Ruth Moody will be giving a free vocal workshop this Sunday at the AB Hall in Skagway. This...
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 email@example.com. 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
ANCHORAGE — A month after a nearly 200-foot communications tower fell near Willow, a Matanuska-Susitna Borough committee is preparing to recommend new regulations for oversight of tall towers.
The five-member Tall Towers Advisory Committee is considering draft language that would require companies to notify property owners within 600 feet of a new tower before they begin construction, the Anchorage Daily News reported (http://bit.ly/1aIc4HS). The company could build the tower 30 days later.
Search officials in Sitka confirmed that the body of 19-year-old Scott Falzerano, Jr., was located this morning at about 9:25 AM, near the Indian River Trail.
Falzerano’s family reported him missing on Tuesday, and teams had searched the Indian River Valley for the past three days.
The Sitka police said that Falzerano appears to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The case has been referred to the medical examiner for confirmation, and the police are conducting an investigation.
Falzerano was found by a canine team from Sitka Mountain Rescue, according to search and rescue captain Don Kluting. Search dogs had signaled an “alert” on his scent late yesterday (Thu 11-14-13), but the search was called off due to darkness and weather. Teams returned to the area this morning (Fri 11-15-13) and located Falzerano within about 20 minutes.
Earlier in the week, search teams had traveled much farther up Indian River valley, covering a lot of ground in the hope that Falzerano was perhaps injured and able to respond. But as the week wore on, the search focused closer to town, and to the site where Falzerano had last been seen on Monday afternoon: on Sawmill Creek Road near Indian River Road.
“There’s data that’s compiled nationwide, worldwide, that shows that 90% of [such] cases will be found within 1.5mi of point last seen,” Kluting said. “So we were able to apply that, and use that as a factor to determine our search area. And those segments aren’t easy segments, you know, we’re talking dense underbrush and the canopy, literally in places where you can’t see your hand in front of your face. So the searchers were really faced with a difficult task and did a phenomenal job.”
Falzerano was found near the intersection of the Indian River Trail and Cross Trail.
Kluting estimated that over the course of the week, nearly a hundred people took part in the search, including personnel from the Coast Guard, Forest Service, Park Service, State Troopers, Red Cross, and Sitka police and fire departments – as well as Falzerano’s family and friends.
“I’m happy to say that at the end of the day we were able to bring some closure for the family, and bring Scott home,” Kluting said. “But unfortunately it’s not the outcome we were hoping for.”
Falzerano graduated from Sitka High School in 2012. His parents and siblings live in Sitka.
Ketchikan City Manager Karl Amylon wants to sell the Whitman Lake hydroelectric dam project to the Southeast Alaska Power Agency.
In a memo to the City Council, Amylon writes that the idea makes sense because under the existing power-sales agreement between the city and SEAPA, the city must purchase hydroelectric power from SEAPA first. It’s only if that power isn’t available that the city then could turn to a new power source such as Whitman.
If the city used Whitman power first, it would have to to reimburse SEAPA, and Amylon writes that could cost the city up to $544,000 a year.
The 4.6 megawatt Whitman project is under construction now by the city-owned Ketchikan Public Utilities. Amylon wants to propose selling the project to SEAPA for $22.3 million. That would allow the city to recover all local expenses, including a $2.5 million grant from the Ketchikan Gateway Borough. The proposed sale price would not include $12.5 million in state grant funds.
If city and SEAPA officials are able to come to an agreement, the actual sale won’t be able to take place until after the city has paid off the bonds for the project. Amylon proposes that SEAPA lease the dam for about $1 million a year starting in 2015, until the bond debt is paid off in 2023. That lease agreement would cover the annual bond payment for the city.
After 2023, SEAPA could exercise its option to buy.
SEAPA owns the two hydroelectric facilities at Swan Lake and Tyee Lake, as well as the intertie that connects the two projects. They serve the power needs of the three communities, with Swan primarily sending its power to Ketchikan, and Tyee providing electricity for Petersburg and Wrangell. The intertie allows surplus power to be sent back and forth as needed.
Amylon has asked the City Council to give him permission to make the proposal to SEAPA. The Council will consider the request during its regular meeting on Thursday.
This week From the Vault presents two interviews from 1996 and 1997 with longtime Sitkan Warren Christianson who built a 46 foot schooner in Ohio and sailed it from there to Sitka. Really. The first interview is about his early life and military service and the second focuses on his sailboat odyssey that began on Big Walnut Creek, Ohio and ended in Sitka. You can hear the programs below, or listen Sunday Morning at 11am.
One of the wettest cities in Alaska is getting an expensive new rain gauge. Ketchikan is moving forward with an innovative, artistic and somewhat controversial proposal from two Dutch designers who specialize in kinetic art projects.
Ketchikan has a love-hate relationship with rain. We love the forest, the streams, the lakes and the fish that rely on our abundant precipitation; but we hate the mold, incessant gray days and our dependence on Gore-tex.
The city averages about 150 inches of rain annually, and has approached 200 in recent memory. It seems only fitting that we have a public rain gauge to measure — and show off — how much precipitation we get each year.
With that in mind, the city put out a request for proposals with a $100,000 cost limit, and handed the selection responsibilities over to Ketchikan Public Art Works, or KPAW, a group affiliated with the local arts council that focuses on public art. That committee recruited a cross-section of residents to review proposals and make a recommendation.
Glen Thompson, one of the panel members, spoke during a recent Ketchikan City Council meeting about the selection process.
“There was about 15-20 of us in a room looking at 31 different pieces of art,” he said. “It took us the better part of the day. We went through quite an arduous process in filtering down, and we think we came up with a pretty good selection for you this evening. The piece has elements of Ketchikan’s mechanical history, it’s visual, it’s interactive, it’s historical. I think it’s really unique.”
The piece features three rows of Plexiglas bottles. The top has seven bottles, one for each day of the week.
“So people will be able to see, each day of the week, how much rain we get,” explained Kathleen Light of the arts council. “From the end of the week, the bottles will then drain into the month. So if it’s October, there’ll be lots of rain. If it’s June, maybe not so much. At the end of the year, all the months will drain into the bottle on the bottom, and that’ll be the cumulative total of the rain of that year.”
Thin copper wires wrap around the outside of each bottle, marking the inches, and those wires are heated so the water inside doesn’t freeze during cold snaps.
During that Council meeting, about a half-dozen people spoke in support of the selected piece. Local artist Dave Rubin served on the selection panel, and he has some experience from the other side, too. He was the primary artist behind “The Rock,” a popular multi-figured bronze sculpture that sits on the dock, and went through a similar selection process.
Rubin said the rain gauge will spark conversation, and it has already.
“The first time I saw it, I was ‘What is that?’” he said. “And I think that’s how Ketchikan is. Another thing about the character of Ketchikan is: We are different. People are going to look at this and go, ‘I’ve never seen anything like that before.’ Hopefully they say that about Ketchikan. It’s a unique little place. Not like nowhere else.”
The City Council was divided in its support for the rain gauge, and the recommendation squeaked past after a 3-3 vote. Mayor Lew Williams III broke the tie, voting in favor of the project.
A big complaint among those who voted no was the approximately $95,000 price tag. But the $100,000 limit was set by the Council, and Williams noted that funding will come from the city’s share of the state cruise passenger head tax. The justification is that the gauge is an attraction for visitors, and will sit prominently on the downtown cruise ship dock next to the visitor center.
There has been a nonfunctioning rain gauge on the dock for many years, greeting tourists
and providing limited information about Ketchikan’s weather. The simple sign claims that it was “busted” in 1949, when Ketchikan hit 202.44 inches.
Speaking of busted, some on the Council said they worry about maintenance, and potential vandalism with the new gauge.
Council Member Bob Sivertsen said, “I have concerns about motors and heaters and sanitation issues. I don’t want to build maintenance into this piece of art just for the name of art.”
Andy Donato, systems engineer with Ketchikan Public Utilities Electric Division, said that KPU can maintain it, although he has some suggestions for the artists to improve its durability.
Light from the arts council noted that the artists are willing to consider suggestions.
But Sivertsen had another, more subjective complaint: “I don’t profess to say a lot about art, but I know what I like and what I don’t like, and I really quite frankly don’t like this.”
While she didn’t speak to the Council on the topic, local resident Candy Peterson agrees with Sivertsen. She launched a mini-campaign on Facebook in opposition to the recommended design. And a big part of her complaint is the piece is by non-local artists.
“I don’t oppose the price of it,” she said in a separate interview. “It’s art and that’s a hard thing to judge, but I do oppose it being outsourced to Holland.”
Peterson opposed the piece before seeing the design, and then after getting a look at it, she still didn’t like it. She said it doesn’t reflect the town, and she doesn’t believe tourists will appreciate the new gauge.
“They want to see Alaska,” she said. “They want that Alaskan experience. That’s what they’re looking for. They want to see eagles. They want to go on tours that show them eagles. They want the excitement of the lumberjacks of old. They’re not looking for art from Holland.”
Peterson also echoed concerns about durability, and whether the bottles will end up growing algae.
Light told the Council that a local biologist who specializes in algae is working on a way to restrict growth in the bottles. And the small amount of algae killer that could be added shouldn’t skew the community’s rainfall totals.
City managers still need to negotiate a formal contract with the artists, Jennifer Townley and Bette Adriaanse. That contract will come back to the Council for another vote.
Recent public art projects paid for by the city include Dave Rubin’s monument, $200,000; the Yeltatzie Salmon on the creek by Terry Pyles, $62,750; and various pieces at the new library, $67,900.
In addition, Nathan Jackson was just hired by the city to carve a replacement for his Thundering Wings totem on Front Street downtown at a cost of $50,000.
Search officials in Sitka confirm that the body of 19 year old Scotty Falzerano Jr. was located this morning at about 9:25 AM, near the Indian River Trail. Search dogs late yesterday (Thu 11-14-13) alerted to the possible presence of a body; teams returned to the primary area of search this morning and located Falzerano in about 20 minutes, according to SAR captain Don Kluting.
Many of Falzerano’s family had traveled to Sitka to aid in the search, which has been underway since Tuesday. Shortly after 1 PM this afternoon, Sitka police confirmed that Falzerano appeared to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot would.
Raven News will have more details tonight at 5:19 PM.
The state of Alaska is offering free flu vaccinations for anyone whose insurance doesn’t cover it. The decision is part of a statewide effort to encourage more people to go get vaccinated.
Penny Lehmann is a nurse at Sitka’s Public Health Center, and right now, she has a needle in her hand.
PL: And this is the vaccine you’ll be getting today. Just sit back and relax this arm…
Like many people in relatively good health, I don’t normally get a flu shot – and that’s despite the series of text messages each fall from my dad, reminding me to get vaccinated. But this year, Alaska announced that it would offer flu vaccinations for free to anyone whose health insurance doesn’t cover it. So I figured, why not?
This fall, the state is hoping that a lot more people will make that calculation.
Greg Wilkinson is a spokesman for the state Department of Health and Social Services.
“We want to make sure that as many people as possible can get the flu vaccine,” Wilkinson said. “So if that $28 administration fee is standing between them and a flu vaccine, we’re happy to waive it.”
Alaska has always provided the actual vaccine itself for free to those who qualify, but in the past there was a $28 administration fee. The state is now waiving that fee. That means that if your health insurance doesn’t cover the full cost of a vaccination, you can get a free one at any state public health center.
“If you don’t have health insurance, if your health insurance doesn’t cover vaccines, if you’ve not met your deductible or copay for vaccines, or if you don’t even know if your health insurance covers vaccines, then come on in,” Wilkinson said. “We’ll use the state supplied vaccine and get a flu shot for free.”
Children under the age of three can also receive the vaccine for free, whether they have health insurance or not.
The state decided to encourage more people to get vaccinated after a patient in Anchorage died of what doctors initially suspected was influenza, though later testing actually ruled out the flu. But the scare made health officials extra cautious — even though, so far, there have been fewer confirmed cases of the flu this year than last, according to Wilkinson.
For most healthy adults, the flu usually means a lousy week and maybe a couple days in bed. But children, pregnant women, and older adults are more vulnerable. And infants under six months can’t be vaccinated. Sitka’s Penny Lehmann says that’s why she encourages everyone to get vaccinated.
“We want to make sure that anybody who is in contact with an infants are immunized,” Lehmann said. “It’s very very important, it’s called cocooning. So it’s good for them to be protected, but it’s good as a community health or public health responsibility for everyone to be immunized, because then you’re protecting those who can’t be.”
Public health centers even offer a choice between a flu shot, and a nasal spray. I was feeling tough, so I chose the shot.
LH: Just hold your muscle…and you are done!
RW: That didn’t even hurt.
LH: Good. We practice every day.
Gov. Sean Parnell announced Friday that Alaska will not participate in Medicaid expansion. Instead, he plans to create an advisory group to reform Medicaid in Alaska.
"I believe a costly Medicaid expansion, especially on top of the broken Obamacare system is a hot mess," Parnell said. "The president knows that."
The expansion would have allowed anyone with an income of up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level to qualify for Medicaid. A single person in Alaska making $18,580 or less would've qualified, or $38,330 for a family of four.
Listen to iFriendly audio.
State waives fee for flu vaccine at Public Health Centers. AEA wind maps spark interest at Sitka meeting. Winter king salmon fishing best in two decades. Sen. Begich signs on Democratic legislation to Obamacare fix.
The Prince of Wales Island Community Advisory Committee meets Tuesday, and on the agenda is a discussion with Ketchikan Gateway Borough officials about issues of mutual concern.
Assistant Borough Manager Cynna Gubatayao, Planning Commission Member John Harrington and Planning Department Clerk Alethea Johnson will fly to the big island that morning. One of the potential topics is a proposed tax-free initiative for POW residents who come to Ketchikan to shop.
The borough attorney has said that proposal would not be fair to residents of other nearby islands, including Metlakatla.
Other possible discussions include mariculture, mining, tourism, locally sourced food, education funding, shipping, energy and Forest Service policies. According to a memo from Harrington, the Borough Assembly has invited POW officials to visit Ketchikan, as well.
Also Tuesday, POWCAC members will consider a resolution setting transportation priorities for 2014. The priorities include improvements to various roads, as well as construction of roads to access Reynolds Creek, Niblack and Bokan Mountain mine sites.
The advisory group also will continue consideration of a borough formation study.
The POWCAC meeting starts at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Hollis Fire Hall.
Together For a Meth-Free Sitka, an initiative chosen at this year’s Sitka Health Summit, met for only the second time Tuesday night (11-12-13), and has already won state support.
Kate Burkhart, the executive director of the Alaska Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, attended the meeting.
So I’m here tonight, just to kind of be a resource. And as you continue your process, if there are ways that the board or department can support your process, and help you achieve whatever goals you set. That’s what I’m here for.
The task force is still in its organizational stage. Four subgroups have been created: law enforcement, prevention, education, and media. Prior to Tuesday’s meeting, groups met separately to outline concrete steps the community could take to address methamphetamine addiction.
Ray Majeski was the spokesperson for the law enforcement group.
“We have four fewer people today on the police department than we had 28 years ago and the problems in Sitka have not diminished in 28 years. If anything they’ve been magnified somewhat,” said Majeski.
Donna Callistini spoke on behalf of the prevention group, whose top goal is to develop a detox facility in Sitka. Her concerns were shared by task force member Eileen Gallagher, who has a masters degree in trauma and addiction.
Gallagher said, “that’s one of the things about methamphetamine. It demands, not requires, it demands that any treatment has to be very structured and it has to be long. One of the things that Sitka doesn’t have is an intensive outpatient program.”
The task force briefly considered changing its name, but no further action was taken on the issue. To learn more about the meetings and activities of what — for the time being — remains “Together for a Meth-Free Sitka,” visit facebook.com/methfreesitka.
Tribal citizens returned Benjamin Miyasato, Lawrence “Woody” Widmark, and Harvey Kitka to the Sitka Tribal Council, in elections held Tuesday (11-13-13). Former council member Thomas Gamble also won a seat. He last served in 2008.
Louise Brady and Stephanie Edenshaw were the runners-up, falling short by just a few votes. Despite having open voting at the Sheetka Kwan Community House for two weeks prior to election day, turnout was disappointingly low. While around 1,900 people in Sitka are eligible to vote in the council elections, Tribal officials estimate that only 140 people cast ballots to fill the four open seats.
Ben Miyasato, who will reclaim his seat as vice-chairman, received the most votes, with 107.
Miyasato says, “what surprised me was that the turnout was extremely low but at the same time that is sending a message that they’re not happy with their tribal government which is understandable given the financial difficulty they’re under. We hear your message.”
Also noting the low turnout, Gamble has this message for tribal citizens. “…I guess just this message to the tribal citizens that in order for positive change to happen their involvement is going to be requested continuously.”
The election results will be certified at the next council meeting on November 20th. The new terms for elected officials will begin December 1.
Sea cucumber fishing is winding down for commercial divers in Southeast Alaska. There is another opening Monday but the fleet is very close to reaching its overall quota and boats have begun calling it quits. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is reporting a catch of just over one-million, four-hundred and sixty-four thousand pounds to date.
“We have about a million and a half pounds harvested. That includes some areas that went over their GHL’s a little bit so there’s still approximately 70 thousand pounds in the Ketchikan area to be harvested and a little bit left in the Juneau area,” says Justin Breese, Assistant Area Management Biologist in Ketchikan.
Divers get short, weekly openings to target cucumbers. Each fishing area is closed once the fleet reaches the guideline harvest level or GHL there. The first opening was October 7th.
Breese say this year’s cucumber price has averaged around five dollars a pound, “Which is pretty good and it drew quite a few people out and that’s one of the reasons a lot of some of the smaller areas got more effort than they were anticipating in several different smaller areas.”
Nearly 200 divers have participated in this year’s sea cucumber fishery.
Governor Sean Parnell will discuss Medicaid expansion at a press conference in Anchorage today. Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Bill Streur will join Parnell at the conference.
Parnell is expected to announce by Dec. 15 whether the State of Alaska will accept federal money offered for the expansion through the Affordable Care Act. He’s said before that he has “serious concerns” about expanding Medicaid because of the cost to the state. He said in a statement earlier this year that Alaska’s Medicaid costs are already growing by $100 million a year.
Interested parties have until Dec. 3 to comment on the proposed oil and gas sale in the Chukchi Sea. The Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management announced Thursday that it was extending the comment period because of the government shutdown in October.
Developers believe Alaska’s outer continental shelf has extensive oil resources, but the site’s remote location and harsh conditions pose challenges to extraction.
Find more information on how to comment here: http://bit.ly/chukchicomment.
U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) introduced legislation Wednesday that would designate 1.56 million acres of land in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge as wilderness.
President Barack Obama announced a fix to the Affordable Care Act that would allow insurers to extend by one year health insurance policies that don’t comply with the act. The fix comes after five million people reported their current policies had been canceled.
Obama announced the fix Thursday.