Emily Kwong, KCAW - Sitka

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AmeriCorps volunteer Esther Kennedy is helping STA launch an early warning system for beaches in Southeast, so harvesters can know when it’s safe to dig and when to steer clear. (Emily Kwong/KCAW photo)

PSP: With New Lab, STA Takes A Gamble On Shellfish Testing

Despite the risk of paralytic shellfish poisoning — or PSP — Southeast Alaska has a robust dive fishery that includes geoduck clams. The entire industry hinges on weekly testing results from the Department of Environmental Conservation laboratory in Anchorage. This scenario could change in the not-too-distant future. In part 1 of our 2-part series, KCAW’s Emily Kwong reported on efforts by Sitka Tribe of Alaska to monitor the waters of Southeast for PSP. In part 2 today, she tracks their plans to launch a commercial testing lab. Download Audio
Esther Kennedy of the Resource Protection Department collects water samples every week from Starrigavan. Along with six other tribes in Southeast, the group is working to create an early warning system to protect shellfish diggers from PSP. (Emily Kwong/KCAW photo)

PSP: Tribal Partnership Seeks Modern Solution To An Ancient Problem

Of all the traditional seafoods in Southeast Alaska, none are more shrouded in myth — and genuine risk — than clams and mussels. Paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP)killed two people in Southeast in 2010 and dozens more have fallen ill over the recorded history of the state. For subsistence harvesters, there has been no way to measure the risk of clam digging — until now. In part 1 of a two-part series, KCAW reports on a partnership among Southeast tribes to create a regional water monitoring program. Download Audio

Allen Permanently Takes Lead at Sitka Hospital

After six weeks on the job, Rob Allen - the interim CEO of Sitka Community Hospital - has agreed to take on the position permanently. He announced his decision during the hospital board’s last meeting in February and expects to negotiate for a contract soon.

Navigating “The New Normal” Of Legal Marijuana

As the recreational use of marijuana becomes legal in Alaska today, the changing laws surrounding pot have already created a ripple effect in Sitka. Law enforcement is ironing out the details and businesses are catering to new clientele, with mixed opinions. Download Audio

Sitka Sound Slayers: A Women’s Movement on Wheels

The sport of flat track roller derby is booming in Alaska. The Sitka Sound Slayers got rolling two years ago and boast 29 members on their roster. But how did this former spectacle turn into a bonafide sport? Download Audio

Kreiss-Tomkins Reelected By Wide Margin

The first time Sitka Democrat Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins ran for State House, in 2012 at the tender age of 23, he squeaked through, beating Haines Republican Bill Thomas by just 32 votes. The candidates had to wait weeks for the final results. Not this time. On Tuesday night, Kreiss-Tomkins, now 25, won convincingly.

Historic Weapons Ousted From Sitka Airport

Saturday is the anniversary of the Purchase of Alaska. And in Sitka, the site of the historic sale, locals make it known from the moment visitors step off the plane. This usually goes over well, but sometimes creates confusion. Download Audio