Petersburg Pilot -

2013 Year in review


Pilot Photo

Petersburg Borough Clerk Kathy O'Rear swore in the newly formed Petersburg Borough Assembly before their first meeting of the year. Shown here are (left to right) Nancy Strand, John Hoag, seated Borough Manager Steve Giesbrecht, Borough Mayor Mark Jensen, Sue Flint and John Havrilek.


Petersburg residents contributed a record amount to the Salvation Army Christmas program last year-$15,618.17-more than $9,700 than the year before.

Jan. 4, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck 58 miles west of Craig and 203 miles south of Juneau prompting a tsunami warning across Southeast.

Petersburg Police Chief Jim Agner and Sergeant Heidi Agner announced their intentions to retire.

Officer Ben King joined the Petersburg Police Department.

The Petersburg Borough Assembly members were sworn in for the first time, bringing the first borough assembly meeting to order.

The Petersburg Borough Assembly approved in a first reading the first three borough ordinances including a six percent sales tax, a four percent area wide transient room tax and the installation of elected officers and appointments to vacancies in elected offices of the borough.

Petersburg Indian Association Chair Tina Sakamoto was reelected to the position.

Jesse Roundtree and Desiree Watkins brought Jesse Lyle Roundtree, Jr. into the world at 1:15 p.m. Jan. 5 making him the first Petersburg baby of the year.

The Legislative Finance Division released a report stating Alaska would face a budget deficit of $920 million if spending for the next year matched that of the current year.

Congressman Don Young, Senator Lisa Murkowski and Senator Mark Begich nominated Petersburg High School Senior Mizani Rawhani for appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy.

Petersburg Parks and Recreation began the Losing Big Petersburg competition-its version of the Biggest Loser television program. Contestants began various programs teaching them how to live healthier lifestyles and weight loss techniques.

Republican Rep. Bob Lynn introduced House Bill 55-legislation that would allow private schools to adopt written policies spelling out the circumstances under which firearms could be possessed and used.


Petersburg Indian Association rehired Bruce Jones after letting him go the previous October.

The Petersburg Borough Assembly unanimously approved resolution 2013-2, which opposed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's preliminary finding of no significant effect on the quality of the human health environment with approval of AquaBounty Technologies, Inc's application to market genetically modified Atlantic salmon in the United States.

Victor Araujo was sentenced after being found guilty for conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine after a three-year investigation by the Petersburg Police Department.

Bruce Jones closed Petersburg Indian Association's Seaside Restaurant because it cost too much to sustain.

After carbon dating, a skull found by a hunter on Wrangell Island was determined to be more than 1,000 years old and of Native Alaskan heritage.

The Alaska State House approved Resolution HJR5-opposing the federal Food and Drug Administration's approval of Genetically Modified Salmon in the United States.

The Petersburg Borough Assembly voted to appoint Cindi Lagoudakis and Kurt Wohlhueter to take vacant assembly seats.


The Petersburg Indian Association Transportation Department applied for grant funding to reconstruct the Rasmus Enge Memorial Bridge.

The Petersburg Chamber of Commerce chose Papa Bear's Pizza as Business of the Year.

The borough assembly put the police and jail facility on hold in order to investigate lower prices for the project.

Some Petersburg fishermen attended a borough meeting to support Senate Bill 60-the implementation of a $100 bounty on all sea otters taken legally under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Christin Fankhauser won Petersburg Parks and Recreation's Losing Big Petersburg competition after losing 41 pounds in six weeks.

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski introduced the Hydropower Improvement Act-a bill that would increase the United States' hydropower capacity in an effort to expand clean-power generation and spur domestic job creation.

Local construction company Tamico filed a letter to borough officials in protest of the borough's North Harbor bid award going to an out-of-town contractor-alleging that officials did not follow proper procedure for the awarding of bids.

Alaska's Board of Game took a step toward a potential wolf control program on Gravina Island when it directed the state to prepare an operational plan for the board to consider.

The Alaska Legislature passed a resolution calling upon the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to further investigate the effects of producing genetically engineered salmon.

Petersburg community gym soccer players took third place at a co-ed soccer tournament in Juneau.


The borough assembly unanimously voted to deny Tamico's North Harbor bid appeal.

The borough assembly created an ad hoc Sea Otter Management Committee to address the ongoing sea otter population.

Petersburg High School seniors participated in the Distinguished Young Women program in Ketchikan.

Tonka Seafoods purchased Mitkof Cannery on Libby Straight from Trident Seafoods increasing Tonka's processing space from 3,000 sq. ft. at its Sing Lee Alley location to 30,000 sq. ft. at Libby Straight.

The Petersburg Public Library archived Petersburg newspapers from the years 1913 to 1931 in order to make information easier to access.

The Petersburg Borough Assembly approved Resolution 2013-11, a resolution requesting support from the Alaska Legislature of the Sealaska Heritage Institute's sustainable arts project re-introducing skin sewing to produce and market sea otter handicrafts.

The Petersburg Pilot won the best weekly newspaper in the state award at the Alaska Press Club Competition.


The Alaska Marine Highway System celebrated with towns across Southeast for the 50-year anniversary of service to the area.

The borough assembly unanimously voted to hire Kelly Swihart for the Petersburg Police Chief position.

Petersburg Wildlife Trooper Cody Lister was named Alaska Wildlife Trooper of the Year.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a report detailing the doubling of the Southeast sea otter population during the last decade.

The borough assembly failed to pass a resolution to declare a sales tax-free day.

Yachting Magazine nominated Petersburg as a top 10 finalist for top yachting towns.

Petersburg High School Viking runner Grace Weller ran the 3,200 in 12:07, breaking the school record for the second time.

Petersburg High School student Krissa Davis placed 5th in the State Science Symposium for her project entitled Testing Organic Labeling Laws by the Presence of GMO's in Corn and qualified to attend the National Science Symposium.

Rich Lowell won the Salmon Derby with a 46.5 pound King Salmon.


A Pacific Wings deHavilland Beaver, carrying a pilot and six passengers crashed near LeConte Glacier leaving one dead.

The Petersburg Public Works Sanitation Department held a trial for a new comingled recycling program.

Petersburg Medical Center physician Jennifer Hyer began offering acupuncture treatment at PMC.

Petersburg resident Boaz Johnson went missing in Hawaii. Hawaiian police sought him for questioning after fishermen discovered his girlfriend's body.

Petersburg Parks and Recreation razed shelter two at Sandy Beach Park in order to rebuild it.

The Petersburg Chamber of Commerce sponsored the first Rain Game Classic-a contest for residents to predict annual rainfall in Petersburg.

The borough assembly took a position against the State's application of herbicides and pesticides on public borough lands.

The borough assembly approved a letter requesting Petersburg to be in the Option A redistricting plan, which would have kept Petersburg with Wrangell and Sitka rather than Juneau.

The Petersburg School Board approved a policy allowing home school students to participate in activities at the high school without being enrolled in classes.

David Gill, from the United Kingdom, stopped in Petersburg during a 12,000-mile cross-country bicycle trip.

A U.S. Senate committee voted to rename the tallest peak in North America, Mount McKinley, to its original Koyukon-Athabascan name of "Denali."

Around 40 kids participated in Petersburg's first Bluegrass Camp.


Due to issues with an aggressive sea lion, borough officials banned fish waste disposal at all Petersburg harbors.

The United States Coast Guard hosted a change of command ceremony to honor the outgoing USCGC ANACAPA commanding officer LCDR Ruben Boudreaux and the incoming commanding officer Lt. Kathryn Cyr.

The Lutheran Church welcomed former pastors as part of its 100-year anniversary celebrations.

The Alaska Redistricting Board approved a Concept Plan with district map lines that grouped Petersburg in with 23 other communities to form House District 35.

The Petersburg Medical Center Board voted to repay a $1.2 million line of credit-a loan that was initiated in 2006 to pay for equipment and meet payroll needs.

The United States Coast Guard hosted a change of command ceremony to honor the outgoing USCGC Elderberry skipper Chief Warrant Officer Daniel T. Burke and welcomed Senior Chief Boatswain's Mate Randall L. Burr.


The temperature on August 1 reached 83 degrees-the warmest day ever recorded in Petersburg.

Harbor officials cleared vessels out of the North Harbor in preparation for dredging.

Increased water temperatures and low oxygen levels combined with decreased tidal activity in Blind Slough killed about 1,100 King salmon on their way to spawn at Crystal Lake Hatchery.

The Petersburg Library threw a party to celebrate the final hours before closing for the last time as staff and volunteers began the transition to its new location.

Petersburg seine fisheries set a record week Pink salmon harvest totaling more than 16 million Pinks during two openings.

Warm summer weather contributed to large humpback whale populations and sightings throughout the region.

Petersburg District schools were ranked in the top 10 across the state and in the top 7 in Southeast Alaska according to new Alaska Department of Education's implementation of new performance standards.

The borough assembly began the process of retaining and dissolving public boards and committees.

Local rescuers attempted to disentangle a humpback whale wrapped in a gill net in Frederick Sound.

Police arrested two suspects accused of burglarizing multiple businesses in one night.

Petersburg Medical Center board members discussed the financial state of the hospital and requested funding assistance from the borough during its first joint work session regarding the matter.

The sales tax ordinance review committee began discussing changes to the borough's sales tax ordinance including changes to the senior exemption, the sales tax cap and other exemptions outlined in the ordinance in an effort to maintain services and not raise property taxes.

Warm weather continued to affect wildlife in the region-this time at Crystal Lake Hatchery where the hatchery incubated fewer eggs than normal.


An Association of Alaskan Superintendents committee awarded Petersburg School Superintendent Dr. Rob Thomason the Superintendent of the Year award

The Petersburg Borough Assembly began planning a joint municipal building/police and jail facility remodel project.

The Petersburg Borough Assembly met with the Wrangell Borough Assembly in Wrangell to discuss the future of Thomas Bay Power Authority, and heard Southeast Alaska Power Agency CEO Trey Acteson's offer to take over TBPA.

Tlingit carver and wood conservator Tommy Joseph and his son Joe cleaned and restored the town's totem poles.

Petersburg saw average daily high temperatures through September 15 rise seven degrees above normal.

The new Petersburg Library opened its doors to the public for the first time with several new features including a self-checkout station, a teen room and the ability to borrow laptops and iPads.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game's final harvest estimates stacked up to around 85.5 million Pink salmon-a new record that smashed the previous 72 million harvest numbers recorded in 1999.

Several Petersburg canneries experienced large employee walk out rates due to peak production and a changed labor force after foreign workers were no longer allowed to work in the canneries.

A crew filmed Ax Men promotional videos at the Tonka Logging site on Kupreanof Island after the popular History Channel show wrapped up itsfilming of local logging operations during the summer.


The Petersburg girl's cross-country team won the Region V Championship.

Seventy federal workers were furloughed in Petersburg during the government shut down.

Petersburg residents who didn't qualify for the federal facilitated health insurance exchange and purchased insurance after March 2010, who weren't grandfathered in, saw their rates more than double.

The Petersburg Borough Assembly approved a resolution approving Southeast Alaska Power Authority CEO Trey Acteson's offer to take over operation and maintenance at the Tyee Hydroelectric Project.

Borough officials scrambled to find new use for slurry dredge material headed to the landfill that was intended to be used as capping for scrap metal piles. A berm was constructed to contain the material.

The Petersburg Borough Assembly sought legal advice as it considered drafting an ordinance requiring state agencies to require borough approval before using broad based herbicide and pesticide spraying methods.

Karl Hagerman, Public Works Director, outlined to the borough Assembly plans for a new borough-wide comingled recycling program that would help the borough pay solid waste disposal costs. The new program would raise collection fees for those who choose not to recycle.

This year's moose hunt is the third highest harvest on record with a total of 85 animals taken from around the region.

Petersburg won Yachting Magazine's '2013 Best Towns' Competition.

The borough's assessor wrapped up borough wide property assessments as borough formation continues.

Recent Petersburg school employee Tye Leif Petersen, 45, was arrested for charges relating to child pornography.

Survey data released to the Petersburg School District showed 'cyber bullying' as a risk factor in the community and school officials reached out to parents as it works towards curbing the behavior.

Petersburg Mental Health Services staff and community members celebrated the non-profit's 20-year anniversary.

Petersburg Indian Association Tribal Administrator Bruce Jones laid off himself and three other administrative positions in an effort to balance PIA's budget.


Petersburg's champion swimming relay team set a new regional record in the 400- meter free relay with a time of 3:16:90 at a meet in Juneau.

Petersburg Borough Assembly member Sue Flint stepped down from the assembly due to health reasons and a desire to spend more time with family.

Petersburg High School Choir students Frances Abbott and Stephanie Pfundt attended the National Association of Music Educator's All National Honors Choir in Nashville, Tenn.

ALPS Federal Credit Union CEO John O'Brien discussed plans on a new credit union coming to Petersburg.

The Ruth Circle-a local group of quilters that donates its blankets to charities-found out its latest batch of quilts was sent to those impacted by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

Dry weather lowered water levels three feet below average at the Blind Slough Hydroelectric reservoir.

Petersburg Mental Health Services purchased the Totem Arms apartments as it plans to expand operations space and increase services.


The Petersburg Borough Assembly unanimously voted to appoint Bob Lynn to an empty assembly seat left vacant by Sue Flint.

Pilot Photo

Work continued in April on the Petersburg Road Improvement Project as pavement was poured on one section and removed from another.

The borough assembly moved forward with plans to remodel the police station and municipal building.

The Viking Wrestlers placed second in the regional wrestling tournament.

Power and Light Superintendent Joe Nelson recommended electric rate increases to the borough assembly.

The burglary suspects charged with breaking into multiple businesses around town earlier in the summer plead guilty to multiple felony charges.

John Glenn, owner of Stikine River Forest Products, announced his plan to build a mill in Petersburg.

Cindi Lagoudakis was hired as director of the Petersburg Chamber of Commerce replacing Sally Dwyer who held the position for the past seven years.

The Viking Wrestling squad took 9th place in the state wrestling tournament and finished ahead of every other Southeast squad.


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