Matt Lichtenstein, KFSK - Petersburg
Matt Lichtenstein is a reporter at KFSK in Petersburg.
The state has finalized its approval of a Petersburg Borough plan. In a teleconferenced meeting Wednesday morning, Alaska’s Local Boundary Commission or LBC passed its written decision on the matter.
Insurance companies will have to help pay for autism treatments in Alaska under legislation that’s now slated to become law. Governor Sean Parnell gave tacit approval to the measure this month by sending it back to the legislature without his signature. The new requirement only covers a portion of the insurance market for now. However, supporters see it as an important step in providing relief for parents who struggle with the high cost of autism therapy and counseling.
Petersburg will ask the Alaska Supreme Court to reconsider its decision on redistricting. The City Council made that decision after consulting with its attorney in a special meeting yesterday afternoon.
The Alaska Redistricting Board will start redrawing Southeast Alaska’s legislative districts on Monday.
The U.S. Coast Guard says Monday’s ferry accident in Petersburg was not caused by a mechanical problem.
Ocean Beauty Seafood’s still plans to run its Petersburg plant this summer despite this week’s ferry accident. According to Vice president of Marketing Tom Sunderland, the company hopes to make repairs in time for the summer or find a way to work around the damage.
Searchers found a missing teenage girl on Prince of Wales Island Tuesday. 13-year-old Makayla McRoberts was apparently uninjured. Alaska State Troopers spokesperson Megan Peters got word shortly after noon.
The State Ferry Matanuska collided with a seafood processing dock in Petersburg early Monday afternoon. There were no reported injuries, but there was substantial damage to the Ocean Beauty Seafood facility. There were also some dents in the bow of the ferry above the waterline, though she tied up safely at the terminal shortly after the incident.
Federal observers are preparing to work the gillnet grounds around Petersburg and Wrangell this summer. Starting in June, National Marine Fisheries Service contractors in small boats will shadow individual gillnetters and monitor any interactions marine mammals or birds. They’ll also be interviewing fishermen about their gear and fishing practices. Federal officials say the information will be kept confidential and the contractors will be as unobtrusive as possible. But fishermen still have concerns as the season approaches.
There will soon be fewer seiners allowed to fish Salmon in Southeast Alaska. A majority of the fleet has voted to pay for an industry-funded buyback program. Supporters say it will mean less competition on the fishing grounds while opponents say it isn’t worth the cost to remaining permit holders.
The Forest Service has tentatively approved a major timber harvest plan for Kupreanof Island near Petersburg. The Tonka project would allow a substantial amount of logging in an area of the Tongass forest that’s seen a lot of it in the past. The agency emphasizes economic benefits from the sale but opponents say the cost is too high.
Alaska Native Brotherhood and Sisterhood leaders made a unique boat trip through the waters of the inside passage this month. Their voyage harkened back to the days when local camp officials from towns and villages around the region would travel on fishing boats to attend Grand Camp conventions. The brotherhood was founded a century ago, followed a year later by the sisterhood. So this journey had special meaning for the cultural and civil rights organizations. KFSK’s Matt Lichtenstein caught up with them when they stopped in Petersburg.
Forty-million dollars of state money is included in the Capital budget to buy a gravel road linking Petersburg to Kake. State Senator Bert Stedman, added the line item in the budget. The project has drawn a mix of support and opposition from area residents. It could become a reality if Governor Parnell approves the funding.
The Ghost Ship was not easy to sink. That was the experience for the crew of the Coast Guard cutter Anacapa. They’d practiced with their deck gun but never used it to actually scuttle a ship. The Petersburg-based cutter gained worldwide notoriety last week when she was ordered to sink the derelict, Japanese fishing boat off the coast of Southeast Alaska. Back in Petersburg, several of the Anacapa’s crew gave a first-hand account to Matt Lichtenstein, who filed this report.
The U.S. Coast Guard has a cutter at the scene and intends to sink the Japanese ghost ship floating off the Southeast Alaska coast this morning. The shrimper Ryou-Un Maru was cut loose a year ago in the tsunami and drifted un-manned across the Pacific . The cutter Anacapa arrived on scene last night, equipped with weapory. Read More
Federal officials say they are trying to clarify rules for Alaskan Natives’ use of sea otters. A draft set of guidelines from the US Fish and Wildlife Service is aimed at addressing some of the confusion over what’s allowed. But it’s been a frustrating situation… Read More
Southeast Alaska’s newest ferry service just bought its first vessel. Officials with the Coffman Cove-based Rainforest Islands Ferry say they closed the deal for the used oil-rig supply vessel Tuesday morning. After a refit, the boat is slated to ferry passengers and vehicles between Ketchikan, Prince of Wales, Wrangell, and Mitkof Island, south of Petersburg.
Alaska’s redistricting board will be hearing from Petersburg again as it puts together a new plan for the state’s legislative boundaries. The Petersburg City Council voted this week to re-submit a proposal that it remain in a district with Sitka instead of being bundled with the much larger city of Juneau.
The State of Alaska plans to start monitoring recreational beaches for Paralytic Shellfish Toxins in a few communities this year. It will be the first time the Department of Environmental conservation tests non-commercially harvested clams and other shellfish for the dangerous substance.
Petersburg leaders are encouraged by the Alaska Supreme Court order on the state’s new legislative districts. The Southeast City was the only other town that had challenged the Redistricting Board’s plan. In that case, the Superior court ruled in favor of the Board last December and the city chose not to appeal.