September 5, 2013 | Vol. 39, No. 36

Yesterday's News

August 30, 1913 – Charly Smith, genial owner of the only “Mansion” in Petersburg returned from a trip to Sitka which he reluctantly left after a too short visit and where he joined a lodge.

Mr. Smith says that the most courteous class of people in Alaska is found at Sitka. During his visit in the “old town”, every courtesy imaginable was shown him by everybody, and from our former “little Preacher” to the most humble fisherman, a glad hand of welcome was extended. “Now, do you wonder that I was sorry to leave Sitka?” asked Mr. Smith.

He reports that the display of activity so noticeable in and around town is remarkable. A large fleet of fishing boats is constantly moving in and out of the harbor. With the cold storage plant in working order, Sitka promises to be a lively town this coming winter.

September 7, 1983 – People hung out their clothes and froze them dry when Chris Odegaard first came to Petersburg in 1924.

“We hung them out on the line until they were frozen stiff and then in a couple of days they were dry,” Odegaard said.

The retired fisherman remembers living through four months of hard weather each year. Summers were hot and winters were cold, he said.

“Now there is more rain. The weather is changing around. I don't know why.”

Each Saturday and Sunday the hill near the city rock pit was covered with skiers, Odegaard said. Hot chocolate and coffee warmed wind frosted athletes who dared the ski jump. But as the weather changed there were fewer and fewer good skiing days.

September 9, 1993 – This year saw one of the biggest pink salmon harvests on record—but the drought has been so severe that there may be a dismal harvest ahead in two years, an official from Alaska Department of Fish & Game said this week.

Canneries in Petersburg closed down their pink salmon season around midnight Saturday, and cannery workers were beginning to leave town this week after a late but busy season.

With about 52 million fish harvested in Southeast Alaska, it was the third biggest season since statehood, and among the top ten seasons since the late 1800s, said ADF&G's Karl Hofmeister of Juneau.

The harvest compared with the all-time record of 61 million in 1991, said Hofmeister, salmon research biologist and Southeast pink forecaster.

September 11, 2003 – The dazed-looking college students walking up and down Main St. last week said it all – when asked if they were tourists, they shook their heads and replied, “No, we've just been inside PFI all summer.”

The city's highest-volume processor finished up with just over 500,000 cases of canned salmon packed and ready to go, finishing up just a day or two after employees cruised up and down the street on forklifts, throwing candy in a spur-of-the-moment celebratory parade after hitting the 500,000 mark.

Icicle's John Baird said of the summer, “It was a good season, it was a big season, it was a huge season.”

“You just go full tilt, you keep canning as much as you can from day one until the very end, and by the time we had finished up this year we were bigger than ever before,” he added.

The city's water shortage, he said, did not seriously affect either production quality or speed, although processors citywide, including City Council member and PFI employee Kris Norosz, have petitioned for expediting construction of a larger capacity city tank.

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