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Rachel Waldholz, KCAW - Sitka

Nelson Kanuk, seated, and Katherine Dolma, standing, were two of the six young plaintiffs who sued the State of Alaska, demanding it take action on climate change. The pair are pictured here in Barrow, following a Supreme Court LIVE hearing at Barrow High School.  (Photo by Jeff Seifert/ KBRW)

Youth Climate Lawsuit Dismissed

The Alaska Supreme Court last week dismissed a case brought by six young Alaskans, demanding the state take action on climate change. The suit was one of several filed nationwide, and the first to take its argument to a state supreme court. In dismissing the case, the Court said that climate policy isn’t an issue the judiciary can decide – it must go through the political process.

But, for the young plaintiffs and the nonprofit supporting them, the ruling included some silver linings.

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September 17, 2014

Four-Day Southeast Troll Closure Starts This Weekend

Southeast Alaska’s commercial troll fishing fleet will have to stand down for a few days, starting this weekend.

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August 6, 2014
GCI Completes Purchase of 3 Southeast TV Stations

GCI Completes Purchase of 3 Southeast TV Stations

GCI has completed its purchase of three television stations in Sitka, Juneau and Ketchikan. The deal means the telecom giant now owns almost every commercial TV station in Southeast Alaska.

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July 31, 2014

Southeast Summer King Fishing Opens With Record Hopes

While much of the state is experiencing low king salmon runs, it’s an entirely different story in Southeast, where fishermen are looking at a record high target harvest.

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July 1, 2014
Lawrence SpottedBird will take over as general manager of STA on Monday, April 14. (Photo by the Sitka Tribe of Alaska)

Sitka Tribe Names New General Manager

The Sitka Tribe of Alaska has hired a new general manager. Lawrence SpottedBird, currently of Washington State, will start work on Monday.

April 14, 2014

Sitka Assembly Passes Anti-Smoking Law

The Sitka Assembly passed a controversial amendment Tuesday night, tightening the city’s anti-smoking laws. The question before the assembly was whether children should be prohibited from entering any business that allows smoking — even for a non-smoking event. The decision came down to different interpretations of what voters intended nearly a decade ago.

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April 10, 2014
Seiners in Starrigavan Bay during the first opening of Sitka’s 2014 sac roe herring fishery. (Photo by Rachel Waldholz/KCAW)

Seiners Land 4K Tons In Herring Season Opener

The Sitka herring fishery had its first opening yesterday afternoon. The Alaska Department of Fish & Game declared the Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery open at 1:45 p.m. The fishing area covered much of Starrigavan and Katlian bays, north of Sitka.

March 21, 2014
(KCAW graphic/Robert Woolsey)

ADF&G Opens Herring Fishing In Starrigavan, Katlian Bays

The Department of Fish & Game has announced that the first opening of the Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery will be at approximately 1:45 PM today (Thu 3-20-14) in the area of Starrigavan and Katlian bays.

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March 20, 2014
Sitka Herring Fishery Could Open As Soon As Thursday

Sitka Herring Fishery Could Open As Soon As Thursday

The multi-million dollar Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery could open as early as the end of this week. The Alaska Department of Fish & Game announced Monday evening (3-17-14) that as of 8 a.m. Thursday (3-20-14), the fishery will be placed on two-hour notice. That means seiners could have their nets in the water as soon as Thursday morning, if the department’s test samples find a high enough percentage of mature roe, or eggs, in the fish by then.

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March 19, 2014

Low Income Sitkans Fall Through Medicaid ‘Donut Hole’

The Affordable Care Act is a big law with plenty of ripple effects, but at its heart is a pretty simple premise: Americans who lack health insurance should be able to go online and pick a plan, and if their income falls beneath a certain threshold, then the federal government will cover part of the cost. That is, unless you live in Alaska, or one of the other states that has opted out of the federal Medicaid expansion. Then, you can actually make too little money to qualify for help. This is what some are calling the “Medicaid donut hole.” And falling into the donut hole can be a frustrating experience.

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March 12, 2014

For Self-Employed Sitkans, Health Act Makes A Difference

New figures from the Obama administration show more than 6500 Alaskans have enrolled in insurance plans on healthcare.gov. The deadline to sign up is March 31st. And that has prompted many Alaskans to bite the bullet and figure out what the Affordable Care Act means for them. For some commercial fishermen and others who are self-employed, what they’ve found has been a pleasant surprise.

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March 11, 2014
Cost Overruns Add Up To A Bigger Bill For Blue Lake Dam

Cost Overruns Add Up To A Bigger Bill For Blue Lake Dam

Sitka’s Blue Lake dam expansion project will cost about $3.6-million more than expected. The total project — not including new backup diesel generators — was originally estimated to cost about $142-million. It is now up to about $145-million, Utility Director Chris Brewton told the Sitka assembly Tuesday night (2-25-14).

February 27, 2014
ANB Harbor Replacement Moves Forward

ANB Harbor Replacement Moves Forward

In November, work began on Sitka’s ANB harbor. The $7.7 million project will demolish all of the existing structures and replace them with new floats and pilings by early spring. But a small invader in the harbor has added a wrinkle to the usual process.

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December 26, 2013
GCI Buys 3 Southeast TV Stations, With Big Ambitions

GCI Buys 3 Southeast TV Stations, With Big Ambitions

Earlier this year, the telecom giant GCI moved into a new line of business, buying three television stations in Sitka, Juneau and Anchorage. It turns out those purchases were just the beginning. This month, GCI announced plans to buy three more TV stations in Southeast Alaska. If approved, the deal could mark a new era in Alaska media.

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December 20, 2013
Photo by Rachel Waldholz, KCAW  Sitka.

AK: Fortress of the Bear

In 2003, a Sitka couple proposed creating a bear rescue center from the remains of the town’s decommissioned pulp mill – a plan that raised some local hackles. Ten years later, the Fortress of the Bear is home to five brown bears and two new black bear cubs – and it has converted some skeptics, including a local biologist.

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December 6, 2013
New Map Shows Likely Tsunami Flood Zones

New Map Shows Likely Tsunami Flood Zones

In the back of most Sitkans’ mind is this question: When the big wave comes, will my house be under water? Researchers at the Alaska Earthquake Information Center have an answer, of sorts. This month, they released a new map outlining which parts of Sitka would be affected by a major tsunami.

November 22, 2013
Sitka Named Alaska’s First ‘Walk-Friendly’ Community

Sitka Named Alaska’s First ‘Walk-Friendly’ Community

Sitka has been named one of the most pedestrian-friendly cities in America. The city gets about 86 inches of rain each year and nearly half of the city’s incorporated area sits under water – a pair of statistics that, to an outsider, might not suggest a community built for travel by foot. But this year, Sitka became the first city in Alaska to be named a “walk friendly” community.

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November 7, 2013
Les Kinnear, who runs Fortress of the Bear, feeds the 9-month-old black bear cub by hand. Photo by Rachel Waldholz, KCAW - Sitka.

Sitka’s New Bear Cub Settles In

The orphaned black bear cub who recently became famous in the virtual world is settling into her new home in the real world. Over 300,000 people viewed Smokey’s story on Facebook when she was captured two weeks ago in Seward. Now, Sitka’s bear habitat, the Fortress of the Bear, is writing her next chapter.

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October 30, 2013
Sitka Prepares To Replace ANB Harbor

Sitka Prepares To Replace ANB Harbor

ANB harbor is usually packed with commercial fishing vessels, but this week, it’s empty. Its regular occupants have moved to other harbors around Sitka, as the city prepares to demolish all of the existing structures and replace the harbor entirely. Construction is scheduled to start in early November.

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October 23, 2013
USCG Cutter Maple Commander Removed For ‘Poor Command Climate’

USCG Cutter Maple Commander Removed For ‘Poor Command Climate’

The commander of the Sitka-based Coast Guard cutter Maple has been temporarily removed from command after officials received reports of problems on board.

October 14, 2013