Matt Lichtenstein, KFSK - Petersburg
Matt Lichtenstein is a reporter at KFSK in Petersburg.
A Petersburg fisherman has recovered more than half of the hand-carved cedar paddles that were lost by the One People Canoe Society late last month.
The Southeast Alaska sea otter population well-more than doubled over the past decade. That’s according to an estimate from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which released a draft of its revised stock assessment this week(4/18). As Matt Lichtenstein reports, the numbers have been out for a while but the public now has a formal chance to comment on them.
State agencies no longer need a Department of Environmental Conservation permit to use herbicides and pesticides on state property and rights of way. That’s unless it’s sprayed from an aircraft or directly into water.
Numerous interviews and physical evidence led Alaska State Troopers to arrest the 14-year old Kake boy they believe is responsible for the death of 13-year old Mackenzie Howard. That’s according to the Deputy Commander of the Major Crimes Section for the Alaska Bureau of Investigation.
State rules for logging steep, unstable hillsides will see some language changes under a proposal from the Alaska Department of Natural Resources. The regulatory amendments were prompted by concerns from a group of Petersburg residents who worry that a potential timber sale will trigger landslides above their homes. They say the new wording fails to address the issue of public safety.
Southeast Alaska was jarred by a significant earthquake early Saturday morning just about midnight. The quake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.5 and originated off the coast of Central Southeast Alaska about 95 miles Northwest of Dixon Entrance. There were no reports of any significant damage or injuries.
Alaska’s largest commercial fishing group has a new skipper at the wheel. Julianne Curry started today (Weds 1/2) as Executive Director for the United Fishermen of Alaska. Curry grew up in a fishing family and gained statewide prominence as director of the Petersburg Vessel Owners Association. Curry says she has a deep found respect and passion for the industry and wanted to continue her advocacy on a larger scale.
It looks like Petersburg-area voters have approved the formation of a Borough, but the count is not yet final. The mail-in election wrapped-up on Tuesday.
It’s the last day of voting for Petersburg’s mail-in borough election. Ballots have to be postmarked by Tuesday. If the vote passes, the city government would dissolve and become a borough government with taxation and planning authority over an area that’s about 83 times the size of the current city boundaries. It would include the small city of Kupreanof as well as a number of other neighborhoods, residences and businesses for a total population gain of roughly 10 percent. There are some substantial private land holdings, but most of the additional area is uninhabited National Forest land.
A meeting about the federal government’s fishery observer program drew a large crowd of vessel owners to the Petersburg Firehall last week. Federal officials addressed dozens of questions and concerns from local fishermen, most of whom will be included in the program for the first time starting in January.
The U.S. Forest Service has awarded the contract for a major logging project on Kupreanof Island near Petersburg. The agency made the announcement last week during its latest “collaborative stewardship” workshop. That series of public meetings is aimed at bringing forest stakeholders together to come up with local uses for revenue from the sale. The discussions have been tense at times.
A Petersburg man is in custody and facing multiple felony assault charges after an armed standoff with local police late last week. Police received a call on Thursday evening about a possibly suicidal person with a gun. After contacting 30-year old Jace Cunningham by phone, the Petersburg police eventually set up a road block to try to stop him from returning with his weapon to residential areas of town.
What comes to mind when you think of a school lunch menu? Tater tots? Sloppy Joes? Chocolate Milk? Instead, imagine quinoa or brown rice, locally-grown salad or roasted brussel sprouts and baked fish or homemade pizza with whole grain crust. That’s the direction some U.S. schools are headed as they try to serve healthier meals and teach kids more about nutrition and exercise. Two Alaska districts are getting some national recognition for their efforts on that front.
State and Federal officials say they are making progress on a proposed land exchange between the Alaska Mental Health Trust and the US Forest Service. The plan is aimed at conserving thousands of acres that are important in several Southeast Alaska communities while providing the trust with more remote Tongass National Forest lands it can log. The plan was recently endorsed by a group of Tongass Stakeholders and the Forest service expects to start the environmental review process in the coming year.
U.S. officials have once more ruled against a private company that wants to develop a controversial hydro-electric plant near Petersburg. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last week re-affirmed its decision not to give Cascade Creek LLC another exclusive permit for the site.
Commercial fishing boats, tenders and floating processors that operate more than three miles off shore will soon have to get safety exams every two years. Until now, those dockside exams were voluntary. Under the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010, they will be mandatory after October 16th according to Ken Lawrenson, the Fishing Vessel Safety Coordinator for the Coast Guard in Alaska.
As the 2012 visitor season nears an end, cruise lines large and small have been making their last trips of the year through Southeast Alaska. Lindblad Expedition’s National Geographic Sea Lion recently made one more stop in Petersburg, where KFSK’s Matt Lichtenstein chatted with passengers on the dock about their trips.
Overall catch and effort was down again this summer for Southeast’s Dungeness crab fishery, which closed in mid-August. That’s according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s preliminary totals, which were made available last week.
Despite the failure of Ballot Measure Two, Alaska could still reestablish its Coastal Management Program. Lawmakers on both sides of the vote expect to work on the issue again next legislative session.