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Southeast Alaska News
Susan Chartier joined Rachel and Ken as the Castaway on Friday, September 6th, 2013 on a Deserted Island edition of Earbones. She brought ten songs that she would choose to have on an island if stranded, perhaps forever. We discussed her upbringing in Sitka, her family, friends, bad haircuts, little dogs with big collars and her recent medical training in both eastern and western tradition and we had time to listen to her songs! We also discovered that there is a dessert called “Better Than Sex Cake II”. Hear the program and see her song list below!
Susan’s Ten Songs:skeeter davis; the end of the world queen; bohemian rhapsody allison krause; my love will follow you where you go tori amos; silent all these years beatles: blackbird elton john; rocket man lemon heads. bein’ around florence and the machine; dog days, chromeo; i’m not contageous ottis reddding, i’ve been loving you Dessert!! http://allrecipes.com/recipe/better-than-sex-cake-ii/
Sitka’s SAFV expands anti-domestic violence training to entire community. Cruise giant to incorporate “scrubbers” on 32 ships, including Alaska vessels. Ketchikan endorses two bridge options for Gravina access, but says ferry’s OK, too. Oil tax repeal petition certified for ballot.
Two Ketchikan residents were arrested this week in separate cases, and both face felony drug charges.
On Wednesday, Alaska State Troopers, with the help of the Ketchikan Police Department, served a search warrant at the home of Brenda Murphy, 67, of Ketchikan. Following the search, Murphy was charged with two counts each of second-degree and fourth-degree controlled-substance misconduct for allegedly possessing and selling heroin.
Then on Thursday evening, Ketchikan Police Department detectives completed a drug investigation with a traffic stop in the 300 block of Carlanna Lake Road.
Twenty-two-year-old Aaron McColley of Ketchikan allegedly sold heroin to another person, and he was charged with second- and fourth-degree controlled-substance misconduct.
About .7 grams of heroin allegedly was seized during the traffic stop.
Hydropower opportunities for the community and the city’s relationship with the borough were the big topics of conversation during Thursday’s Ketchikan City Council meeting.
Jason Custer of Alaska Power and Telephone is the spokesman for the Mahoney Lake hydroelectric project, a partnership between AP&T, Cape Fox and the City of Saxman. He spoke during public comment, and asked the Council to consider negotiating with the Mahoney partners to move the project forward.
Custer said the city already is talking with Metlakatla officials to figure out a power exchange. He said that’s commendable, especially when the city’s options remain limited by its power-sales agreement with the Southeast Alaska Power Agency.
“So, I’m here to recommend that as the city is looking at these different opportunities, that it also makes an attempt to collaborate with the Mahoney Lake partnership in some meaningful ways to see if we can get our heads together and come up with some creative solutions to make this project into a regional resource that benefits the community,” Custer said.
He added that Mahoney already has the federal license needed to move forward.
Council Member Sam Bergeon, who also is a member of the SEAPA board, said he fully supports the Mahoney Lake project.
“My view is that we should be developing every asset that we have,” he said. “Metlakatla, you, everything that we’ve got. Get it online, open up for business.”
Council Member Marty West asked that the issue be placed on the agenda for a future meeting, giving city staff time to gather information and provide input.
Also on the topic of hydroelectric projects, Trey Acteson of the Southeast Alaska Power Agency spoke in support of the planned Swan Lake dam expansion, which is on top of the community priority list for state funding requests.
Bergeron asked what SEAPA would do if state funding were not approved. Acteson said bonds are the backup plan, and he believes all the member communities would support that bond debt. He said SEAPA spends a lot of money maintaining all its hydro facilities.
“Some years, some of those monies may be concentrated in one particular area that benefits a community, other times it may be in another area,” he said. “And Swan doesn’t only benefit Ketchikan. It actually benefits the whole region.”
SEAPA owns the Swan Lake and Tyee Lake dams, and an intertie that connects the two. Power from Swan Lake is dedicated first to Ketchikan, and Tyee’s power goes first to Petersburg and Wrangell. Representatives from all three communities sit on the SEAPA board.
Acteson also was asked how lake levels looked following this unusually warm, dry summer.
“Right now, it doesn’t look real good,” he said. “It’s been probably one of the nicest summers for a long time. Right now, we don’t know what inflows are going to be in October and those will be critical as they were last year. The snow has already come off the mountain. Now it’s just inflows, and we’re below average.”
Regarding city-borough relations, there has been some strain recently, with the two governments struggling to reach agreement over how much non-city Ketchikan Gateway Borough residents should pay for city dispatch and library services.
The Council voted unanimously, but with some grumbling, to accept the borough’s offer of $15,000 for dispatching services. The city had wanted to charge the borough $150,000, but then dropped the offer to $40,000. The borough remained firm, though, and the Council opted to take the original offer.
Library operations funding, though, is not yet resolved. The borough has historically paid for a portion of the city-run library’s operating expenses through a nonareawide fee. The City Council recently approved an agreement calling for the borough to pay about $420,000 for library operations, but the borough has not yet accepted that agreement.
Borough Manager Dan Bockhorst wants the city to track library use on a monthly basis, to establish whether that annual fee is fair.
The Council agreed to place the item on the agenda for the next Cooperative Relations Committee meeting. That group includes borough and city representatives.
The Cooperative Relations Committee meeting is Sept. 20.
This year’s elections have yet to happen, but some candidates already are thinking about next year. Incumbent state Rep. Peggy Wilson of Wrangell filed for re-election a couple of months ago, and Ketchikan’s Glen Thompson filed his letter of intent Thursday to oppose Wilson in the Republican primary.
Thompson is on his third term as an elected member of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly. He will finish that term in 2014, and because of term limits would not be able to run for re-election to that post.
Thompson said he’s considered running for state office for a couple of years.
“Last year, there was three people in the race before I got around to deciding what I wanted to do, and I decided that was enough,” he said. “So I’ve been thinking about is again this year. I did a little polling of colleagues, and folks around there and everybody told me that would be a tremendous idea.”
Thompson said Ketchikan needs strong representation in Juneau, and he’s well aware of the community’s needs. He said the other communities in the newly formed district share similar issues.
“One of my primary concerns is local school funding,” he said. “The borough has been on that for several years and we really haven’t gotten a lot of traction in Juneau for that. I do believe that we’re going to have to get Anchorage and Fairbanks into the mix to gain any traction, but we can certainly start that conversation.”
Other issues Thompson mentioned is strong support for the Alaska Marine Highway System, and for Gov. Sean Parnell’s proposal for the federal government to transfer ownership of 2 million acres of the Tongass National Forest to the state.
Wilson said she is not concerned about competition in the primary.
“That is not anything new to me,” she said. “Every time I run, I have somebody that runs against me. I just look at it as another challenge and proceed the way I always do.”
Wilson said she wants to continue as the House representative because there are numerous projects she would like to finish up. She said she’s excited about economic opportunities for the area, such as mining projects and growth in Ketchikan’s shipyard. She cited the oil tax reform bill as a major accomplishment during the last session, calling it a step toward encouraging oil production. But, she said, a citizen initiative to repeal that tax has put any benefits from the bill on hold.
“Until this is settled, I don’t think we’ll see a whole lot of change,” she said. “There will be some change, but if it goes back the way it was, we’re not going to see much growth. We need more oil production. The people with the initiative, they say, ‘We’re going to lose all this money, we’re throwing away state money.’ If you don’t get the money to begin with, you can’t throw it away.”
Wilson said oil production is down, and the only factor saving the state’s budget is the current high price of oil. Other big issues she mentioned include the aging fleet of Alaska Marine Highway System ferries, support for various industries, and her push to create a state transportation fund.
Next year’s primary election is August 19.
Now’s your chance to weigh in on the new design of Sitka’s Kettleson Memorial Library.
The library is planning an expansion, and Juneau-based MRV Architects has drawn up two designs. Library officials are taking public comment for the next week.
The library is expected to grow by a little more than a third. In addition to completely rearranging its layout, one of the biggest changes will come to the areas that serve children, and through the addition of a multipurpose room, to better host special events.
“Toward the front of the building we’ve got the children’s area,” she said. “In each plan, the children’s area is adjacent to the multipurpose area, which is adjacent to the adult seating area along the waterfront, which we absolutely wanted to maintain.”
That would be the library’s huge windows that look out on Sitka Sound, and let patrons gaze at mountains, fishing boats and the occasional marine mammal.
The new teen area includes two nearby study rooms. The bathrooms move to the front of the building, where they’re more easily accessible. The library’s historic and special collections room is bigger.
The boards holding the two library designs are covered in Post-It notes, which have various people’s comments on them. Bell reads a few.
“Like this floor plan!” reads one.
OK, so, some of them aren’t terribly specific. But others went into great detail.
“No storage in the children’s room or bathrooms. Instead, have removable sliding glass wall on this side to accommodate overflow of children’s programs and adult presentations.”
“Put plumbing next to other plumbing.”
On plan B, it says “the circ desk is too isolated; not visible enough.”
“They’re talking about the circulation desk,” Bell says. “One of the things when we started this project was that we were not going to be asking for additional staff. It’s pretty critical that, where the staff is working, they can see the different areas of the library.”
Bell says you can leave a sticky note on the two floor plans, for the next week or so. After that, they hand off the feedback to architects.
“Between now and another three or four weeks, they’ll have some modified (plans), taking into consideration everything we’ve asked them to do,” she said. “We’ll come up with the final plan, which will be really exciting.”
And that final plan will help architects get a more precise picture of how much the project will cost.
“Then in November, there will be sort of the big unveiling,” she said. “And after that, it will go out for construction bids. It may be a little ambitious, but we feel like we could go into construction by next August.”
The expansion plan is designed to accommodate a library that boasts huge numbers for a community of Sitka’s size. It helps that it’s near cruise ship arrival points. Passengers and crew often drop by to ask for directions or check e-mail. But even in the off-season, the library is never empty.
“We’re open 71 hours a week, which is pretty good for the locals,” Bell said. “We have people waiting out at the door in the morning, and people in the evening who are packing up their stuff at 9 (p.m.).”
Beneath those two floor plans is a stack of Post-It notes and a few pens. Bell says they’re waiting for your thoughts.
If you can’t make it to the library, comments can be e-mailed to Sarah Bell, the library director. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Orbison gives chamber update on Blue Lake progress. Union, state gov’t go to arbitration over office space. Juneau, Petersburg, state duke it out over new borough boundaries. New plan released for Juneau access project.
Ketchikan City Mayor Lew Williams III gives an update on the council meeting of September 5th. City090613
Technically, Saxman is not rural. At least, that’s according to the federal government after the 2000 census. Following that determination, though, the feds put a hold on that decision until an official review of the entire process.
Now, that review is happening. And both the Federal Subsistence Board and the Southeast Alaska Subsistence Regional Advisory Council are meeting in Ketchikan later this month to hear the public’s opinion.
“The real issue for Saxman is, one of the factors that the Board looks at in counting is called aggregation of communities,” says Carl Johnson, council coordination divison chief at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of Subsistence Management.
He says the major factor in determining Saxman’s status as rural or not has to do with how closely related it is to Ketchikan.
“They’re grouping communities together, and the different characteristics that they consider when grouping communities together,” Johnson says. “Issues like a shared economy, shared educational facilities and things like that.”
That concept of community aggregation is part of what the federal government calls the subsistence review process.
It matters because Saxman is still for all intents and purposes a rural community in the eyes of the federal government. While the State of Alaska does not make a distinction between subsistence and personal use fishing or hunting on federal lands or waters, the national government does; that comes into play when there is a scarcity of wildlife. If the federal government puts a stop to say, salmon fishing for personal use in a given year, communities like Saxman are still allowed to fish due to their rural status.
The current process for determining what is rural or not has never actually been implemented in Alaska; the controversy over the census in 2000 effectively put a stop to the process.
Wayne Owen, Director of Wildlife, Fisheries, Ecology, Watershed, and Subsistence at the U.S. Forest Service, says that in the case of Saxman, it’s not necessarily a question of how the ruling would affect its economics, it’s a cultural concern.
“The demographics of Saxman are very different than the demographics of Ketchikan,” Owen says. “Saxman has a different cultural history than that of Ketchikan. Let’s have a discussion about that.”
The Southeast Alaska Subsistence Regional Advisory Council meets September 24th through the 26th at the Ted Ferry Civic Center in Ketchikan. The group will come up with recommendations to present to the Federal Subsistence Board, which will accept public testimony on the night of the 24th.
The Board meets again in Anchorage in mid-April, and will consider the official recommendations for the Regional Advisory Council.
Petersburg Parks and Recreation patrons will notice some substantial improvements at the Community Gym building this fall. The department recently refinished the gym floor and the weight room will soon be filled with a new compliment of circuit-training machines. Matt Lichtenstein stopped by the facility to talk with Parks and Rec Director Donny Hayes. They started in the weight room.
For mobile-frindly, downloadable audio, click here.
KRBD’s Quiet Drive has begun! Which means, the Fall Drive is right around the corner. We’re changing things up around here: this drive will only be 5 days long! Beginning Monday, October 7th through Friday, October 11th, you’ll hear friends, neighbors, and KRBD characters raising funds on air for your community radio station.
As our devoted listener, we need you to ensure that our programming continues, because public radio does not succeed without your financial support. With just five days to reach our goal, a strong response during the Quiet Drive is more important than ever. Why not click the red donate button on our home page to give now? It’s quick, easy, and secure. Remember, you can sustain your support by giving a monthly gift of $5 or more via debit or credit card.
Don’t forget…we have a special drawing for those who make Quiet Drive gifts by 5 p.m. Sunday, October 6th. We will draw the names of three lucky members who will receive the following: the 2013 KRBD mug, a Raven’s Brew t-shirt, 2 pounds of Raven’s Brew Coffee, a KRBD tote bag, plus a surprise item! (Checkout the Fall t-shirt image by artist Cara Murry.)
Thank you for supporting community radio in Southern Southeast Alaska!
A false alarm prompted a brief lockdown for the Petersburg High School and Middle School Friday (this) morning.
The lockdown alarm went off just before school started. It sounds different than the fire alarm and it’s aimed at warning of an imminent threat, like an armed intruder. Superintendent Rob Thomassen believed it was caused by a short in the system at the vocational education building.
While this alarm was unintentional, Thomassen saw it as a good drill and said he was impressed with the fast response from students and staff.
“All the kids were out of class and in the hallways. The lockdown alarm went off. Students and staff responded outstandingly. Everybody headed for a room. Doors were locked. It was orderly. It was quiet. I couldn’t be happier with the way that drill went. We’re going to classify it as a drill even though it was unplanned. Sometimes those are the best,” said Thomassen.
Students had already been taught how to respond to the alarm which is accompanied by a PA announcement as well as a check of the buildings by Principal Rick Dormer, Middle School Dean Jaime Cabral and Thomassen.
“We did a quick cursory check here at the lower level. [Rick Dormer] got on [the PA] saying, ‘This is a lockdown. Please lockdown.’ And then we break out into our teams. I check the upper level. Rick checks the lower level. Jaime checks another level and we’re looking for locked doors, lights off, shades down and then we gather again….then the police show up and they were here as quickly as they could possibly be. [It's a] Credit to our police department and that’s how the drill goes.”
The alarm automatically notifies police and two cruisers were on the scene shortly but the incident lasted only five to ten minutes before administrators sounded the all clear. There was no lockdown at the elementary school which was not in session Friday because of conferences.
The district does lockdown drills two or three times a year. As far as the malfunction, Thomassen says that’s one of the reasons the schools are hoping to replace the old alarm system. The $350,000 project is one of several on the district’s priority list.
A 30-year-old man who threatened Petersburg police with an assault rifle during a drunken, armed standoff last fall has been sentenced to serve more than six years in prison this week. A local Jury convicted Jace Cunningham this spring on two counts of 3rd degree felony assault as well as another four misdemeanor counts of assault in the 4th degree for placing the officers in fear of physical safety. Matt Lichtenstein has more on Wednesday’s sentencing:
For mobile-friendly, downloadable audio, click here.
During a teleconferenced hearing out of Ketchikan Wednesday, Prosecutor Angie Kemp in Juneau asked the court to impose a flat, ten-year sentence. She pointed out that Cunningham had two prior felony convictions for attempted robbery involving a handgun as well as one for vehicle theft all in Tennessee in the early 2000’s.
“He’s already shown that he’s willing to commit armed robbery with guns. Now he’s using an AR-15 to point at officers and shoot when officers are summoned. So, in terms of a need to protect the public, I can’t envision a situation that is more deeply troubling than when officers are summoned to a location, respond to that location and then are met with…… bullets flying through the air or a guns being pointed at them. Those persons are persons that the public relies on and the citizens of Petersburg rely on in responding to these calls,” she said.
The confrontation occurred at a police roadblock on a dark night last October along a remote section of Frederick Point Road in Petersburg. Police were responding to reports that Cunningham was drunk, suicidal, and parked in his vehicle with an assault rifle. They set up the blockade after officers and mental health counselors were unable to make headway with Cunningham over the phone.
At trial, police officers who were at the roadblock testified that they heard a couple of shots from Cunningham’s location when he tried to drive away from the scene at the start of the standoff. One officer said he saw the muzzle-flash from Cunningham’s vehicle.
As he addressed Judge William Carey during the sentencing, Cunningham repeated his claim that he didn’t fire those shots.
“I never fired a weapon at police officers. I’m not saying, ‘I’m innocent….I did nothing wrong in this incident.’ I’m not saying that at all but I never fired any rounds at Police officers. I can take responsibility for what I did your honor,” said Cunningham.
Carey whether Cunningham was denying that you took any shots at all and Cunningham replied, “Not while police officers were out there. I never fired my weapon while police officers were on scene.”
Carey reminnded Cunningham that, “All the officers testified that the shots came from your direction….and the jury found you guilty.”
One of Cunningham’s felony convictions was based on evidence that he later aimed his rifle at Sgt. Heidi Agner while she was trying to talk him into giving up. At trial, the jury heard police audio tape of the incident during which Cunningham threatened to shoot officers at the scene and told Agner that she was in his rifle scope.
As he handed down the sentence, Judge Carey said Cunningham’s conduct towards Agner was his most serious offense.
“She was scared to death and she had every reason to be. She had a man at just a few feet away pointing an AR-15 directly at her advising here that she was within his scope and, as I say, he’s just lucky he’s not dead today because it wouldn’t be too difficult to imagine other officers just saying, ‘This is it. I can’t let my sergeant go down this way. And he could have been taken out. I’m glad that didn’t happen, obviously.”
The judge ultimately sentenced Cunningham to serve six years in jail for the felony assaults with another three suspended. He added two and a half months to serve for the misdemeanor assaults and several more days for Cunningham’s lesser offenses from this case including driving under the influence, refusal to submit to a chemical test, possessing a weapon while intoxicated, and two counts of criminal mischief in the 5th degree. When he gets out of Jail, Cunningham will be on probation for five years and subject to a variety of conditions for release.
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Sitka Trail Works president Brian Hanson discusses phase 5 of the Sitka Cross Trail project — an extension to Baranof St. and Yaw Dr., with a new access at Pherson St. Trail Works is hoping to raise a $12,000 local match for the $920,000 federally-funded project. Learn more about Sitka Trail Works online.
The domestic violence shelter in Sitka is stepping up its community training program following the release of new survey data last year.
SAFV, or Sitkans Against Family Violence, has routinely offered volunteer advocate training, but now the organization is hoping to involve more of the community in how to recognize — and address — Sitka’s incredibly high rate of intimate partner violence.
The numbers are staggering. According to the 2012 Alaska Victimization Survey, almost half of all women living in Sitka have experienced intimate partner violence, sexual violence, or both.
“This is actually a surprise,” says Martina Kurzer, the community coordinator for Sitkans Against Family Violence. “Not only for us, but particularly for those who are not steeped in the issue.”
282 adult women in Sitka were surveyed last year by researchers at the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Justice Center. It was part of an ongoing, statewide effort by the Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.
Kurzer says SAFV’s training is being offered this year not just to shelter volunteers, but to the entire community — free of charge. While the Victimization Survey quantifies a significant amount of physical violence experienced by women — and the threat of physical violence — Kurzer says the training is designed to break down our assumptions.
“It’s not battering. Because that’s a very limited definition, and we will define this term. There are other terms. If somebody always puts down somebody else in a household, that’s also a violent act. It’s emotional or verbal, but we consider it violent.”
Other common assumptions, Kurzer says, are that women will want to leave a relationship if they experience violence, or that there is no love in a violent relationship. She says the training helps participants see why both may be untrue.
“Many of these assumptions just fall apart if you go through this and you start understanding what’s going on next door. You learn what to do when you witness something happen next door.”
SAFV uses a combination of shelter staff and local professionals to teach sessions, which take place over three Saturdays and three Monday evenings. Participants can drop in on any or all of the sessions. Kurzer says there is no one who would not benefit from the training — anyone who has colleagues, co-workers, patients, or students will understand them better, and become more compassionate.
“I think we have reached now the step where we as a community can step up and say, We can make a difference.”
FAIRBANKS — Gov. Sean Parnell said Thursday he has ordered an investigation of recent raids by federal and state officials at mines in the Fortymile River area, saying he will not tolerate a state agency’s participation in the sort of conduct displayed.
Enforcement officers with the federal Environmental Protection Agency and Bureau of Land Management were armed and wore body armor, according to Parnell.
ANCHORAGE — Affiliates of Royal Dutch Shell PLC have agreed to pay $1.1 million for violations of air permits by two drill ships operating last year in Arctic waters, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday.
The settlement calls for Shell Gulf of Mexico, Inc. and Shell Offshore, Inc. to pay a $710,000 penalty for violations of the Noble Discoverer in the Chukchi Sea and a $390,000 penalty for violations by the Kulluk in the Beaufort Sea.
Forty-six years ago, a ship long as the Empire State Building sailed with intention toward obstacles that captains usually avoid. The icebreaking tanker SS Manhattan was an oil company’s attempt to see if it might be profitable to move new Alaska oil to the East Coast by plowing through the ice-clogged Northwest Passage.
The world’s largest cruise corporation will soon install new pollution-control equipment on 32 of its ships. Carnival, Princess and Holland-America vessels sailing Alaska waters are likely to be among those getting the gear.
Carnival Corporation owns 10 cruise lines operating about 100 ships from ports in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
It’s a significant player in the Alaska market.
Corporate officials say the technology, called scrubbing, will meet new international requirements for sulfur and smoke emissions. They say they’ll spend about $180 million on the equipment over the next two to three years.
“We haven’t determined which ships of the 32 will be implemented in what markets and what ports,” says Roger Frizzell, spokesman for Carnival, which is headquartered in Miami and London.
“Alaska’s obviously an important market, and I’m expecting that if they don’t have it right away they will have it shortly,” he says. (Read Carnival’s announcement.)
The equipment has been tested on one ship’s diesel engines so far. The evidence helped win conditional approval from the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Coast Guard.
Frizzell says Carnival eventually plans to use scrubbing on all of its 102 vessels.
“This is going to be a real change in our industry and I think it’s something for Alaska and some other key ports it’s going to be beneficial to the environment,” he says.
Carnival’s scrubbers target sulfur oxides, which contribute to global warming and acid rain. They also remove soot and other small particles that make up ships’ exhaust. (Read an EPA paper on scrubber technology.)
Frizzell says the technology is common onshore.
“This is the first time this combination is being developed to accommodate restricted spaces on the ships. Q: Did that require significant reengineering of the technology? A: It did. When we moved it from the power plants and the factories to the ship it really was a complete overhaul of the systems and resizing.”
“I think there’s just been a whole shift at Carnival, with all the problems they’ve had and everything,” says industry critic Chip Thoma of Juneau.
He says the corporation is making a significant – and welcome – change. But the president of the group Responsible Cruising in Alaska says it’s not all good attentions.
“They’re making so much money. It’s such a lucrative corporation that they’ve decided to switch gears and get into the 21st Century. And it’s a wonderful move that they’ve done so,” Thomas says.
The EPA says the agreement is a trial effort and the technology will be closely monitored. (Read the EPA’s announcement.)
Carnival spokesman Frizzell says it exempts equipped ships from new, stronger air-quality regulations aimed at lowering pollution along the coast.
“The exemption gives us the flexibility to use whatever fuel source we determine. And that’s significant for us because it gives an economic value,” Frizzell says.
That’s because low-sulfur fuel is more expensive than what cruise ships usually burn.
The agreement still requires Carnival ships to use that fuel while in port – or plug into an onshore power source.
The EPA has also reached agreements with Royal Caribbean and Norwegian cruise lines, as well as barge companies and owners of some other large vessels. Some are using different approaches.
Catholics in the Diocese of Juneau and Southeast Alaska are being asked to take to their knees Saturday in prayer for peace in Syria.
The request comes on the heels of a call from Pope Francis for a worldwide day of fasting and prayer for the country being ravaged by civil war.
Bishop Edward J. Burns directed parishes in the region to set aside time from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for public prayer. The timing coincides with a planned vigil at the Vatican from 7 p.m. until midnight Rome time.