A gray scarf was found on the ridge trail to the radio tower on Mt. Ripinsky. Call 303-0943.
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Southeast Alaska News
Teams are searching for a 19-year-old who has gone missing. Scott Falzerano, Jr., was last seen on Monday morning, November 11, at home in Sitka’s Indian River neighborhood. His family reported him missing on Tuesday.
Twenty members of Sitka Mountain Rescue – and two search dogs – spent Tuesday searching the Indian River valley, along with many of Falzerano’s friends and family. A coast guard helicopter flew a sortie up the valley on Tuesday afternoon. As of Tuesday night the search had turned up nothing, according to Sitka Mountain Rescue director Don Kluting, who said it isn’t clear whether Falzerano went into the wilderness at all.
“We’re certainly worried. The urgency on this case has certainly gone up substantially,” Kluting said. “At the end of the day we still can’t demonstrate whether he’s in the urban setting or wilderness.”
The search team received a report that Falzerano might have been seen at the Indian River trailhead around 3 p.m. Monday, but they haven’t been able to confirm that it was him, Kluting said.
The team had interviewed Falzerano’s friends and family on Tuesday, and confirmed that he did not leave Sitka by plane. Kluting is asking the public for any information that might help piece together Falzerano’s movements in the past few days.
“Any information that you have on his whereabouts,” Kluting said. “What was he talking about, you know, was he excited about a trip or something like that.”
Falzerano is described as about six feet tall, with blonde hair. He was last seen wearing jeans and a black or red hooded sweatshirt. Anyone with any information is asked to call the Sitka Fire Department at 747-3233.
This edition “From the Vault” presents a 1991 edition of Fin & Feather with host Eric Jordan interviewing long time Sitka troller Hap Saviko about the history of commercial trolling in the area. Listen below.
There’s also a retrospective collage of radio pieces by former Raven Radio Production Director Leandra (Mary) Bakerand Program Director Jake Schumacher, also known as Mollie and the Colonel from their Friday morning radio program of the same name.
Finally here’s a regional program from the 1980′s called Arts Southeast featuring an interview with visititing puppeteers by former KCAW Program Director Marika Partridge and an interview with Sitkan Dan Keck of the Sitka Bluegrass Band.
Jamal Floate was the guest castaway on Deserted Island with Ken and Rachel on Friday, November 8th. Jamal’s island is populated by monkeys, birds, cats and all variety of creatures. His music selection is diverse as well. Check it out below, along with a recording of the program and a link to a recipe for his favorite dessert strawberry pie with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. Actually this link is to a recipe for what used to be his favorite dessert – strawberry-rhubarb pie, but a local cafe changed his mind. Jamal said to just leave the rhubarb out and the recipe works just fine…but don’t forget the ice cream!
1 Sunday bloody sunday. U2
2 Caledonia, Dougie Maclean
3 Rocket man, Elton John
4 Within a mile of home, Flogging Molly
5 Drunken lullabies, Flogging Molly
6 Way down in the hole, Tom Waits
7 Amazing grace, Ani DiFranco
8 Graceland, Paul Simon
9 Redemption song, Bob Marley
10 Wonderful sorld, Louis Armstrong
An underground cable failure left parts of Sitka without electricity for several hours on Saturday morning. Areas of downtown and Japonski Island lost power at 6:55am Saturday, November 9.
While most of the city’s electricity runs through overhead wires, Sitka’s downtown core is served by high-voltage underground cables. Those are subject to occasional failures, said Sitka Utilities Director Christopher Brewton.
“This thing was 30 plus years old” Brewton said. “That’s one of the downsides to underground cables, is as they age, there’s no scientifically proven method to test the integrity, so they fail. It’s just part of the process with underground [cables].”
A city crew had to hunt for the damaged section, and found it near Seward Street just before 10am. Power was restored to the affected areas just after noon.
An online financial site has named Ketchikan among the top 10 boroughs in the state for job seekers, pointing to Ketchikan’s tourism industry, and the shipyard, hospital and university.
In a recent blog, NerdWallet.com listed Ketchikan in ninth place. The top spot went to the North Slope Borough, followed by Sitka, Anchorage, the Mat-Su, Juneau, Kodiak, Kenai, and Valdez. The 10th-place spot went to Fairbanks.
There are 19 organized boroughs in Alaska, so more made the list than were excluded.
According to the blog post, Alaska is a top choice for job seekers, in part because of the 6.5 percent unemployment rate. That is lower than the national average of 7.3 percent.
Ketchikan’s rate is even lower than the state average. According to the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the First City’s unemployment rate as of October was 4.2 percent.
Former Alliance Realty co-owner Robert “Zig” Ziegler pled guilty Tuesday to one count of misapplication of property during a hearing in Ketchikan Superior Court. This is a class C felony, which holds a maximum sentence of five years in prison and up to $80,000 in fines.
Ziegler and his former business partner Roger Stone faced multiple charges of felony misapplication of property and second-degree theft. The two were under investigation for allegations made at the time they were co-owners of Alliance Realty in Ketchikan. Stone reached an agreement in early May, pleading guilty to one count of felony misapplication of property with all other charges dropped. Participating by phone from St. Augustine, Florida, Ziegler accepted a similar agreement.
Presiding over the hearing was Superior Court Judge William Carey. Prior to accepting the guilty plea, Carey asked Ziegler if he understood he would be convicted as a felon, and would give up certain rights, including his right to appeal. Asked if he had any question of the judge or of his attorney, Sam McQuerry, Ziegler said he did not. Judge Carey then asked Ziegler if he was entering this agreement of his own free will, and whether he was clear headed.
The judge then asked Ziegler if he had anything to eat or drink or any kind of medication that might affect his judgement.
Zeigler: “I’ve had a Hershey bar.”
The judge said he believed Ziegler sounded perfectly lucid and clear headed.
Carey then asked Ziegler for his plea.
“Well I’m not happy about it your honor, but I’m going to plead ‘guilty’.”
Under the terms of the agreement, maximum jail time would be 30 days and any additional time, up to six months, would be spent in community service. The judge could also suspend all jail time, requiring only community service. Ziegler is also required to make financial restitution.
Both Ziegler and Stone are scheduled for sentencing in Ketchikan Superior Court on January 10th.
A university researcher has been learning more about the origins of moose in Southeast Alaska by studying their genetics. The large ungulates are relatively new to the region according to University of Alaska Fairbanks biologist Kevin Colson who says moose first arrived in southeast from British Columbia in the early 20th century. Colson will be giving a presentation on his southeast moose genetics research tonight. Matt Lichtenstein asked him about the project:
Kevin Colson will give his presentation on Southeast moose genetics at six tonight in the Petersburg Public Library.
Southeast Alaska and the state as a whole has seen an apparent upswing in sea otter hunting in recent years. That’s according to numbers compiled by the US Fish and Wildlife Service which says this year will yield the biggest reported harvest on record for the marine mammals, which can only be hunted by native Alaskan’s from coastal communities. Matt Lichtenstein has a closer look at the Southeast Alaska numbers and some of the factors involved.
For mobile-friendly, downloadable audio, click here.
US Fish and Wildlife Service records show that for all of 2012, Alaska native hunters in coastal communities across the state reported a total harvest of 1281 sea otters. 952 of those were from Southeast including Yakutat. So far, this year’s harvest is at least 1380 statewide. That includes 1008 from Southeast. The agency expects the number to grow by the end of the year, since a lot of the harvest takes place in the fall.
“This year is one of the biggest years on record, we’ll actually it’s the biggest year of harvest,” says Biologist Brad Benter runs the sea otter US Fish and Wildlife Service’s marking and tagging program for Sea Otters in Alaska, “Every community in Alaska where Alaska natives live and sea otters exist, we have a representative tagger or several and even in some villages where there are no sea otters we have taggers. So, when somebody harvests a sea otter, they will go to a tagger in the nearest community and they will get their animal, we call it tagged, or sealed and scientific harvest information is also collected for each animal on location, sex, age, other animals present. We get a tooth to try to get an age of the animal and when I say age, the hunter just says if he thinks it’s a pup or a sub-adult, adult.”
Fish and Wildlife’s harvest numbers do not reflect unreported or illegal kills by non-natives. Under the marine mammal protection act, sea otters may only be hunted by coastal Alaska Natives. There is no set season, bag limit, or permit needed but hunters are required to report their kills.
There have been ups and down depending on the community but the overall, the agency’s numbers show the
harvest has been on the increase in at least the past half-decade.
US Fish and Wildlife Biologist Verena Gill thinks thinks there are various factors that have contributed to that, “You know the most obvious one as a biologist is that the (otter) population is increasing in Southeast Alaska and in Southcentral Alaska.”
For instance, Between 2002 and 2011, the number of southeast otters increased from about 11 thousand to around 26 thousand animals. That’s according to the agency’s latest population assessment, which is expected to be finalized soon.
According to Gill, the data provided by hunters is valuable for otter research and management:
“I’m very, very appreciative to the hunters that get there animals tagged because we get all this information that help us make, you know, a lot of management decisions. It also helps us track a lot of things like health and disease of sea otters in the near shore ecosystem too because we also get hunters who call us up and tell us things they’ve seen that are important as far as algal blooms and what that’s doing to the sea otters or the clams and so we really appreciate all the effort they put into reporting these animals and all the information we get out of that. That will allow us to build these models to better manage this trust species,” says Gill.
The fur trade wiped out the southeast sea otter population by the early 20th century. Today’s otters are descended from about 400 animals which the state reintroduced to the region in the 1960’s. The otter’s rapid population growth and voracious appetite for shellfish has been a major concern for commercial crabbers, dive fishermen and fishery managers who blame the animals for a loss of productive fishing grounds. That’s prompted efforts to encourage more hunting, including controversial legislation that proposed a state bounty for lawfully-harvested otters. Federal officials have said such a payment would be illegal under federal law.
According to Gill, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the University of Alaska are working together to assess how much harvest is sustainable.
“We’re going to begin a project here to look at sustainability, using the very data that the hunters provide, Brads marking and tagging program. You know, we get the animals aged by their teeth so we can tell exactly to the year how old they are and then looking at the age and the sex and the location and then creating a model to really look at sustainability not just at southeast Alaska but smaller areas because population varies within a large area too. So, we’re still looking at that question,” says Gill.
“A sustainable harvest is extremely important to us,” says Lee Kadinger, Chief Operating Officer for Sealaska Heritage Institute. The institute administers the regional native corporation’s cultural and educational programs, which include the use of otter hides.
“What we’ve been working very closely with fish and wildlife service on is what is that potential biological removal rate and we’re far from that but it is something that we are working closely with them and we are insuring that the harvest that we have will be sustainable and will be able to continue in the long term,” says Kadinger
A few years ago, the institute started offering classes in the native art of skin-sewing. At first, it focused on seal skin moccasins
“And it was out of those classes that we had many people that had an interest in working with sea otter. They just didn’t have the skills passed down to them. They weren’t aware how to do it so much. And there were significant questions out there about whether they even could do it and what they could or could not make,” says Kadinger.
The institute is a registered agent with tFish and Wildlife which means it can purchase otter skins from native people for its programs. Kadinger says each student in the class is provided with a tanned hide and there has been a lot of participation across the region.
“Every class that we’ve had has filled and had a waiting list in each community that we’ve gone to. So, its extremely popular. I know when we offered the class here in Juneau (with) 15 slots. The first day we had 54 applications that were submitted. People were highly interested and we were overwhelmed by the interest. And this was the exact same in rural communities as well. Extremely popular and classes were filled,” he says.
The institute has been promoting the development of a cottage, skin-sewing industry for native craftspeople. Meanwhile, federal officials say they are still working to clarify rules on the sale of sea otter handicrafts and clothing outside the native community. That’s been an on-going concern for native hunters and artisans who say regulatory language and enforcement actions have discouraged their use of the animals.
Sen. Mark Begich said in an interview with the Juneau Empire Monday that he hopes Gov. Sean Parnell will accept the Medicaid expansion provided with the Affordable Care Act soon.
“The governor’s indecision or lack of a decision is causing multiple problems,” Begich said.
Parnell is expected to announce whether he will authorize the Medicaid expansion by Dec. 15, when his 2015 budget proposal is due. Begich said he hopes Parnell will take the expansion sooner.
JUNEAU — U.S. Sen. Mark Begich said he successfully enrolled Monday in a health insurance plan through the online marketplace open to Alaskans, shirking a congressional benefit.
ANCHORAGE — Western Alaska communities were cleaning up Monday after a powerful weekend storm brought icy flooding, with residents bracing for more storms expected to bring coastal surges and freezing rain.
ANCHORAGE — The Alaska Native corporation for southcentral Alaska wants to double the number of wind turbines it operates on an island off Anchorage.
Fire Island Wind LLC, a subsidiary of Cook Inlet Region Inc., is making plans to add 11 turbines to its wind farm by October 2015, said Fire Island Wind vice president Suzanne Gibson.
The 11 turbines now in place produced 50,092 megawatt hours of energy in their first year, the Anchorage Daily News reported. CIRI owns 3,600 of the 4,000 acres on Fire Island.
FAIRBANKS — The Folk School Fairbanks finally has a home — both literally and figuratively — and it couldn’t be a better fit.
The Folk School, a group of industrious Alaskans who teach classes focusing on traditional skills such as woodworking, blacksmithing, knife making and knitting, moved into a log cabin on Miller Hill Road last month that formerly belonged to Norma Larsen, an old-time Fairbanksan and woodworker who passed away in February.
ANCHORAGE — Following a breakdown in contract negotiations, telecommunications company GCI is dropping KTUU from its rural broadcasts.
KTUU, the NBC affiliate for Alaska and producer of the most watched newscasts, says 22 communities are affected, including Bethel Kodiak, Nome, Unalaska and Valdez. That represents about 7,000 GCI subscribers.
The Anchorage Daily News reports contract talks went late into Friday. KTUU was dropped Saturday.
ANCHORAGE — A campaign is under way to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for the first Alaska Native to star in a movie.
The effort is to honor Ray Mala, who was born in 1906 to an Inupiat woman, and whose father was a Russian Jewish trader. He grew up in Candle, and lived and worked in Hollywood from 1925 until his death in 1952, KTVA reported.
He starred in the movie “Eskimo,” which debuted Jan. 10, 1934, and won an Oscar in 1935 for editing. The movie was filmed near Teller, Alaska.
SITKA — A Southeast Alaska community has been named one of the most pedestrian-friendly cities in America.
Sitka won the designation from the University of North Carolina’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center. The center created the “walk friendly” award in 2010, to shine a light on places making walking a lifestyle.
Participants in a 2012 Sitka health summit decided to apply for the designation to see how the city stacked up, from a pedestrian’s perspective, KCAW reported.
KODIAK — The first thing that struck Katie Baxter about the new Kodiak Public Library was that it was a community effort.
“I could tell immediately it’s a wonderful facility that has the support of the community,” she said. “It’s a very positive energy that seeps through every nook and cranny.”
Baxter is the new executive director of the Kodiak library. She arrived in Kodiak on Oct. 18, the day the library closed to prepare for the move to its new location.
HOMER — An effort to gather enough signatures to put before votes the choice of making Homer a home-rule city is underway. According to Melissa Jacobsen, deputy city clerk, nine petition packets have been distributed.
“Right now my book has only one signature, my own,” said Ken Castner, who, along with Ginny Espinshade, is leading the effort.
Currently, Homer is a first-class city. As a home-rule city, it would write its own charter, or constitution, as Castner calls it. That task would be done by an elected charter commission.
SITKA — You probably already know about mountain ash trees. They’re all over Southeast Alaska, known for their red berries that attract flocks of birds
Here’s a story about a different kind of ash tree, one recently discovered in a big pile of volcanic debris.
Word came late summer of an unusual natural relic found by a young Sitkan, Blake LaPerriere. It was near the Mount Edgecumbe Volcano, just west of the Southeast city.
So a group of scientists and friends headed out for a look. University of Alaska botanist Kitty LaBounty says it was a scramble.
WASHINGTON — The health care law’s seemingly endless problems are giving congressional Republicans a much-needed boost of energy, helping them to move past the government-shutdown debacle and focus on a theme for next year’s elections.
Republicans are back on offense, and more quickly than many had expected, after seeing their approval ratings plunge during last month’s partial shutdown and worrisome talk of a possible U.S. debt default.