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Southeast Alaska News
Dean Adams joined the crew of a wooden halibut schooner in Alaska. Adams wrote about his experiences in “Four Thousand Hooks” and spoke on Morning Edition. Adams052413
One of Ketchikan’s many nicknames is “Salmon Capital of the World,” so when the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Transit Department decided a few years ago to paint some of its buses, a salmon theme seemed appropriate.
Ketchikan artist Ray Troll hooked the contract for the first bus, which has been in use since 2009. On Monday, the borough unveiled the second of its three planned painted buses.
Ketchikan’s newest addition to the Salmon Run fleet of buses started its newly decorated life with drumming, dancing, singing and praying during the dedication ceremony on a blessedly warm, sunny day outside the borough’s offices.
Washington-based Northwest Coast artist Marvin Oliver snagged the contract for this second painted bus, and he used traditional form-line design techniques for his interpretation of the salmon run. Oliver had help from Memo Jauergui, who also assisted Ray Troll on the first bus-painting odyssey.
Jauergui was among a group of people waiting outside borough offices for the bus, and the primary artist, to arrive. The team of artists finished the job in what seemed to an outsider like record time, but what do I know?
“We were working long, long hours – pulling 13-14 hours day since Monday or Tuesday,” he said. “When you see the bus you’ll see why, because there’s a lot of line and it’s got to be right.”
Oliver was a little late to the dedication, but that’s OK, because the bus was a little later.
“I got lost, and I think the bus got lost,” he said, hurrying up to the crowd.
Oliver says he’s pleased with how the bus turned out, but it’s not done, yet. They still have to add some eggs to the design.
“These eggs will be — little salmon eggs – will eventually be attached to the bus,” he said. They’re cast glass with dichroic, so they’ll change colors as you drive by, so it’ll be kind of a nice little touch.”
As the bus pulled in front, and opened the doors, the group danced its way off, continuing the song in front of the vehicle.
Oliver donned a cedar bark hat, and thanked everyone who helped on the project. Her gave his trademark Northwest Coast-design wool blankets to each of his assistants. They then took turns introducing themselves in the traditional manner – giving their names and family backgrounds.
Then, there was more singing and dancing. That was followed by a prayer, led by Nahaan, who goes by one name.
Transit Director Kyan Reeve says that one big reason for the Salmon Run buses is easy identification.
“We’re really excited about it,” he said. “It’ll make it very easy for the hundreds of thousands of visitors that ride our system, make it real easy for them to identify the system, which is always the toughest part, knowing which bus to get on.”
The borough provides a free summertime shuttle between tourist attractions in downtown Ketchikan. The city’s many summer visitors also join residents on the regular system for a small fee.
Petersburg artist Ashley Duross has been busy this past year. Along with teaching at the high school, she’s been pursuing a Master’s Degree in the summertime and, of course, painting. Duross is known for her abstract works. Since last June, she produced 12 new paintings in oil and acrylic that go on display tonight at the Clausen Memorial Museum. Matt Lichtenstein stopped by and asked Duross about her about her inspiration for the solo exhibit called “Work Shifts”.
For mobile-friendly audio, click here.
Ashley Duross’s solo exhibit of new paintings opens tonight at five with an artist’s reception at the Clausen Memorial Museum.
Earlier this month, a number of Petersburg residents joined hundreds of other visitors in Wrangell for the Shakes Tribal House rededication. Among them was the Petersburg Public Library’s Cultural and Education Coordinator Jessica Ieremia who was excited to witness the historic event. Ieremia brought back some of the sounds and voices for this audio essay on the experience:
For Mobile-Friendly audio, click here.
Victoria Merritt with the Craig Parks and Recreation report for May 24. CraigPR052413
JUNEAU — It appears someone registered to vote in Alaska and another state cast ballots in both states during the November election, an Alaska elections official said Thursday.
Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai said the matter was sent to the criminal division of the Department of Law for review earlier this month.
“At this point in time, it appears to be the same person,” Fenumiai told The Associated Press. “Signatures look the same. Other information matches. And I believe it’s the same person.” She declined to identify the other state.
HONOLULU — Hawaii is expected to keep its 22,500 active-duty soldiers, but the future of the Stryker Brigade, a team of soldiers equipped with the namesake armored vehicles, needs to be evaluated as the Army downsizes and changes its focus, according to the head of the U.S. Army of the Pacific.
“We have three additional Stryker brigades at Fort Lewis (Wash.) that we didn’t have 10 years ago,” said Lt. Gen. Frank Wiercinski, who will soon step down as head of the Fort Shafter command. “That’s a lot of Stryker brigades.”
Sport fishing seems to have picked up by some accounts in the Petersburg area just in time for the 32nd annual Salmon Derby. The four-day Chamber of Commerce event usually draws hundreds of anglers from Petersburg as well as out-of-town visitors. This year, anglers are limited to one king salmon per day under state rules.
The derby entrants with the biggest fish can win a variety of prices including five or ten thousand dollars if they catch one of the elusive tagged fish. Volunteers quickly caught, tagged, and released the two tagged kings in Frederick Sound Wednesday morning. Matt Lichtenstein spoke with Derby Committee Chair Ron Loesch about the upcoming contest, which starts Friday morning:
For mobile-friendly audio, click here.
Last year’s first place winner was Petersburg’s Thomas Cumps who landed a 45-point-6 pound King Salmon.
The terminus of Le Conte Glacier near Petersburg hasn’t moved much since last year. That’s according to the annual survey by Petersburg High School Students and their science teacher Victor Trautman. At the same time, according to Trautman, the massive field of ice is thinning further back into the mountains.
This is the 30th year for the program which was originally started by now-retired teacher Paul Bowen. The class has since taught generations of students about glaciology and survey techniques. The work includes mapping points at the terminus and then plugging that data into complex calculations to come up with the results.
Trautman and some of his students recently spoke with Matt Lichtenstein about the project and their findings:
For mobile-friendly audio, click here.
Along with teacher Vic Trautman, we also heard from students Sam Marifern, Fran Abbott, Krissa Davis, Sierra Strueli, and Eva Kowalski.
You can look back over 30 years of the school’s glacier survey data by following this link.
The Petersburg Borough is forming a new sales tax review committee. The group will take a closer look at the sales tax rate, the many sales tax exemptions in town and tax-free-days. That last issue has generated some debate at recent local meetings and it prompted the borough assembly to call for the new committee this week. Matt Lichtenstein reports:
For mobile-friendly audio, click here.
Environmental groups are trying to raise awareness about plans for new, open-pit mining operations in the Stikine river region of British Columbia. They’re particularly concerned about the potential for mine pollutants to impact fisheries downstream in Southeast Alaska. Representatives from Rivers without Borders and the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council are giving presentations on the issue for fishermen and other members of the public in Petersburg this week. Matt Lichtenstein asked for a preview:
For mobile-friendly audio, click here.
The 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty says that waterways shared by the US and Canada –quote- “shall not be polluted on either side to the injury of health or property on the other.” The treaty also established an International Joint Commission of US and Canadian Representatives. They’re tasked with addressing cross-border issues like water quality.
Rivers without Borders and SEACC will talk about plans for mining development in the Stikine region of British Columbia Wednesday at seven in the Petersburg assembly chambers. They’ll follow that up with a question and answer session Thursday night at the same time and place.
Petersburg’s borough assembly passed next year’s budget in the 2nd of three readings Monday night along with an increased property tax rate. One assemblyman opposed the spending plan and called for a three percent cut overall. Matt Lichtenstein reports. For Mobile-friendly audio, click here.
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Roller Derby competitors Sin & Tonic, I Vanna Getonya, and Nitrogen Peroxide discuss this Saturday’s Boot Camp (Sat May 25 4-8 PM and Sun May 26 9-1 PM at the Hames Center, $25). Juneau Roller Girls will instruct. Some safety gear is provided. Check out the Sitka Sound Slayers on Facebook.
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Monsanto responds to planned protest by Sitka runners. Area legislators react to Repeal SB21 Initiative. Ice jam breaks loose near Ft. Yukon. Ketchikan breaks record for largest rain boot race.
The 58th annual Sitka Salmon Derby starts on Saturday morning. Hundreds of sport fishermen head onto the water during the two-weekend event, in hopes of landing the big one.
The Sitka Salmon Derby has been around since 1956. That year, Connie See caught a 73 pound, 6 ounce salmon to win first prize. In the 57 derbies since then, no one has ever caught one bigger.
If they do, this year, the first word will come from this barge, tied up in Crescent Harbor. This is headquarters for all-things derby over the next two weekends, and on this platform, John McCrehin is the man in charge.
McCrehin has been working the derby for about 15 years, seven or eight of those as barge chairman. Right now, the barge is empty, and my feet stick a little as McCrehin shows me around the freshly painted deck. Once the derby begins, this even coat of green won’t last long.
“There will be fish scales on it by Saturday afternoon. Blood,” he said. “You name it.”
The rules of the derby are detailed, but basically, you buy a ticket, have it validated before you go out fishing, and then bring back your catch to be weighed. Besides the barge, weighing can happen aboard the fishing vessel “I Gotta,” which will be in Kalinin Bay, and the “Partisan,” near Goddard.
McCrehin estimates about 300 people compete each year. Last year’s winning fish was just over 41 pounds. The year before that, a little more than 45 pounds. The year before that, 50 and change.
“I’ve had different reports, from no fish out there, to some fish coming in,” he said. “Of course, you always hear the rumors, you know? ‘Oh, there’s a 50 pounder caught.’ So, you never know.”
McCrehin says after the new barge was built in 2004, hosting the derby became a lot easier.
“A lot more room,” he said. “If it’s snotty out we’ve got room inside now for anybody who’s down here volunteering. It’s going to be nice this weekend, like it is today, so we’re going to be out here working on our tans.”
The derby benefits the Sitka Sportsman’s Association, which sells the fish to Absolute Fresh Seafoods. The group gives $7,000 to the derby’s winner, with a variety of cash prizes each day. Other prizes include round-trip airfare for two, donated by Alaska Airlines, and a variety of cash and items. The “partial list,” as it’s titled in the brochure, stretches for three-and-a-half pages.
McCrehin says it gets competitive.
“People get into it,” he said. “The first few years, I thought, ‘It’s a fish. What difference does it make?’ but they’ve got their system down, they like it. We don’t mess with their system, They don’t mess with ours. We have one group of people, they have rubber bands around the tail of their fish with their names of it, so they know: ‘I caught that fish, my son caught that fish.’ You don’t dare mess them up.”
Brochures and more information are available during business hours on the barge in Crescent Harbor, or at Murray Pacific or Orion Sporting Goods. The derby runs two weekends, ending at 7 p.m. on June 2.
KRBD’s annual Live Day is this Saturday, May 25th beginning at noon! Tune in to hear music, readings, and more performed by your friends, co-workers, neighbors, and family.
Listen on the radio, or stream the broadcast at www.krbd.org. Better yet, stop by the station at 1101 Copper Right and join in the fun!
Sponsored by: The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Parnassus Books, Starboard Frames and Gifts, and Tongass Trading Company.
Each performance lasts approximately fifteen minutes. The following is a list of performers, in order of their appearance.
- Rob Alley, bagpipes
- The Point Band, folk band
- Maria Dudzak, reader and vocalist
- Ketchikan Community Children’s Choir
- Kayla Hay, guitarist and vocalist
- Gerry Knasiak, reader
- Handel Double-Reed Trio
- Rudy Saccamano, guitarist and vocalist
- Mary Larsen and Friends, guitarists, concertinists
- Geralyn Lovell, guitarist and vocalist
- Kyle Bailey and Heidi Poet, guitarist and vocalists
- Rod Landis, reader
- A Capella Quartet
- Free Radicals
- Calli Reddington, vocalist
- Sharolyn Kroscavage and Dave Reuben, guitarist and vocalist
- The Ratfish Wranglers
Superintendent Robert Boyle expressed optimism about the ongoing Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District budget process at the School Board’s regular meeting Wednesday. The budget has been a topic of much discussion for the last couple of months.
“Our budge is in very good shape for FY 14,” Boyle says. “Our programs and personnel are ready to go.”
The Borough Assembly has approved a budget that includes a little more than eight million dollars for the school district. That amount was $300,000 more than the board had been expecting.
The Assembly’s additional contribution, combined with about $300,000 more than initially expected from the state, will help to avert widely-feared cuts to staff and activities.
Not all School Board members were content with the developments, however. Board Member Colleen Scanlon drew attention to the budget passed by the School Board in April. That budget did not include some items the board believed should be paid by, or at least negotiated with, the borough.
Those items include snow removal at certain schools, building insurance on school buildings, and contractual services for use of borough facilities, such as the aquatic center.
Scanlon notes that the budget approved by the Assembly included those items.
“We voted to have those taken out of this budget and negotiated at a later time,
“Doesn’t that go against what we voted against? I just have a real issue with the building insurance and snow removal. I understand the need for building insurance, but they own the buildings, not us,” she says.
Superintendent Boyle pointed out that the ordinanceapproved by the Borough Assembly included those items. If the School Board took issue with the difference, he said, it could jeopardize the entire budget ordinance, including the extra $300,000 for the district.
Also Wednesday, the School Board approved a grant application for No Child Left Behind funds. The grant, in the form of Title I and Title II Funds, would total a little less than $800,000. Though the grant application will be revised many times before its final submission, Curriculum Director Linda Hardin notes that those funds likely will be less than previous years due to sequestration.
Principal Casey Robinson of Schoenbar Middle School also briefed the board on the ongoing investigation of last month’s hacking incident at that school. He says that, due to continuing upgrades to the computers after students had gained remote control of other machines on the server, students in Schoenbar’s One-to-One program were unlikely to have their computers returned this year.
Board Member Stephen Bradford suggested that a report be prepared on the effect of the loss of those computers to the childrens’ education, calling it a good case study on the success of the One-to-One program.
The board also celebrated a number of outgoing School District employees. Superintendent Boyle presented a plaque to some retirees who were present at the meeting. Robert Hammer, a physical education teacher at Kayhi who has served the district since 1979, reminisced about his experiences.
“I have enjoyed many interactions with so many parents and their children during this time, and feel honored with all the memories I’ll take with me,” Hammer says. “Over time the phrase gym time was changed to mean Hammer time.”
The Board also reaffirmed that the Kayhi graduation will take place this Sunday. The ceremony starts at 2 p.m. in the school gymnasium.
There’s more information on the new shuttle ferries slated to be built at Ketchikan’s Alaska Ship and Drydock.
Naval architects working on the design have recommend against uncovered car decks.
Marine highway officials earlier said a partially open deck could save construction and operational costs.
But Project Engineer Will Nickum said it’s not the best option.
“The general recommendation we have is that it should be closed. That that would be the better approach long-term,” he said.
He said a closed deck would boost the comfort level and protect equipment. But it would increase construction costs by 1.5 percent.
Nickum, of Seattle’s Elliot Bay Design Group, spoke at this month’s Marine Transportation Advisory Board meeting in Juneau.
Plans call for two shuttle ships sailing between the capital city, Haines and Skagway. They’re the latest approach to what’s called the Alaska-Class Ferry. (Read about plans for the shuttle ferry.)
Nickum said the shuttles’ target length is now 280 feet. That’s 20 percent longer than the small ferry LeConte.
“Comfort needs to be better than the LeConte-class vessels and approach that of the Taku. That is a serious requirement and we have to look at length to make sure we can meet that particular thing,” he said.
Comfort refers to the ride, especially in high winds and seas.
Designers continue to work with some earlier assumptions:The ferries will not have staterooms or crew cabins. Food service will be limited. And they will be easily maneuverable for quick loading and unloading.
But there will be a few amenities.
“We think it makes sense to have a family and children space. We’d have a work space or quiet room. That would be the library space. We’d also have the traditional forward observation lounge,” he said.
And that space may be on a level above the main passenger deck.
Nickum said the shuttles will also have a small theater, similar to some other ferries.
State officials in 2011 selected Ketchikan’s Alaska Ship and Drydock as the construction manager and general contractor for the new Alaska Class Ferry. The shuttle is the most recent version of that design.
A draft report on the latest vessel plans will be out for public review on June 13th.
Marine Transportation Advisory Board member Cathie Roemmich of Juneau expects some battles.
“You have a handful of people in a couple communities that are just going to give you negativity. They don’t like it and they don’t want it. I hope the public process is very swift and you guys can move on with the job,” she said.
Advisory board members also asked about a proposed bow-door system. And some worried whether the ships would be compatible with ramps and docks outside Lynn Canal.
Former board chairman Dave Kensinger of Petersburg urged designers to consider staffing as well as construction.
“I think the most important thing you do on whatever else you build is you make for sure it’s as cheap as possible to operate,” he said. “We did an exercise quite a few years ago and if you look at the life-cycle cost of one crewmember on one boat, it’s astounding.”
Designers are working on the assumption that the first vessel will be completed by mid-2016.
Read earlier reports:
The Ketchikan School Board on Wednesday night (5/22) decided to move forward with an application for a No Child Left Behind Grant. The board also approved numerous teacher contracts and said goodbye to retiring district employees. Colleen Scanlon gives details. SB052313