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Robert Woolsey, KCAW - Sitka

Robert Woolsey is a reporter at KCAW in Sitka.

AK: Looking Inside

AK: Looking Inside

On AK we often travel to wild and strange places and meet the people who live there. Today’s journey is no different, except the place is inside each of us. Earlier this year Sitka had a tarot card reader in residence. The Tarot, it turns out, is mystical — but not magic. Like professional therapy, it’s really about looking into a mirror, as tarot skeptic Robert Woolsey discovers.

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October 17, 2014
Landslide Destroys Restoration Projects Near Sitka

Landslide Destroys Restoration Projects Near Sitka

High rainfall this month is being blamed for a major landslide near Sitka. The U.S. Forest Service reports that a 100-acre slide came down in the Starrigavan Valley, about ten miles from town. Although there was no structural damage in the event, hundreds of thousands of dollars of watershed restoration projects in the valley have been wiped out.

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September 25, 2014
Magnuson-Stevens created 8 separate regional councils to manage fisheries in federal waters. According ALFA’s Linda Behnken, not all regions have placed as much emphasis on resource protection as the North Pacific. (NOAA Fisheries image)

Groups Hope MSA Update Won’t Move Fish Conservation ‘Backwards’

A number of regional fishing associations are joining forces to strengthen the Magnuson-Stevens Act.The Sitka-based Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association announced last week (9-9-14) that it’s reached an agreement with the Alaska Marine Conservation Council and several east-coast industry groups to form the Fishing Community Coalition. The new organization wants to ensure that Congress makes protecting fish stocks a priority as it prepares to reauthorize the nation’s most important law governing the harvest of seafood in federal waters.

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September 18, 2014
Not My Town! ‘Grizzly Trade’ Ambles Through Places, Personalities of Southeast

Not My Town! ‘Grizzly Trade’ Ambles Through Places, Personalities of Southeast

It’s got a Vietnam vet with a big heart and anger management problems, a small-town newspaper reporter, and a hippie radio station. Throw in some meth-fuelled wildlife crime and a few cruise ships and you have the makings of an adventure mystery set in Southeast Alaska. Dale Brandenburger is a former biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish & Game who’s combined decades of journaling and a knack for storytelling into a new novel called Grizzly Trade.

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September 3, 2014
Heat Pumps Tap Ocean’s Thermal Energy

Heat Pumps Tap Ocean’s Thermal Energy

Using seawater to heat large buildings in Alaska is no longer a pipe dream.

Andy Baker, an engineer with YourCleanEnergy LLC, helped design an ocean-sourced heat pump system for the Alaska Sealife Center in Seward which will pay back the community’s investment in less than nine years — just in fuel savings.

September 1, 2014
Poor weather extended a planned three-day king opener into five days. (KCAW photo/Rachel Waldholz)

King Salmon Trolling Ends On Slow Note

After an unprecedented two extensions, the summer king salmon season for trollers in Southeast is over.

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August 19, 2014
Court Orders Review of A Controversial Fisheries Observer Program

Court Orders Review of A Controversial Fisheries Observer Program

A U.S. District Court judge has ruled that a newly-implemented fisheries observer program in the Gulf of Alaska may have become unreliable, and is sending federal managers back to the drawing board to fix it.

August 12, 2014

Dee Daniels Vocal Jazz Workshop Gets Underway

The Dee Daniels Vocal Jazz Workshop is underway this week in Sitka. For the last two years, Daniels has interrupted her touring and teaching schedule to live at the Sitka Fine Arts Camp, and coach a half-dozen students of widely-ranging ages and ability.

July 23, 2014
Former Sitka Principal Found Not Guilty On All Counts

Former Sitka Principal Found Not Guilty On All Counts

Joe Robidou has been found not guilty on all counts. A Sitka jury of seven women and five men delivered its verdict in favor of the former school administrator at about 6 p.m. Monday evening.

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May 20, 2014

Online Realtor Says Sitka Tops State In Livability

Sitka has won a spot on top of yet another list. The online realtor Movoto says Sitka is the most liveable community in Alaska. Just ahead of Anchorage and Juneau.

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May 6, 2014

How Can We Improve Our Food Security?

The reliability of the food supply is not something most communities devote much thought to. Agriculture, transportation, and grocery stores all work pretty well – even in relatively isolated parts of Alaska like Sitka. And depending on where you live, there can be abundant wild foods. But a recent report called “The Sitka Community Food Assessment” reveals that our food system is vulnerable – especially to the unpredictable costs of fuel. Lisa Sadleir-Hart coordinated the assessment about what Sitka – and communities like it – can do to become more food-secure.

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April 29, 2014
SMR captain Don Kluting describes sea conditions at Low Island Monday morning as “a bit sporty.” Crew members left the Mirage on foot, once the tide ebbed. (SMR photo/Don Kluting)

Two Rescued As Troller Goes Aground In Heavy Surf

Two crewmen were rescued safely after their troller ran aground in heavy seas in Sitka Sound early Monday morning. The 52-foot steel-hulled troller Mirage radioed a distress call at about 3:30 AM. The boat had gone aground on the southern shore of Low Island, in surf and strong winds.

April 22, 2014
Gasline Official Says In-State Project Is No Pipedream

Gasline Official Says In-State Project Is No Pipedream

With an oversupply of natural gas in the country, Alaska is exploring the construction of a relatively small, low-pressure gasline within the state’s borders – while still holding out hope for a much larger project should prices improve.

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April 21, 2014
Metlakatla Science teacher Jason Pipkin watches as the printer creates metric screws for a quadcopter his students are building. (KCAW photo/Robert Woolsey)

Where No Shop Class Has Gone Before

This is not your grandfather’s shop class. Late last month a group of high school and college shop teachers and a few of their students gathered for a three-day workshop in Sitka’s state-of-the-art Design and Fabrication Lab. The use of 3D printers and other computer-controlled equipment has revolutionized shop, and turned one of the most remote classrooms in the building into the coolest place in school.

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April 9, 2014

Herring Seiners Hit Target – And Then Some – In Quick Saturday Opener

The 2014 Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery is over. The 48 permit holders caught the last remaining fish in this year’s harvest limit – and then some – in a wild 45-minute opener Saturday afternoon right in front of downtown Sitka.

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March 31, 2014
Sitka senior Thor Becker tests out a special drill bit to raise the gym's basketball hoops. Photo by Robert Woolsey, KCAW - Sitka.

AK: Machine Shop

Manufacturing – like everything else – is becoming more computerized, but instead of replacing craftsmanship, digital technology is opening up possibilities for students to create things in ways that simply weren’t practical five or ten years ago. Three kids at Sitka High School are building a tool – really just a customized piece of metal – to do an unsung, but important, job in the community. And their collaboration points toward a future where we’ll make stuff differently.

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March 14, 2014
Where glacial ice has most recently retreated, Glacier Bay’s bears rely on the intertidal area for food. Photo by Tania Lewis.

Glacier Bay’s Bears A Remnant Of The Ice Age

Brown bears are one of the most intensively-studied species in Southeast Alaska. Much of the focus is on population management for hunting. But one scientist studies bears for their sake and not ours. Tania Lewis is the terrestrial wildlife biologist at Glacier Bay National Park. She’s made some breakthroughs in both behavior and genetics, and she can’t help but sing about it.

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February 26, 2014
Sitka Teacher Wins White House Award

Sitka Teacher Wins White House Award

A Sitka educator has won a Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science. Rebecca Himschoot teaches science at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary. She’s one of two Alaskan teachers honored by the White House this year, and one of only 102 teachers nationwide who receive the recognition, which includes a $10,000 cash prize from the National Science Foundation. Amy Laufer, a math teacher at Kasuun Elementary in Anchorage, also won the award.

January 6, 2014

Sitka Moorage Fee Hike Takes Effect Jan. 1

Moorage rates in Sitka’s harbors are going up next week. The Sitka assembly last night approved the rate hike on second reading, bumping the per-foot monthly charge for permanent berths from $2.64 to $2.80, an increase of a little over 6 percent effective New Year’s Day.

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December 26, 2013
Mitch McGraw’s 31-foot Almar sustained an estimated $30,000 damage in the crash, according to state Troopers. Photo by Don Kluting, SMR.

Two Sitka Hunters Injured As Boat Strikes Cliff

Two Sitka hunters sustained serious injuries Tuesday evening, after their boat struck a cliff in Kakul Narrows, about 25 miles north of town. Both men have been hospitalized, one in Seattle.

December 19, 2013