Leila Kheiry, KRBD - Ketchikan
OceansAlaska, a Ketchikan-based shellfish seed producer, is in a financial mess. Officials with the nonprofit admitted as much during Monday’s Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly meeting. They asked the Assembly for more time to reconcile their accounts related to a borough grant, along with enough borough funding to keep the doors open through the end of July.
Gov. Sean Parnell was in Ketchikan on Monday to sign into law Senate Bill 99, which allows the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority to issue bonds for two Southeast Alaska mining projects, plus a loan for Sitka’s Blue Lake Hydroelectric Project.
The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly voted to cut its share of funding for the city-owned Ketchikan Public Library. In 2010 city voters approved spending up to $5.2 million for the facility. Because Borough residents were not allowed to vote on the issue, who should pay for services has been sometimes controversial.
Judge William Carey heard oral arguments in Ketchikan Superior Court on Monday morning in the Ketchikan Gateway Borough’s lawsuit against the state over education funding.
The Legislature approved new regulations last year for cruise ships to release wastewater into Alaska’s oceans. Since then, the state has developed a permit process based on those regulations. Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation’s Division of Water Director Michelle Hale stopped in Ketchikan this week to talk about the changes.
Citing mechanical issues that affect the Carnival Miracle’s maximum cruising speed, Carnival Cruise Lines has canceled 15 of that ship’s port calls in Ketchikan this summer.
The Ketchikan School Board adopted new administrative regulations last week governing student nutrition and physical activity, in order to meet new federal standards. The standards essentially require that only healthy food be served in schools. There are some exceptions built into the rules and the Ketchikan school board added a few more, including the “cupcake clause.”
Hydaburg and Annette Island school districts were among three Alaska Native groups that received advanced telecommunications technology grants through the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Rural Development office.
The search for John Anderson, who went missing sometime late Tuesday night and is believed to have fallen off his houseboat, was suspended Wednesday evening, pending further information.
A fisherman pleaded not guilty Monday in Ketchikan Superior Court to manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. The two charges against 32-year-old Joshua Wodyga stem from a crew member’s death last fall while diving for sea cucumbers near Ketchikan.
Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly members had a spirited discussion Tuesday night over a letter that had been submitted by two Assembly members as a suggested response to Gov. Sean Parnell’s comments in the community last week.
Governor Sean Parnell’s candid comments regarding Ketchikan’s lawsuit against the state over school funding drew some response. Sen. Bert Stedman, a Republican from Sitka, listened to the interview and said he believes it’s the right of every citizen to petition the government.
Stedman added he didn’t believe there will be any backlash against Ketchikan in the Legislature.
Ketchikan City Manager Karl Amylon wants to sell the Whitman Lake hydroelectric dam project to the Southeast Alaska Power Agency.
On Monday, the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly affirmed that it is moving forward with a lawsuit against the State of Alaska. By voting to hire an Anchorage law firm and appropriate $150,000 toward the effort, the Assembly showed it’s serious about its effort to overturn what some local officials say is an unfair mandate requiring municipalities to fund a minimum level for local schools. The fairness issue aside, though, what will be the Legislature’s response if Ketchikan wins its argument?
On Thursday, a Ketchikan judge sentenced 30-year-old William Buxton to serve 60 years in jail for the murder of his aunt, Leona Meely, during an argument a little more than a year ago at the family’s home in Metlakatla.
Out of every 100 adult women you see walking around in Ketchikan, 33 have been raped, and 43 have been slapped, hit or worse by an intimate partner. When you combine those numbers, that means 50 of those 100 people we see every day has experienced one or both of those types of violence.
According to the City of Ketchikan, preliminary counts show 960,262 passengers visited the community via cruise ship in 2013. That’s an increase of 8.4 percent over last year, and handily beat the 2008 record.