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Rachel Waldholz, KCAW - Sitka

Bishop David of Alaska visited Sitka for St. Michael’s Feast Day in November, 2014. (KCAW photo/Rachel Waldholz)

Nine Months In, Orthodox Bishop Takes Stock

When David Mahaffey was installed as the Orthodox Bishop of Alaska in a ceremony in Sitka this past February, he became the 16th leader of America’s oldest Orthodox diocese.

Bishop David has now been on the job for nine months. He returned to Sitka this fall.

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December 8, 2014
Aerial view of the Starrigavan boat launch, looking south. (ADF&G photo)

Sitka herring forecast lowest in a decade

Sitka’s commercial herring fleet should expect to catch significantly fewer fish this spring. That’s the news from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, which released its preliminary harvest level for the 2015 Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery on Friday.

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November 25, 2014

President Obama Highlights Sitka Schools on Technology

The Sitka School District has a big fan: President Barack Obama.

Sitka Schools Superintendent Mary Wegner was in Washington D.C. on Wednesday for a White House summit on technology and education.

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November 20, 2014
Tongass Advisory Committee meets in Sitka

Tongass Advisory Committee meets in Sitka

Representatives from across Southeast and the country will meet are meeting in Sitka this week to hash out timber issues on the Tongass.

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November 19, 2014
Sitka Democrat Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins celebrates with campaign manager Berett Wilber. Kreiss-Tomkins beat back a challenge from Petersburg Republican Steven Samuelson in state House District 35. (KCAW photo/Emily Kwong)

Kreiss-Tomkins Reelected By Wide Margin

The first time Sitka Democrat Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins ran for State House, in 2012 at the tender age of 23, he squeaked through, beating Haines Republican Bill Thomas by just 32 votes. The candidates had to wait weeks for the final results. Not this time. On Tuesday night, Kreiss-Tomkins, now 25, won convincingly.

November 5, 2014
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 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