Joe Viechnicki, KFSK - Petersburg
Joe Viechnicki is a reporter at KFSK in Petersburg.
An adult female humpback whale was found dead near the Southeast community of Kake earlier this month. Kate Savage, a marine mammal specialist with the NOAA Fisheries protected resources division in Juneau, says the dead whale was first reported around Sept. 1 in Keku Strait near Kake. It was later floated to an island outside of Kake and Savage led a team performing a necropsy on the animal on Sept. 11.
A Petersburg Republican plans to run for House District 35 in hopes of unseating a freshman Democratic representative from Sitka. Legislative districts for next year have not cleared a legal challenge but at least two people intend to run for the new district that includes Sitka, Petersburg, Craig and other communities on the northern half of Prince of Wales Island.
Petersburg officials are seeking answers about the future of Coast Guard ships in the community. Borough Mayor Mark Jensen sent a letter to Senator Mark Begich this month voicing concern that the cutter Anacapa could be replaced by larger vessels planned for other Southeast ports.
A huge and record-setting run of pink salmon is hitting Southeast Alaska this summer. The region’s purse seine fleet has been netting around 8 million pinks per opening in late July and early August. The overall catch for all of last season was around 21 million.
Over a thousand hatchery king salmon died at Blind River rapids sometime last week. The Chinook were returning to the Crystal Lake Hatchery on southern Mitkof Island, south of Petersburg. Warm water temperatures appear to be the culprit.
A trailer fire early Saturday morning claimed the life of an elderly Petersburg man. Frank Neidiffer was found dead once volunteer fire fighters were able to get in.
The National Transportation Safety Board has released its preliminary report on last week’s fatal crash of a floatplane near Petersburg. The report summarizes the circumstances in the June 4th accident but does not yet include a probable cause for that fatal crash.
Alaska State Troopers and other rescuers Wednesday recovered the body of a Santa Fe man killed in Tuesday’s float plane crash near Petersburg.
The National Transportation Safety Board needed help from mountain rescue specialists to get to the site of Tuesday’s fatal plane crash near Thunder Mountain east of Petersburg.
One person is dead and six were rescued from a floatplane crash Tuesday on the mainland near Petersburg.
A federal judge has dismissed Alaska’s court challenge of the roadless rule for national forest land. Alaska had the last remaining legal case against the 2001 nationwide rule, which prohibits new road construction, reconstruction or logging on large undeveloped areas of national forest land across the U.S. That includes parts of the Tongass and Chugach national forests in Alaska.
Alaska State Troopers are investigating the death of a 13-year-old girl in the small Southeast community of Kake as a homicide.
Family members have identified the person found dead in the Southeast community of Kake Tuesday night as a 13-year-old girl, Mackenzie H. Howard of Kake. Alaska State Troopers say Howard was found by a member of the community inside the Memorial Presbyterian Church.
Petersburg officials are reviewing the community’s response to a tsunami warning from the January 4th earthquake that rattled Southeast Alaska and sent residents scrambling to higher ground in the middle of the night. The voluntary evacuation went smoothly by many accounts but also highlighted some possible areas of improvement.
It’s official. Petersburg is now a borough. The state’s Division of Elections certified the town’s borough vote Thursday January 3rd and the final results did not changed from the initial counts in December. The final tally is 782 votes in favor and 600 opposed.
Southeast game managers are working on new wolf control programs for Southeast Alaska. The state’s Board of Game will hear about the plan when it meets in January in Sitka. The Department of Fish and Game is looking at reducing wolves near Petersburg and Ketchikan to help boost deer numbers. Predator control efforts are underway in other parts of the state but these new programs would be the first of their kind in decades for Southeast.
Low forecasts for next year’s Stikine and Taku river king salmon returns will mean no opportunity for commercial fishing fleets to target those king runs early next May. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game this month released its forecasts for Chinook expected to return to the two rivers in Southeast Alaska next spring and summer.
While the rest of the Alaska is done with elections for a while, one is heating up in Petersburg. Voters there are deciding this month whether to create a new borough in Southeast. The proposal would dramatically expand municipal boundaries and the tax base for Petersburg and increase the population by about 10 percent.
Juneau Democratic state representative Beth Kerttula is spending time this fall getting to know the residents and issues in several smaller Southeast Alaska communities that will be part of her district in 2013. Because of redistricting, Kerttula’s House District 32 will include Petersburg, Kupreanof, Gustavus, Tenakee and Skagway. She’s running unopposed for the seat and considers it an opportunity to represent an expanded district.