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Southeast Alaska News
FAIRBANKS — Alaska Airlines officials plan to provide warm boarding for Fairbanks customers when the company makes the switch from jets to turboprop aircraft on flights to Anchorage.
JUNEAU — Contracting issues have delayed the start of planned cleanup work around abandoned well sites in the Alaska Arctic, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management said Tuesday.
FAIRBANKS — A new research ship designed for Arctic waters will take longer than expected to reach Alaska.
The National Science Foundation’s 261-foot Sikuliaq was to reach Seward in January. Its departure from a shipyard in Marinette, Wis., is two to three months behind schedule as builders and operators make adjustments in ship systems, KUAC-radio reported.
The vessel is named for the Inupiat word for young sea ice. The Sikuliaq will be operated by the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
David Hall gives eleven-year-old Star the Reindeer a walk at the Delaney Park Strip near downtown Anchorage on Sunday. Hall said he takes Star for a walk every Sunday and helps take care of her habitat at 10th Avenue and I Street.
The Kensington Mine produced 23,162 ounces of gold during its second quarter of 2013, according to Coeur Mining’s most recent report. Production at Kensington Mine was down 8 percent from the first quarter. Gold production company-wide at Couer was up by 7 percent with 60,757 ounces. Cash operating costs per ounce at Kensington were $1,115, up from $1,055 in the first quarter.
Additional cost reductions at the mine will include a reduction in contract services and lower underground backfill costs as a result of lower prices on backfill material.
Assembly to take up electric rates, land sales and more. Southeast Conference coming to Sitka next week. Judge to weigh Juneau/Petersburg border dispute.
About 250 Panhandle business, government and nonprofit leaders will gather in Sitka Sept. 17-19. It’s the annual meeting of the Southeast Conference, one of the region’s larger organizations.
This year’s meeting will look toward the sea.
That’s according to Shelly Wright, executive director of the Southeast Conference, which is headquartered in Juneau.
“We’re really focusing on the maritime industry in Southeast Alaska, the seafood industry, some of the transportation industry pieces (and) workforce development,” she says. “(We’re) trying to get back to the small business and how we can grow as a region by growing our businesses.”
The organization has been in the middle of a number of efforts to reinvigorate the region’s logging and wood-processing industry.
Wright says the conference will announce plans at the meeting for its own effort.
“To try to manage the Tongass in the way that’s going to create a universal strategy for habitat as well as resource development.”
Q: “And isn’t that something that the Forest Service is already doing?”
A: “We would like to show them a better way.”
The Southeast Conference meeting will include the release of their annual economic roundup at the meeting. (Click to read the conference agenda.)
And a variety of speakers and panelists will talk about mining, transportation and vocational training.
“It really is a one-stop shopping event where you have access to leadership throughout the region and state,” says Robert Venables of Haines, the organization’s energy coordinator.
“We have agency participation and the communities all have an opportunity just to do lessons learned and share experiences of what they’ve been accomplishing, what they hope to accomplish and how we’re doing,” he says.
Yakutat, for example, is trying to be the first Alaska community to use wave power to generate electricity. The conference will get an update from Columbia Power Technologies, a Lower-48 company working on the project.
Venables says a variety of speakers will provide updates on hydropower, biomass and other energy projects throughout the region.
(We have so much surrounding us with wave, water, wood and wind. Those are the technologies that we really need to tap into,” he says.
Conference attendees will tour the Blue Lake Dam expansion project, Sitka’s brewery and the shipbuilding company Allen Marine.
Wright says a panel will also showcase locals.
“We’ve got some entrepreneurs in Sitka that are going to be presenting their business, how they started and how they succeeded in Sitka,” Wright says.
The Southeast Conference will also hold its annual board election. Six of 13 seats are up for grabs.
Police arrest Florida man for Sitka break-ins. Grand jury indicts two men for Pioneer Bar fight. Cross Trail gets infusion of federal cash. Opinions sought on Sitka library expansion. Disentanglement efforts end with whale mostly freed.
Gov. Sean Parnell has ordered all flags at public facilities be flown at half-staff throughout Alaska on Wednesday in observance of Patriot Day and the National Day of Service and Remembrance.
Wednesday is the anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attacks. Parnell says that day will live forever in our memories, and it is a day to thank emergency responders, law enforcement and the military.
Flags will remain at half-staff throughout the day, and will be raised to full-staff at sunset.
Also Wednesday, a local ceremony commemorating the 9-11 anniversary will start at 6 p.m. on Berth 4 in downtown Ketchikan.
Raven Radio’s Alaska Airlines Raffle is going on now. This is your opportunity to win two round-trip tickets anywhere Alaska Airlines flies with no blackout dates. Tickets are $10 and available week days at the station. The drawing will be on air Tuesday, October 22. Thank you to Alaska Airlines for donating the tickets for this station fundraiser, all proceeds benefit Raven Radio.
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September 11 is one of three Americorps National Days of Service. Garrett Bauer, Alyssa Wooden, and Melissa Berger discuss the firehall’s plans to climb stairs in the Cathedral Arms in honor of their colleagues who lost their lives on 9-11-01. The event will be held Sat Sep 14, 10AM – 1PM. A “New Beginnings” drive will be held at the same time at the firehall to collect materials for kits to give people who’ve lost their homes to fire or other disaster.
The school year has begun for the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District, and at Wednesday’s regular meeting, the School Board will hear about the expected student count and how it could mean less money for the district.
In his report to the Board, Superintendent Robert Boyle writes that the school district could face an almost $350,000 shortfall in state funding for the coming year. That loss would be due to how many students attend public school, and where.
Although schools such as Kayhi and Tongass School of Arts and Sciences gained more than 30 students each, others such as Houghtaling Elementary and Revilla lost some.
Ultimately, the student count on the first day of school was seven more than what the district had projected.
The rub comes when one looks at how students are counted. Because while money for charter schools, like Tongass School, does get added to the larger district pool initially, it’s dedicated to that school, not the district. So, Tongass School will see a net financial benefit, but the district will lose $154,000 of anticipated revenue.
The second factor is the “intensive” student count. Those special education students need more in terms of services and staffing than others, so they receive more state funding.
Although the district will have only three fewer intensive students than it had projected, that difference will mean $224,000 less than anticipated.
Boyle’s letter to the school board strikes an optimistic tone about how the budget hole could be filled: The student count could change in the next few weeks; the district anticipates another two intensive students; and other revenue, from reserves and savings on less staffing, could help to bolster the district’s finances.
Boyle says it is a bit early in the budgetary process to raise an alarm on the student count.
The Board will also vote whether to approve purchase of 60 iPads and MacBook Air computers at a cost of about $60,000. Two teaching contracts are on the agenda, as well as a contract for physical therapy services from Sweetman Physical Therapy.
The School Board meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Borough Assembly Chambers. Public comment will be heard at the start and end of the meeting.
ANCHORAGE — Supporters of a proposed ballot initiative to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Alaska said they are about halfway toward their signature-gathering goal.
The goal is to gather 45,000 signatures of registered voters by Dec. 1, roughly 15,000 more than needed for the proposal to qualify for the August 2014 ballot, the measure’s main sponsor, Timothy Hinterberger, told the Anchorage Daily News in a story Saturday.
FAIRBANKS — The state’s “Quake Cabin” will be among attractions when Fairbanks hosts a Preparedness Expo as part of September’s Emergency Preparedness Month.
The exposition on preparing for disasters or emergencies is scheduled for Sept. 28 at the Carlson Center, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.
LOS ANGELES — Cal Worthington, who built a fortune from a series of West Coast auto dealerships and became a TV fixture thanks to folksy car lot commercials urging customers to “Go see Cal,” has died. He was 92.
Worthington died Sunday after watching football with family at his Big W Ranch in Orland, Calif., north of Sacramento, said Dave Karalis, general manager of Cal Worthington Ford in Long Beach.
The cause of death has not been determined, family attorney Larry Miles said.
JUNEAU — An Alaska Native leader and former mayor of Yakutat plans to run for governor next year.
Byron Mallott is the first announced Democratic candidate for the office; state Sen. Hollis French is exploring a run.
Republican Gov. Sean Parnell plans to seek re-election, while Republican Bill Walker intends to run as an independent.
The Tongass National Forest has decided to allow the Hecla Greens Creek Mining Company to expand its tailings facility in the Admiralty Island National Monument.
Tongass National Forest Supervisor Forrest Cole approved the plan, which authorizes the mining company to expand its existing facility further south into the monument by about 18 acres.
The plan also allows for a separate eight acres outside of the monument for rock quarry and material storage sites and for expanding a water management pond.
For the past three decades, he’s worked with researchers like former ADF&G groundfish biologist Tory O’Connell to map the ocean floor. The result is a surprisingly detailed understanding of fish habitat called “benthic mapping.”
Greene is a marine geologist by trade. He stopped by our studios and spoke with KCAW’s Robert Woolsey about his work.
Police arrested a 20-year-old man from Florida over the weekend after he allegedly got high and went on escapades at two Sitka stores.
Police say shortly after 11 p.m. Friday night, Michael Joseph Orr climbed into the AC Lakeside grocery store ceiling above the men’s bathroom. But his plan was quickly foiled when he fell through that ceiling over an adjacent hallway, and fled through the store’s emergency exit. That set off an alarm, which alerted employees, who called police.
As police were responding to Lakeside, a second call came in, about an alarm at the CarQuest store, near the roundabout. Police responded there and found the side door kicked in.
According to the official complaint, Sitka police Sgt. Daryl Rice chased Orr through the building, got him on the ground and handcuffed him.
Police interviewed Orr, who they say admitted to climbing through the ceiling at Lakeside, and to breaking into the CarQuest store. He told police he opened the safe and grabbed some money. Police later found upwards of $1,000 cash between some boxes.
Police say Orr also admitted to smoking four or five bowls of marijuana during the day and taking some anti-anxiety medication that was not prescribed for him.
Orr is from Miami, Fla., and was in Sitka doing seasonal work this summer. He was due to fly back to Miami on Tuesday. Instead, he’ll appear in a Sitka courtroom on charges of second-degree burglary, second-degree theft, and third-degree criminal mischief.
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