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Lifelong Sitkan Monica Eastham was this week’s guest on the “Deserted Island” segment of Earbones with Ken and Rachel Friday night at 8pm. She selected these ten songs plus delicious bread pudding with bourbon sauce to bring to her dessert-ed island!
Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass – The Lonely Bull
Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show – Queen Of The Silver Dollar
Free – All Right Now
Queen – Save Me
John Mellencamp – Hot Night In A Cold Town
The Cars – Dangerous Type
Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes – Having A Party
Van Morrison – Brown Eyed Girl
Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel – Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me)
Wings – Mull Of Kintyre
2 cups milk
¼ cup butter or margarine
½ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
2 eggs, slightly beaten
6 cups dry bread cubes (8 slices)
½ cup raisins, optional
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup butter or margarine
2 tablespoons whipping cream
3 to 4 tablespoons bourbon (or 2 teaspoons brandy extract)
1. Heat oven to 350ºF. In 2-quart saucepan, heat milk and 1/4 cup butter over medium heat until butter is melted and milk is hot.
2. In large bowl, mix granulated sugar, cinnamon, salt and eggs with wire whisk until well blended. Stir in bread cubes (and raisins) . Stir in milk mixture. Pour into ungreased 8-inch square (2-quart) glass baking dish or 1 1/2-quart casserole. Place casserole in 13×9-inch pan; pour boiling water into pan until 1 inch deep.
3. Bake uncovered 40 to 45 minutes or until knife inserted 1 inch from edge of baking dish comes out clean.
4. In 1-quart heavy saucepan, heat all sauce ingredients to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved. Serve sauce over warm bread pudding. Store in refrigerator.
Makes 8 servings
Save some for breakfast too!
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Jazz singer Barbara Morrison has known highs and lows in her long career, the joy of making music with the all-time greats, and the devastating pain of diabetes. A professional musician who spends 150-200 nights a year on the road, Morrison helps her students at UCLA to balance their career dreams with the physical toll performance can take. Having lost the use of her legs, Morrison says she’s found a way to “sing from my core.” Morrison is a guest artist at this weekend’s Sitka Jazz Festival. With KCAW’s Holly Keen.
Lawyers on either side of a lawsuit against the City of Sitka made arguments in a case dealing with a measure that would require voter approval before the city sells or leases land at the site of a former pulp mill.
The group Sitkans for Responsible Government circulated a petition in 2008. Their initiative would have required a vote before the city disposed of property at what is now known as Sawmill Cove Industrial Park.
But the city wouldn’t certify the initiative, and so the petition’s backers, Mike Litman and Jeff Farvour, sued. The case made its way up to the Alaska Supreme Court, which ruled on certain issues in the case, deciding in favor of the petition backers. The Supreme Court sent the case back to the Superior Court for another look.
And so, Friday’s hearing.
Lawyer Michael Gatti, arguing for the city, said one of the main issues is that the initiative would allow voters to make an appropriation. That power is reserved for the Assembly. By giving voters the ability to essentially veto a project at Sawmill Cove Industrial Park, the initiative would let them divert money away from the park. That’s an appropriation, Gatti argued.
He cited a case in Kenai, where the court said voters cannot use the initiative process to control money.
Joe Geldhof, representing Farvour and Litman, disagreed that the initiative proposed by his clients would make any appropriations. He said Sitka’s codes already require voter approval for the sale or lease of property over a certain amount, and that all his clients wanted to do was remove the exemption for the industrial park.
The hearing comes a day after Superior Court Judge David George granted a motion by Geldholf to strike the city’s argument that his client’s petition was confusing and misleading. He said the Supreme Court explicitly said it wasn’t, and that the matter should not be part of the current arguments.
In court on Friday, George asked questions of both attorneys but did not issue a ruling on the entire case. He says he’ll take the matter under advisement and rule later. The hearing lasted about 90 minutes.
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Visiting seismologist says Queen Charlotte fault remains one of the most active. Assembly decides to interview 2 attorney candidates, but without administrator’s help. House Transportation Committee grills Kemp on Alaska-class ferry during confirmation hearing.
The Petersburg Assembly will try again to move ahead with a borough-wide bed tax during a regular meeting which starts at noon on Monday. The four percent tax on hotel rooms and other accommodation has long been in place within the former city boundaries. The ordinance would extend it borough-wide. It includes a special provision for businesses that offer the room as part of a combined-package along with meals and fishing. Rather than charging the room tax on the whole bill, the bed tax would only have applied to 30 percent of the package price. However, the assembly voted down the ordinance last month in response to concern from a local lodge owner, who said the actual room was a much smaller part of the bill that guests pay. The new version of the ordinance would apply the room tax to just 15 percent of the package price instead. It’s up for a vote in first reading Monday.
The assembly will take a final vote on extending Petersburg’s six-percent sales tax borough-wide. The measure passed unanimously in the first two readings with no comments from the assembly or the public last month.
In other business, the Assembly will consider having the Alaska Department of Natural Resources temporarily retain planning and platting authority for most areas of the borough that are outside the former city limits. That’s at least until after the borough appoints a planning commission, which currently has no members. The decision would not apply to the City of Kupreanof, which retains its own, separate planning authority under borough charter.
Monday’s agenda also includes a resolution against genetically-modified salmon. The U-S Food and Drug Administration is poised to approve the application of a Massachusetts company which wants to produce the animals for human consumption. FDA’s preliminary finding is that the plan would not have a significant impact on the U.S. environment. The assembly’s proposed resolution challenges that finding with a variety of environmental, economic and human health concerns.
In other issues:
- The Assembly will approve a process for deciding whether to retain or disband various advisory boards and committees that were in place under city government.
- Assembly members will consider endorsing a Department of Fish and Game budget request for more salmon stream survey funding.
-They’ll review a plan to replace the Mountain View Manor van.
-The Assembly will also consider sending a letter of support for state funding to help Petersburg Mental Health Services buy and renovate a building to serve as its new facility.
-And they’ll discuss a Federal Highway Administration invitation for the Borough to participate in the planning process for a proposed road and ferry between Petersburg to Kake.
At the end of the meeting, the Assembly is scheduled to have a closed-door executive session about contract negotiations with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
For the first time, the regular assembly meeting will take place during the day instead of the evening. That’s part of an effort to make the meetings more accessible to borough residents who live further away. The assembly convenes at noon Monday. KFSK will broadcast it live.
There’s some competition for the two vacant seats on Petersburg’s Borough Assembly. At least three people have submitted letters of interest for an appointment.
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All three applicants reside or own property outside Petersburg’s previous boundaries.
In her letter of interest, Cindi Lagoudakis highlights her community service work with KFSK Radio, The Alaska Native Sisterhood, Sons of Norway and the Petersburg Arts Council….as well as previous experience serving on a local advisory boards and commissions in Alaska and Oregon. Lagoudakis says she’s hoping to serve on the Petersburg Assembly because she likes giving back to the community:
“I’m involved in other organizations around town and certainly have an interest in seeing Petersburg broaden and strengthen its economy. As the economy changes, I want to see us be successful as a community. And also to serve all public’s both folks in town, out of town, all economic stratum and backgrounds. I think that there are some upcoming issues with infrastructure maintenance, and energy and issues for seniors that are really going to take our attention.”
Lagoudakis recently retired from a 26 year career with the Forest Service. She and her husband Bill Tremblay live on Mitkof Highway, just beyond the former city limits.
Lagoudakis voted for borough formation but she’s sympathetic with the concerns raised by some opponents:
“I understand the issues of the folks who live far away and really don’t see themselves benefiting from city services in a city or a borough. That being said, I do feel like the majority of us are here because Petersburg was here and offered things like library and schools and other infrastructure that made our lives comfortable and provided an economy that helped us have jobs and also a social life where we could interact with other people as well as easy access to the great outdoors.”
According to Lagoudakis, the Assembly needs to continue the conversation with residents in newly-incorporated areas and consider ways to provide them with more access to services.
Another assembly hopeful, Jeigh Stanton-Gregor, is a mental health counselor and a commercial fishing deckhand in the summer. He and his wife Lea own True North Counseling and Consultation in Petersburg. They’ve been living in town for the past couple of years but Stanton-Gregor says their home is down the Wrangell Narrows near Keene Channel. They plan to move back there at the end of May.
Along with private practice, Stanton-Gregor has also been an aid in the local Elementary school. He sees service on the Assembly as another chance to be of use to the community:
“And I think I do have a good perspective living with a primary residence down near Keene Channel and also having a business in town. So I hope to be able to bridge some of the gap between people outside the city limits in the new borough and the community at large.”
Stanton-Gregor voted against borough formation, but he says that’s the democratic process. He doesn’t dwell on the past. Rather he wants to see everyone work together:
“I mean at this point, the borough ‘is’. It’s done. It is here. I think it is important to move forward as a team. I think some of the more outspoken people outside the city limits in the new borough, they just want to be heard, just like any of us. Whether it’s in town or outside of town, it’s important to have those concerns heard because a lot of them are really valid. A lot of those concerns involve overspending of taxpayer dollars and those are valid concerns to have as a community member.”
Looking ahead, Stanton-Gregor says economic development is of critical importance to Petersburg:
“And I know it’s not a new issue, but this has been a shrinking community and I think it is important to bring younger, professional people to this community so that it can have more diverse income streams.”
The vacant assembly seats also prompted a letter of interest from Jerry Laubhan, a retiree who served 20-years in the Air Force. Laubhan and his wife Dona live in downtown Petersburg, but they also own property on Kupreanof which they previously called home for about nine years.
Laubhan says he could devote as much time as needed to serve the people of the borough:
“I feel like I’ve got an awful lot of time and I’m abjectly honest and I think I could bring an awful lot to the table as far as representing constituents and not being influenced by monetary gain.”
Laubhan says he is fiscally conservative. When the Assembly spends money, he says it should look at the return:
“Always look at the return. If it doesn’t make us any money, then it should be on the back burner, pretty much. Things should pay their way. They should improve our quality of life and our infrastructure to where people would actually say that this is a great place to live and we’ve got everything we need.”
Laubhan notes in his letter that he had been in the no-borough camp. He didn’t see any economic advantage to it. He says that appointing him could be seen as the assembly’s desire to fairly represent all segments of the borough population.
He says he’d like to see unity in the borough overall. He thinks the municipality needs to be more inclusive of everyone and their interests within the newly-expanded boundaries.
“And kind of get rid of the stigma that Petersburg has of being one-sided or stand-offish. It takes people a long time, seemingly to me, to break into this society. I know people who have been here 40 years that say they’re still not accepted.”
The Borough Assembly plans to make the appointments to its two vacant seats during a regular meeting on February 19th. The Assembly will also make appointments to vacant seats on the Planning commission and the Hospital Board. Residents who would like to serve on the Assembly, planning commission or hospital board can submit letters until 10 am on Thursday, February 14th.
For more than 30 years, the Mountain View Food Program has helped provide affordable meals to senior citizens in Petersburg. With support from state and local funding, the program serves dinner three nights a week at Mountain View Manor elderly housing and also delivers to residents around the community. Now, the non-profit’s board is hoping to create a scrapbook to document the organization’s history. President Jeanie Norheim and Secretary Sally Dwyer are asking for help from anyone who might have old photos, stories or other memorabilia from the program over the years. They recently spoke with Matt Lichtenstein: Click here for mobile-friendly mp3
Bill Elberson from the Ketchikan Running Group joined us to talk about training for the upcoming Totem to Totem marathon in May. billelberson2113
Testimony on Republican Gov. Sean Parnell’s oil production tax reform bill Thursday, as heard by the Senate Special Committee on Trans-Alaska Pipeline System Throughput, was overwhelmingly against the proposal, with many members of the public saying they believe the envisioned changes to the ACES tax regime will benefit major oil companies at Alaskans’ expense.
Testimony Thursday was open to residents of Southeast Alaska, as well as coastal communities on the Kenai Peninsula, Kodiak Island, Prince William Sound and the Bering Sea. A couple of Anchorage residents also testified.
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Three-time Grammy-winning saxophonist, composer, and arranger Tom Scott grew up in a musical household. His father was a much sought-after composer for television scores, for shows like “Lassie.” He’s carried that legacy forward, writing for shows like “Starsky and Hutch” and the “Streets of San Francisco.” He’s also recorded with George Harrison, Paul McCartney, the Grateful Dead, and many other top acts. He’ll be performing this weekend at the Sitka Jazz Festival. With KCAW’s Chris Todd.
The Petersburg Indian Association has re-hired Bruce Jones as tribal administrator.
The PIA tribal council fired Jones in October a little more than two months after they had first hired him. At the time, Jones said he tried to fire an employee and the council did not support that decision. The membership of the tribal council has changed since then, following elections in January and one appointment to fill a vacant seat.
Jones starts up work again on Monday, February 4th. “It’s a good thing” Jones said. “You know my reasons for taking the job originally hasn’t changed. I see a lot of potential for partnering with the community and getting tribal members to work just doing good things and that hasn’t changed. Excited to work with this new board. Met with them last night for a couple hours and they seemed to be wanting to head down the right path and I’m willing to step in and be the leader and get that done.”
The tribal council has also decided to end the employment of a PIA grant writer Connie Bisson. In a radio commentary in January, Bisson identified herself as the employee Jones had tried to fire and alleged that action was against policy and procedures. Jones maintains that, as tribal administrator, he has responsibility for hiring and firing PIA employees. He said there may be other changes on the horizon for the PIA staff.
“I’m gonna probably rearrange some positions,” he said. “I wanna get a full-time finance person in place. We have an accountant there but I need somebody to take charge of that department along with HR and kind of spearhead those two activities. Currently we have a financial officer that works from out of Anchorage. I want somebody here full time to keep track of things.”
Jones has agreed to a four-year commitment with the PIA. He has a long career in local government. He formerly served as public works director, then city manager for Petersburg, then later as general manager of the Inter-Island Ferry Authority on Prince of Wales Island.
The PIA is the federally recognized tribal government that represents about 400 members in Petersburg. The organization offers numerous services for tribal members and the greater community. It’s been a rocky year and a half for the PIA, with numerous resignations among the tribal council and employees. Some of the disagreement has centered around the use of federal funding, the purchase and renovation of a local restaurant and personnel issues.
Tina Sakamoto was elected chair of the tribal council in January. Jeannette Ness, Skip Hallingstad and Melanie Frentz were also elected to the council. Mary Ann Rainey and Chris Lopez are continuing on the council and Mike Sheldon was appointed to fill a seat vacated by Derek Lopez.
The Sitka Assembly will interview two of the 12 applicants for municipal attorney: Allen Bell, of Sitka, and Wasilla lawyer Robin Koutchak.
Bell has been staff attorney to the Sitka Tribe of Alaska since late 2011, and, although new to the Alaska bar, has more than 30 years of legal experience. Most of that was spent in Illinois, in two rural counties on the state’s east side. He’s a 1980 graduate of the Indianapolis Law School of Indiana University.
Koutchak has less total time as a lawyer, but more experience in Alaska. She’s currently in private practice in Wasilla. She moved to the state in 1992 after earning a law degree at the Detroit College of Law at Michigan State University. She’s been assistant attorney for the North Slope Borough, assistant attorney general and assistant district attorney for the state of Alaska out of Barrow, and has extensive private practice work on her resume.
The Assembly asked former municipal attorney Cliff Groh to review their applications, and three others. But one voice will be missing from the table: Sitka’s current administrator.
At a special meeting Wednesday night to begin the hiring process, Assembly members voted down a motion to include Municipal Administrator Jim Dinley in the discussion process. Mike Reif, who made the motion, was the only one to vote yes.
“Actually, it wasn’t just Mr. Dinley,” he said. “It’s actually a group of people.”
Reif said he didn’t feel qualified to hire a municipal attorney on his own. He said it’s important to know how an attorney will work with the administrator, the public, and city staff.
“And I wanted to get those kind of voices on there so I could have those sets of eyes evaluate what we had in front of us for applications, in saying, yes, these are the skills sets you need for this, this and this,” he said.
But Mayor Mim McConnell says Assembly members have a good reason for not inviting Dinley into the talks.
“The administrator and attorney positions are equal positions on the city flow chart,” McConnell said. “They’re both employees of the Assembly, and one does not have authority over the other.”
By charter, only the Assembly hires the attorney. But McConnell says Dinley’s voice, and the voices of other city staff, will still be heard.
“The administrator and department heads and any member of the public will have the opportunity, when this gets voted on, to give their input about these people,” she said.
Thor Christianson added that it could also be awkward if the Assembly hired someone that city staff publicly recommended against, and then they had to work together.
John Stein was Sitka’s municipal administrator when the Assembly hired Theresa Hillhouse in 2005.
“I think I had an opportunity to make input during the interviews, but the Assembly made the decision,” Stein said.
Stein says in a lot of other municipalities, the attorney works as part of the staff, under the administrator’s supervision.
“And it’s interesting here,” he said of Sitka’s system. “It sort of provides a check-and-balance between the Assembly and the administration.”
But the administrator and the attorney aren’t necessarily adversaries, either. Stein says he had a good working relationship with both Theresa Hillhouse and her predecessor, Cliff Groh.
“And I think that’s important to have,” he said. “But it’s really the Assembly’s decision.”
Dinley came to Wednesday night’s meeting and sat in the audience for about an hour. Reached by phone on Thursday, he said the charter is pretty clear about who hires the attorney. Asked if he wanted a stronger voice in the process, he said, “I don’t think that’s my call.”
The Assembly, meanwhile, is moving quickly. In-person interviews are scheduled for February 8th.
McConnell says ideally, the Assembly could make the hire before Hillhouse leaves the job March 1. Hillhouse will stay on for four months at half her salary to aid in a transition.
But McConnell and other Assembly members also seemed to agree Wednesday night that if none of the candidates are what they’re looking for, they’ll keep looking.
Said Assembly member Matt Hunter: “Paying an outside attorney for six months is still better than hiring someone we don’t want.”
Recommendations from the school district’s Indian Policy and Procedures Committee were largely accepted by the Ketchikan School Board on Wednesday.
The recommendations were developed by the committee with input from members of the public. They call for district officials to meet quarterly with local Native representatives to assess education opportunities for Native students. They also call for an increase in the amount of Alaska Native culture taught in the schools, including celebration of National Native Heritage Month each November.
Board President Ginny Clay said she supports more Native culture in the schools.
“One of the points was about greater emphasis on celebrating and observing National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month,” she said. “One of the suggestions was the celebrating part would come from the schools, they would be doing that. And then the observing part would come from the School Board: easy fix. It’s an easy thing. And I appreciate that a lot of these things are easy.”
Additional recommendations include cultural training for school staff, regular discussion of Native education by the School Board, and research into different instruction methods for Native children. The only item the board was reluctant to implement was adding a standing discussion item to the agenda.
During public comment, James Llanos spoke to the board in favor of the recommendations.
“I have 28 grandkids in your school. I have 13 great-grandkids in your school. My slow walk up here wasn’t for dramatics. It’s because I’m slowing down. But I’m still going to fight for my kids,” he said.
He noted that last year, a Native student tried putting up posters in celebration of Elizabeth Peratrovich Day, which celebrates Native civil rights in Alaska. The student was told to remove them, and Llanos said the student felt her culture was not appreciated.
Also Wednesday, the board talked at length about the district’s budget process. Superintendent Robert Boyle said that the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly anticipates a tighter budget next year. Part of that stems from the push to cut the national budget, which means Congress is expected to cut federal Secure Rural Schools funds.
So, borough officials told Boyle to expect a local contribution of about $7.7 million, which is about $600,000 less than the current school year. He said that kind of cut would be painful for local schools.
“One would be a cut of our preschool program. That’s outside of our K-6 requirements, so I have to put that on the table,” he said. “It would require us cutting one elementary teacher, one middle school teacher, one Kayhi teacher, Fast Track, one maintenance worker and we’re already down and they’re taxed at this time, and then cut into our supplies which would include our technology budgets.”
A local contribution of $8.3 million would maintain the status quo.
Board Member Stephen Bradford said the School Board has an obligation to build a budget that serves the needs of the district. The Assembly then has 30 days to approve or reject the budget as presented.
“And during that time, we would have the opportunity to discuss with them why we think that’s the appropriate amount,” he said. “It would be a time for the citizens to either reflect that we agree with the School Board, you should be funding at that level, or they can call the Assembly members and say don’t fund anything to that school district.”
The board encouraged public participation in the district budget process. The first special budget meeting is Thursday, starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Ketchikan High School library. A second meeting is 1 p.m. Saturday at the school district central office.
The board met in executive session at the end of Wednesday’s meeting to discuss the superintendent’s evaluation. Following the closed-door session, Clay announced that the board gave direction and that Board Member Bradford will meet with Boyle.
The next regular School Board meeting is Feb. 13.
The House Economic Development, Trade and Tourism Committee unanimously moved a resolution out of committee Thursday that would call on Gov. Sean Parnell to create a state food resource development working group.
Rep. Bill Stoltze, R-Chugiak, who introduced the resolution, said he wants to bring together state agencies who dabble in food system-related issues — nutrition programs, research, ecology and beyond — and establish a “point person” in the governor’s office for a coordinated approach to Alaska’s food system.
Josh Wheeler, Masato Lee, and Sean Gill (left to right) play an Irish ballad, “Star of the County Down,” on Lincoln Street in Sitka on Wed., Jan. 30. (Video by Anne Brice/KCAW)
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Early morning aftershock wakens SE residents. Centennial canoe gets a lift during parking lot reconstruction. SE conservation organization launches marketing campaign — for timber. Phone scammers target elderly in Sitka, Petersburg, and other SE communities. Democrats propose pegging school funding to inflation.
2012 was another year of population growth in Southeast Alaska. In fact, the numbers of people living in the region reached an all-time high.
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The Department of Labor estimates the state’s population has grown by a little more than three percent in the past two years, gaining more than 22-thousand people. In the Southeast region, the growth rate was closer to four percent. Southeast gained nearly 28-hundred people over that time.
“Southeast has been gaining population over the past couple of years,” said state demographer Eddie Hunsinger. “This last year, ’11-12, there wasn’t as much gain as there was between ’10-11. But they have been having some population gains and they’ve been gaining in the past year and that’s more than they did at all over the previous decade, the 2000s, many of the Southeast region communities lost population. So any of the gains are a little bit different then we’ve seen in the previous decade.”
The estimate for Southeast is 74,423 people. That’s the highest it’s ever been. The region’s largest population growth has been in the city and borough of Juneau, which gained more than 15-hundred people in the past two years. The increases are attributed to natural growth, more births than deaths, as well as new people moving into Southeast.
Hunsinger notes the gains are not limited to just the largest communities. “Well Hoonah Angoon had a little bit more growth than they did, between 11 and 12 than they did between 10 and 11,” he said. “Most of the boroughs and census areas in Southeast Alaska, sort of the subparts of the region still gained between 11 and 12 but not quite as much as 10 and 11.”
The Haines borough gained 112 people in the past two years. Ketchikan’s borough gained 461 people. The Prince of Wales and Hyder census area increased by 212. The city and borough of Sitka is up 203 people and Wrangell’s borough increased by 79 in that time. The Petersburg census area, which includes Petersburg Kake and Kupreanof increased 122 people in two years. The only areas seeing declines in the past two years were Skagway and Yakutat.
Meilani Schijvens with the Juneau-based consulting firm Sheinberg Associates pointed out the region’s numbers have been rising since 2007. “The story that has been told about Southeast Alaska is that we’ve been, we’re having downward trends, we’re losing population. And when you look at the numbers now you see that’s not true anymore,” Schijvens said. “We ended that in 2007 and 2012 was our top population year ever in the history of the region. If you’re looking at the numbers as a whole, it really tells a different story of what we are now and where we’re headed as a region now.”
The late 90s and early 2000s saw a loss of timber jobs in Southeast, falling salmon prices and other economic factors combined to drop the region’s population. Schijvens said several factors have reversed that trend including record high prices for minerals, the opening of the Kensington mine and other mining exploration has boosted employment opportunities in Southeast.
She also pointed out Alaska is enjoying a relatively low unemployment rate compared to the rest of the country. “When we have difficult times with the economy nationwide people come to Alaska looking for jobs,” Schijvens said. “And really what we see in terms of that in-migration is that half of that in-migration are coming from out of state. And if we kind of dig into who those people are using the American community survey we see that on average those arriving from out of state tend to be young, single and highly educated and really not finding employment opportunities down south and so moving up here. So those lower unemployment rates definitely help us in terms of being able to attract people to the region.”
Schijvens believes the region’s population growth will slow because of housing shortages in some communities for the new arrivals, an improving national economy and uncertain future for mineral prices.
Sheinberg Associates publishes a report on economic and population trends called Southeast by the Numbers, for the Southeast Conference, a group of communities and businesses.
“Well I think the opportunity in Southeast Alaska is coming around again,” said Shelly Wright, the regional organization’s executive director. “We have a lot of opportunity in the fishing industry, the mining industry is certainly on the upswing. I think there’s a desire for people to come home to be part of the community they came from and I think people are finding ways to do that.”
The Department of Labor’s estimates are based on a count of permanent fund dividend applications and other data.
While the Petersburg census area is up as a whole, the population within the former city limits actually decreased in 2012, down 24 people from the year before. The state’s estimate for 2012 is 2,972 for the old city of Petersburg.
Ralph Beardsworth from the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Board of Education. educationreport1312013
Planning is underway for the reconstruction of Haugen Drive in Petersburg, along with an extension of the bike path from Petersburg’s airport.
The state Department of Transportation plans to use $3.5 million in federal funding to resurface the roadway and sidewalks.
“We’re going to be doing a pavement and sidewalk rehabilitation on Haugen Drive, basically from Nordic Drive all the way to Eighth Street,” said Keith Karpstein project manager with the DOT. “We’re also going to be doing a pavement rehab from the airport to Sandy Beach road. The project also includes a sidewalk extension from Eighth Street all the way to Twelfth street on the north side of the road and also a sidewalk extension on the south side of the road from Eighth Street to connect to the existing path on the south side of the road.”
Also planned is a multi-use biking and walking path from the airport to Sandy Beach. It’s an extension of the existing walkway that follows the road up to the airport. Karpstein says the new section of the planned path mostly follows the existing roadway. “There is a portion that’s going to be offset from the road quite a bit,” he said. “It’ll be a couple hundred feet north of the road directly across from the airport terminal. The reason for that is we’re trying to follow the alignment of the future Haugen Drive which is the ultimate airport plan is going to push Haugen Drive out aways and then reconstruct the airport parking area, etc., etc. So what we’re trying to do is put that path in a location that’ll work with the future alignment of Haugen Drive.”
The project is currently in its scoping phase as DOT gathers input from other government agencies and the public. Karpstein says the DOT hopes to complete the environmental review for the project by the end of this year and final design work next year. Construction is expected to happen in 2015.
The DOT also plans a separate $3.7 million project on Nordic Drive with pavement rehabilitation and drainage work from Haugen Drive to the ferry terminal. That work is scheduled to happen before the Haugen Drive project and could be advertised later this year.
Many Sitka residents felt an earthquake just before 1 a.m. Thursday.
The quake did not set off any tsunami alerts, and the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer reported shortly afterward that there is NO tsunami danger.
The tsunami warning center put the magnitude at 5.5, but the U.S. Geological Survey reported it at 6.0.
Thursday’s shaking comes about a month after a larger 7.5 magnitude quake that put the entire panhandle under a tsunami warning. In that instance, minimal changes in sea level were reported.