Robert Woolsey, KCAW - Sitka
Wood energy is making a comeback in Sitka. With fuel prices approaching record highs, locals are returning to firewood, and to other forms of wood fuel lumped under the term “biomass.” This Saturday, the community is holding a “Wood Energy Fair” to re-introduce residents to wood heat in the home.
The two candidates for the newly-created legislative district that represents Sitka, Haines, Hoonah and Angoon, met in Sitka last week in a forum sponsored by the city’s Chamber of Commerce.
Every once in a while an historian makes a find that changes everything. Recently, a researcher combing through the National Archives made just such a discovery. In this case, while working on a project to scan some of the very first maps of Alaska, he learned how early cartographers so accurately depicted places they had never been.
Southcentral Alaska has its white moose, now Southeast Alaska has its white deer. Alaska Department of Fish & Game biologist Phil Mooney was tagging mountain goats on Baranof Island outside of Sitka in late August and saw the unusual animal from his helicopter.
This time, it’s the story of the buoy that didn’t get away. The US Coast Guard Cutter Maple retrieved the Cape Edgecumbe weather buoy last week, after the errant instrument spent six days adrift in the Gulf of Alaska. The buoy was only about 10 miles off station, dutifully transmitting weather and ocean conditions as it slowly cruised north and west in the balmiest seas of the summer.
A former Alaskan is one of five finalists for the 2012 Outside Magazine Outdoor Adventure grant. Quinn Langbauer is a 2007 Sitka High graduate. If he wins, he and his brother and a friend from college will spend most of next year bicycling over 7,000 miles across Siberia.
The city of Sitka has gone on record in support of efforts to reduce the amount of halibut wasted in Alaska’s trawl fisheries. The Sitka assembly last week unanimously approved asking the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council to lower the cap on trawl bycatch when it meets in Kodiak in June.
Residents in a few select neighborhoods in Sitka will be trying out a new kind of bear-resistant trash can this spring. The local sanitation company is doing a field test of two prospective containers. Both are mostly plastic, and neither is considered “bear-proof.” All the authorities want to do is to frustrate brown bears looking for an easy meal, in the hope that they move on.
Alaska’s lone congressman says transparency is the problem with – and not the solution to – good government. Don Young took advantage of the congressional recess to visit Sitka and speak at the Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday. Besides sharing his nostalgia for the days before television cameras intruded into the capitol, the 40-year representative railed against younger Alaskan’s comfort with government largesse, and their lack of productivity.
The Alaska Supreme Court ruled Friday that a controversial 2008 citizen’s initiative in Sitka was legal and should have gone before voters. The decision reverses a lower court ruling.
Herring seiners are not the only fishermen commuting long-distance to Sitka this spring. A half-ton Steller sea lion has been seen in and around Sitka’s harbors recently browsing on the abundant herring. The animal was tagged – just over a month ago – at the Bonneville Dam near Portland, Oregon, about 900 miles to the south.
The hatchery program at the Sitka Sound Science Center is getting a helping hand from the Pacific Salmon Commission.
A small business class at Mt. Edgecumbe High School in Sitka is gearing up for a commercial venture this spring. The students have organized a company, appointed officers, and sold shares of stock. Their product – which will be out soon – is an elastic, $5 wristband with the words “Living on the Edge.”
High winds in Southeast this winter are wreaking havoc on land and at sea. The state ferry Kennicott postponed a scheduled cross-gulf voyage earlier in February due to heavy weather. The Kennicott is rated for open-ocean travel.
A new encyclopedia of the Tlingit language has teachers in Sitka scratching their heads. The massive work by New Zealand scholar Sally-Ann Lambert is extraordinarily detailed, and the product of years of effort. The problem is: The language in the book is not recognizable by contemporary scholars, or Native Tlingit speakers.