling, and while nobody is disputing the legality of the catch, representatives of various fishing interests say the purchase undermines the ban.
The bids for Sitka’s Blue Lake hydropower expansion were opened this week, and they’re all tens of millions of dollars higher than engineers’ estimates. The discrepancy most likely means the city will need to find additional money for one of the most expensive projects in city history.
The Coast Guard planned to inspect the waters off western Chichagof Island on Friday morning, after the Thursday sinking of a 50-foot seine boat. A sizable oil sheen after the incident forced an emergency closure of the area’s purse seine fishery.
At the high school level, putting on a musical can take anywhere from 8 to 10 weeks. At the Sitka Fine Arts Camp, it takes two. A group of high school-age students completed the ambitious rehearsal schedule at the camp’s first-ever two-week musical theater session last week. KCAW’s Ed Ronco visited rehearsals for “Bye Bye Birdie.”
In Sitka, declining cruise traffic has city leaders considering the possibility of building a downtown dock. Right now, visitors arriving aboard large vessels are ferried to shore on smaller boats.
A series of camps are taking place this summer at the Sitka Sound Science Center. They cover water, marine life, the forest and even flight – all parts of daily life in Southeast Alaska.
On a winter night in 1994, a newborn baby was found lying in a sink at Sitka’s Thomsen Harbor. Eighteen years later, that girl is now a young woman named Karissa Amrhein. She graduated from high school this spring and last week, she returned to Sitka.