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Southeast Alaska News
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School Board changes tack, will ask legislature for capital funding for academic materials. Former Apple executive pitches 1:1 Digital Initiative to Sitka Chamber. Sealaska McNeil meets with President Obama during tribal nations conference.
Last week (November 20), the Ketchikan Police Department, working with the FBI, arrested two Washington State residents for allegedly importing and distributing methamphetamine from that state to Ketchikan.
32-year-old Cayse Sivertsen, a Washington resident with Ketchikan ties, was arrested and charged as a fugitive from justice for multiple outstanding robbery arrest warrants. He is alleged to have participated in the importation and sale of methamphetamine with 45-year-old Kim M. Johnston of Washington. Sivertsen was found to be in possession of $506 in alleged drug proceeds.
Johnston is charged with one count each of third, fourth and fifth degree controlled substance misconduct. She was arrested on a boat in Bar Harbor and was allegedly found with approximately 5 grams of methamphetamine, $1186, and the drug Clonazepam possessed without a prescription.
Also arrested during the course of the investigation is 21-year-old Alexander B. Karlson of Ketchikan. Karlson is charged with one count each of third and fourth degree controlled substance misconduct.
Police say all were found with drug paraphernalia. The three were arraigned in Ketchikan District Court on Thursday.
At approximately 1:00 am Sunday (November 24th), Alaska State Troopers received a report of a reckless driver near the area of South Tongass Highway and Forest Park.
Troopers located the red Ford Explorer on Eagle Avenue in Saxman.
The 24-year-old female driver from Ketchikan, who was not identified, was allegedly found to be in possession of methamphetamine, marijuana and drug related paraphernalia. The driver was also found to be in possession of a .22 caliber pistol concealed in her purse. She failed to immediately disclose to Troopers that she was in possession of a firearm.
The case is currently under investigation.
State Troopers were also busy later Sunday morning with several criminal mischief cases.
A little after 10:00 am, Alaska State Troopers received a report of a damaged car parked on Teddy Lane. Unknown persons cracked exterior mirrors and the rear tail lights. The vehicle was entered, and the emergency brake release broken. The estimated cost of damage is $500.
Later Sunday around noon, Troopers received a report of damage to a vehicle parked at a residence on Chandler Road. Several days earlier, two tires on that vehicle were punctured by unknown persons. The vehicle was transported for repairs on Saturday and later Saturday evening one of the repaired tires was punctured again. The estimated cost of damage is $300.
Alaska State Troopers are asking anyone with information about either case to contact them. Callers may remain anonymous.
We’ve been making a lot of changes over the last few months. Some have worked out well, and some still need adjusting. Please take a moment and fill out this short survey for us. Your answers will help us know more about how people are interacting with the station, as well as helping to form decisions about our Programming.
We’ll be holding our Community Advisory Board Meeting on Monday, December 9th at 6:00 pm. We’ll be discussing programming decisions coming up as well as tallying the comments not only from this survey, but from the Fall Membership Drive as well.
It’s far from a done deal.
But Ketchikan’s City Council has OK’d a plan to negotiate the sale of the Whitman Lake hydropower project.
City manager Karl Amylon proposed selling and/or leasing the project, which is under construction, to the Southeast Alaska Power Agency.
City Mayor Lew Williams says negotiations are a good idea.
“The good thing is we’re getting more power. I don’t know who’s going to own it. But the community has more power. That’s the main issue,” he says. “I don’t want anybody to ever get the thought that this might be a bad idea. It wasn’t. It’s a great idea. Now we need to find the best way to operate it.”
The Southeast Alaska Power Agency requires member communities Ketchikan, Petersburg and Wrangell to purchase all the available power its two dams can provide. Using electricity from a city-owned Whitman could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties.
The city’s terms would have the power agency pay off municipal loans funding Whitman construction. With the council’s approval, negotiations can start.
Ketchikan’s City Council also began the process of filling an empty seat at last week’s meeting.
Williams says officials will advertise the opening for a week.
“Anybody interested in being a part of the city council can put in a resume or fill out the application. Then we’ll proceed from there,” he says.
The council will interview the applicants and chose the replacement.
The seat came open with the resignation of Sam Bergeron. He travels a lot for work and attended meetings via phone. A council rules change ended that option.
The Sitka Tribe of Alaska appointed Allen Bell Interim General Manager. Tribal Chairman Michael Baines announced Bell’s appointment Thursday (11-21-13) and expressed confidence in the leadership and stability Bell will bring to the Tribe.
Bell acted as General Manger once before in his two years serving the Tribe. He has also served as staff attorney. The Tribal Council will hold a special council meeting to appoint a new General Manager on December 11 at the Sheet’ka Kwaan Naa Kahidi Community House.
The Sitka District Court has fined Silver Bay Seafoods $16,000 for tendering what State Troopers estimate to be over 3,000 pounds of undersized Tanner crab earlier this year.
The judgement was signed by Magistrate Leonard Devaney on Wednesday (11-20-13).
In February, Alaska Trooper Tim Hall discovered the unlawful commercial Tanner crab while monitoring the offload of a vessel, called the Grace C. at Silver Bay Seafoods. Out of 1,200 crab that Hall measured, 10% were found undersized and seized – the majority donated to the Pioneer Home and a portion retained for evidence.
According to court records, Bert McCay operated the Grace C. for Silver Bay. McCay says that three Silver Bay employees were on-board pitching crab and taking measurements using 5.5 Loomis crab gauges.
Hall also interview Eric Anderson – the new fleet manager for Silver Bay Seafoods. Anderson claimed responsibility for buying and tendering operations. He says he found undersized crab but released them. The crew was in a hurry because other boats were waiting to offload, so they were mostly concerned with pitching crab.
Based on the price per pound of Tanner crab and the amount of illegal crab on the vessel, Hall estimates the vessel contained $8,098 worth of illegal crab.
The court fined the Silver Bay Seafoods $16,000 with $8,000 suspended. The court also ordered the seafood processor to pay restitution to the state of Alaska departments of Public Safety, and Fish & Game. The amount of the restitution is $8,098 based on the estimated value of the illegal crab on board.
Pennock Island resident Tom Hunt recently published a collection of short stories, “Bad Water and Other Stories of the Alaskan Panhandle.” The fictionalized tales are based on life in Southeast. HuntBook
Ketchikan’s very own at-home shopping opportunity is right around the corner. KRBD’s annual on-air auction will take place on Saturday, December 7th from 4-7p. Tune in and bid on a variety of goods and services from the comfort of your home, auctioned by James White and Alonso Escalante! Volunteers will be ready in the phone room to take your bid!
Join us for an afternoon reception of holiday drinks and goodies from 2-4p, for the more socially-minded among you. Stop by and browse through the varied selection of items up for bid. Live bidding is encouraged!
Check back for a full listing of items (with pictures) on Tuesday, December 3rd.
UAF frat hosts men’s beauty pageant
FAIRBANKS — A fraternity is hosting a “Mr. UAF” beauty pageant for men next month at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Alpha Phi Omega is organizing the event, which will include formal wear, swimsuit and talent portions, along with an interview.
KETCHIKAN — The Ketchikan School District said it had to spend $7,000 to conduct background checks and to fingerprint 31 preschool staff members to satisfy new state requirements, which it called redundant.
The Ketchikan Daily News reports new state rules require teachers and paraprofessionals in preschools to meet security regulations more stringent than what districts require of certified teachers.
Certified teachers already are fingerprinted and they undergo background checks during the certification process.
ANCHORAGE — Robert Paniyak looks back wistfully to a time more than two decades ago when he and other Alaska Native youths helped scientists capture and band geese to address declining numbers of migratory waterfowl in the state’s Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.
SITKA — The state has released a tsunami inundation map for Sitka, showing the estimated high-water mark in the event of a tsunami.
But Sitka Fire Chief Dave Miller said not to take the map as the final word on how high the water might rise in a tsunami.
“This tells us what the computer-generated study has found,” said Miller, the city’s emergency coordinator.
ANCHORAGE — At Romig Middle School, Kendall Johanson tunes her trumpet before band class using an app.
In her social studies class, the seventh-grader looks up geography facts on the same iPod Touch that she uses to Instagram and text-message, with the help of a wireless network provided by the school.
At Dimond High, government teacher Missy Nurmi hasn’t confiscated a note for years. Her students don’t pass them anymore.
They text surreptitiously, staring down at their laps.
KETCHIKAN — When Historic Ketchikan, Inc., has its sights set on a project, Executive Director Stephen Reeve doesn’t wait around for conveniences like heating to move in and set up shop.
When he’s ready, he’s ready.
In agreement with the Episcopal Church, Historic Ketchikan has begun the project of saving the Yates Memorial Hospital building from the wrecking ball and restoring it to its former glass-paned glory.
FAIRBANKS — There are a lot of custom-built homes in Fairbanks, but Andy Lyon almost certainly has the only one with a ceiling fan as the centerpiece.
That fact says more about the fan than the house. Above the living room, a Douglas DC-6 propeller slowly spins, moving air through the handsome wood-accented building off Chena Ridge.
Lyon designed his house specifically to accommodate the 131/2-foot propeller. For Lyon, a pilot and the director of maintenance for Everts Air, it was a chance to bring his love of aviation home.
ANCHORAGE — A high school teacher in Anchorage won $50,000 after placing second in a “Jeopardy!” game show competition for teachers.
Dimond High School teacher Mary Beth Hammerstrom told the Anchorage Daily News on Friday that she’ll use her winnings to pay off her car, travel and fix a bathroom her husky destroyed.
“I like to think of it as winning the silver medal at the nerd Olympics,” Hammerstrom said.
Anchorage television station KTUU and GCI have reached a tentative agreement to keep KTUU news programming on the air in rural Alaska at least through December 6. See the story from KTOO’s Rosemarie Alexander here.
The dispute over rural television coverage started over 14 months ago, when GCI began negotiating for the purchase of the two NBC stations in Southeast, and one CBS station in Anchorage.
At least one individual deeply involved in that transaction is surprised that GCI and KTUU are struggling to reach a deal.
“It was so simple, we thought. Just send a check,” says Dan Etulain, the Sitka businessman who founded KATH-TV in Juneau, and KSCT-TV in Sitka, and who sold both to GCI on November 1 of this year.
While Etulain is content to be on the sidelines of this particular contest, he’s still in the middle making television. He owns one other Anchorage television station (KACN), and in Sitka he’s seldom seen without a video camera, providing 24-hour content for the local public access channel. He spoke with KCAW’s Robert Woolsey.
Although his empire is smaller, he may be the closest thing we have in Southeast Alaska to our own Rupert Murdoch.
But Dan Etulain isn’t in the news – he’s too busy making it. Selling the two stations is his version of scaling back.
“My primary interest is community TV. Actually NBC here was primarily a translator of our Juneau station – it just repeated. I didn’t have much to do with it. Also, we could pay off a few bills. And my wife has move to Bellingham, so I go see her about three or four times a year.”
That would be Kathy Etulain, the former director of the Sitka Campus of the University of Alaska Southeast. And Etulain’s inspiration for KATH-TV in Juneau.
“And so it was a matter of convenience. And I still own the station in Anchorage, and spend a lot of time making trips to Anchorage. And the station you own is which? The call letters are KACN. And it’s a very small, independent station.”
And when Etulain is not taking care of his remaining television station, he’s filming meetings, concerts, school programs – just about anything – and putting it up ‘round the clock on cable channel 11 in Sitka. Something he’s done for the last 16 years.
But even back then, Etulain was no newcomer to media. He first bought the now-defunct KIFW-TV in 1983.
“So I started TV 30 years ago. And this was your second career? Yes, I came to Sitka to be the first full-time dean of students. And that would have been in 1974? 1971.”
And also, 31 years ago, Dan Etulain became a founding member of the board of KCAW-FM, Sitka’s public radio station. A seat which he still holds.
Throughout our conversation, Etulain never mentions the “R” word.
“I’m not interested in retirement. I like what I do. It’s not only a job, it’s kind of a fun thing to do. It’s my hobby.”
Rupert Murdoch should be so lucky.
Most Sealaska shareholders will get a $713 check or direct deposit in about two weeks.
This year’s winter distribution to stockholders totals $11.7 million. The Juneau-headquartered regional Native corporation has nearly 22,000 tribal members. Most live in Alaska or the Pacific Northwest.
Sealaska Board Chair Albert Kookesh says the twice-a-year distributions strengthen regional communities.
“Since inception, Sealaska has paid more than a half billion dollars total to shareholders and village corporations,” he says.
The majority of stockholders own 100 shares. Payments differ due to status.
Those also enrolled in an urban Native corporation, such as Juneau’s Goldbelt Inc., receive $713. So are those only enrolled in Sealaska.
Shareholders also enrolled in a village corporation, such as Prince of Wales Island’s Klawock Heenya, will get $71.
The difference is income from a pool of regional Native corporations’ natural-resource earnings.
Sealaska pays that directly to urban shareholders, as part of their dividends. But it pays the resource revenues to village corporations, which decide whether to pass them on to shareholders.
Descendents of original shareholders also only get $71 per 100 shares.
And elders in any category receive an extra $71.
Sealaska will mail or direct-deposit dividends beginning December 6th.
Some shareholders say the dividends are too small. They point to the fact that only about 10 percent of the payments come from Sealaska operations and investments.
“Let us not fight of the tiny piece of pie Sealaska chooses to distribute; let us work together to elect a board interested in growing the pie,” says critic Brad Fluetsch on a shareholders’ Facebook page.
ANCHORAGE — An Eagle River cupcake baker and her assistant are set to star in an episode of “Cupcake Wars” this weekend.
Cupcake-truck owner Kastle Sorensen and her assistant, Amy Grue, have studied the long-running show, analyzing past episodes for as many as 12 hours at a time, the Anchorage Daily News reported.
The episode featuring them is set to air at 4 p.m. Saturday on the Food Network. The episode has already been recorded, but Sorensen can’t say who won because of the network’s confidentiality agreement.