A pair of men's red fleece gloves were left at the Chilkat Center. Call 766-2020 or stop by the...
Love Your Community?
Submit and View KHNS Postings
Please use the following links to submit or view on-air messages :
Submissions must be approved and may be edited for content before appearing on the website or read on-air. If you would like a confirmation, please email the station at firstname.lastname@example.org. LPs are processed as soon as possible, please allow 3-5 days for process of PSA's . If submitting after 5pm or over the weekend announcements will not be approved until the following weekday.
From Our Listeners
Southeast Alaska News
Listen to iFriendly audio.
Sealaska board chair Albert Kookesh vows to back Sitka Tribe in herring lawsuit. Assembly to discuss community land trusts in work session prior to tonight’s regular meeting. Robidou trial delayed pending high court ruling. Crab fishermen hold off on Southeast opener until Wednesday due to bad weather.
Listen to iFriendly audio.
Legislature proposes bill to allow air ambulance membership programs. School board cuts superintendent finalists from three to two. Reifenstuhl to Chamber: Southeast’s nonprofit hatcheries return investment seven-fold. House Fisheries Committee supports extension of seafood tax credits.
Lisa Pearson of the Ketchikan Public Library speaks about upcoming programs for children, movies, and more. Call the library to renew materials during this winter weather! Library021114
JUNEAU — Members of the House Finance Committee grilled state budget officials Monday on how realistic their 10-year budget plan is.
The plan drafted by Gov. Sean Parnell’s budget office is intended as a planning tool. The different scenarios include various oil price and production estimates and envision general fund spending of $5.6 billion a year after fiscal 2015. That’s slightly less than what Parnell initially proposed for his spending plan for next year.
JUNEAU — Some high school students traveled nearly 900 miles to lobby state lawmakers on Monday to do away with Alaska’s school exit exam, saying the test is so simple, it’s laughable.
The exit exam was just one part of Gov. Sean Parnell’s omnibus education bill that drew students, superintendents and education department officials to the Capitol for testimony. The wide-ranging bill also would allow schools denied charter status to appeal to the state and increase the student funding formula, known as the base student allocation.
JUNEAU — The floor of the Alaska Senate broke into an impromptu debate over oil taxes Monday.
Sen. Cathy Giessel sparked the discussion in a special order, which is when members speak on issues of their own choosing. Hers was entitled “What Could It Look Like?”
ANCHORAGE — Major oil companies are spending heavily to retain tax cuts approved last year by the Alaska Legislature, campaign spending reports indicated.
The tax cuts could be repealed by Ballot Measure One, placed on the August primary ballot by referendum. BP and ExxonMobil each have donated more than $1.3 million in the “Vote No on One” campaign, the Anchorage Daily News reported Sunday.
JUNEAU — The Alaska Senate passed legislation Monday rejecting pay raises for top state officials, with a Democrat saying the increases were not deserved.
“In the real world, you get paid for your performance,” said Sen. Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage. “We had a $17 billion surplus. The policies of this administration have left us with a $2 billion deficit this year and $2 (billion) to $3 billion deficits into the foreseeable future.”
The salaries were rejected on a vote of 19-0. The bill still must go to the House for consideration.
The trial of a former Sitka junior high administrator has been postponed — indefinitely.
Former Blatchley Middle School principal Joe Robidou was scheduled to go on trial this week for six counts of sexual assault, but that now appears unlikely to happen any time soon.
Last month, Robidou’s attorney filed a motion to dismiss the indictments. Superior Court Judge David George agreed to dismiss one of the six counts, but let the other five stand.
Robidou’s defense has appealed that decision to the state Court of Appeals.
Assistant district attorney Jean Seaton says it is “allowed, but somewhat unusual” for a defendant to appeal a judge’s ruling — before a case has gone to trial.
Robidou is accused of six felony counts of sexual assault and an additional five misdemeanors. The charges relate to incidents that allegedly happened from May of 2012 to January 2013. All of them involve other adults — teachers who worked for Robidou when he was principal of Blatchley Middle School.
Seaton has no idea how long it will take the appellate court to return a decision. She says the justices look only at court procedure, rather than the details of the case. They will likely review the proceedings of the Sitka Grand Jury which brought the original indictments.
Seaton adds that the Alaska Legislature has taken a stand on indefinite appeals. She says that recent legislation requires the criminal justice system to account for the effects long appeals have on victims.
Most recently, Robidou was the business manager for the Sitka School District, a job he’d taken the week before the charges came to the attention of school officials and police in January 2013. He tendered his resignation sometime after that, and it became official on March 1, 2013, the same day he was indicted by a Sitka grand jury.
A former Sitka High School student will spend twelve years in prison for molesting a six-year-old child on a school bus.
Twenty-year old Alexander Evans received six-year sentences for each of two counts of Sexual Abuse of a Minor.
Note: A word of caution to parents, some details in this story may be inappropriate for younger readers.
According to court records Evans was a high school student who rode an early bus to school in the mornings in the fall of 2011.
The charges stem from incidents which occurred from mid-November 2011 — about a month after Evans turned 18 — through February 2012, when the child’s father took her to SEARHC Hospital and police began an investigation.
Based on the child’s testimony and the defendant’s own admission, Evans was initially charged with five counts of Sexual Abuse of a Minor, for acts ranging from touching the child’s breasts and buttocks, to having sexual contact with her with his finger.
All are Class B felonies under Alaska law.
According to assistant district attorney Jean Seaton, the Alaska Legislature has tightened penalties for some sex offenses since these crimes took place. She says that the 12 years Evans will serve under his plea agreement is likely more time than he would have received if he had been convicted at trial.
Sitka’s school bus policy has not changed as a result of the incident, though supervision has tightened. Superintendent Steve Bradshaw says that district rules, then as now, don’t allow elementary school children to ride with students in grade six or higher. Exceptions can be made, but the older student is supposed to sit apart from the younger children, up front, near the bus driver. He says the rules simply weren’t followed when the abuse occurred.
Bradshaw says that any older student who rides an elementary school bus now must be preapproved by him personally.
Although this sentencing concludes the criminal aspect of the case, Bradshaw was hesitant to comment further, since civil litigation may still be possible.
In addition to serving 12 years, Evans will be on probation for 10 years following his release, when he is approximately 32 years old.
A bill that would continue and expand Alaska’s tax credit for seafood processors installing new equipment had support from the Parnell administration and the industry before the House fisheries committee Thursday. Supporters said the legislation could help companies get more value out of the salmon and herring caught around the state.
For mobile-friendly audio, click here:
House bill 204 is sponsored by Alan Austerman of Kodiak. Peggy Wilson of Wrangell is a co-sponsor. It would extend a seafood processing tax credit beyond 2015 and would add processing machines for herring to the list of new equipment that qualifies a processor for the tax credit. It would also add equipment for putting salmon in cans, different from the tall or short cans traditionally used by industry.
Joe Jacobson, director of the state’s division of Economic Development, told the committee the administration supported the measure. He said the tax credit promotes innovation in creating new seafood products and that diversification helped weather price fluctuations. “You know if you’re going to many different countries and you have salmon burgers, you have canned salmon, you have salmon jerky, it just supports the price so that when one market of canned salmon dies, well now you have a fillet market in the US, or you have a roe market in Japan or the Ukraine or other places,” Jacobson said. “And it just kind of lessens the impact of individual markets that may go up or down because you’re just building a broader portfolio of products that are spread out.” Jacobson said current can sizes are out of touch with markets and consumers need smaller sizes of canned fish.
The bill would also provide the tax credit to companies installing equipment for making a product out of fish scraps and waste. That was an important addition for Trident Seafood’s Joe Plesha. “You know one of the best ways to add value to Alaska’s resources is obviously to produce a product from something that’s now being ground up and discharged back into the water.” Plesha noted the Environmental Protection Agency could start requiring some shore based processing plants in Alaska to screen out the solid fish scraps from waste before its pumped out into the water, or even barge the waste to the open ocean.
Another industry representative, Tom Sunderland, vice president of marketing with Ocean Beauty Seafoods, said the tax credit has worked and he agreed the market is calling for smaller sizes of canned fish. “This allows us to respond to the market pressure which is a really big deal, we have to have it. Our customers are now expressing pretty urgent resistance to the prices that are necessitated by the current size of the can.”
Others testifying at the hearing also liked the inclusion of herring for the tax credit. The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute international global food aid director Bruce Schactler said herring was a big business elsewhere. “You can go over to Germany and places in Europe and you can see a display twice as long as this room on one wall that is nothing but herring products. So we got to thinking why not, and why not us. How about if we use the males?” Herring are caught in some fisheries in Alaska for their roe, so only female egg bearing fish are valuable on international markets.
Julianne Curry of the industry group United Fisherman of Alaska also testified in support of the legislation.
:12 “This bill allows the processing sector to really encourage innovation within the processing sector and it also allows the processing sector to provide incentives to respond to changing market demands.”
That measure was held in the fisheries committee for another hearing. That second hearing is scheduled for February 13th.
The first week of an expanded curbside recycling program in Petersburg has gone well. That’s according to the borough’s public works director Karl Hagerman who expects to see a big drop in the amount of garbage the community ships to a landfill in Washington state because of the program. The recycled material is also shipped south, but it costs the borough about one third of the cost of shipping garbage.
Over 700 customers are participating in the unsorted collection of glass, plastics, cans, paper, cardboard and other materials. Hagerman says residents are still signing up and thinks people have done a good job of getting the correct materials into recycling bags. Joe Viechnicki spoke with Hagerman about the first week of co-mingled recycling.
For mobile-friendly audio, click here:
The borough has large and small bags available at the public works office and finance office. Hagerman says he’s heard several reports of birds pecking at recycling bags. He suggests putting out recycling bags in the morning, not the evening before to cut down on access for birds, or buying a separate garbage can to hold the recycling bags. Another item to note, the increased rate for people who are not recycling takes effect this month.
JUNEAU — The Legislature has gotten off to a swift start, not unusual for a second session, though this year has lawmakers grappling with budget deficits and the finer points in plans to advance a liquefied natural gas project.
The budget and pipeline remain major areas of focus this week, with House Finance aiming for the closeout of subcommittee work on the budget by month’s end.
KETCHIKAN — It would seem Ketchikan is the home of many staircases, from plain stairs covered in asphalt roofing shingles to handcrafted pieces of art.
When Martha Jacobson bought her house at the end of Kingfisher Road in 1986, there was plenty she wanted to do to it. One of the main projects she tackled was adding a staircase to access the loft.
SITKA — Students at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary this week learned how to line up as either a “biscuit” or “butter.”
They created a “spiral” and a “bagel.”
And they held hands, sashayed and do-si-doed to the sound of modern and traditional music in the school music room as the visiting teacher Susan Michaels called the dances.
ANCHORAGE — Starfish at the Anchorage Museum have shown signs of a wasting disease reported up and down the West Coast, and eight had to be euthanized last fall.
The creatures are dying of sea star wasting syndrome, an affliction that causes white lesions to develop on the starfish’s skin and an unnatural twisting of the arms, the Anchorage Daily News reported. The starfish die after losing their arms and their tissues soften.
Crab boats in Southeast are waiting at least until Wednesday for the start of two lucrative commercial crab fisheries in the region.
Fishing was scheduled to open at noon today (Monday, 2/10) for golden king and Tanner crab. However the Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced a 24-hour delay on Sunday because of bad weather forecast for the early part of this week. That was followed by another 24-hour delay announced (this) Monday morning, pushing the scheduled start back until Wednesday at noon.
The National Weather Service issued storm and gale warnings into Monday night along with warnings for heavy freezing spray in parts of Southeast where the fleet will be fishing.
The overall guideline harvest level for golden king crab in the region is just under half a million pounds. The biggest portions of that overall GHL are in waters around Admiralty Island, including Stephens Passage, Frederick Sound and Chatham Strait. Once crabbing does start, fishing remains open until the harvest levels in seven areas of the northern Panhandle are caught by the fleet.
Last year the overall catch of golden king was over 510-thousand pounds caught by 33 permit holders. Some of the areas stayed open into the fall with little fishing effort. The average price last year was $10.10 a pound.
As for Tanner crab, Fish and Game estimates there’s four million pounds of mature male crab in the region, down a little from the department’s estimate a year ago. The season length will be announced Tuesday, but it’s at least five days long in the most popular crabbing areas.
Last year the 76 permit holders caught 1,242,433 pounds of Tanner crab. Average price for that catch was $2.27 a pound.
The season could see further delays if the windy weather continues but the new scheduled start for crabbing is noon on Wednesday, February 12th.
(Editor’s note:this story updated 9 a.m. Monday, February 10th)
JUNEAU — Gov. Sean Parnell said Friday that he wasn’t threatening the Ketchikan Gateway Borough when he said its lawsuit against the state over school funding could “shade or color” reaction to the community’s requests for state money to fund infrastructure projects.
School districts around the state may have vastly different budgeting priories and operating fund amounts, but they have one thing in common — people are by far the biggest cost.
Personnel costs typically make up somewhere between 80 and 90 percent of a schools’ operating fund, and about half of that money goes to the teachers, according to a Juneau Empire analysis.